Tag Archives: John MacArthur Study Bible

Sunday Amen: Bible Translations and Honesty

It has been a few weeks since I have given out Sunday Amen, but I believe that there is one biblioblogger this week who deserves it at least. T C Robinson of New Leaven fame, has two rather critical posts on John MacArthur and the ESV.  He does an objective (as in fair) fact check, and this was important because it gets the truth out (which is already available) about the English Standard Version. When one is really honest about the versions of Scripture, one will find that this version or that version is better than the others, for this reason or that reason.  In the end, we are all just trying to study the word of God.

So, I must make an admission about my views on The Voice, the story-oriented translation by Thomas Nelson/Ecclessia Bible Society for emerging/emergent Christians.  While I find this version refreshing yet inferior to the New Revised Standard Version, it has not been without its flaws.  The Voice of the Psalms, chapter 131, verse one says, “O Eternal One, my heart is not occupied with proud thoughts; my eyes do not look down on others; I don’t even begin to GET INVOLVED in matters too big, matters of faith, state, business, or the many things that defy my ability to understand them.” The words in italics are words added to give a sense of narrative to passages.  I do not know about the original context of this passage, I doubt that it had anything to do with the Psalmist avoiding earthly matters. In the context of the passage, if we go with the NRSV, it seems as if the Psalmist is having a conversation about creation, referring to the YHWH, the  Creator as the hope of Israel, while the writer is calmed like a child being nourished by its mother. I find it utterly difficult to comprehend this passage, even in a narrative sense, as informing Christian readers to avoid prophetically speaking to government and business institutions, if one is to take the passage from the Voice literally.  At the very least, the practical application of the Voice’s translation of Psalms 131:1 means the defense of a status quo, and at the most, potentially the message that U.S. American Christianity should withdraw and isolate itself, since it has nothing of relevance to say to democratic republics or corporatist-capitalist institutions.  I do not think this is a large leap, especially when a passage suggest that matters of “state and business” are somehow incomprehensible.  I thought that only God received that much respect, as the transcendent and Holy One.