Understanding the "beginning..."

Even as the ESV translation committee has been deliberating the meaning of "slave," CTW's translation committee has been discussing the difficulties inherent in translating the Biblical word "beginning." In this video we draw back the curtain on the deliberations of this august body as they diligently strive to render God's Word for a new generation. (DB)


Is that John Wayne from The Green Berets above Hunter's head?

Yes it is. I believe that the caption is: "Life is tough, but its tougher if you're stupid."

The opening back alley shot (complete with gas and electric meters and a truck bay) is such a funny comparison to the majestic halls of Tyndale House, Cambridge!

This whimsical video lampoons an ongoing development within evangelicalism that is as deadly as a heart attack.

For many centuries, the Word of God existed only in languages which the people of God no longer understood (i.e. in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin), so that reading portions of Scripture to those who were merely illiterate no longer availed to convey its message. Nor was the heavy dependence of the Church's worship effective to the same end. Many authorities estimate that upwards of 85 percent of the liturgies in the Book of Common Prayer are either quotations, paraphrases, or allusions to Biblical texts, a feature of that Prayer Book which is, no doubt, replicated in the Latin liturgies of the preceding centuries.

But, what if no one except clerics and academics can understand Latin?

And, so, the great mass of the Church was left dependent on those clerics and academics to tell it what the Scriptures were saying. That condition became deplorable and in our day is becoming deplorable all over again within evangelicalism.

The lucidity, the simple clearness of the Bible's content has, for at least a century now, been clouded by a noxious subjectivism claiming the mantle of piety. Imputing to the Holy Ghost purely novel notions of the Bible's meaning has transformed the Bible into a sort of Pavlovian bell, to trigger a sort of spiritual salivation in the minds of the ostensibly pious.

But, if one rightly insists that the meaning of Scripture depends not on the reader but the Writer thereof, then a wholly different attack may be launched against the lucidity of the Writer's message: "Who knows what 'beginning' actually means?" Or, "We can't translate 'doulos' with 'slave' which has irredemably negative connotations today."

Today evangelicalism sports a clericalism that far surpasses ~anything~ typical of Romanism. Evangelicalism's Curia is ensconsed in academe's leafy bowers. It surpasses Rome's Pope with as many popes as it pleases ("My pope is better than your pope, and any of them as better than that doddering old fuddy duddy at the Vatican!").

And, what vests this passle of Protestant popes with power? Why it's the Bible! Except what that Bible is saying, what that Bible even means, is now mediated by the Protestant popes (or, whoever among them you choose), who alone -- by virtue of their great learning, scholarship, and intellectual prowess -- are able to tell us what the Bible ~really~ means.

Our English translations of the Scriptures is not dependable as to the Bible's message, you see. Look at how much they vary from one to another! Look at how often they change in the Christian bookstores! Look at how frequently the assured results of scholarship prompt us to revise our pitifully parochial misunderstandings of the Bible!

Gadzooks!! Can you imagine a religious text any more homophobic than any English translation prior to 2000? Or any Christian authority so anti-female than the disgustingly patriarchal English versions prior to 1990?

I remember some of these issues coming up when learning Greek in semetary as we learned vocabulary.

The winners get to write the lexicons. And when every cemitarian reads that doulos means servant, every pastor trained by them will be as enlightened as the ESV committee.

Sorry I'm so dense, but what's your point?
Summarize in a sentence or two.

Fr. Bill is perhaps best summarized by noted writer and Reformed Baptist, Pastor Phil Johnson:

"My own assessment would be that evangelicalism's spiritual condition at the beginning of the twenty-first century is reminiscent of the medieval church just prior to the Protestant Reformation.

"No, I take it back. Things are much worse among evangelicals today than they were in the Catholic Church in those days."

"The Worst of Times: Evangelicalism in Critical Condition," July 2005


Great article by Phil Johnson. I agree with him. And why does Tim Keller need a publishing arm added to the little Redeemer Empire? Why can't pastors be content to preach and care for the flock? (How could he? He probably has no idea who his flock are.) Always a grab for power and influence. Ecclesiastes is so relevant.

>>> Why can't pastors be content to preach and care for the flock?

The problem isn't the wide dissemination of the truth -- let that be proclaimed everywhere by every available means. The problem is it's not the truth that's being proclaimed.

Yup, you're right.

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