Archive for the ‘Bible translations’ Category

On Order & the Bible

November 2, 2007

I’m feeling kind of ripped off. Yesterday I discovered that the books of my Bible are in the wrong order!!! Can you believe it?!

Our lecture yesterday touched on the order of scripture and noted that while we, as Westerners, tend to approach things quite chronologically, the Hebrew people historically approached things more thematically. The result of which was that the scriptures were reordered to reflect a chronological rather than thematic focus. This, my lecturer argued, has lead to us failing to make connections that the original audience would have made quite logically. It also means we diminish the unity of the scriptures. He gave numerous examples – at which point my head exploded – one of which was that traditionally Chronicles was the last book of the Jewish Scriptures. This is significant because Chronicles begins with a genealogy that is then continued in Matthew and this is only the beginning!!!

Did you know this?

Do you feel as ripped off as me?

This revelation made me wonder about the role of man in recording and passing on God’s word. It’s such an important thing! How could we get it so wrong at times? And then I wondered, if God is in control of this, why did he allow the books of the scriptures to be rearranged? Especially if it means we are missing out, or at least working very hard to get back, significant connections. If the changes happened way back at the completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts, was the reordering part of God’s plan in reaching those outside the Hebrew communities? Those who think chronologically rather than thematically.

What do you think?

Do you feel as ripped off as I do?

Where can I get my hands on a Jewish Bible? I want to read that Bible cover to cover and see what I find.

The original order of the scriptures:

The Torah

1. Genesis [בראשית / B’reshit]
2. Exodus [שמות / Sh’mot]
3. Leviticus [ויקרא / Vayiqra]
4. Numbers [במדבר / B’midbar]
5. Deuteronomy [דברים / D’varim]

The books of Nevi’im

6. Joshua [יהושע / Y’hoshua]
7. Judges [שופטים / Shophtim]
8. Samuel (I & II) [שמואל / Sh’muel]
9. Kings (I & II) [מלכים / M’lakhim]
10. Isaiah [ישעיה / Y’shayahu]
11. Jeremiah [ירמיה / Yir’mi’yahu]
12. Ezekiel [יחזקאל / Y’khezqel]
13. The Twelve Minor Prophets [תרי עשר]

I. Hosea [הושע / Hoshea]
II. Joel [יואל / Yo’el]
III. Amos [עמוס / Amos]
IV. Obadiah [עובדיה / Ovadyah]
V. Jonah [יונה / Yonah]
VI. Micah [מיכה / Mikhah]
VII. Nahum [נחום / Nakhum]
VIII. Habakkuk [חבקוק /Khavaquq]
IX. Zephaniah [צפניה / Ts’phanyah]
X. Haggai [חגי / Khagai]
XI. Zechariah [זכריה / Z’kharyah]
XII. Malachi [מלאכי / Mal’akhi]

The Ketuvim

14. Psalms [תהלים / T’hilim]
15. Proverbs [משלי / Mishlei]
16. Job [איוב / Iyov]
17. Song of Songs [שיר השירים / Shir Hashirim]
18. Ruth [רות / Rut]
19. Lamentations [איכה / Eikhah]
20. Ecclesiastes [קהלת / Qohelet]
21. Esther [אסתר / Est(h)er]
22. Daniel [דניאל / Dani’el]
23. EzraNehemiah [עזרא ונחמיה / Ezra wuNekhem’ya]
24. Chronicles (I & II) [דברי הימים / Divrey Hayamim]

A Dilemma of Biblical Proportions.

April 18, 2007

I’m wanting to buy a new Bible. My last one was given to me by my ex-husband about 9 years ago and I can’t stand the hypocritical inscription in the cover any more! Apart from tearing the cover out – which I can’t bring myself to do because then I would have to use a Bible I defaced…it just seems wrong – I think my only option is to buy a new Bible. So, here’s my question: Which Bible?

I have been researching and I think I’d like an ESV but I have been using the NIV Study Bible for so long that I’m finding it hard to pull away. I love the annotations in the NIV Study but I’d like to try an ESV because I have heard and read that the translation is more literal than others (you can compare verses here). At the same time I have been put off the ESV because it is also known as the Eastern Suburbs Version* here in Sydney and this puts me off because the reworked title conjures up images of the exclusivity associated with the Eastern Suburbs. It’s a ridiculous reason, I know, yet strangely has been a hurdle. I just don’t want a snobby Bible!

So, I was thinking, perhaps I need an ESV Study Bible. But when I searched for one all I could find was this:


Not that this is necessarily bad either. However, having not seen the Bible, except for an excerpt on Ellen’s blog, I’m wondering if it will influence my interpretation of the Bible as I’m reading. If I’m going for a Bible that is more literal do I really want it to be interpreting what is written from one particular perspective? Don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian of Reformed persuasion yet I don’t want to just take this as the given perspective. I want to test and challenge my views in order to be convinced of the truth. I want to read the Bible as it is and see if it matches the Reformed perspective I have come to hold not read the Bible through Reformed tainted glasses – if that makes sense.

Along the way I’ve discussed the pros and cons with minister friends and have read too many articles and have seen a very strange game (!?) on the same. Then I heard about the Geneva Bible and discovered there will be an ESV Literary Study Bible to which I immediately thought both “Ooooh!” and “Hmmm?” and as a result have become not a little confused.

If you’re with me this far, you’re doing well and may be ready to answer my next few questions:

What do you think?

What are the pros and cons of each as you see them?

Which Bible translation are you using and why?

Have you used the ESV and/or NIV? Which do you prefer?

I’d love to hear all your reasons from the ridiculous – such as one Bible is perceived to be more snobby! – to the sublime.

*Because a prominent minister from the Eastern Suburbs was on the Translation Advisory Council for the ESV.