They are both cut from the same cloth.
Daily Archives: 12 Nov 2019
John the Baptist- ‘he must increase and I must decrease’.
Christians today– ‘look at me, I’m on a podcast’.
Then he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food, I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink, I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.’ (Matt. 25:41-46)
I’ve been sent along a copy of the new 3rd edition of Zondervan’s NIV ‘Life Application Study Bible‘ for review by the good folk at Biblegateway. I’m obliged to tell you that I received the bible with the understanding that it 1) costs me nothing and 2) I should review it here, and 3) that I am free to offer my opinion unencumbered by any requirement to make the publisher happy (but of course that’s always true of reviews here, isn’t it?). Ok cool. I am also reminded that I need to include the hashtag #BibleGatewayPartner which, naturally, I am happy to do.
I’ve also been asked to point out that there is an interview with the general editor of this edition right here. You may find it helpful.
First and foremost, the translation utilized in this study bible is the NIV which in and of itself is problematic. It tends to run in the direction of conservativism and is at times biased and therefore not as accurate as it can and should be. For instance, at Isaiah 7:14 ‘almah’ is still translated ‘virgin’ in spite of the fact that Hebrew has a word for virgin, ‘bethulah’. The editors offer a footnote which suggests that ‘young woman’ is another possible reading. In truth, the footnote should indicate the inferior translation, not the superior. Accordingly, the text should contain ‘young woman’ and any footnote should explain that the Hebrew text makes use of a word that means anything but ‘virgin’ and that had the writer wished to say ‘virgin’ he easily could have, given that he possessed a word meaning just that.
Second, the translation utilizes ‘red letters’ which purportedly mark off the words of Jesus from the surrounding text in the Gospels. Such attempts to reconstruct the ‘very words of Jesus’ are ill-considered and usually inaccurate. For instance, in John 3, it is very much the case that verse 15 is an editorial remark by the Gospel author. Nonetheless, it is here found in red, implying that Jesus himself said it.
Third, the NIV continues the unfortunate tradition of translating αἰώνιον with ‘eternal’. The proper translation of this word is ‘everlasting’ when in any context not referring to God himself, as only God is eternal (without beginning or ending).
Various translation glitches and misprisions notwithstanding, the presently at hand study bible has excellent explanatory notes, sidebars, and maps. It also includes a concordance, an index of subjects, and various ‘Christian worker’ helps and passage guides. Interesting persons are discussed in sidebars throughout and though the compartments of those sidebars can be at times a little ‘cheesy’ (for instance, a mentioning of various characters ‘strengths and accomplishments’, ‘notable fact’, ‘vital statistics’ and ‘lessons from his life’), the basic information they contain and the various cross references to other bits of the bible where they appear are quite good.
Timelines and that sort of thing are very traditional in orientation. This is a conservative study bible which will appeal to conservative Christians, bolstering their preconceptions and reinforcing their already existing understanding of the biblical message. With that in mind, the work is perfect for the audience it aims to please. It is compiled by conservatives, reviewed in the editorial process by conservatives, annotated by conservatives (there isn’t a single minimalist in the bunch), and lists ‘theological reviewers’ none of whom I have ever heard of aside from Grant Osborne and Geoff Bromiley.
Is this a volume worth acquiring? If you are a conservative Christian, yes. If you number yourself as belonging outside that ideological camp, you too may find it interesting but it won’t be pleasurable. Interesting because of its obvious theological biases, and not pleasurable because of its annoying habit of being far too traditionally minded.
I wish someone would publish this kind of study bible with the Revised English Bible as the base text and the interesting maps, useful biographical sidebars (without the cheese), fully stocked indices, and helpful concordances found herein. Now THAT would be a study bible I could get excited about.
Because, as useful as this study bible is in parts and pieces, it just isn’t all that exciting.
It’s a fantastic volume.
Calvin wrote to Geneva on November 12, 1540, as follows:—‘Magnificent, mighty, and honourable Lords, were it only for the courtesy with which you treat me, it would be my duty to endeavour to meet your wishes. But there is, besides, the singular love which I bear to your church, which God once committed to my care, so that I am for ever bound to promote its good and its salvation. Nevertheless, be so good as to remember that I am here at Worms for the purpose of serving, with what small ability God has given me, all Christian churches. For this reason I am, for the present, unable to come and serve you.’*
He would have his mind changed. Geneva wanted him back and apparently so did God. And you can’t resist God…
*J. H. Merle D’aubigné D.D. and William L. R. Cates, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (vol. 7; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1876), 12–13.
There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors:
- a haughty look,
- a lying tongue,
- hands that shed innocent blood,
- a heart that weaves wicked plots,
- feet that hurry to do evil,
- a false witness who lies with every breath,
- and one who sows dissension among brothers. — (Prov. 6:16-19)
Live your life so that you don’t make the list.
Yes, schools are closed.
I form the light and I create the darkness, I make well-being, and I create disaster, I, Yahweh, do all these things. (Isa. 45:7)
יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶׁךְ עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא רָע אֲנִי יְהוָה עֹשֶׂה כָל־אֵלֶּה׃
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and everyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Lk. 16:18)
πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν μοιχεύει, καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς γαμῶν μοιχεύει.
Nothing could check the zeal of Calvin. On October 30 he presented himself to the council, and set forth various grievances. ‘The hospital,’ he said, ‘is very poorly furnished, and the sick are suffering in consequence. Geneva has a Christian school, and nevertheless some children go to the school of the papacy. Lastly it is to be feared that dissensions will arise between the citizens, for while some have taken the oath as to the manner of living, others have not done so.’ The sick, the young, and peace among the citizens, these were the matters which occupied the mind of the reformer, subjects well worthy of his attention. The council decreed—‘The hospital shall be supplied; all children shall be bound to go to the Christian school, and not to the papistical; and the confession shall be required of all who have not yet made it.’
The confession was that penned by Calvin. And those who had not sworn to it July 29 of that year were ordered to do so November 12, or leave the city.
Calvin wasn’t one to mess around…