“Der Bettler” at Hoc Est Verum writes about the mishmash that often comes out when quoting a Bible verse from memory, a result of using and memorizing several different Bible translations over his life. He concludes:
My point is this: If you are in any position that requires you to read, recite, study, or teach the Scriptures, Confessions, or any other translated document— and that should cover pretty much everyone—keep translations in mind. If possible, try to use one translation of a text for a long period of time (decades, if possible). I know Luther spoke to this at one point but I seem to be unable to find the source. Modern Christians have enough hindrance to memorization from busy schedules, apathy, abundance of electronic sources, and the like. Anything we can do to promote memorization of important Scripture passages and the Catechism, we should do.
We encourage you to memorize portions the Bible regardless of which translation you choose. Memorization makes the Bible more a part of you.
Rick at This Lamp has a long, positive review of the ESV Single Column Reference Bible. It’s hard to pick out a paragraph to excerpt, but here’s one where he talks about the advantages of the verse-by-verse instead of a paragraph layout for this edition:
What may seem at first to be an odd choice in modern Bibles, the SCR forgoes paragraph format for an older style of verse-by-verse layout. I’ve even seen this aspect of the SCR criticized elsewhere, but I have to think that this choice was purposeful. Yes, in general, I’d say that paragraphed formatting is better so that one reads any particular verse in a greater context. Verses taken by themselves often have a potential to be exegetically misused. However, for anyone with the intelligence to pay attention to the paragraph marks included with the text, this shouldn’t be a problem. And as I said, I believe that such a formatting decision must have been purposeful because anyone who has ever taken notes in a Bible such as the classic NASB single-column reference Bibles knows that a verse-by-verse format allows for even more room to write, and it allows the brief note or two (as space allows) to be nestled in the absolute closest proximity to the text.
Rick notes some confusion about the size of the margins. They’re exactly 1.14″, which we generally round to 1 1/8 (1.125)″. As with all books, the margins may vary slightly depending on how the printer cut and bound the paper.
Logos has released a new version of their free BibleWidget for the Mac, which now includes the ESV. Use the BibleWidget to look up any verse in the Bible without starting a program or visiting a website.
Timothy Larsen at Theolog discusses how critics object to different parts of the Bible in different historical periods. The Victorians, not surprisingly, had problems with the pre-clothing era in the Garden of Eden, as well as the Bible’s seeming softness on the dangers of alcohol:
Here, for example, is an argument from a secularist who debated a Christian minister about the merits of the Bible in Philadelphia in 1854: “I cannot see what good it could do posterity, to be told that the first man and woman were both naked and were not ashamed. The thing might be perfectly true, and yet not necessary to be recorded, nor calculated to be of any use when recorded.” Many people today find aspects of the Adam and Eve story difficult to accept, but I imagine it’s been a long time since a spokesperson for any movement objected on the grounds that it could lead people into immodest fantasies. Victorian atheists also condemned the Bible for being soft on the dangers of alcohol and not championing teetotalism.
Timothy goes on to give a personal example. He tells of how he reacted to a passage in Exodus that explains why God will drive out the inhabitants of Canaan a bit at a time, rather than all at once: “the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you.” As a teenager, Timothy thought it strange that God couldn’t drive out the wild animals as well as the people. But as an adult:
The “wild animals” clause is a favorite of mine. It seems to lend itself to a spiritual reading. Is it not true for us all that too much success too quickly means that we are not equipped to handle the complications that are its natural by-products?
Obviously you can read the passage in other ways, as well.
But the point is that the passages pointed to by skeptics—and even the passages that Christians wrestle with—change depending on historical, cultural, and personal context. Easy answers to complex problems don’t always present themselves, but part of becoming a mature Christian involves wrestling with difficult passages.
Via Emerging Pensees.
“Brother Maynard” at Subversive Influence details his thought process for buying a new Bible. What particularly struck us is this paragraph:
Once when he was giving a concert, I heard Michael Card say that he was reading his daughter’s Bible, which he explained that he bought each of his kids a Bible and read it before giving it to them. And as he read it, he made notes in the margins, speaking directly to whichever child’s Bible he was reading… so that years later as they read it, their father would be speaking to them in the margins concerning the text and its application for their lives. I was fascinated by this tradition… I loved it and wanted to do it immediately, but it scares me a little. I figure I’d get 1/3 or 1/2 through the first one, and that’d be it… one kid would get an incomplete effort and the other none at all. Still, it’d be powerful if I had more confidence in my own discipline to be able to finish it.
What an interesting idea.