Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A word about the new NIV Bible translation...

With Christmas coming, a new Bible might be on someone’s gift list and a quick trip down to the local Christian Book Store to check off your gift list and you have a Bible. But should you buy a Bible based on the sale price that happens to be going on? The leather cover, the fancy notes and colorful illustrations and the study notes (which by the way are not inspired, infallible or inerrant, but a human’s study into the Bible). You need to remember that Bible publishers need to sell Bibles to make a profit just like anyone else in business. Christian Book stores, even the one connected to our denomination need to sell books and Bibles so publishers and book stores will market and provide prime floor space to help them sell their products. Big publishers have more money to spend to market their product and that is fine within certain moral limits.
When purchasing something that is designed to feed your soul and spirit, in this case a Bible; or it is to feed someone’s soul and spirit you care about deeply, you want to make an intelligent and informed decision on that  purchase. That being said, I can heartily recommend a New King James Version which is the Bible I preach out of each week. It is a faithful translation of the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts. I like this Bible personally as I grew up on the old King James version so it has that kind of feel but in a modern more readable language easy to understand. I would also have no problem recommending a New American Standard, Holman Christian Standard or English Standard version. I have copies of each of these and like each of them as they are faithful translations of the original languages. My personal devotions and Bible reading each morning is out of an ESV which I have grown to love. 
The NIV Bible is published by Zondervan Publishers and while I have NIV Bibles, I’m hesitant to recommend it because a few years ago they came out with the so called “gender-neutral” Bible the TNIV. Bowing to the winds of political correctness, the publishers tried to neutralize clear references to either male or female under much criticism and controversy. They are set to come out with new version of the NIV in 2011 where they have tried to correct some definite problems from the TNIV. Sadly, there are apparently still issues with this new version so I would caution you to steer clear of this translation. Until Zondervan sorts through their translation philosophy and abandons the desire to be politically correct or overly culturally relevant; I would think the problems that spill over into their translations of the Bible will continue. In the mean time, you need Bible and you need to hear what God wants to communicate to you as He loves you whether you’re a male or a female and He needs no one to apologize for what He wants to say to you – stick with a Bible choice from the list above and you’ll be on solid ground. All you need to do is make time to actually read the Bible you purchase. If you’re interested in reading further about these concerns related to the NIV, you can check out this statement made by the “Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.”
There is much to understand about Bible translations and the philosophy behind that translation that I cannot go into here but inside each Bible should be a statement from the publisher about their process of translation. Books like “The Message” are not really Bibles but simply a paraphrase by one man who paraphrased what he thinks the Bible says. While it may make for interesting reading, it may not give you an accurate picture of what God said in His Word. With accurate translations that translate word for word from the original manuscripts readily available in readable and understandable English, you don’t need someone telling you what he thinks it says; you can read it for yourself. I hope this helps you make some educated choices as what you feed your spirit and those you love because this is of critical importance. Just a simple word of caution from my little corner of the world to yours…
Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh give thanks to the Lord...

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." That phrase occurs in 6 different passages of Scripture (1st Chron.16:34, Pss. 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 118:29, and 136:1). Now God only has to say something one time for it to be authoritative but 6 times in the Scriptures God commands His people to give thanks to Him for He is good and to acknowledge that His mercy endures forever. As we head into the holiday season, Thanksgiving is first on the horizon where we celebrate the historical holiday the Pilgrims first marked in the new world in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony. Observances of Thanksgiving were held by the American colonies but it was not consistently observed at the same time till President George Washington made it a national holiday in 1789. It is a time that is set aside to reflect with thankful hearts what the Lord has done for our country and for each of us as families and individuals. Christians ought to be the most thankful people of all because of the Lord Jesus Christ and His birth which is observed at Christmas just a few short weeks after Thanksgiving.


My family has much to be thankful for as we enter this time of year and I want our family to give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His mercy does endure to us forever. He’s sustained us through the death of our sweet grand-daughter Addison Lynn Deason. He’s continued to provide for us even though as of this writing, our house in Houston has not sold, we’ve never missed a meal for lack of groceries and we’ve not lost our home there; nor a roof over our heads in Bel Air. He’s been so faithful to the Green family but space will not permit me to share all that our wonderful and gracious Heavenly Father has done for us. As the leader of my family, I give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever!


I’m thankful as the under-shepherd of Calvary in scary economic times when so many churches are struggling; Calvary’s giving continues to outpace our budget need which is a testimony to the generosity of God’s people whose giving shows their gratitude to God for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. I’m thankful to be the pastor of a church that loves Jesus and seeks to honor Him in all we do. I’m thankful to be the pastor of a church that seems eager to hear the Word of God preached each week and is excited to worship Him. There is an excitement and anticipation in our midst each week as we gather together to praise our God, to proclaim the wonderful Gospel message that Jesus saves, to mine out the unsearchable riches of the Scriptures, and to genuinely encounter God and experience the life change that authentic encounters with God produce. I’m thankful for prayer warriors in our church family I can ask without embarrassment or hesitation to pray for me and our church. I’m thankful for faithful saints of God who serve in so many capacities so that when we have a major staff change as we’ve had recently with Pastor Bob being called to another field of service, the church does not suffer and the work of the ministry continues, but that’s not us or the product of human effort, but we can give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever!


As I pen this brief note, I’m holed up on a spiritual retreat seeking God’s face and direction for my next sermon series after we conclude the book of Ephesians just before Christmas. I’m reading much Scripture, writing, but most of all I’m praying for the Lord’s direction for this needy preacher that He would in fact feed me the truth I need and in turn He would use it to feed you my church family. I’m thankful as I believe He is answering me on what I need to pursue next for our Sunday mornings together. Quite frankly, I’m overwhelmed by what I think the Lord will have me preaching next year, but I believe God’s church needs to hear the message He’s proclaimed through the prophets and I know He’ll use it to challenge us, convict us, break us and ultimately restore us to further His purposes. I have much work to do and I want to be faithful to it for God’s glory.


On the church front, I am working with the personnel committee on revising the job description for the position of associate pastor that Bob held. We are prayerfully asking the Lord for His wisdom as it is apparent to all of us that Bob had way more to do and was responsible for far more than one guy could possibly do. I anticipate sharing directly with the church early in January after the holiday season passes what we believe the Lord would have us to do related to our staff needs. Please be in prayer now for me and our team as we seek to lead us in these exciting days. On the other side of it, I’m confident we’ll be saying once again: “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever.” Thankfulness and excitement is abounding in my little corner of the world, I hope it is in yours…


Pastor Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church



Posted via email from Pastor Ralph