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Interpreting the Bible for Kids

Christopher at TaylorWest has been blogging about paraphrases of the Bible (spoiler: he finds them helpful). Tucked in at the end of one of his posts are the reasons he reads the ESV with his kids and how he tries to (not) interpret the text for them:

When we read the Bible together at night with our children, we read from the ESV. Karis, Isaiah, and Gloria all follow along in their Children’s Edition of the ESV. When questions come up about the meaning of the text, I sometimes have to say, “Well, the meaning of the text isn’t that clear. I believe this is what the author meant, but others take it differently. They think it say[s] this.”

I think this demonstration of humility before the text instills greater trust in the text than if I were to simply say, “This is what the text means.” Especially since later on as they grow in their understanding of the text, they may find that my interpretation was not at all what the text said or meant. I don’t want my children to place their trust in my interpretation of a text. I want them to trust the text and figure out what it means. I believe this will create little theologians who will seek God’s help in figuring out what the text says instead of relying on daddy.

(Emphasis added.) Unrelatedly, earlier in the post he states well the ESV’s goal of being ambiguous where the original text is ambiguous:

I have to admit here, this is why I love the ESV. For the most part, they leave the English ambiguous where the Greek is ambiguous. Anyone who knows about the function of adverbial participles in Greek will know that there is often any number of ways the participle can be interpreted. In these cases the ESV has done a good job in leaving the participle open to interpretation instead of offering its own interpretation.

April 27, 2007 | Posted in: ESV,General | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:27 am | (2) Comments »

Read the ESV on Your iPod

Tired of using your iPod for audio and video? Wish you could read the Bible on a 3-inch screen? Then podBible is for you. It has the complete ESV New Testament in a set of files browsable on your iPod—for free.

Go to podBible.org

April 25, 2007 | Posted in: Digital,ESV | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:37 am | (9) Comments »

New “Bible for Life” Radio Spots (April 2007)

We’ve released six new 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 Kristyn Getty, Leslie Montgomery, one about John Newton, and others.

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

April 23, 2007 | Posted in: ESV,General | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:09 am | Comments Off »

Pocket Testament League Publishes ESV Gospel of John

The Pocket Testament League has published an ESV Gospel of John. Here’s what they say about it:

Blueprint for Life

If you’re having your home remodeled, your roof done, or just getting a plumber to fix a leak, you’ll appreciate this powerful tool for sharing your faith with tradespeople. Architects, electricians, construction workers and others will immediately relate to this cover design, with the easy-to-read ESV edition of the Gospel of John inside. Includes a Plan of Salvation and other standard features.

About this cover: This image of a blueprint with lumber and other tools of the construction trade will create an instant connection with anyone involved in the building industry. Don’t forget to bring a copy with you when you visit your local home building supplies retail store!

Also read their press release.

April 18, 2007 | Posted in: Editions,ESV | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:21 am | Comments Off »

Studying the Bible as Literature

Stanley Fish recently wrote in the New York Times (now behind a paywall) about teaching the Bible as literature in public schools:

Stephen Prothero of Boston University… describes the project and the claim attached to it succinctly: “The academic study of religion provides a kind of middle space…. It takes the biblical truth claims seriously and yet brackets them for purposes of classroom discussion.” But that’s like studying the justice system and bracketing the question of justice. (How do you take something seriously by putting it on the shelf?)

The truth claims of a religion—at least of religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam—are not incidental to its identity; they are its identity.

The metaphor that theologians use to make the point is the shell and the kernel: ceremonies, parables, traditions, holidays, pilgrimages—these are merely the outward signs of something that is believed to be informing them and giving them significance. That something is the religion’s truth claims. Take them away and all you have is an empty shell, an ancient video game starring a robed superhero who parts the waters of the Red Sea, followed by another who brings people back from the dead….

Of course, the “one true God” stuff is what the secular project runs away from, or “brackets.” It counsels respect for all religions and calls upon us to celebrate their diversity. But religion’s truth claims don’t want your respect. They want your belief and, finally, your soul. They are jealous claims. Thou shalt have no other God before me.

Our purpose is not to evaluate Fish’s arguments but to point out that as a Christian you have a unique perspective on studying the Bible as literature. You’ve already internalized the Bible’s exclusive truth claims—you’ve accepted it as the Word of the one true God. Further examinations of the Bible (from theological, historical, cultural, literary, or other perspectives) deepen your understanding of the Bible, your neighbors, yourself, and ultimately God. You don’t need to “bracket” God from a study of the Bible: your perception of the Bible informs your understanding of God, and your perception of God informs your understanding of the Bible.

This integration of knowledge and faith helps explain why Crossway is publishing The Literary Study Bible: learning about the Bible’s literary forms deepens your faith because studying them helps you learn more about God.

How? A good analogy comes from C. S. Lewis, who writes in Prince Caspian about a meeting between Lucy and Aslan:

”Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

Studying the Bible is like that. The more you grow in your faith—and studying the Bible is only one of many ways to grow in your faith—the bigger God seems. But at the same time you come to appreciate his personal love for you in particular and for humanity in general, a love that found its ultimate expression through Jesus’ death.

Studying the Bible as literature, for a Christian, presents you with a way to know God more—and in different ways—than you otherwise might.

Via Boar’s Head Tavern. Crossway author Al Mohler discussed teaching the Bible as literature with Stanley Fish on this radio program.

April 16, 2007 | Posted in: ESV,General | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:05 am | 1 Comment »