Light of the world

Biblica and the LUMO Project has a video portrayal of the bible  (online here). It’s very good. Christ’s birth (00:00-10:40 min.)

Biblica is excited to be partnering with the LUMO Project – an organization that is redefining the standard of biblical media with visual translations of the Gospels to encourage us to engage with Scripture.

Together with LUMO, we’re excited to bring you “Light of the World,” an authentic portrait of the birth of Christ that features unabridged passages from the New International Version of the Bible.

We hope this makes your holiday more meaningful and helps you share in the joy of our Lord.

Merry Christmas,
Your Friends at Biblica

Acts 2:23 – Were Gentiles lawless or merely not abiding by Jewish law?

Were Gentiles lawless or merely not abiding by Jewish law?  What difference does this make? A big one, I think.  Translations that render lawless has connotations of being completely lawless.  Those outside the law implies not holding to Jewish laws, but not necessarily without law.  The rendering in the ESV and CSB imply that Gentiles were completely lawless, which can be misleading.

Acts 2:23
ESV: this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (also in CSB, NAB)
NIV: …and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
NRSV: …you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. (also in NJB)
NLT: …“lawless Gentiles”; and NET: …“Gentiles

Translations that render a-nomos (ἀνόμων) as “lawless” or “without law” may still be technically correct, but this might not have been the writer`s original intent.

Were Gentiles completely lawless? No, Roman society was ruled by law, particular by Law of the Twelve Tables;
or less lawful than Jewish society?  Maybe;
or not living by Jewish laws?  I think is this most probable.

I suspect the writer of Acts was simply trying to imply that Gentiles did not live by Jewish law but were not necessarily completely lawless.  I find the NIV rendering is overly interpretive.  The NLT`s is okay. The NET is inaccurate.  Personally, I prefer the rendering of the last two translations NRSV and NJB on this one because it allows the reader to see Gentiles as only being “outside of Jewish law” but not necessarily without law.

NIV 2011: Gender-inclusive language in Matthew 18:15-17

I am happy how it handles gender-inclusive language in using singular (“The one who. . . ,” “the person who. . . ,” “‟whoever. . . ,” and the like) instead of the awkward plurals (“they, their, etc.”).  The Committee’s translators’ notes says:

While the Greek word anēr (‟man” or ‟person”) was frequently translated with masculine forms in English, it is clear in several contexts that the word refers to men and women equally (an option endorsed by major dictionaries of the Greek NT).

Being contextual is not for the sake of trying to be gender-inclusive.  We need to look at facts when the writer or the speaker being quoted is intentionally speaking to both men and women. This is the way most of us speak in real life anyway, isn’t it?  In our everyday speech, how many of us direct our speech only to men?  Maybe some times but for the most part, I think I speak to both men and women when I preach and teach.

Let’s take a look at Matthew 18:15-17 to see a difference between the NIV 1984 and NIV 2011.

NIV 1984:

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

NIV 2011:

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Was Jesus speaking only to men or to both men and women?  Is gender-inclusiveness only for the sake of being gender-inclusive?  Or is gender-inclusive because Jesus, the speaker being quoted, was directing his teaching to the entire group of listeners?  If we are being gender-inclusive only for the sake of being neutral even if the speaker’s intention was directed to men, then I want nothing of it.  But if it was the speaker’s original intention to speak to both men and women, then “Yes!  I’m all for the changes in the updated NIV 2011.

I’m liking the updated NIV 2011

I’ve just been informed that the Updated NIV 2011 is now available on BibleGateway.com for preview. Thanks to fellow blogger TC Robinson for informing me. I think the news was released when I was out of the loop. In the mean time, it looks like others have also started blogging about the updated NIV of 2011 too: TC Robinson (here, here, here), Suzanne McCarthy (here, here, here, Iver Larsen (and here), Bill MounceJoel Hoffman, John Hobbins, Rick Mansfield, David Ker, Peter Kirk, and Brian Fulthorp. Comparison charts by Robert Slowly and John Dyer (and here) (HT: Wayne Leman).

Well, I’m glad the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) got past the bumps of the rough ride concerning the debacle of gender-inclusive language.  When pro-ESVers got on the anti-TNIV bandwagon and ignorantly trashed it, many of us bibliobloggers weren’t too happy about it, especially when gender-inclusive translations like the NLT got away without any lumps. It was a classic case of bullying.  When CBT trashed the TNIV, I remember I wasn’t too happy about that (here, here & here), but I’m glad the CBT took responsibility to back up its previous revision, the TNIV.  The translators’ notes states:

“As stated in the September 1, 2009, announcement regarding the planned update, every single change introduced into the committee’s last major revision (the TNIV) relating to inclusive language for humanity was reconsidered…. Nowhere in the updated NIV (nor in the TNIV, nor in any of the committee discussions leading up to either version) is there even the remotest hint of any inclusive language for God.” (see translators’ notes…)

And I’m glad that changes to the NIV do not happen haphazardly:

“Therefore a change is introduced into the text only if at least 70 percent of the committee members present at the time of the voting agree to it.

The changes to gender-inclusive language was intentional and so I think we need to support what CBT has done to bring these improvements into the NIV 2001.  In my eyes, CBT has redeemed itself.  Who cares what the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood thinks (here)!  I’m looking forward to reading more of the Updated NIV 2011.

Serendipity Bible: very helpful for small group study

I have been using the Serendipity Bible in my personal and small group studies quite frequently. I have found it to be a very valuable resource because it has been making it easier for me to lead bible studies with questions straight out of the same bible without flipping through pages and booklets. It asks the readers engaging questions to help leaders guide small groups into meaningful conversation about the passage. In each of the lessons, there are meaningful questions to engage the reader to think about how the passage relates to their own lives. This is a bible power-packed with 30,000 questions organized into 200 relational bible study lessons, which are also organized into 60 Felt Needs courses and 16 topical study courses (see PDF). It is primarily geared to leaders who lead group bible studies, but it is just as appropriate for personal study. In my personal opinion, it does not seem to be as widely used as it should be, so I thought I’d inform small group leaders out there about this great resource. I would recommend it to any bible study leader or those considering starting up a small group study, and also for those who want to go deeper in personal study. You will not go wrong with making an investment in this bible. It began with the New International Version (NIV) translation but now includes the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). It has been published by Serendipity House for 20 years and has been owned by Lifeway since 2002. It is available in both a hardcover and bonded leather.

Even though it is primarily marketed to the evangelical market, it is just as invaluable to evangelicals in mainline churches who use the weekly lectionary and hold regular bible studies. There are studies in Old Testament, Epistles, and Gospel lessons for each of the lectionary readings of the week—from years A to C. In Lutheran circles, the Lutheran Men in Mission Ministry (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) has asked Serendipity to publish a version of this bible. It is called Master Builders Bible for Men (NIV) and is available through Augsburg Fortress. It is almost virtually the same in content except for the cover. Our men’s bible studies have been giving it away for free to all the men who attend our men’s breakfast on Saturday mornings. It’s a great way to encourage and enable regular devotional bible reading. It is so well-liked that I have seen women using this bible that’s labelled for men”. In the past, it was also available in New American Bible (NAB), however, I do not know if it is still available today. The Catholic version was marketed as the NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible by Zondervan.