Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Day 202 - John 6

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom

Day 201 - John 5

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom

Only One Cog In The Machine Pt. 2

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

(This is a follow-up to “Only One Cog In The Machine”)

Thanks for your reply.  This is very interesting history.  How is it possible that Paul never mentions what he heard about Jesus in Jerusalem since they were both about the same age?  His story starts as a persecutor of the early Jewish followers at the behest of the Sadduccee establishment, but Paul was around for years before that when Jesus was still alive, and he never mentions having heard of Him or having known of Him when they were both in Judea.

How many of the other preachers and teachers does Christianity believe were required to have revelations like Paul? And if there were so many other apostles and preachers, why does Christianity focus almost exclusively on Paul's epistles?

I know there are also a few other epistles (Jude, John, James, Hebrews) that Paul didn't write, but presumably other preachers also had congregations they were working with, so what happened to them and their epistles, and why don't people like Polycarp get included?

Although his congregations may have known about the history, doesn't it seem unusual that Paul does not include an occasional reference to any of the historical events or sayings of Jesus (such as "Remember what we heard from our Lord on the Mount, let us recall the events as Christ was led to Calvary, do not forget the greatness of His mother Mary, let us recall what He told His followers in Galilee," etc.)?

Plus, since Acts identifies Paul as a student of Rabbi Gamaliel, why don't we find any references to anything he ever learned at the feet of the greatest Jewish sage of the day, the head of the Sanhedrin?  Presumably, there were great and valuable teachings and ethical aphorisms that he heard, not to mention relevant issues regarding the Torah; yet, Paul never mentions a single one.

Sincerely,
Passionate About Paul

Dear Passionate About Paul,

You are asking why Paul didn't say this or that – the answer is simple... he did say other things instead.  It is impossible to explain why Paul mentioned certain facts about Christ's life and left others out.  The short answer is that he mentioned what he did because that was necessary to make the point he was making at the time.  The Bible isn't a compilation of every detail and every sermon that was ever preached in the first century.  In fact, John specifically says there wouldn't be enough ink to write down all that Jesus did (Jhn 21:25).  The Bible includes what God believed was necessary for mankind to know in order to live and be godly (2 Pet. 1:3).  Polycarp, like many other later writers, was not inspired, and his works, though illuminating and insightful, are not directly from the mind of God.

All My Children Pt. 2

Monday, October 09, 2017

(This post is a follow-up to “All My Children”)

Thanks. A follow-up: so these "sons of God" are humans, but some assume them to be angels because in the Contemporary English Version of the Bible it reads “More and more people were born, until finally they spread all over the earth. Some of their daughters were so beautiful that supernatural beings came down and married the ones they wanted."  Why then does this version say "supernatural beings", if they were only men?

Sincerely,
Text Perplexed

Dear Text Perplexed,

There are two things to consider when choosing a Bible translation:

  1. 1. Accuracy
  2. 2. Readability

As you have noticed with the Contemporary English Version, the easier a translation is to read, the less accurate it becomes – and the more accurate a translation is, the more difficulty you will have in reading it.  The key is to find the right balance between readability and accuracy.  There are three types of translations: word-for-word translations, thought-for-thought translations, and paraphrase translations.

Paraphrase translations don’t even attempt to be accurate; all they want to do is make the Bible easy to read.  We never recommend a paraphrase translation.  In our opinion, the Contemporary English Version is a paraphrase.  It is geared toward simplifying the Bible to a level that is easy for grade schoolers, English as a second language readers, and the translators describe it as being designed for “uncompromising simplicity”.  That is why you are having so many translation problems with it.

Thought-for-thought translations try and take the original language and translate it using what the translators think is the same idea or concept that the Greek and Hebrew languages were trying to convey.  The NRSV, NIRV, and TNIV are all though-for-thought translations.  The NIV (currently the most popular version) is a mix between a word-for-word and a thought-for-thought – we have a lengthy article on the NIV translation that will give you more insight into that particular translation (click here to go to that post).  Thought-for-thought translations are better than paraphrasing, but they still remove the exact words of Jesus and His apostles and replace them with someone’s best guess at what they might have said if they had spoken in English.

Last, but not least, we have word-for-word translations.  Word-for-word translations are exactly what they sound like – they do their best to directly translate every word from the Greek and Hebrew into English.  There are currently four major word-for-word translations available: King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), American Standard Version (ASV), and New American Standard Version (NASB).  God tells us that every word was directly conveyed from God to the original Bible writers (1 Cor 2:13).  Since God made a point of divinely inspiring every word of the Bible, we here at AYP only feel comfortable using a translation that keeps those words intact.  Personally, we find the NASB and NKJV to be very readable and highly accurate.  Having read the New Testament in both the Greek and English (a couple of our AYP writers can read Koine Greek), we have found those two versions to be very sound.

To sum up, if you really want to make sure you are reading what God authored, make sure to ask for a word-for-word translation.

Day 200 - John 4

Monday, October 09, 2017

5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom

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