I had the privilege this morning of preaching a sermon on the resurrection of Jesus Christ called “Peter: Before and After.” Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The resurrection of Jesus Christ changed Peter from a man full of bravado and cowardice to a man full of boldness and courage, and it can do the same for us!
Archive for March, 2013
“What’s the best translation of the Bible? Which one do you recommend?” I hear those questions fairly regularly as a pastor and teacher. Here’s how I usually answer.
The most important feature of any Bible translation is how close it is to the original. If we’re to know what to believe and how to behave, it’s crucial that we have an accurate translation of the Word of God in our language. Translating the very words of God from one language to another is serious business and we want to make sure we’ve gotten it right.
For that reason, essentially literal translations of the Bible are best by far. The New American Standard Bible (1995 Update) probably the most literal of all modern English versions. The English Standard Version is a close second in my opinion. The New King James Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible are also good.
Slightly farther away from the original meaning of God’s Word are translations that attempt to translate thought-for-thought instead of word-by-word. These would include the New International Version and the New Living Translation.
Versions of the Bible that are farthest away from essentially literal are paraphrases such as The Living Bible and The Message.
Paraphrases sacrifice accuracy for the sake of readability ans simplicity. Thought-for-thought translations are readable, but often miss important nuances in the original languages. Essentially literal translations are the most accurate and faithful to the original, but sacrifice readability at times.
I recommend the English Standard Version for both its accuracy and readability. I love the New American Standard Bible, but it doesn’t read as smoothly as I would like (even after the 1995 update).
Having said all of that, my answer is this: The best translation of the Bible is the one you actually read. If you have the most accurate translation of God’s Word ever produced, it doesn’t do you one bit of good if you never open it up and read it.
This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (or Palm Sunday as we know it) from Matthew 21:1-11. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus is the King we need and the King we have, may we submit to and obey Him.
I couldn’t watch the TrailBlazer game live last night because I was working on my sermon (some things are more important than my beloved basketball team), so I decided to record it on the DVR. I heard the score before I had a chance to watch the game even though I tried hard to avoid it. The Blazers beat the Atlanta Hawks fro the second straight road win!
Knowledge of the result of the game changed the way I watched it. When the Blazers fell behind by double digits, I wasn’t worried, nervous, or anxious because I knew that, in the end, they’d win. I enjoyed the rookie-of-the-year play of Damian Lillard, the thunderous dunks of J.J. Hickson, and the hot shooting of Wesley Matthews, knowing it would end in a victory. Neither Meyers Leonard getting elbowed upside the head (hard) nor some questionable officiating could shake my optimism. I could watch with a sense of calmness because I knew how the game would end.
Shouldn’t it be the same with my Christian life? I know how it’s going to end, don’t I? Yes, I do! In this life, we know that “God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). In the next life, we know that, as Christians, we will be with the Lord – “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8).
Whether in this life or the next, I know the result or the outcome – God works all things for my good in order to conform me to the image of Christ His Son (Rom. 8:29), and I will be with Him not because of my works or goodness, but because of His grace and mercy in Christ. Knowing how things end should change the way I live before the face of God (Coram Deo).
I had the privilege of preaching this morning on the subject of biblical conversion. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Conversion, brought about by God’s initiative brings forth the following fruits – a love for Jesus, a hatred for sin, a love for God’s Word, a love for truth, and a love for God’s people.