Bible translation

Error message

Responses (3): It all depends on whose ox is gored...

(This is the third in a series responding to critics of my post pointing out Denny Burk is wrong and the Atlantic got it right in their reporting that Southern Baptists' Christian Standard Bible is gender-neutered.)

Honestly, you can't make this stuff up!

Seven years ago, back before the Holman Christian Standard Bible was neutered and "Holman" was taken out of its name, Denny Burk saw things more clearly. Follow this.

Back in 2010, Denny's preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Jim Hamilton, wrote a blog post explaining that he had been asked to contribute an article to a new dictionary and the publisher had sent him these rules his article was to conform to:

[Your] articles should avoid referring to “man” (likewise “mankind,” “men,” “he,” “his” and so on) generically. Language often regarded as patriarchal should be modified to avoid giving wrong impressions. Similarly, translations of biblical and other texts, when made by the contributor, should be no more gender specific than the originals are judged to be. Citations of standard translations of the Bible should not be altered, of course, but where contributors create their own translations of the biblical text, they may find strategies for effectively and responsibly avoiding gender-specific translations by consulting the New Revised Standard Version.

"Who pays the piper calls the tune," the old saying goes, so Jim Hamilton was going to avoid the male inclusive if he wanted his publisher to pay him. And if he was going to do any of his own Bible translating for the article, he needed to delete the Bible's male inclusives "adam" and "adelphoi." 1 

This got Pastor Hamilton thinking and he asked this question... 

Responses (2): but "brothers" often means "brothers and sisters"...

Here is another argument against my post pointing out Denny Burk is wrong and the Atlantic got it right in their reporting that the Christian Standard Bible is gender-neutered in hundreds of places.

A reader writes:

[The translators] are simply trying to communicate the Scriptures in a clear way. Adelphoi does often mean brothers and sisters, so it's not wrong... There is an example in Euripides, Electra, line 536, where adelphos refers to both brother and sister...

...lexicography and semantics can be tricky... When Paul refers to the churches by adelphoi, he clearly has the whole congregation in mind. ...This is common in the ancient languages, where the masculine is the so-called "standard" linguistic gender.

...we are wrong when we assume that grammatical gender and biological gender are always the same thing

The one thing obvious is this man hasn't read the very post he is criticizing...

Responses (1): quoting Revelation's warning was over the top...

One man writes:

I am wary of suggesting (much less actually stating) what [Bayly] did at the end of the article, equating what was done to editing and changing the word of God in presumably a damnable fashion. This particular paragraph is what I have in mind:

"Denny Burk should warn the translators and publishers of his denomination's Christian Standard Bible that their removal of hundreds and hundreds of words with a male meaning component from Scripture places their souls in jeopardy of having their part in the tree of life and the holy city removed by God."

Say that is badly translated? Certainly. Call on them to change it in future editions? Sure. Say that the translators/editors are in danger of the fires of hell because of it? Why go to that extent?

Why go to that extent?

Because this is the explicit warning of the Holy Spirit. In the Word of God, He Himself warns us that those who do this very thing are in danger of not inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven. If this warning doesn't apply to the removal of...

Christian Standard Bible: the Atlantic got it right...

The current president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is indignant over an Atlantic Monthly piece pointing out that his denomination's Christian Standard Bible has gone "gender-neutral."1

Denny Burk says it's not true.

Sadly, it is. 2

We could get lost in a discussion of a host of Hebrew and Greek words in the Old and New Testaments, but two words will suffice: one is the Hebrew word...

Crossway's $500 ESV and Rupert Murdoch...

For me, it's been a long love affair with Online Bible for the Mac (OLB) and I'm happy to announce that it no longer crashes under Apple's Sierra OS—if, that is, you're enrolled in Apple's beta program and running 10.12.2. (See announcement at bottom of page.)

I started using OLB back in the eighties when it was shareware, but they had no shareware fee. They didn't require money, but only that you give away several copies of the program in your first month of use. The coders said their software was the first "Bible software based on the principle of grace rather than greed."

The ESV: Crossway reverses itself...

Lane Dennis just announced his business made a "mistake" and is reversing their recent decision to leave the present text of his ESV unchanged, in perpetuity. Lane ends his statement announcing the reversal with this:

We believe deeply that the translation and publication of the Bible is a sacred trust and unspeakable privilege, and we want to do all we can to steward this calling, before God, with the reverence and care that it deserves.

The "we" is Lane speaking as Crossway's CEO.

Lane talks about his "sacred trust" and "unspeakable privilege." He says his business is zealous to "steward" this "calling" they have from God. The "God" is implied—"calling" is a slightly oblique way Christians invoke God's Name.

Lane says their Divine calling is deserving of "reverence and care." Read the statement and you'll find lots of flowery words accompanying their reversal. You'll even find the word "apology," but there's no hint of moral failure or plain ordinary sin...

Crossway's ESV now written in stone...

Shows are meant to be consumed in front of the curtain—not behind it. Behind are the things you don't want the audience to see or know because it would ruin the performance.

Bible translations are hammered out behind the curtain, and for good reason. It wouldn't give people confidence in the trustworthiness of the English Bible they read to watch the arguments and votes over how to translate this or that Hebrew or Greek word or phrase. Other parts of the Bible publishing business may be even more disconcerting, but let's focus here on the academics' work.

Although the scholars who produce Bible text for their Bible publisher are paid for that work, most of their income is from tuition paid by seminaries whose curricula require those students to spend years studying Hebrew and Greek. So these scholars have two priorities at odds with each other.

First, in order for their publishers' investment in their translating work to realize a profit, scholars must not stop assuring church people that every last word of the text of their version is precisely what God Himself inspired. Nothing has been changed...

Four rules for Christian readers...

Yesterday, a lifelong friend mentioned he'd finally taken my advice and read Luther's commentary on Galatians. My advice? I didn't remember giving him any advice to read Luther on Galatians. Who "gives advice" to anyone to read Luther on Galatians? It's like recommending to someone that he breathe air or drink water. For centuries now, everyone has said you should read Luther on Galatians, but somehow my dear brother remembers me saying it. Anyhow, I'm glad he read it.

This gets me thinking about reading, so here are four rules for Christian readers.

Rule 1: Don’t waste your time reading what living men tell you the dead men said; read the primary sources.

What are primary sources?

Back in 1977 I was taking an upper-level history course at University of Wisconsin, Madison taught by the medievalist William J. Courtenay. Titled "Medieval Intellectual and Social History," the course's texts included several volumes of Copplestone's "History of Philosophy," so it was tough sledding. It was a large lecture class, but prior to the first lecture Prof. Courtenay announced he would hold a proseminar for all grad and honor students, as well as anyone else who cared to participate. I was the "cared to participate" student who showed up...

Arm yourself for the battle for the souls of sodomites...

From back in 2006:

It's taken a while to get around to it, but here are a few responses to one reader, James', comments on the two earlier posts, "Why 'sodomite' instead of 'gay' or 'homosexual'?" and "What exactly is 'unnecessary offense to the Gospel'?" I realize this discussion has been drawn out over quite a bit of time, but that's the nature of this wonderful time of year called "summer." Things take longer because other things interrupt. And I've been loving the interruptions.

So now, on with the responses.

James writes: In the comments section of the first post Mr. Bayly attempts to address comments made on another blog that he "did not take Sodom's explicitly stated sins very seriously." After reading the entirety of his post and what followed, it seemed very obvious that the person who made that comment was referring to Mr. Bayly's nearly complete ignoring of the Ezekiel text and almost total exaltation of the Jude text.

James, my purpose in what I've written has never been to give an historical analysis of all the sins of Sodom for which she was judged. Rather it has been to defend the church's historic use of the word 'sodomy' to designate same-sex carnal relations, and to establish that this was one of Sodom's central sins according to the text of Holy Scripture.

Homosexualists have spent decades promoting a revisionist interpretation of the Genesis account, seeking to remove sodomy from the list of sins God judged when He destroyed Sodom. And to that end, they emphasize all the sins of Sodom that have nothing to do with sexual immorality.

But again, my purpose is not to analyze Sodom and her sins, but to defend the church's historic usage of the terms 'sodomy,' 'sodomitic,' and 'sodomite' as being faithful to the text of Scripture. That's what's under attack.

No one here has ever denied the other sins of Sodom...

"Doulos" and the NASB: "…voluntary submission to deity…"

What with the ESV translation committee’s concern that the word “slave” (translation of the Greek doulos) has “irredeemably negative associations and connotations,” I wondered how my preferred translation, the New American Standard Bible, handled the same word (and the prefixed version, sundoulos, which generally they translate by adding “fellow,” as in “fellow slave.”). The NASB mostly renders it “slave,” but at a number of places, it has “bond-servant,”—a fact which stood out to me when I began preaching through the book of James a few years ago. James 1:1: “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,…”.

Here’s the frequency of each of the NASB’s various translations of doulos (including the plural form and both singular and plural of sundoulos):

“Slave(s)”—103 times

“Bond-servant(s)”—25 times

“Bondslave(s)”—6 times

“Servant(s)”—4 time

I was curious about the variety, so I emailed the Lockman Foundation to ask for an explanation. Here’s the response:

The use of the term “slave” is a complex issue, one which we continue to review given its connotations. The NASB has the terms “bond-servant” and “bondslave” in places where “slave” might sound harsh for the context, though the three words all mean the same thing since “bond” refers to “bondage”. Of course “fellow” is included for the Greek sundoulos. The NASB translators felt that in all of these places a softer term than “slave” was justified because the relationship is one of voluntary submission to deity, though the duties and obligations are not thereby mitigated.

When you look through the specific verses, a pattern emerges that confirms their explanation…

Post on John MacArthur's money: answering objections...

Back on January 30th, we ran a post updating readers on the latest IRS Forms 990 filed by John MacArthur's non-profit companies and what they show about his annual income. Since the post, several commenters have questioned whether MacArthur really had any say over his study notes being packaged with the neutered New International Version, whether we're saying MacArthur's income is sinful; and if so, what specific sin we're accusing him of? Here are some responses to those questions and challenges:


I've been out of the loop for a while. I appreciate others who have responded to some of the more recent objections to this post. Now, a couple responses of my own.

First, John MacArthur himself had absolute control over whether or not to package and sell his MacArthur Study Bible notes with the neutered Bible now sold under the name New International Version. It was his decision and he alone is the man who could have stopped it. His elders board did not make the decision.  Zondervan doesn't control MacArthur's study notes. John MacArthur controls John MacArthur's study notes. This is how publishing works.

John decided he didn't want to lose out on one of the largest Bible markets in the English-speaking world, so after negotiating royalties (which unlike John Piper's royalties, remain a secret), he signed an agreement with Zondervan to sell his own study notes in the text of a Bible that everyone knows has gagged God's words for the sake of pacifying the feminists.

There's no debating these simple facts. Readers may differ concerning the reason MacArthur did this, but it's certain he made the decision to sell the neutered Bible he had previously opposed because of its unfaithfulness to the text of Scripture.

Second, the Bible commands us to exclude men from ministry who are greedy:

Inoffensive "Bibles" bear toxic fruit...

London's Mail Online reports: "Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject the devil’ during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony. The new wording is designed to be easier to understand... In the original version, the vicar asks: ‘Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?’ Prompting the reply: ‘I reject them.’ They then ask: ‘Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?’, with the answer: ‘I repent of them.’ 

But under the divisive reforms, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and already being practised in 1,000 parishes, parents and godparents are asked to ‘reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises’ – with no mention of the devil or sin. The new text ...also drops the word ‘submit’ in the phrase ‘Do you submit to Christ as Lord?’ because it is thought to have become ‘problematical’, especially among women who object to the idea of submission."

Yes, yes; "the new wording is designed to be easier to understand." Reading this news piece reminded me of the corruption of the text of Scripture in our new Bible versions. Reformed Evangelicals justified it too with the claim they were making Scripture "easier to understand." But it's all bunk. The problem our new Bibles are designed to address is not readers' lack of understanding, but the text's offensiveness. And if we're honest, we'll admit we've only begun our quest to render God's word innocuous.

Why stop with the removal of words like "Jews," "old wives tales," "man," "brothers," and "effeminate" when words like "devil," "rebellion," "sin," "submit," and "repent" remain in the text? And why do we have such little faith in the understanding of simple Christians. It was not always that way.

Starting in the seventeenth century, the Protestant, Reformed Christians of New England had one of the highest...

Tolkien and Bilbo: a little Christmas gift to you and yours...

My family loves me, so they put up with my idiosyncrasies. One was the subject of several jocular comments during our early Christmas celebration several days ago. Our good readers know how I drone on about Christians confessing our faith by not giving up the name "man" for our race.

I'll cop to it. When Christians employ "human," "humankind," and "person" in place of "man," I get facial tics. Pagans bashing in the chest of English usage to conform to their homogenized world of androgynous beings doesn't bother me at all. But when Christians do it, I wonder where they DO choose to confess their faith? If language doesn't matter, why did God say "let there be light?" He didn't need to.

And why do we bother naming our sons and daughters? Why do we call God "Father," and why did He name our race "adam?"

Here's a little Christmas gift for y'all. A Christian brother forwarded a link to this crowd-sourced lament about Tolkien making Bilbo a boy. Trying to be helpful, they provide links to machines that reverse the oppressive patriarchy of historic English. So I tried to explain...

Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson: a postmodern morality play...

Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good
They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home
Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone

But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

-Bob Dylan, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Although a number of men I'm close to have loved the show for quite some time, yesterday in our pastors meeting I was told Duck Dynasty is one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and I was floored. I've never really gotten reality shows. More recently I haven't gotten FB, either. Everybody shouting at their friends that they just went gluten-free. Scintillating ain't it?

So yeah, the Robertsons are fun and I'd like to blow their duck call once or twice to hear why it made them rich. Is it "Queeeeaaaaaaaaauuuck" or just "Quack Quack?"

In fact, Duck Dynasty's success is mostly about money... {C}

Sermon notes: Galatians Series, Number 8...

So, ask yourself—or rather, ask the Holy Spirit—what possible benefit you might receive from His use of the family relationship of "brothers" as His form of address of groups of Christians, many of whom not only did not share the same blood relationship, but also did not share the same ethnic or racial background? What might this teach you?

Well, for both men and women, it teaches us that we are a part of a new family—and one, not of our own choosing, but of the Holy Spirit’s election. No longer is our identity to be taken from our own cultural heritage, but rather from the call of God to the Church of Jesus Christ, within which we are all fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters of one another. What a tender designation to comfort the hearts of those who have grown up in homes permeated by strife, families abandoned by mothers and fathers who cared more about their own pleasure than the wellbeing of their offspring.

God has called us to Himself and, by that call, made us members of His Own Household, the Church. And within the Church, we are not Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but we are all one in Christ—brothers of God’s household.

NOTE: This is number 8 in a series on Galatians. If this is your first time reading sermon notes here, please take time to read a helpful explanation at the bottom of this post.

From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd

December 28, 2003; AM
Galatians Series No. 8
For I Would Have You Know, Brethren
Sermon Text: Galatians 1:11-24

This Lord’s Day, we turn to our eighth in a series of sermons on the New Testament book of Galatians...

Mondays with Bill: Bill Mounce won't allow HIS wife to call him "Lord"...

...just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "Lord," and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. - 1Peter 3:6

Bill Mounce is a New Testament scholar who sits on both the feminist New International Version 2011's Committee on Bible Translation funded by Zondervan and the anti-feminist English Standard Version's New Testament committee funded by Good News Publishers/Crossway. How does Dr. Mounce spread his feet between translation responsibilities for both feminist and anti-feminist Bibles?

Bill Mounce is able to keep one foot in both camps because he's a complementarian. Calling himself a "complementarian," Bill Mounce did a post recently telling the world that, despite the Apostle Peter's commendation of Sarah calling her husband "Lord," he himself would most certainly never allow his wife to call him "Lord." In fact, says Dr. Mounce, if my wife addressed me in any way similar to the way Sarah addressed her husband, "I would see it as a failure to lead on my part"...

We'll return to Dr. Mounce's post in a minute, but first let's set the context for Mounce's errors within the world of Evangelicalism...

Thank God for Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile...

A week or two ago, Thabiti Anyabwile, a faithful Reformed pastor from the Cayman Islands, ran a post calling for Reformed Christians to recover their ability to feel shame and revulsion at sodomitic practices (The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and "Gay Marriage"). Pastor Anyabwile pointed out how those practices perverted God's sexual design and this made his readers mad, so they inundated Pastor Anyabwile's blog with catcalls and rotten tomatoes and Pastor Anyabwile apologized.

Through many years working with men and women fighting against temptations to same-sex intimacy, I've learned the precious truth that the straight and narrow road of Christian faith runs right next to the straight and narrow road of body parts and shame... {C}

Announcing the Tim Keller study Bible...

Publishers dream about Bibles because they are the cornerstone of publishing profits. Putting out a new Bible translation can assure a publisher's profitablity for generations, but short of a new translation, study Bibles do almost as well.

In a recent interview, Christianity Today's Global Publishing Director, Cliff Johnson, spoke of the profitability of Christianity Today's study Bibles:

Both the NIV Student Bible and the Quest Study Bible have been some of the most visible Christianity Today Bible products. Both were done with Zondervan and have produced ongoing revenue streams for quite some time now.

Tim Keller has been hitting doubles and triples with his books the past few years. Now he's going for the cycle with Christianity Today's recent announcement of the Faith and Work Bible to be marketed under the Keller/Redeemer trademark. Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith explains the Keller study Bible...

Copyright and Christian publishing, today...

If technology is behind many evils, although I wouldn't put it at the top of the list, the aggressive lobbying of publishers for expansion of their copyrights would be way up there. You know a recurrent theme here is the click we all are forced to perform before new software installations and updates: "Yes, I've read and agree with your 10,000 words of legalese here binding me to give notice to Apple if I ever put on a pair of socks again without explicit permission from Apple's in-house socks permissions department. And no, I will never, ever eat an apple again without paying you a user fee. Promise and cross my heart." You know the routines and the lies it's made pervasive.

But this is almost the least toxic part of the abuse of copyright, today. We have Christians threatening lawsuits against those who copy works in the public domain when those works are not and cannot be covered by copyright, so their threat is a lie. We have Bibles copyrighted when the Holy Spirit inspired every word, and Moses, Kings David and Solomon, and the Apostle Paul did the work and have been dead for many centuries. We have Mickey Mouse getting an extension of royalties for Disney simply because he has well-paid lawyers and lobbyists buying legislators who think making the Disney corporation filthy richer is fine because Disney is next to apple pie and motherhood.

It's a mess and we all need to remind ourselves that there's another way for believers...

For new Christians, a simple explanation of how to buy a Bible...

Do you have a Bible you hold and open and read and write notes in? Not a Bible app, but a real printed Bible? You ought to and here's a post giving some recommendations for choosing and using your Bible, as well as some recommendations for a few books you should have on hand as helps in your Bible reading.

As you read, always keep in mind that the Bible is the only book without error: 

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. - 2Peter 1:20,21

No other book is so worthy of our delight and constant meditation:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. - 2Timothy 3:16,17

In Scripture we come to know the character, the perfections, of the Only True God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here we have revealed to us the origin and nature of man, unique among all creation. Man alone (both men and women) bears the Image of God, although by virtue of the federal headship of Adam he is wracked by sin. Here joyfully we meet Jesus our beloved Savior. Here we read of His love for lost and sinful man. Here we are brought to His Cross and promised eternal life if we believe on Him. Here we find everything we need to lead a godly life in Christ Jesus.

Read this book as close to once a year as you can. And never ever excluding the Old Testament. And as you read, don't hesitate to mark up your Bible...