Archive for the ‘Southern Baptist Theological seminary’ Category

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Lost in Translations…

August 26, 2010

When it comes to Bible translations, does it matter which translation you use?

Finding agreement among Christians on just about anything is difficult, often impossible. On the issue of Bible translation there is no exception. There are numerous choices presented to the Christian seeking to read and take comfort from the Holy Scriptures.

If you had a friend who recently came to Christ and they asked “what Bible should I read?” What would you tell them. Though the question might sound harmless it is not. For within the many treatments of the text there are variations; some are common and mundane others are radical and message altering.

What is the difference between the: ESV, NIV, KJV,NKJV, HCSB, RSV, NRSV, NASB, ASV, CEV, LB, NLT, MSG, TNIV, D-R, NJB? To name just a few. Each of the above translations can be found in the hands of earnest Christians and apostate heretics across the globe. So which one is the right one? And is there a right one translation?

That we have such a variety and such access to the Word is a true testament of the grace and mercy of God. But, in a post Gen 3 world, access and familiarity can often breed contempt and disregard.

What is called for in this task is discernment. We must avoid the all too common American tendencies toward consumerism and social sensitivity. We must strive to find and promote translations of the Word that strive to be true and faithful to the authors’ intended meaning and the original text, rather than our contemporary needs/wants. We must carefully work out our salvation in the word with fear and trembling.

Men throughout the centuries have risked much to provide translations of scripture that are accurate and have the strictest measure of fidelity to the meaning of the original texts. Their success in doing so often came at the cost of their positions, their pulpits and even their lives.

There is an immense and costly importance to the accuracy and right interpretation of Scripture. Failure to translate rightly the word of truth can cause disunity and dysfunction within the body of believers; and ultimately hinder the delivery of the accurate gospel to the lost.

Throughout the ages God has been faithful and steadfast in preserving His Word and promulgating His message to those called by His name. The ancient autographs and original penmanship of the biblical authors may have faded into the obscure haze of history; but what has been preserved and translated has been passed down according to His sovereign will. The scripture, rightly translated, remains to this day “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV)

Man, in an attempt to be “relevant,” can do damage to what God has breathed out. So investigate and be discerning, test and see if your translation remains faithful to His text and His message and if not then find one that does and enjoy.

To that end I recommend this online resource: evangelicalbible.com is an interesting website providing both retail services for Bibles in multiple translations and a brief history of Bible translation and defense of the English Standard Version or ESV.

Also I have included a link to albertmohler.com, Dr. Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and has written several informative articles and provides audio commentary on the subject of Bible Translation

See the links below.

Bibles for purchase

Why the ESV?

Mohler on Bible Translation

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Aware of Scripture… The Doctrine of Scripture with Dr. Bruce Ware

April 8, 2010

Dr. Ware is a highly esteemed theologian and author in the evangelical world. He came to Southern Seminary from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he served as Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biblical and Systematic Theology. Prior to this, he taught at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and at Bethel Theological Seminary. Dr. Ware has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews and, along with Thomas Schreiner, has co-edited The Grace of God and the Bondage of the Will and Still Sovereign. He also has authoredGod’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open TheismGod’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith, and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance.

His passion is contagious and it is always a delight to hear him extol the applicable merits of Scripture. Biblical Training.org provides access to an excellent outline to Dr. Ware’s teaching on Systematic Theology and the Divine revelation of Scripture.  It is well worth your time to read. 

Read Here…

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“First Testament” Theology?

November 17, 2009

Israel’s Gospel is the first of three volumes of John Goldingay’s monumental effort to layout and explain Old Testament theology against the backdrop of modern narrative interpretation. Goldingay begins this work by declaring his own liberation from the traditional restraints of biblical interpretation. (22) It is his intent to examine the Old Testament in light of itself, not in light of the New Testament or subject to “Christian Lenses”. (20) Rather the Old Testament or “First Testament” is the light by which the New (Second) Testament must be examined. The actual theology of the Old Testament is portrayed through the extensive narrative involving Israel, with several interludes of “overt personal reflection”.(29) This narrative is laid out by Goldingay under the following progression: God began with creation; God started over via the flood; God promised a covenant with Abram; God delivered on His promise; God sealed His people; God gave the promised land; God accommodated Israel’s requests; God Wrestled with Israel; God preserved Israel following their dispossession; and finally God sent Jesus. (32) Goldingay methodically goes through each of these stages and treats them with intensive scriptural detail and analysis. These steps are not dispensations, revisions, or differing promises; but rather stages in God’s unfolding plan for “His People” and His creation. Goldingay concludes his 883 page work with an extensive postscript elaborating on his concepts of historicity and how history informs theology but must not control theological interpretation or faith based theology.

Strengths of the Work Goldingay’s effort is quite exhaustive. He literally starts from the beginning and systematically fleshes out each major component of his narrative with numerous scripture references. He reflects on scripture with scripture and uses “inter-textuality” seeking to give weight to his arguments by tying scripture together. The length of his work seems necessary for what he is trying to accomplish, and the luxury of this space in which to work is the detailed treatment of topics which, by their nature, cry out for detailed treatment. Chapters range from 50 to 100 pages for each of the eleven sections, each is meticulously subdivided which aides in reference and in tracking the progression of his argument. Weaknesses Goldingay’s effort is not only exhaustive but could also be termed as exhausting. This work is by no means an objective scholarly work; rather it represents a faulty theology based on countless dogmatic assertions. Goldingay, a “white Oxbridge-educated, middle-aged, Episcopalian priest,” admittedly a Christian, begins by divorcing the Old Testament from the New.(872) In fact he finds it necessary to rename the testaments to created distance, while they are still connected by chronology they should no longer be thought of as Old completed by New but rather as First followed by Second. His use of this terminology is by no means consistent throughout the book, a fact which lends itself to confusion. Goldingay can afford the separation of interpretation because the Old Testament (OT) “never mentions” Christ; ergo he will not focus on how the OT “points to Christ”. (26)

The OT is a central witness to the character of YHWH, and it is this character that Goldingay wishes to explore; and explore it he does. One of the books primary failings is that while he uses numerous scriptures and relates them to one another, Psalms with Genesis, Proverbs with Exodus, for example; often he brings a poetic passage to bear against a narrative. And while a poetic passage can give added meaning to the significance of an historical event, its figurative terminology should not be used to dogmatically interpret the narrative thereby constraining a plain flat reading of the text. Goldingay professes that God can be limited by human action. Indeed, “He limits his knowledge to be able to genuinely listen to us;” He must listen because, “while He could know everything about us… God’s supernatural knowledge… comes about through discovery.”(137) God’s is seen as rather reactionary, it is no surprise to Goldingay that when “things went wrong God had to start over.”(131) This need to start over arises from mans sinful actions and their effect on the His creation; however, Goldingay does not attribute the existence of this sin on anything genetic or biologically inherited from Adam, rather sin is a by-product of sociological and environmental pressures which affect human development.

There are some truths throughout Goldingay’s text, he admits that God created the universe and world, although how this was done is uncertain; God called Israel and created a separate nation, although this is not any kind of election in a theological sense.(214) etc. Goldingay spends 700 some odd pages meticulously going through the Hebrew narrative examining the character of God to arrive at his post-script where he flatly concedes that there is little verifiable historical fact in the aforementioned narrative. The absence of the text’s historicity does not eliminate the moral message contained in the passages, rather the morality remains intact and open for interpretation. According to Goldingay, it matters not who wrote, or contrived, or edited the scriptures, or for what purpose; there are still truths to be revealed about God and His character, a theology to be studied.