A Little Something To Get Hot About

As a Christian I am concerned with the right understanding of scripture. The theological term for bible-translations-from-discipulusripturae-at-wordpressinterpreting scripture is hermeneutics. What follows would challenge even the most able theologian’s hermeneutics because of exceedingly poor translation/ paraphrasing. I personally use the ESV, although for a long time I used the KJV (mainly not only) and was saved reading the NIV.  These various translations use one of two philosophies of translation, know as Formal Equivalence and Dynamic Equivalence . To help you remember them, put them this way, a formal equivalent attempts to translate the text word for word, keeping as much as possible to the original text and meaning and author’s flow. A dynamic equivalent text goes for a thought for thought translation, where the translators attempt to convey the author’s meaning in a passage rather than the actual words.

This usually means that thought for thought is easier to read whereas word for word is the most accurate. Now almost all bibles fall into one of these two categories to a greater or lesser extent, by which I mean, some translations (for example, the NIV) will attempt to blend the two. There is also a third category, namely paraphrases which are not translations but rather the author has taken an English version and rewritten it, usually to make it appeal to a certain audience. And example of this is the ‘Living Bible’ which was written for the author’s children to understand.

Examples of Formal Equivalents:


Examples of Dynamic Equivalents:

NIV (I would put this one on this side); NRSV; NLT; CEV;

Examples of Paraphrases:

The Living Bible; The Message;

Both FEs and DEs can be useful, at different times and for different purposes, but there is a line to be drawn here, because DEs are essentially the translator’s interpretation of the text, in other words, they have done the hermeneutics for you. And the line is to be drawn between good hermeneutics and bad hermeneutics. If all this is a bit theoretical for you, I have listed a few examples, but be warned, if you love God’s word, this will be painful.

The text is Matthew 6:9-13, commonly known as the Lord’s prayer. First is the KJV, probably the best known and memorised version. Note that any () are in the original, whereas any of my comments are between [].

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Next is the ESV version:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Other than the lack of “for yours is the kingdom” which I will deal with another day, and the updated language, you will notice that they are essentially the same. Next up is the Message paraphrase. There are two problems with this version. The first is that the author, Eugene Peterson, claims to have used the original languages in its writing, and thus many people believe and use this paraphrase as a translation rather than as a paraphrase. The other problem is that the Message deals very poorly with some of the tough subjects in the bible, Completely misrepresenting what the author intends and in some cases, simply changing the meaning. For example, lets see it’s version of Matt 6:9-13 (although it doesn’t actually have verses):

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are. [you would have thought, something like ‘we worship you’]
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals. 
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.[Yes?, er no actually Amen means: and so shall it be]

That was the message, and if you though that was bad, please consider the next example. I came across it several years ago and can’t find the source, so I can’t credit (if that’s the right word) the author. Warning, like me your blood might boil over while reading this:

God, our father (our mother)

[Whoa lets stop right there: ‘mother?’ er no, God is genderless, but in the bible He always portrays Himself using male pronouns as the father figure, rather than as the mother because of the roles these two parent figures take in the home. I will lay it on the line, anyone who believes God can be refer to God as ‘mother’ has an idolatrous understanding of who God is and who He portrays Himself to be.]
[Also, what about, who is in heaven]

may your name be honoured
may your Way become our way
[way? this is not some mystical idea, its God’s Kingdom rulership on earth]
as we surrender to your will
Give us what we need, for today
Just as you free us when we have fallen,
help us not to hold on for too long to pain caused by others. [Too long?]
Guide us and give us wisdom to distinguish between your voice,
and what only seems like your voice. [sigh… so this author hears demons and God in her head?]

And there you have it. Absolutely awful and much dishonouring to God and His word. The application, choose which translate you use and read carefully and with much discernment. Each of FE translations listed are good, and some of the DEs are useful (some are very bad, CEV for example).

Confused by the various abbreviations? here is a key.

Another Favourite Video–Leonard Ravenhill

This video is also one of my favourites from times past. Its various clips of Leonard Ravenhill, a gospel preacher who died in 1994. Stand by for another scalding. It is titled:

The Worst Thing To Happen To A Preacher

The Few

This is still one of my YouTube video productions. Watch it, especially if you love solid preaching, that is convicting and in this case scalding. The preaching appears to be on the text of Matthew 7:21-22, which is possibly the most scary verse in the New Testament

Defend The Bible?


“Defend the Bible? I would just as soon defend a lion. Just turn the Bible loose. It will defend itself.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Expository Preaching, What Exactly Is It

Yesterday I wrote about how Expository preaching played an important roll in my life and God’s mercy in bringing me to a church that preaches in that way. Read that article here.

And the next question there is what exactly is expository preaching; how do we define the phase and what does the words mean?

open_bible According to dictionary.com the word “expository” is is defined in this way: “serving to expound, set forth, or explain.” Thus expository preaching is the art of expounding, setting forth or to use a more modern term, explain the bible. The point being, it takes the text and sets it forth, explaining it so that a congregation of people get a richer, fuller and ultimately an accurate and convicting view of what that scripture says. To put it another way, to help explain to those who listen what the text means, in its original context, to its original hearers so that we can apply those teachings accurately to our lives.

john-macarthurIt is usually done systematically, By which I mean the preacher doesn’t jump from passage to passage all over the bible, but rather he preaches from Chapter 1 Verse 1, and goes through to the very last verse. This means that the preacher preaches on whatever the next thing in the text is. If he gets to Luke 11 (as my pastor recently did) then he preaches on the Lord’s prayer. To get there, he navigated through and taught on Luke 1 – 10, which included everything from, Christ’s authority, to demons, the Holy Spirit, the seventy two evangelists and their role compared to ours and so on. In the case of my pastor, being half way through the Luke 11 at time of writing, he has preached 85 sermons, and we’re into the forth year of this Gospel. And we, as a congregation can’t get enough of it.

The question can be asked: Does the bible command expository preaching? The short answer is yes. The text that immediately springs to mind is 2 Timothy 4:1-2, where Paul exhorts Timothy to Preach the Word. Remember the context? In the previous chapter Paul had stated that all scripture is God breathed, and how it was profitable for various things. He then makes it clear, this is important:

1I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Tim 4:1-2)

ezra_reads_galleryIts also interesting to note how we see many other descriptions of similar things happening. For example several of the revivals that happened within Judah happened because the the King somehow rediscovered the book of the Law, and had it read and proclaimed. Then we have this interesting passage in Nehemiah 8 which describes the priest Ezra doing expository preaching. Consider this passage from Nehemiah 8:8 “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. “ From the context, Ezra was teaching the people of Jerusalem straight from the Law of God. These people, due to the situation they found themselves in, were a generation ignorant of God’s Law and as the text says, they read the Law, read it clearly so that the people could understand, and they gave sense, that is, explained it so that everyone understood exactly what the Law said. It is further interesting that the wooden platform in Nehemiah 8:4 is often translated “pulpit” even as today the preacher preaches from the pulpit.

I hope this has made it clear. Below I will list three sources of excellent expository preaching, and it really is worth listening to a number of sermons in order, to get the full effect of “verse by verse”. Any questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments section.

Hillcrest Baptist ChurchClint Archer (You can listen to those Luke sermons I mentioned here)
Solid Food MediaRW Glenn
Grace To You – John MacArthur

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