Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Word

I have to admit, I have been mostly a New King James girl. It is the Bible that I have had and have read for years. I love the accuracy, and comfortable reading style.

I did just buy tradesman an ESV (English Standard Version) study Bible for our anniversary. He was thrilled.
Our church has switched over to using the ESV exclusively for scripture readings and such and he has been dying to get his hands on one.

He is LOVING it. The study content is very extensive and according to John Piper the translation is very accurate to the original wording in the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts.

But I have a confession to make.


I have been reading "the message" as of late.

I have been a bit of a Bible snob and was unwilling to even look at that translation as I considered it completely false and misleading.

I am not saying that I recount those original thoughts completely. I think that we do have to tread carefully when reading translations that are thought- for -thought based. Many
interpretive decisions that should be made by the reader are already made for the reader by the translator. The context, meanings and expression of the original can be lost.

However, since going through the loss of the twins I have abandoned my regular style of reading through the scriptures temporarily and instead have been reading everywhere and anywhere throughout my Bible. And one of my favorite things to do has been to use Bible

I love that I can look up any scripture in a variety of translations. I found this to be most comforting at times. If you look through some of my more recent posts, you will see that I have a fair bit of scripture posted in the New Living Translation and The Message.

I still always go back to my trusty New King James for Study and context, but I have rather enjoyed the narrative style of The Message. I picked up a soft cover one for rather cheap at the Christian bookstore and have barely been able to put it down.
Maybe, I am just a bit more simple minded or enjoy the easy flow, but I find it comfortable.

Using it for depth or interpretation of scripture I would not, but an enjoyable, relate-able version it is. I believe that it should not replace the actual reading of Gods word from a reliable version, but as an added pleasure with discernment, I could recommend it.

For example, today I was reading in Romans some favorite verses below.

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5 (NKJ)

Beautiful! Can you not just picture that? God has poured out His love to FILL our hearts! I loved that and was curious how "The Message" might word the same scriptures.

Here's Romans 5:3-5

"There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! "


This is EXACTLY how I feel. And it was a blessing and an encouragement to me to read.

So hence... my closet "Message reading" has been revealed, and strangely I don't feel bad about it. :)


Anonymous said...

Bottom line - God speaks through His word to our hearts.

It is He who does the speaking and I suspect it is not my place to tell Him which version He is allowed to speak to me through. lol

I am currently enjoying the Amplified version. I enjoy the insight I get in the expanded meaning of some of the words. Kind of like having a concordance or dictionary in brackets behind the words. It is not easily readable though. Certainly for readability you cannot beat The Message.


Jay D

The Passionate Housewife said...

I LOVE that He speaks through HIs word to our hearts! I LOVE that He knows just what we need when we need it...

However, I am STILL cautious and discerning of WHAT I am reading.

I guess because the truth of the gospel has been watered down, and distorted in this day in age. The emergent church, post modernism scares me and the many false conversions and false teachings.

Standing on sound Biblical doctrine is so very important.

In my opinion (not that it's worth much) :) is why "The message" would not be the text that one should ONLY read.

Tiffany said...

I really love the ESV, but like you grew up on the KJV. I rarely go to a new version. I should give it a try once in awhile.

mumsrea said...

"Many interpretive decisions that should be made by the reader are already made for the reader by the translator."

Extraordinarily well said.

I think the thing with the message is that, on the whole it serves a terrific commentary-like purpose. Josh certainly prefers me to read aloud to him from it.

I think when people start saying things like "it's heresy to read anything but KJV" they are missing the mark. (Especially since the accuracy of the NASB, and now the ESV are unsurpassed.)

Though there are some extremely concerning passages in the message.

For eg:

The Bible says, Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. (Matthew 16:25, Message Bible)

For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:25, NASB)

Assuming a person has a good foundation in scripture, it is pretty easy to take from the message a meaning which is consistent with the meaning of scripture. So i don't hesitate to read it to my kids, with explanation where necessary.

I also don't think there is any danger when the message is used like a commentary, as it seems you are, to illuminate the meaning of a good translation.

And another thing, I kind of think of it as very Charlotte Mason-y don't you?

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