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Showing posts from December, 2018

You Can Do Better, NIV (Part 2)

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Acts 4:32-37 offers a fascinating depiction of life in the earliest years of the Church. These verses tell us that believers were of one heart and mind, and shared everything. So much so that folks would sell property and bring the proceeds to the apostles for distribution to those in need. This brief section concludes with an example of someone named Joseph doing exactly that.

In the midst of these verses, Acts 4:33-34 offer a great example of the differences between English translations. Check out these verses in the NIV and NRSV.


33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales... (NIV)
33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person …

Merry Christmas.

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The first two chapters of Luke are just a flurry of action and scene changes.

Then in Luke 2:19, there is a pause. We are given a moment to catch our breath, because Mary has been given a moment to catch her breath.

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."


This verse has always fascinated me. It's really not that profound. The Greek behind it isn't that complex or anything. I'll tell you why I like it. In the midst of surprise pregnancies, surprise road trips, surprise lodgings, and surprise visitors, the Gospel tries to remind us that Mary is taking it all in and trying to understand it. Probably the same way you and I would be taking it all in and trying to understand it. Frankly, the Bible doesn't always seem concerned with the head space of it's main characters. When it does, it's refreshing. After the events of the first two chapters, Luke says that Mary needed some time to think. To ponder what she had been through…

You can do better, NIV (Part 1)

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In Genesis 25:19, a man named Isaac prays to YHWH for his wife Rebekah, who is barren.

Now you may not know this, but when it comes to the Bible, there is one surefire way to have a baby.

Be barren.

Sarai was barren (Genesis 11:30). Then she gave birth to Isaac.

Rachel was barren (Genesis 29:31). Then she gave birth to Joseph and later Benjamin.

Manoah was barren (Judges 13:2). Then she gave birth to Samson.

Hannah was barren (1 Samuel 1:5-6). Then she gave birth to Samuel.

Elizabeth was barren (Luke 1:7). Then she gave birth to John.

Rebekah was barren, Isaac prayed, Rebekah was barren no longer. In fact, it turns out she was pregnant with twins, and it was a rough pregnancy. Almost all English translations of Genesis 25:22 describe the children as struggling with each other inside her. The ongoing wrestling match inside of her leads Rebekah to cry out something like, "Why is this happening to me?" or "If it is to be this way, why do I live?", depending on which t…