I know that regular visitors to this blog could get the idea that I'm a grumpy fellow who soapboxes about Bible versions, always critical of any of them, always wanting something better. The truth is that I am grateful for all the efforts that have been put into Bible translation over the centuries. It is a sacred task, one which all Bible translators take very seriously. I have used a number of different Bibles over my lifetime. I am thankful for each one of them. I am thankful for parents and Sunday School teachers who encouraged me to memorize large portions of the Bible. I am thankful for pastors and Bible school professors who taught expositorially, working their way through entire books of the Bible. I am especially thankful for courageous, creative translators throughout the centuries who have put the Bible into contemporary language. I think of translators such as Jerome, Martin Luther, Tyndale, Wycliff, Adoniram Judson, J.B. Phillips, Kenneth Taylor, Barclay Newman, and others currently translating into hundreds of Bibleless languages around the world. I have personally benefitted greatly from English Bibles translated during my lifetime into the English of my generation.
Bono has found a Bible version which speaks to his heart and mind. If I remember correctly, it is The Message. That version is not for everyone. Some visitors to this blog may even be turned off by it. But it has a literary power that its author, Eugene Peterson, intended to be like the effect that the original biblical texts had on their hearers. And it is good for translations to try to have that original literary effect. Of course, it is also necessary for translations to be as accurate as possible. Perhaps someday a group of biblical scholars will upgrade The Message exegetically, as was done with the Living Bible, in its revision to the New Living Translation.
I blog often about better Bibles, about ideas for making specific translation wordings better. But I really do believe that the best Bible is the one that is used and put into practice.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be surrounded by loving family, my dear wife, two of our daughters, their husbands, and their four children (with one more due in January). I wish our other two children and their families could be here also. I am so grateful that each of our four children and their spouses follow Christ, the Living Word, and are committed to reading and obeying the Bible, the Written Word. What more could a father want? I think there is no greater gift a father can receive on his birthday or at any other time than to know that his offspring love and obey God and his son, our savior.
Categories: Bible reading, The Message