Jerusalem: The Biography

I wrote the following letter to the editor in response to the National Post’s five-part excerpt of Simon Sebag Montefiore’s best-selling book, Jerusalem: The Biography. 

Letter to the Editor re: Jerusalem: The Biography

Simon Sebag Montefiore has apparently taken the world by storm with what he claims is “The Biography” on Jerusalem and what National Post calls “an extraordinary new book.” One would hope that an author who has undertaken a project of such vital religious, historical and political significance would not to be so reckless and unseemly with his sources, the Christian Scriptures in Genesis to Revelation in particular.

The writer not only heedlessly casts King David as largely vulgar, salacious and power-hungry; he also disregards the Bible’s revelation of King Jesus, “the Root and Offspring of David,” who alone holds redemption and hope for the hemorrhaging cities and broken lives of this needy world and its muddled leaders.

I pray that Montefiore and his readers still take the time and care to consult “The Biography” on the New Jerusalem that’s under construction, the jewel of the new world God has promised.

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Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 4:58 am  Comments (5)  
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“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Here, in Matthew 3:2, is at least one instance where the NIV2011 offers a slightly better rendering, in my opinion, than the ESV (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”), and is certainly an improvement over the NIV84 (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”). Although the ESV is better than the NIV84, the NIV2011 better captures the perfect tense of the original Greek. In his Grammar of the Greek New Testament, A.T. Robinson categorizes the verb as an extensive present perfect=a completed state, and here it is likely “durative-punctiliar”. Fancy grammar aside, when the definition of the Greek word engizo (“draw near, come near, approach” according to BDAG) is combined with the perfect tense, “has come near” seems a very good translation, which reflects the decisive change that Jesus’ coming has inaugurated.

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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Bible translations

It’s been too long since I posted here…. First it was Christmas, one of the busiest times of the Church Year for pastors; then it was off to CRTS to speak at and participate in my alma mater’s first Preaching Seminar; then it was getting back into the thick of life in the pastorate.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading, thinking, and interacting with others about Bible translation. The Canadian Reformed Churches in which I pastor are faced with the reality that the NIV84, which is in common use among us, is no longer in paper print. So the question is, do we stick with the NIV and adopt the 2011 version, go with the ESV, or do something else?

The CBT (Committee for Bible Translations) of the CanRCs has prepared an interim report  which presents their conclusions concerning the NIV2011. Rather than rushing to my own personal judgment on the matter, I figured I’d like to do a little comparing of the NIV84, ESV, and NIV2011 for myself. I’ve already been reading from all three translations from the time of their respective releases, and comparing them with the original texts, each other, and other English translations. Since I haven’t come to a settled position at this point, I thought a good way of working towards one would be to do a more careful and detailed comparison of these three translations as I do my exegetical work for sermon preparation.

So, if you’d like to peer over my shoulder, I’ll try to post my thoughts as I go along, depending of course on how much time I can scrounge together to do this.

Published in: on February 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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