Friday, April 27, 2012

NIV 2011

After all the hoopla that's going around over the NIV 2011, I thought I'd comment. This week, I've reviewed scholar after scholar regarding their views on the latest NIV. Several quick conclusions. I believe the NIV is still very solid as a translation and I'm in very good company. Dr. D.A. Carson, Dr. John MacArther, and other very prominant Bible teachers endorse it. I've also had the honor of sitting at the feet of one of its translators, Dr. Douglas Moo, at Trinity and one day in class, he walked us through a typical day of translation for this version. I was extremely impressed with his mastery of the language and the seriousness with which he approached the Text. But what put me over the top in my endorsement of this work was the scholarly review of Dr. Daniel Wallace, Bible translator extraordinaire and arguably America's greatest living Greek scholar. I refer you to his brilliant four-part piece at the following link.

Finally, an appeal to civility. For some reason, in the church, we like to snipe at each other. I continue to be amazed at the almost instinctive reactionary tendencies of some church folk to assume the worst of other brothers and sisters in Christ. So many live in constant fear, hyper-suspicious of any change. Whether it's a change in their church's color of carpet or an update in the language of their favorite translation, church people are quick to throw precious children of God under the bus, run over them, and back up to do it again. This is not what God had in mind when He said, "4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Cor. 13:4-7 (NIV 2011-Oh yes I did quote from it!). The world and Satan himself laughs at such nonsense. Let's be better than this! Remember, God is love and He expects us to be loving even when we don't agree. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bible Translations

I often get asked which translation is the best. The question is more complicated than it appears because different translations are attempting different goals. The following chart created by C. Michael Patton is very helpful when evaluating translations.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Friend's Tough Decision

The following is an answer to a question from an old friend who just discovered he has a tumor in his ear. He has three choices: 1. Wait and eventually lose hearing. 2. Operate and immediately lose hearing with a very long recovery. 3. Radiate and lose hearing, and possibly cause more cancer. He asked for my opinion. The following is what I wrote him. If you have a difficult decision to make, perhaps this will help.

______, so sorry you and your family are going through this. When I have to make difficult decisions, I follow a grid to guide me composed of five filters: 1. Biblical. What does the Bible give me in terms of direction? Scripture tells us in Romans 12:1-2, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." The text links worshipful devotion to clarity. If I were you, I'd go away for a period of time alone with God and meditate on Scripture in a spirit of prayer. Ask Him what He wants you to do with the situation and how He wants to redeem it. There is a testimony that He is forming through this. Give every part of your heart to Him in this time. Ask Him to reveal anything you may be holding back from Him. There may be nothing, but the process will help you to discern His perfect will more clearly. This discipline has always helped me with huge decisions. 2. Prayer. Obviously, prayer is important. But prayer isn't just one-way communication. God often prompts us in times of prayer. I suggest fasting for a period of time in order to "fasten" yourself to Him more than usual. Fasting has a long history of helping to discern God's will (see Acts 14:23). 3. Counsel. Seek wise counsel from godly people (which is what you are doing in this blog). I listen intently to my wife and to a number of mature mentors in my life when it comes to big decisions. I tell them everything and ask for their honest opinions. God will often confirm His direction through His people (see Prov. 1:5). I've used the question, "If you were in my situation, what would you do?" (which, again, you do in this blog). Very helpful, especially if you get the same answer over and over again from different sources. 4. Circumstances. Sometimes, God tells you His will through open or closed doors. For example, if a treatment that has a highter rate of success statistically opens up to you, that may be God opening a door. If a world renowned specialist suddenly becomes available to treat you, God may be talking. While I don't recommend this very often, with time sensitive issues, there is biblical warrant to assign a date for an obvious "open or closed door." That is to say, you could say to God, after much prayer and devotion, "Lord, I have until this date to make a decision. If I don't hear something to the contrary from You that is so obvious I can't ignore it, I'm going to go with this decision." Gideon did something similar and God blessed him for it (see Gideon's fleece, Judges 6). 5. Passion. Sometimes, the Lord through His Spirit gives us a strong, impossible-to-ignore passion for a certain direction. This prompt can be pleasant and joyful or painful and difficult. Jeremiah didn't want to preach, but his burning heart compelled him to do so (Jer. 20). Paul, however, passionately enjoyed preaching the gospel (1 Cor.9:15-23). Passion towards a certain course may be the Lord's prompting. 6. This is not one of the decision filters, but I think it's very important. Have the elders of your church pray over you and anoint you with oil. I've seen God miraculously heal in this way in my ministry at churches I've pastored (James 5:13-16). Let me close with my opinion of your situation. I'm not claiming this is from God, but it's how your decision hits me initially. If it helps you, great. If not, discard it. If I were in your position, I'd wait a little while to deeply seek God through the above steps. I'd also get a second opinion just to be comprehensive. But, I'd set a date to make a decision. Once that date arrived, barring any new information, I think I'd go with the radiation. From what I understand, it would kill the tumor and possibly shrink it. If that doesn't work, you can always do surgery later. Surgery seems like a radical last step to me. I hope this helps brother. Know that you are in my prayers. Grace, Rusty Hayes