Bible translation: The King James Version celebrates its 400th year of existence this year (1611-2011). The story of how that translation came about is one worth retelling again and again. Leland Ryken does a fine job of doing just that in his recent, brief article in the Wall Street Journal entitled How We Got the Best-Selling Book of All Time.
While we’re talking about Bible translation, one of my “heroes” died this week and he was a fellow native of Oklahoma: Eugene Nida. Many of you reading this will think to yourself “I’ve never heard that name before.” Let me just say, if you can readily read and understand virtually any modern English Bible translation today, you have Nida to thank for much of that privilege. His dynamic-equivalence theory of translation (aka: formal equivalence) literally revolutionized Bible translation work across the world, not just here in the U.S. and not merely directly through the Today’s English Version (aka: TEV; Good News Translation) and CEV (Contemporary English Version). Happening across some of his work while I was just starting out in preaching school, I came to devour several volumes in his Translator’s Handbook series (such as this one on John’s Gospel), something that would help me immensely later in graduate studies. I had still rather read the Proverbs in the Good News or CEV than any translation out there. Words simply fail me as I attempt to convey how much encouragement I have received through the years from this man’s work. Rest in peace, Eugene Albert Nida.
Bible translators have to make some tough decisions sometimes as to the Biblical text. Bobby Valentine’s piece entitled J.W. McGarvey’s Evolving Relationship with Mark 16:9-20 not only illustrates the development and growth in understanding in the mind of the leading scholar in our heritage from over a century ago on a very well-known passage among us, but also speaks to other matters of consequence as well. Fascinating.
American culture. So let me get this straight: the South is the most “churched” portion of the U.S., but it is also the segment with the highest divorce rate. Hmmm. You can read something about such in the news here, but take the time to peruse the report the news is based on here. Note the chart on page three of this report and you’ll be able to see the divorce rate of all fifty states. Which state now leads the U.S. in divorce? Arkansas (26.4%; over 1 in 4). What about Texas? Not much better (21.5%; over 1 in 5). Which portion of the country has the lowest divorce rate? The Northeast (Maine – 13.1%; Massachusetts – 15.8%; New Jersey – 14.8%; etc.). The South can’t begin to compare (Alabama – 20.2%; Georgia – 22:1%; Louisiana – 20.6%; etc.). Think about it.
Discipleship: If you click on no other link today here, watch this seven minute video excerpt of Francis Chan speaking at Catalyst East 2010 about what it means to think Biblically and truly live with commitment to Christ. You will be challenged and blessed. “What if you heard about the way we do church now fifty years from now, and that’s stuck in these pages [of the Bible]?” “What is ‘weird’?” “I want my life to fit in this book one day.” Wow.
Fauna & flora of the Bible: I get a kick out of quality photography. Since I first read the Bible, I’ve had an interest in the references to nature in Scripture (as did Solomon, I might add). And perhaps its because my name is “David” that I pay a little closer attention to the words of King David than I do others. Tie those three interests of mine together, bearing in mind King David’s having grown up working closely with nature, as a shepherd, and what comes to your mind? One that comes to my mind is David’s statement to the prophet Nathan: “Look! I’m living in a cedar palace, but God’s chest is housed in a tent!” (2 Samuel 7:1-3) And that’s surely why this brief post and couple of pics on “the cedars of Lebanon” caught my attention. If you enjoy trees, you’ll enjoy this.
Spiritual growth & maturity: Joe McKeever’s post entitled 10 Ways to Know You’re Getting It Right came at just the right time this week. It not only fits like a hand in a glove with my sermon tomorrow morning, but goes extremely well with our upcoming study of the letter of James.