Mediating translations: Isaiah 63:9

Isaiah 63:9

NIV:
In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.
NET:
Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. The messenger sent from his very presence delivered them.
CSB:
In all their suffering, He suffered, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. 

 

NJB:
In all their troubles, it was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them.
NAB:
in their every affliction.  It was not a messenger or an angel, but he himself who saved them.


Merry Christmas!
I’m looking at Isaiah 63:7-9 in preparation for this Sunday’s Christmas 1A message and found v.9 to be in much dispute.  The difference in interpretation is huge because the resulting differences in

In the NIV, CSB, NET (and ESV/RSV), the meaning offers a comforting message.  God declares his love for his people because it illustrates how when we are burdened, that God also bears a burden and sorrow along with us.  God feels the suffering of God’s people. However, in the NJB, NAB (and NRSV), the rendering does not show God suffering.

Another resulting consequence is that in the [NIV, ESV, CSB] the “angel of his presence” was there to save them, but in the [NJB, NAB] it is not a messenger or angel that saved them, but rather, his own presence.

Given this whole passage from vv.7-14 is actually about the crossing of the Red Sea, and that the “Angel of his Presence” alludes to the angel’s role at the time of the Red Sea crossing (see Exodus 14:19), I think NIV, CSB, NET offers the most intelligible rendering of Isaiah 63:9.

And not that it’s of any significance, but this interpretation also happens to go nicely with the theme of God’s ability to identify with humanity in the N.T. reading of Hebrews 2:10-18 (Year A, Christmas 1).  But for technical reasons, I’m compelled to go with the NIV, CSB, NET rendering on this one.

A bright light shining in the darkness

In one of the readings in church this Christmas Eve will be Isaiah 9:2,6-7.  The Hebrew prophet says: “The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness” (NET).  Many of us are walking in darkness and are blind to our own sin of pride (one of seven capital sins).  I think this is why many people today do not feel any need for a savior.

This definition of pride clearly reveals what the sin of pride is:

PRIDE: One of the seven capital sins. Pride is undue self-esteem or self-love, which seeks attention and honor and sets oneself in competition with God (1866). It is essentially an act or disposition of the will desiring to be considered better than a person really is. Pride may be expressed in different ways: by taking personal credit for gifts or possessions, as if they had not been received from God; by glorying in achievements, as if they were not primarily the result of divine goodness and grace; by minimizing one’s defects or claiming qualities that are not actually possessed; by holding oneself superior to others or disdaining them because they lack what the proud person has; by magnifying the defects of others or dwelling on them. When pride is carried to the extent that a person is unwilling to acknowledge dependence on God and refuses to submit his or her will to God or lawful authority, it is a grave sin. [source]

This word brings a light that shines so brightly upon my darkness that I recognize a sin that was hidden from me.  I clearly have a need for a savior. Immanuel, “God who is with us”, has come.  The birth of Jesus the Messiah is good news indeed!

Have a blessed Christmas!

Contest at Catholic Bibles for ESV thinline bible

Tim at Catholic Bibles (here) is having a contest, and the winner will receive:

1) ESV Thinline Bible (without Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha)
2) Berit Olam: 1 Kings

Here are the rules:

1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your blog. (If you don’t, you can still enter the contest.)
2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)
3) The question you need to answer in the comment box:
What should I name the upcoming series of posts focusing on my reading of the NAB Revised New Testament?

4) The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.
5) One entry per person.

Homosexuality and the Christian

Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends
Author: Dr. Mark Yarhouse
Published by: Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2010.
ISBN: 9780764207310

Before I cracked open the book, I came with the preconceived idea that this might be another one of those knee-jerk reactionary books that Christians write against homosexuality; but after reading the first two chapters, I knew right away that Dr. Yarhouse is a professional who speaks out of the realities of his practice and interaction with his patients-clients.  He is an evangelical who wants Christians, and the church, to respond with compassion and understanding concerning the challenges that go with having same-sex attractions and a homosexual orientation.

Author, Dr. Mark A. Yarhouse, Professor of Psychology at Regent University, and director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity, also has a practice in the Virginia Beach, VA area.  Therefore, this book is not just all theory, but is based on his knowledge that comes out of his practice and research.

This is the first book that I’ve read that challenges Christians to take a real close look at research and deal with facts rather than only Scripture.   We all know what Scripture says so the author doesn’t bother going through all that; knowledge of scripture is assumed.  But what most evangelical Christians tend to lack is a proper understanding of the real inner struggles that LGBT experience in society.

This book is divided into three parts.  The first part, in four chapters, discusses a lot of research; a three-tiered understanding of homosexuality; and the struggles that come with SSA and homosexual orientation; and also, if change is possible.  The second part, in three chapters, discusses practical solutions in handling if your child/teen, adult child, or spouse, announces a gay/lesbian identity.  Part three discusses how we are to respond to homosexuality.

I am glad that I have read this book.  It has opened my eyes to a new way of approaching homosexuality with this three-tiered framework.  For most evangelical and traditional Christians, we have been presented with only two options: 1) that homosexuality is wrong and we must reject it outright because it is nurtured; 2 that a person with same-sex attraction (SSA) and/or homosexual orientation was born with it (nature), and so we must accept their orientation.  This nurture vs. nature dichotomy is polarizing and is bound to create heated debates.  Churches are increasingly pushed into this debate, including mine.

Dr. Yarhouse distinguishes homosexuality into three tiers and it allows us to approach homosexuality with the focus on identity rather than on sexuality orientation.  After being enlightened with this innovative framework, I feel much more comfortable with my current understanding of homosexuality, and that I don’t have to compromise my convictions.  However, Yarhouse’s approach does cause one to reconsider whether same-sex attractions are nurtured. The author does not believe a person can be nurtured into a homosexual orientation, which is also what I personally believe.  Moreover, Dr. Yarhouse says that research has not found any real evidence that there is a cause to homosexuality.  Research has not proven that it can be created or nurtured, but as far as I can see, he does not state that it comes from nature either.

In the past, the Christian community have been forced to listen to, what Dr. Yarhouse, calls the “gay script”.  In western society, the “gay script” has been forced upon everyone. It typically says that SSA is natural and God-designed; it is who you really are as a person and is the core of who you are; one’s behavior is merely an extension of that core; and that self-actualization of one’s sexual identity is crucial for one’s fulfillment.  As Christians, we must reject this typical “gay script” and present an alternative script that is compassionate but yet realistic to the facts of SSA.

What I have gained from this eye-opening book is an innovative approach to homosexual orientation using this three-tiered framework. Personally, I have rejected the nurture vs. nature debate because it is fruitless and only leads to never-ending debate.  However, with this new framework, I feel more empowered in dealing with this polarizing issue within the Church.  This is the most balanced approach I have seen.  I believe it will help all Christians, gay or straight, to deal with same-sex attractions and homosexual orientation.   Most importantly, it also challenges Christians to deal with one’s identity, which should be focused on Christ, rather focused on one’s sexual orientation. This is a principle of being stewards of what God has given us, including our sexuality.

This is an excellent book full of nuggets of gold.  After reading this, the reader can no longer hide one’s head in the sand.  The reader will be forced to look at real research and the realities of SSA.  I cannot recommend this book more highly to the entire Christian community.  If I had to pick one, this would be it.  If any Christian is dealing with same-sex attractions, or if a Christian knows someone who is, this will help you gain the knowledge necessary to deal with it.

And thanks from friends at Bethany House for sending me this copy to review.

This is available at: AmazonChristianbook.com

Mediating translations 2.1 – 1 Timothy 3:11

On this first comparison, I’m looking closely at a single verse: 1 Timothy 3:11.

NIV 2011:
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
CEB:
In the same way, women who are servants in the church should be dignified and not gossip. They should be sober and faithful in everything they do.
HCSB:
Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.
NET:
Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect.
NJB:
Similarly, women must be respectable, not gossips, but sober and wholly reliable.

In the original Greek, the word used for woman or wives is gune (γυνή).  This word could be used for either virgin, engaged, married, or widowed. The CSB and NET tend to be a conservative interpretation in its rendering of “wives”.  “Woman” seems less interpretive but there is a strong reason that it may be referring to the wives of deacons because the next verse begins by speaking about being a husband to one wife and who manage their children and family properly.

The CEB’s rendering of “women who are servants in the church” is very interpretive and is an attempt to give credence to the office of female deacons in church leadership.  I don’t believe this is an accurate rendering of the word gune and it is not the right place to make such an interpretation.

The NIV 2011 has made a change from the NIV 1984 from: “their wives are to be women worthy of respect…”  This is a good change and moves away from interpretation.

The word “slander” is very different from “gossip”. The word used is diabolos (διάβολος), which means the devil or the accuser in English is translated as: false accuser, devil, or slanderer.  I prefer “slanderer” over “gossip”.

The choice between the words temperate or sober, I think I prefer sober because the Greek word nēphaleos actually means sober or may be circumspectively sober.  Temperate is no longer used and has lost its contemporary meaning.  It was used by the “temperance society”.  I don’t think we need to be afraid of implying that women may use some alcohol but “temperate evangelicals” will tend to stay away from this, and therefore, prefer temperate.

Between “worthy of respect” and “dignified”, I think I prefer the former because “dignified” carries a hint of distinction and highbrowedness.  Worthy of respect or honor should come from character rather than how one carries one’s own appearance.

“pistos en pas” is directly translated as faithful in all things.  The first four translations do this.

All five translations are accurate but I will call NIV 2011 the winner on this verse of 1 Timothy 3:11.  Then follows NET, NJB, HCSB, and then CEB.

See also: The search begins | #1: 1 Tim.3:11 |

Evangelical disconnect between Jesus and Paul

In Scot McKnight’s article in the December issue of Christianity Today [ HatTip: TC ] I think he is really onto something big here.  He is bringing up an issue that is just on the cusp of really becoming a major issue within evangelical Christianity, especially amongst younger evangelicals.  People are finding that they can resonate more with Jesus’ kingdom vision rather than Paul’s message of justification.  For those who don’t think so, just wait and see.  Today, there is a disconnect between our inability to connect Jesus’ language about the “kingdom of God” with Paul’s language of justification, says McKnight. What McKnight wants us to see is that the two can be reconciled.

This article has caused me to become more self-aware of the change in my own theology.  In coming out of a Lutheran seminary two years ago. I have been more storied in the justice/kingdom language in the gospels of Jesus rather than the justification language of Paul’s epistles.  As a result, I have been preaching more from the gospels–actually more than double the number of sermons on Paul’s epistles.  Why?  Perhaps I just feel more comfortable with Jesus’ kingdom of God, and less comfortable with Paul’s justification.  I am an evangelical, but am I a typical evangelical?  Perhaps…perhaps not.  However, I think this may be representative of many recent seminary graduates, especially those coming out from more liberal seminaries where social justice is sometimes over-emphasized.

During my seminary days, I have heard far more sermons in chapel on the gospels of Jesus rather than on Paul’s epistles….in church too.  What will be a consequence of this change?  Our sermons will become more justice-oriented rather than justification-oriented.  Perhaps this may have contributed to the mainline denominations emphasis on justice in their theology. .  Perhaps I need to be re-storied in Paul’s language of justification rather than Jesus’ justice language on the kingdom of God?  Where is the balance in my life?  Perhaps this is why I’ve decided to take continue education classes at an evangelical seminary because I feel that I am missing out on an evangelical slant on Paul’s understanding of the gospel.

In our evangelical minds, we may like to think of ourselves as pro-justification and on the side of Paul, but our theology may actually be more in line with the justice of Jesus’ kingdom of God.  Regarding gospelling, McKnight says in the video interview, that we have moved into a persuasive rhetoric, whereas, we used to use declarative rhetoric.  Persuasive rhetoric is open to manipulation so we should be more declarative in our gospelling.  [ video here…]

In your church, are you hearing more sermons based on the gospel text? Or on Paul’s epistles?

Mediating translations: the search

I haven’t done any serious blogging in a while but I hope things will change. In the near future, I will be blogging on mediating translations by doing some comparisons to see how they render some of the passages of text. Since my last series on mediating translations, several new revisions and updates have come out:

  1. Updated New International Version (NIV) 2011,
  2. Common English Bible (CEB), which is brand new
  3. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) 2009, and
  4. New English Translation (NET), and
  5. New Jerusalem Bible (NJB).

I’ll be concentrating on the first four but the first three translations are of special interest to me because they are newly updated.  I would like to see how they stack up against one another.  The CEB, currently available only in the New Testament, is a brand new release this year so that’s a very interesting and fresh translation that I haven’t had much opportunity to explore yet. It is an ecumenical translation whose translation/editorial team is mostly led by scholars from mainline protestant denominations.

Mediating translations will not include formal translations like the ESV, NRSV, NASB, or NJKV.  Nor will it include dynamic translations like the NLT, God’s Word, The Message, NCV, NIrV, GNB.  I’ve done similar comparisons in the past but I want to explore the newest updates just to see what’s improved and what’s better.

Driscoll and Harris on Chan

Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris tagteam to inquire more on Francis Chan’s motivations for stepping down from Cornerstone Church, Simi Valley, CA to L.A.  Chan says his desire is motivated by love to give and sanctification, which includes poverty, suffering, and simplicity. I get the sense he believes the church is not where it should be and he wants the church to move back to the core truths as found in Scripture.

… and more on Francis’ spirituality of suffering below. I haven’t heard this kind of message from any pulpit for a very very long time. Sounds like it’s a forgotten path of Jesus that we North American Christians ought to return to.