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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Best Bible?

Eddie passes on this story, originally from William Barclay which accounts for the dated choice of versions, but the principle still applies:

Four clergymen were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version because of its simple, beautiful English. Another liked the American Standard Version best because it comes closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. The third liked Moffatt’s translation best because of its up-to-date words.

The fourth clergyman was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he replied, “I liked my mother’s translation best.” The other three expressed surprise and wanted to know what he meant. “Well,” he explained, “my mother translated the Bible into her everyday life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”


At Sun Jan 27, 12:48:00 PM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Sounds like the story Matthew passes on, originally from Jesus which accounts for the dated choice of Greek, but the similarity still applies:

Διοτι οστις καμη το θελημα του Πατρος μου του εν ουρανοις, αυτος μου ειναι αδελφος και αδελφη και μητηρ.

(Mt. 12:50)

At Thu Jan 31, 02:16:00 PM, Blogger solarblogger said...

What would we make of it if the clergyman went on to say that his mother was particularly good as a translation of Judges or the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament? Or perhaps the Revelation in the New?

At Thu Jan 31, 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

The mind boggles, Solarblogger. Perhaps the mother played the role of Deborah or Jael, but I guess a clergyman would be embarrassed to liken his mother to the girl in the Song of Solomon or the prostitute of Revelation 17. Seriously, however, while the mother may not have expounded these books she could well have lived out what they should mean for Christian living today.

At Thu Jan 31, 11:17:00 PM, Blogger solarblogger said...

My intention was really to point out the ways that even the best life is not like a Bible. Choosing odd books might show that more easily than choosing the more outwardly inspiring ones. I think the story you recounted is there to remind us how our lives can do some of the things a Bible does, like drawing people to God or bearing witness to what he can do. But I think that sometimes that can be taken to where we imagine that that is all the Bible is there to do. I grew up in such circles. When I started reading the Bible in a more earnest manner in high school, such an outlook left me almost unable to read much of the Bible since it didn't seem to all be there for the purposes I had been led to expect.
An exemplary Christian life may be like certain books in the Bible. The other books remind us that God has ways of speaking to us beyond what a good life could do.


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