I just finished reading the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. It took me over a year since I was obligated to read other versions and reading certain sections for classes I have been taking. I read all of 1 Samuel through Ecclesiastes twice. I have been reading a chapter in Hebrews one at a time as I go through translating it.
One of my first observations is that it is not as smooth in style as the NIV. This is probably because the ESV is much more closely a word for word translation instead of a thought by thought translation. I have used the NIV as my primary translation for over 20 years so the switch my be rough based simply on what I am used to.
While I feel the ESV is a reliable translation, there are passages, I'm not sure they got it right. I feel the same about the NIV, but neither are a bad translation. This issue is much more an observation from a student of the Bible rather than a criticism from a foe of either translation.
One of the biggest benefits of reading the ESV is that it gave me a new translation to read as my goal. I had read the NIV many times. It made it seem more urgent and beneficial to read a new translation.
I feel I am of a friendly disposition with the translators of the ESV. Many of my values in translation is their values. I desire the text to be respected for its word choice.
After reading the ESV, I would like to make it my new translation I read over and over again.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Yesterday after church I just hung out. I did nothing but watch TV. Funny thing, I had some weird dreams on issues that had been on my mind quite a bit. I'm guessing that I have been so busy that I just had not been able to process everything going on in my head and heart. God instituted the Sabbath to give us rest. I don't think I have the rest thing down yet, but I want to.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Worship, is it a drama? Is it singing a few songs and a lesson we call a sermon? Is worship about connecting with our emotions or with our intellect? Should the service be full of spontaneity or order? Should it be simple or ornate? What is the place of tradition? As I think through these issues I find myself drawn to diverse parts of traditions and innovations. I love to see the Word of God respected by having an Old Testament lesson, an New Testament lesson and a Psalm. If we read it responsively, that sounds good. But I enjoy innovation of bringing in drama teams and slide projection too. The article in Leadership Journal called Richer Blend written by Bob Kauflin tells a similar urge by the author to combine tradition and innovation. He comes from a charismatic church and so his challenge is to take a spontaneous style of worship and put some structure to it. I am not sure I am in the same place but I have gone to those sorts of churches. I believe my current challenge is more on connecting with God in worship. For me the structure is too functional and not enough warmth or engagement of the eternal. While I feel this, I don't know that the fault necessarily falls on others, but on myself. Do I come to worship ill prepared to meet God?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
I am studying the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. One of the things that strikes me is the difference between the Wisdom Literature and the rest of the Old Testament. The Books of Moses tell us how God established his covenant with Abraham and then the children of Israel under Moses. The History Books tell use how the Children of Israel did at keeping the covenant. Largely that is a story of God's patience and Israel's seeking to become like the nations they were meant to displace. The Prophets were written to tell the children of Israel how God was going to respond. He sent the northern tribes off to Assyria in exile and the southern tribes to Babylon. The Wisdom Literature has less to do with covenants of God than the other sections. One can think of God establishing and responding to his covenant with his people as a the vertical relationship, with man below and God above. The Wisdom Literature has much more focus on the horizontal, earthly relationships. This does not collide with the other sections, but just addresses different part of the revelation from God to man.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
3:1 Therefore, holy brothers,  you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's  house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. 
A Rest for the People of God
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
-Hebrews 3:1-14 (ESV)
The writer of Hebrews 3 is quoting Psalm 95:7b-11
Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
This big difference from the quote in Hebrews and the Psalm is that the Hebrews passage has the meaning of the names Meribah and Massah. Though I had read Hebrews 3 several times this week to prepare for class, I did not catch that this Psalm and the book of Hebrews is making reference to Numbers chapter 20. In this story the people quarrel with Moses for bringing them out into the desert. They name the places "rebellion" and "temptation".
There is a big debate on what Hebrews 3 means, but we have a solid example of what it does mean. People are called to trust and worship God but instead they quarrel.