Every now and then I come across a Bible verse where translations of English Bibles display remarkable and confusing contradictions. Job 13:15 represents a dramatic example. Notice the following: “Behold, he will slay me; I have no hope” (Revised Standard Version, RSV)“Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (New American Standard Bible, NASB)“God…… Continue reading Job 13:15–An Exercise in Interpreting!
One of the often ignored but undeniable features of biblical literature is its oral nature. Harvey writes (Listening to the Text, 1), “The popular culture of the first century was, technically, a rhetorical culture. In a rhetorical culture, literacy is limited, and reading is vocal [see Deuteronomy 31:10-11; Colossians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:13]. Even the solitary reader reads…… Continue reading Can You HEAR the Bible?
All Bible translations interpret the Scriptures. One valuable aspect of an English translation consists of people having the Bible in their native tongue, but not all translations interpret Scripture the same. Conscientious scholars, preachers, teachers, and anyone committed to serious Bible study and proclamation should compare different translations to see if and how they vary…… Continue reading When Translations Differ . . .
If “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” it is too bad that so many scholars, Bible commentators and students behold so little Scriptural beauty! This state of affairs perhaps exists because they spend minimal time in the biblical languages and much if not most of their time investigating what others say about the…… Continue reading Mirror Reading in Proverbs 9
Psalm 133 is an ascent psalm to be sung while going to Jerusalem at the three required yearly festivals designated in the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Refusal to make the pilgrimage invited national curses; obedience resulted in national blessings. Verse 1 is vital to a correct interpretation of this Psalm. “How good and pleasant it is when…… Continue reading Togetherness, A Biblical Mandate!
Imagery represents a universal staple in poetry and Hebrew poetry is no exception. To consciously or unconsciously remove or change the images of a poem diminishes it. When translating Hebrew poetry errors of this sort sometimes occur because of the overwhelming desire to clarify God’s word, an admirable goal but sometimes leads to a misreading…… Continue reading Clarifying an Image
Jeremiah 29:11—“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an end and expectation” (King James Version). The marginal reading of the italicized portion says, “to give you an expected end.” The Revised Standard Version renders the phrase “to give you hope in your…… Continue reading Hope for the Future
A present-day expression among evangelical Christians invokes both excitement and exasperation—7/11 songs, 7 words repeated 11 times! The younger generation, for the most part, loves the “7/11’s” for the rhythm of the music and the repetition of the worshipful phrases. The older generation longs for the familiarity of the old hymns and the spiritual depth…… Continue reading The Heart of Worship
According to the superscription of Psalm 54 (verses 1-2 in the Hebrew text), David was hiding in the wilderness of Ziph located southeast of Hebron in southern Judah. While being pursued by King Saul some Ziphites betrayed his location. David complains to God about this situation and responds to events outside of his control. As…… Continue reading How God Helps His People
Biblical Hebrew is a delightful language! However, western-oriented students generally get frustrated by some of its characteristics: triconsonantal roots, right-to-left reading, fluctuations of vowels, expansive of word meanings, syntax, ancient idioms, the strangely fluid nature of verbal time (past, present, future), etc. These and other matters may be difficult for the student but they also…… Continue reading “Do You Understand What You Are Reading?”