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Archive for December, 2006

Two New Bible Reading Plans for 2007

Crossway has made available online two new one-year Bible reading plans:

  • Daily Reading Bible. (RSS.) This plan follows the one found in the ESV Daily Reading Bible. Each day has one Old Testament reading, one New Testament reading, and one reading from the Psalms. You read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice over a year.
  • Chronological. (RSS.) Read the events of the Bible as they occurred chronologically. For example, the Book of Job is integrated with Genesis because Job lived before Abraham. You read through the whole Bible exactly one time over a year. This reading plan is copyright Back to the Bible.
December 22, 2006 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Digital News,ESVBible.org,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:02 am | (9) Comments »

Visualizing One-Year Bible Reading Plans

How do you choose a Bible reading plan for the upcoming year? Aesthetically? In this post we graph a few different reading plans so you can see visually how they differ from one another.

Through the Bible

The Through the Bible reading plan is about as simple as they come: you read one passage each day from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, starting in Genesis and Matthew in January and ending in Malachi and Revelation in December. Here’s how it looks:

One Year Bible Reading Plan (M’Cheyne)

The One Year Bible Reading Plan, based on the M’Cheyne system, is more complex. You read through the New Testament twice (though you read the gospels and the rest of the New Testament at different rates), the Psalms twice, and the Old Testament once.

The One Year® Bible

The One Year Bible has some similarities with the previous plan. But it also looks quite different. You only read through the New and Old Testaments once, while you read the Psalms twice and Proverbs slowly throughout the whole year.

Daily Reading Bible

The Daily Reading Bible goes through the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice.

Chronological Reading Plan

The Chronological Reading Plan from Back to the Bible lets you read the Bible in the order in which events occurred. So, for example, you read the account of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel on the same day you read the parallel account in 1 Chronicles. The next day, you read the psalms that David composed related to the events in the historical books.

Several trends become apparent when visualizing the reading plan this way:

  1. The antiquity of Job.
  2. Parallel passages in some of the Old Testament historical books.
  3. The wide historical distribution of the Psalms and the Minor Prophets.
  4. Parallel passages in the four gospels.

Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary

Finally, the Book of Common Prayer, a two-year plan, doesn’t try to take you through every verse in the Bible. It focuses on key passages, so its chart looks more organic. (The BCP is a two-year plan, and you can’t read every reading every year.)

Here are the two years side-by-side:

Here are the two years superimposed on each other. The Psalms appear purple (the second year color) because almost every Psalm reading is identical between the two years.

December 21, 2006 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Digital News,ESVBible.org,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 10:13 am | (34) Comments »

New “Bible for Life” Radio Spots (December 2006)

We’ve released six new Christmas-themed spots in the “Bible for Life” radio campaign. Each one-minute spot has someone reading a passage from the ESV and meditating on it.

This month features Fernando Ortega , Chris Plekenpol, one about St. Nicholas, and others.

Listen to all the spots at www.bibleforlife.org.

December 18, 2006 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 10:10 am | 1 Comment »

New API Method: getReadingPlanInfo

Tucked into our announcement a couple of weeks ago about the Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary being available was mention of a new API call: getReadingPlanInfo.

This blog entry gives a brief overview of how to use the method. It’s pretty self-explanatory (we hope). The method gives you information about a reading plan’s readings for a given day. For example, it tells you what passages to read without returning the text of the passages themselves.

Here’s a sample request:

http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/share/get/?key=IP&action=getReadingPlanInfo &reading-plan=bcp&date=2006-12-25

This request returns the following XML structure:

<crossway-bible class="reading-plan-info">
      <psalm-1>Ps. 2,85</psalm-1>
      <psalm-2>Ps. 110:1-5,6-7,Ps. 132</psalm-2>
      <ot>Zech. 2:10-13</ot>
      <nt>1 John 4:7-16</nt>
      <gospel>John 3:31-26</gospel>
         <day>Christmas Day</day>
      <raw>Ps. 2, 85; Ps. 110:1-5(6-7), Ps. 132; Zech. 2:10-13; 1 John 4:7-16; John 3:31-36</raw>

The API page goes into more detail about what each element means. But what it boils down to is that you can now get the readings for a day without having to get the complete text of the readings.

How might you use it? You could write a little script to grab a day’s readings and show them on your blog with a link to our site. It’s a compact way to encourage people to read the Bible. You could also take the data provided and link to another Bible search engine (and even another translation). For example, here’s a link to Bible Gateway for the above day’s readings. (Your mileage may vary with other search engines parsing the query string.)

December 15, 2006 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:53 am | Comments Off »

The New Yorker on the Bible Market

We’re not sure why a rash of articles analyzing the U.S. Bible market has appeared recently in secular publications. Now it’s The New Yorker’s turn. As you’d expect from The New Yorker, the article is long, thorough, and well-written.

Some highlights:

The distinction points to one way in which publishers sell multiple copies of the Bible to the same customers. “They each have a different purpose,” Hatfield told me. “It’s kind of like a tool chest. All the tools are tools, but they’re designed for doing different things.” And there are distinctions within each category. There are study Bibles that focus on theology, on historical context, or on practical applications of Biblical teachings. There are devotional Bibles for new believers, couples, brides, and cowboys….

The Good News Translation, as it’s usually known, followed the precepts of “functional equivalence”—translating not word for word but thought for thought, with the goal of capturing the meaning of the original text, even if that required massaging the words or reordering sentences. Walter Harrelson, a Bible scholar who served on the committee that produced the relatively formal New Revised Standard Version, in 1989, likes to say that formal equivalence carries the reader back to the world of the Bible, while functional equivalence transports the Bible into the world of the reader. Harrelson is a proponent of formal equivalence, and argues that preserving the linguistic qualities of the ancient text reminds readers that the Bible is “a document from another world that is luminous and transforming of our world.” Proponents of functional equivalence counter that, to the original audience, the Bible would have sounded contemporary and vernacular, and that translators should preserve these qualities….

The effect of the functional-equivalence approach on the message of the Scriptures is most striking when it comes to rendering metaphors. A literal translation of God’s words to straying Israelites in Amos 4:6 reads, “I gave you cleanness of teeth.” The New International Version eliminates the potential misreading that God was punishing the wicked with dental hygiene, and translates the phrase as “I gave you empty stomachs.” Functionally equivalent translations, at their most radical, often bypass the exotic metaphors of the Bible entirely. Matthew 3:8, in the N.R.S.V., reads, “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” The Contemporary English Version (1991) reads, “Do something to show that you have really given up your sins….”

The problem [with the consumerist culture of the Bible market], as [Phyllis Tickle] sees it, is that “instead of demanding that the believer, the reader, the seeker step out from the culture and become more Christian, more enclosed within ecclesial definition, we’re saying, ‘You stay in the culture and we’ll come to you.’ And, therefore, how are we going to separate out the culturally transient and trashy from the eternal?” The consumerist culture in which BibleZines and the like participate is, to Tickle, “entirely antithetical to the traditional Christian understanding of meekness and self-denial and love and compassion.” In Tickle’s view, reimagining the Bible according to the latest trends is not merely a question of surmounting a language barrier. It involves violating “something close to moral or spiritual barriers.”

(Emphasis added to a comparison of formal and dynamic translation methods.) Also see the accompanying slideshow of recent Bibles.

Via J. Mark Bertrand, who chimes in with his usual lucid thoughts. Also see the Wall Street Journal’s take and a Publishers Weekly article.

Update: Clarified that Phyllis Tickle’s quote refers to the Bible market, as is indicated later in the quote, and not to dynamic translation methods. The original juxtaposition was unintended and could be interpreted as a weird argument for formal equivalence.

December 12, 2006 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 9:20 am | (3) Comments »