My Translation for 2017

Those of you who have followed me and my blog posts for some time probably know that I read through the Bible every year in a different translation. Last year, I chose the Holman Christian Standard Bible. This year’s pick has been the New Jerusalem Bible. I get the joy of reading through those extra books not found in the typical Protestant Bibles.

I’m almost through the book of Genesis.

I’m reminded yet again that the people God chose in creating a nation of His own were far from perfect. All of them had character flaws and a sometimes staggering lack of good judgment. I can relate.

God still doesn’t always pick the best looking or the best dressed or the most type A personalities. Some of the choices He makes with people He works through might seem like head scratchers to a lot of us, but God knows what He’s doing.

Remember God chose you and God chose me, not because we were the most qualified to get the job done, but because God delighted in doing so. The ultimate result is that the credit for anything good that comes out of you or me goes directly to God.

It’s also a reminder that when I get aggravated with those biblical characters choosing poorly and being ignoramuses, I can remember that I occasionally am one of those, too. I imagine some of you are as well.

I love how in the Gospels, Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, not because of who he was but because of who Jesus saw he would become. It took a while for Peter to live up to his own name and Jesus put up with a lot of immaturity and foot-in-mouth disease from Peter and never gave up on him until he became one of the most powerful spokesmen for the early Church.

I’m thankful that God still chooses to work through nobodies and screw-ups and neurotics. I’m most thankful that there’s still nobody that’s too far gone for God to redeem and restore and repurpose.


In the Beginning

“When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through him all things came to be; no single thing was created without him. All that came to be was alive with his life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines on in the dark, and the darkness has never mastered it” (John 1:1-5).

To me, John 1 has to be among the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. I may be a bit biased, but I do think that the way John opens his gospel is perfect. Matthew and Mark start with the birth narrative, but John goes back further than that. Much further.

We see Jesus as the Word with God from the beginning. Jesus, the Word, was (and is) God.

Sometimes, you need a different translation to see a verse or a group of verses in a new light. Reading the same verses in the same translations can be like singing the same old hymns in the same old style for years and years. Eventually, you fall into rote memory and stop paying attention to the words.

That’s one of the reasons I chose the New English Bible as my translation of choice to read through the Bible for 2015. It’s different enough so that the words seem fresh again.

It’s not a perfect rendering, but that’s not the point. The point is to keep letting the Word of God speak to me and (hopefully) to never let it get stale for me.

The best way to keep the Bible from getting stale is to do what it says. Don’t just read it and praise it for being clever and witty, but actually put it into practice. That’s something that’s easy to tell someone else to do, but much harder to do yourself. I should know.

As of this time, my plan is to read the Holman Christian Standard Bible (otherwise known as the Hard Core Southern Baptist Bible) in 2016 and the New Jerusalem Bible in 2017. Of course, these plans are always subject to change.



Yet Another Bible Find


Lately, my quest is to go to used bookstores and thrift stores in search of obscure or relatively unknown translations of the Bible. I have all the popular ones, like the NIV, NASB, ESV, NKJV, and so on. Why stop there?

Today. I found a copy of the Revised English Bible at a bookstore in Green Hills. It’s a revision of the New English Bible and both are primarily British translations. I bet you’ve never heard of either one.

My goal is not to pay $80 for a top-quality leather Bible. I try to keep it under $10 if I can.

I never know when I’ll run across a version of the Bible that I’ve never heard of before. I find it’s helpful to read through more than one translation to get a better picture of what the original writers were trying to communicate.

For the record, I am not a fan of the KJV. I personally would rather not have to translate the translation, but if that’s your Bible of choice then more power to ya. I still say it’s good to diversify every once in a while.

I’m still looking for a New Jerusalem Bible. It’s a Catholic translation that Brennan Manning used quite a bit in his books. And it is quite the tricky one to find, apparently. If you see one, let me know where and how much (preferably in the Nashville area).

If there’s any point to this, it’s to read your Bible more. And yes, I’m preaching to myself, too. If I believe I possess the words of God written to and for me, I should do more than carry them around. I should read them, obey them, and live them.