Archive for April, 2006


Things between

   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

I just read an excellent post that explains the importance of “the things between” in a text. Mike Sangrey references another post (Sins of Omission) by Richard Rhodes that is also outstanding reading and would be beneficial for you to read.

I was going to include a summary of Mike’s post, but I tried and discovered that I cannot do the topic the justice he provides it. So I will include his conclusion, and trust that you will read the rest of the post:

We need clear translations. We need to bring across from the original context into the modern context enough of the things between in order to generate that clarity.



   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

There were a number of comments on my last post regarding our confidence in the Bible. I think it is necessary to clarify some rather important points, as they are the basis for my investigation into the translation process. And although I expect that no one would assume this, I am not a translation scholar, and am not all that well read on the subject, though lately I have certainly been doing some reading.

1. No Bible translation is perfect. Do not confuse this with the known fact among serious Christians that the Bible itself is completely perfect.

2. No Bible translation is inspired. I hesitate to state this, but it is important to separate this from the first point. It is not suggesting that God is uninvolved in any translation process. I am still working through the details of this, and will have to devote a later post to it. God did not inspire men to pen His words in German, Italian, Latin, or English. He inspired them in their own languages: Hebrew and Greek.

3. There are many Bible translation philosophies. Knowing which translation philosophy has been employed in the translation(s) you use should be important. And related to this, there is a huge difference between a paraphrase and a translation, at least from a textual integrity perspective. The two primary philosophies could be labeled “word for word” and “thought for thought.” There are many variations of these, and I plan to devote a number of posts to further details on this specific topic.

4. There is a need for “standardization” within a body of believers. For the sake of unity, it is important for any assembly of believers to clearly identify a “translation of choice.” There is certainly a very good point in the argument that not doing so can lead to confusion among the general body. The pastor should consistently use the same translation from message to message so that the focus of the people is not “hey, my Bible doesn’t say that.”

5. There is no reason for discouragement. I am certainly not suggesting that the only real way to know and understand God is to read the original manuscripts in Greek and Hebrew. And I am not suggesting, as I have seen in a few articles, that all translations are profitable. Rather, with the proper understanding, we can learn so much more by being diligent about learning the “why” of various passage translation choices. And we are commanded to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth. It sure would be curious to know how rightly divide if we do not take into account the original languages and their context and related culture.

Finally, it is of utmost importance that any study about the Bible not take the place of the study of the Bible. I am mindful of this, and trust that you are, too.


Death Meets the Master

   Posted by: Mark    in General

Father Time met Pale King Death
Sittin’ by a tomb.
“Hello, old friend. I guess you’re here
To seal somebody’s doom.”

“You might say that,” sly Death replied —
A smile slid up his face.
“Inside repose that Jesus man
Who said he’d save the race.”

“And you, Time, why you stoppin’ here?
Don’t you have things to do?”
“I come each morning to draw the veil
And let the mornin’ through.

“Say, why you watchin’ jus’ one grave
With all your vast domain?
Looks like you’d be out ramblin’ ’round
An’ smitin’ folks with pain.”

“Oh, this one’s somethin’ special,
He challenged me they say.
Said He’d rest here just three days
Then stir and walk away.

“Now I’m the Conqueror you know,
They don’t talk up to me.
When I step in to cut ’em down
It’s for eternity.”

“I sure can testify to that,”
Responded Father Time,
“I ain’t seen one shake off the dust
Since you been in your prime.

“We”, I’ve got other things to do,
I must be on my way.
I’ll see you when I come back by
To make another day.”

So whiskered Time went up the hill
To bid the sun to rise,
And left Death standin’ by the tomb
Lookin’ strong and wise.

Nexst day, Time ambled by again,
“An’ how are things?” he queried.
“Kinda quiet,” Death replied,
“I’m startin’ to be wearied.

“Won’t be here when you come by
About this time tomorrow.
I’m anxious to be on my way
To spread some grief and sorrow.”

Now Father Time was quite surprised
When he came back to see
Death a-quiverin’ on the ground
In frightful agony!

His eyes were set; his throat was marked;
His clothes in disarray.
It wasn’t difficult to see:
Old Death had had his day.

“What happened Death?” asked Father Time,
“What makes you look so bad?
I’ve never seen you shake this way
Or seem so scared and sad.”

Death pulled himself up on a rock
Lookin’ sick and humble.
Hung his head an’ wrung his hands,
Then Time could hear him mumble.

“Was sittin’ here before the dawn,
About to take my stroll,
When all at once this whole wide world
Began to reel and roll.

“That rollin’ stone jumped off the door
An’ skipped on down the hill.
Then everything grew dark and quiet,
Seemed like the whole world stood still.

“I saw Him standin’ in the door —
He didn’t move or speak,
Just looked at me an’ all at once
I felt so tired and weak.

“He came and got a hold on me
An’ threw me to the ground.
Put His foot here on my neck,
Then took my keys and crown.

“Two angles came to talk with Him,
They glistened like the sun.
He said ‘The plan’s all finished now,
Redemption’s work is done.’

“An’ as they passed the garden gate
I heard Him say, just then,
He’s settin’ free my captives,
And givin’ gifts to men.”

Time and Death met once again
Off yonder by the gate.
“It’s good to see you,” said old Time,
“I’ve wondered ’bout your fate.”

“Oh, I’m a lowly servant now,
There’s little time to roam.
I just push open this old gate,
And help the saints go home!”

from Come, Walk With Me by Elwood McQuiad


Emeth the Calormene

   Posted by: Mark    in Quotes

“Sir, I know not whether you are my friend or my foe, but I should count it my honor to have you for either. Has not one of the poets said that a noble friend is the best gift, and a noble enemy the next best?”

Emeth the Calormene to High King Peter in Aslan’s country, after the last battle (The Last Battle, p200)


Name the writer

   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

I found this quote today, and thought it interesting.

Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, or make of a bad one a good one, … but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, … that has been our endeavor, that our mark.

Five points if you can tell me the source. Googling is cheating!


Confidence in the Bible

   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

I have been doing some reading lately regarding Bible translations (probably to the chagrin of my parents — oooh, they are so patient with me and my tangents). I recently found two articles that contribute some useful thoughts to the study of Bible translating in general, posted by Tim Challies:

Confidence in the Bible
Confidence in the Bible (Part 2)

It seems that one of the most important things to remember about translation in general is that it is not possible to “translate” precisely from one language to another. That is, it is not a scientific process in which a word in Language A can be translated to an equivalent word in Language B. Understanding this does provide some softening of the notion that “this is the only translation that is any good in such-and-such language.”



   Posted by: Mark    in General

SeattleWe took a quick trip to Seattle this past Friday and Saturday. We visited Seattle Center during both days. Friday was the Seattle Children’s Museum, and Saturday was the Seattle Science Center and a 3D IMAX movie.

I will post more pictures in the next day or two.

This picture was taken in the hotel room Saturday morning after a breakfast of waffles and yogurt.


Going natural

   Posted by: Mark    in General

I decided to participate in Naked Day today. No, it has nothing to do with me — it is all about web design standards. Here is a bit more information about going naked on April 5.