Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Bible Experience-- a Great Christmas Gift

I got home from the SBL to find waiting for me this huge box from Zondervan. Christmas came quite early. Perhaps you are not much into audio books. Perhaps you do not spend a lot of time riding in a car, and would rather here music anyway on such trips. But I have to tell you that you need to make an exception, and to help this along you can actually choose the all MP3 version of the entire Bible rather than the CDs of the whole set. Why? Because this is the best audio Bible of all time. When I was at the SBL meeting in SBL I watched the trailers for the Bible Experience and was very moved. To the left here is what you will find on the Zondervan web sight if you Google it, and I would encourage you to go and watch the samples.

This project is remarkable in many ways. In the first place, for the first time we have a modern inclusive language translation (the TNIV) dramatically read verbatim from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. This along makes it a worthwhile project as it is so easy to listen to and easier to comprehend than many translations.

Secondly, these dramatic readers are not just any readers. Some of them are some of the great African American actors of our time, and they definitely know how to bring the text to life--- Samuel L. Jackson, Blair Underwood, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Cuba Gooding Jr., Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Levar Burton (the star of that great classic 'Roots' ) and so many others, including many African American ministers who have 'preacher voice'. I have to say hearing Blair Underwood as Jesus, and Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of God in the NT is pretty compelling stuff.


Thirdly, this production comes with sound effects and music. The theme for the Bible Experience sounds rather like the Hans Zimmer theme for Gladiator-- it is stirring and gets the blood pumping. You will hear snatches of this right along throughout the readings. You will also hear the ocean, sea gulls, crowds, various noises as well along the way to add a little color and flavor in the background of the reading. Mostly this works, though sometimes it is a little distracting. And in some places one could have wanted some music, where there was none. It is hard sometimes to figure why one might have music in some of these segments, but not in others. One of the interesting features is that often rather than have just one person reading a particular book the actors will trade off and male and female voices will trade off. This works quite well. There is also the interesting feature that God speaks directly (and this entails at various points not reading the phrase 'says/ declares the Lord', understandably).

The box set of the whole Bible has a few drawbacks. The CDs come in sleeves rather than jewel cases, so if you want to take a particular disc and listen to it in the car, you have to bring a spare case with you. The set as a whole is so large that it will not conveniently fit into a car's central CD container, but this is a minor complaint.

I will also tell you that the doing of this project clearly had a dramatic effect on some of the readers. Some of them, like Denzel Washington, were already Christians, but some who were not were enormously moved by doing this. God's Word comes alive! As Levar Burton says-- "there is no rattling off the Bible". Once you get caught up in its dramatic reading, you find yourself swept up and carried along to places you did not expect to go. The trailer of Blair Underwood reading the lines of Jesus in the Gospels is itself worth having.

So, are you looking for a gift that keeps on giving? A gift that could save some souls, without being confrontational? A gift that makes the Word come alive? This is the Christmas gift for you. The MP3 version of the complete Bible is a very reason $50.00 or so, depending on who you order it from. The full version of all the CDs is closer to $80.00, but heck this is way better than spending such money on a couple of Xbox games or controllers.

Be a blessing this Christmas--- give the Bible Experience. You won't regret it :)

43 comments:

Marc Axelrod said...

How can anything be better than a couple of XBox controllers (grin!)?

I used to lug around a cd carrying case that held 200 cds. But being able to have my entire CD collection on one small handheld MP3 player is awesome! Sounds like if you don't have an MP3 player already, it may be worth getting one just to have this audio Bible handy.

You'll have to find someone in one of your classes who is tech savvy and has the time to load up an ipod for you :)
Marc

Israel said...

I'm guessing you don't have any issue with the fact that it's the TNIV version then?

Ben Witherington said...

Indeed, I would say that the TNIV is the best translation there is out there at the moment, especially on the issue of faithfully rendering what the original language text says.

BW3

aslan said...

Prof. Ben,

I brought the TNIV large print edition and read daily.
The message is very clear and the verbal also fine. Great read.

I also brought TNIV Audio mp3 also come from Zondervan other than your got Experience. It also have clear sound.

I also got your book "The Living Word of God" from Amazon yesterday.
I am reading it.
Your response to Bart Ehrman also great. I whole heart agree you said, "But Bart, fundamentalism with its wooden hermeneutic and its view of what must be be the case about the truth claims of the Bible is by no means the only possible orthodox point of view. It's not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water, especially when we are talking about the baby Jesus!"

Wayne Leman said...

I agree with you, Ben. This is a super gift for Christmas. I have linked to your recommendation.

Please also note how we can return a Christmas gift to the CBT as they revise the TNIV.

K.W. Leslie said...

I should add that there really is no substitute for good actors reading the bible. I gave up on dramatized bibles years ago because so many of the actors on such bibles were really cheesy. It made the text laughable. Blair Underwood was brilliant casting as Jesus; it's a shame no producer in Hollywood would have the guts to actually cast him as Jesus in a visual production. (I'm not sure why. There have been so many white Jesuses; it's about time there was a black one.)

I first heard The Bible Experience back in Easter when iTunes was giving away a free sample. It's quite brilliant. The New Testament is also available there... but there's really no substitute for having the whole bible.

As for it being the TNIV: I find the NIV texts a little annoying in that they aren't very consistent with the UBS/NA New Testaments. It's easy to read, but I don't care for it for study. But if you're doing serious study of the bible, why would you be doing it in English?

In any case this is an audio bible, not a study bible. And if it provokes you by making you say, "Does it really say that?" (much like The Message frequently does to me) and gets you to study God's word more closely, then it's done its job.

Israel said...

"Indeed, I would say that the TNIV is the best translation there is out there at the moment, especially on the issue of faithfully rendering what the original language text says."

Indeed, you are the only person I have ever encountered with a scholarly background to think so, or anything even close to it.

And frankly I could not disagree more, but then I am no Hebrew scholar. Certainly though, MANY Hebrew scholars decry this translation, and I know that would not be news to you.

Do you have a comparison of Bible translations anywhere? I would be interested to see where other modern translations such as the God's Word Translation fit.

Honestly, I don't know what to think right now. Your endorsement of the TNIV is shocking to me.

For the record, I won the Bible Experience, or at least the NT part of it. I enjoy it, it's fun.

ElShaddai Edwards said...

Levar Burton (the star of that great classic 'Roots' )

Surely Mr. Burton is far more known for his role as Geordi La Forge on 'Star Trek: Next Generation'?

Ben Witherington said...

Dear Israel:

Yes, I do have something in print on this. See my book the Living Word of God, and the chapter entitled 'How to Pick a Translation without Losing your Religion'.

I must say I am astounded at what you say. Not only is the NIV the best selling translation in the whole Evangelical world, it is one of the translations most often recommended by Evangelical scholars of all denominations! It is a translation done solely and wholly by Evangelicals! If you've been listening to the anti-everything new, and especially anti-inclusive language crowd then it's time to listen to someone else.

If you were to go to the ETS meetings or the IBR meetings (where Evangelical Bible scholars hang out) you would find this translation in abundance.

Blessings,

Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

Levar Burton won the Emmy for his performance in Roots, not so much for his performances in sci-fi.

R. Mansfield said...

Israel, go to http://www.tniv.com/index.php?page=who&name=recommends and you'll find quite a few scholarly endorsements for the TNIV in the list including Dr. Witherington's.

Daisy said...

I remember Jordi LaForge better than I remember "Roots" and I remember "Reading Rainbow" even better. "Roots" was 30 years ago. Many people out there who are picking up the Bible Experience asking "What was Roots?"

But I really like the Bible Experience and there is a really great cast on this project.

Daisy said...

Levar Burton won 8 Emmys (nominated probably 12 times at least) for Reading Rainbow but he never won the Emmy for "Roots". He was nominated.

Michael Gilley said...

Reading Rainbow. I watched that as a kid.

I am under the impression that most of the slack TNIV has received was chiefly from inclusion of genders, races, and ethnicities, which seems to be more of an interpreter's preference where as the actual language may not have literally included all people (i.e. 'men' vs. 'people'). I'm sure you touched on this in your book, Ben, but I haven't been able to purchase it yet after the other two in the trilogy. Would you say this is correct?

Nathan said...

As a self-confessed evangelical, I sometimes have problems with the NIV. Part of that translation's strength is its dynamic approach to translation, which makes for an extremely readable text, but that is also its greatest weaknesses. There are a number of places where the NIV text is clearly as much interpretation as translation (Romans 12:1 comes immediately to mind). That said, I do use it for daily devotions, just not so much if I plan to make some theological argument.

As for LeVar Burton: Roots, Star Trek--Surely everyone knows that his most compelling role of all was . . . Reading Rainbow!

Bob said...

Ben,
I thought the translation of choice among the SBL folks would be the NRSV

Israel said...

Ben, as a scholar (you, not me), to posit an argument that the number of sales of a Bible somehow relates to it's scholarship. I feel stupid talking like this to someone so learned, but to have you go directly to a consensus argument is, well embarrassing.

Perhaps you missed my reference to the GOD'S WORD TRANSLATION http://www.godsword.org If you are aware of that translation, you'd know that I most certainly am NOT in the anti-everything (but the KJV) crowd at all. I run the world's largest Bible podcast, as far as we can tell, and we use the GOD'S WORD TRANSLATION for it. See here: http://www.godsipod.com

Please don't pretend to be "astounded" that I would say such things Ben. You are being dishonest if you claim you are not aware of such things as the Joint letter of 100 Christian Leaders in opposition to the TNIV. See: http://www.familylifetoday.com/resources/tniv.asp

Letter like this and several other organized by other denominations and religious circles have flatly condemned the use of the TNIV. From what I can tell, those supporting the TNIV are certainly in the minority.

Zondervan, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, owner of most Mainstream Media also blacking out dark-horse Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, has a long history of ignoring Evangelical leaders that have expressed a less than glowing report on their products. It has not gone unnoticed that Zondervan is your primary publisher. Enough said.

As great as I feel some of your work is, you have raised certain issues for me that I need to personally evaluate. I no longer feel I can accept your work as I once had. In all honestly, I feel a little suckered in.

Julie said...

I watched the video on the website and it seems pretty cool. The only thing I question is using a different voice for God in the New and Old Testaments. I know people often tend to be Marcion but do we need to be encouraging it?

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Israel:

Firstly, I have never even heard of, or ever seen the God's Word translation, and I certainly do not translate sales=quality.

Secondly, so far as I can see those folks who signed that letter are objecting either: 1) because they don't like inclusive language; 2) because they are opposed to women in ministry; 3) because they prefer a more literal translation, as if literal made it easier to understand, which often it does not. None of these are good or valid reasons to reject a translation.

In other words, there are a variety of reasons why they oppose it, but frankly, this is not the view of most Evangelicals worldwide, so far as I can tell.

I know many of the translators of the NIV and TNIV and they are most certainly orthodox Evangelical Christians. The teams who made these translations are very different from, say the translators of the RSV or NRSV which involved a wider theological spectrum. It is rather ironic that the modern advocates of the ESV are in fact offering a translation which is a modified version of the old RSV, a translation involving various non-Evangelical scholars. It is mildly humorous when these folks pretend they have a more conservative translation than the NIV or TNIV.

It needs to be understood that every translation, even the most literal is already an interpretation. Some translations are more literal, some more idiomatic, but in my view the bottom line is meaning-- what best conveys the original meaning of this or that verse? A purely literal translation doesn't do that in various cases because the idioms in one language are different from the idioms in another, to give one example.

I am certainly relieved you are not in the anti-everything that isn't old camp.

Blessings,

Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

P.S. I have never ever published any of my books with Zondervan Press, so please try to be a little more accurate whilst you are critiquing me. The only thing I ever have done with them is a couple of videos for the Deeper Connections DVD series. That's all.

Israel said...

My sincere apologies about thinking you published with Zondervan. It was your latest video work with Zondervan that gave me that impression.

It is still pretty clear that you're in the minority in your support of the NIV/TNIV. I believe there's many good reasons for that. I love the Bible Experience, but for an accurate translation, I encourage you and your readers to take a look at the little-known underdog of translations, The GOD'S WORD Translation. An unfortunate and silly name for a Bible translation I agree, but an excellent translation none-the-less.

GodsWord.org

Ben Witherington said...

I've now gone to the God's Word Trans. website and have requested a list of the OT and NT scholars who did this translation. Honestly, I teach and preach all over the world, and the NIV is in the pews all over the world from Hong Kong to Singapore to Australia to South Africa to Scotland to the U.S. It's ubiquitous.

Blessings,
Ben

Luke said...

Israel,

I highly doubt that you even know the original languages (Hebrew and Greek), so you really have no basis at all to evaluate these translations because this is the only way you can evaluate them.

Your comments make me very weary because we have dozens of translations of the Bible, and most of these are very good, and millions of people don't even have 1 translation in their native language. To argue and bicker about 1 translation that Calvinistic scholars signed a letter against because mainly of inclusive language and male dominance is simply ridiculous. There are very many reputable, evangelical scholars that endorse the TNIV. Gordon D. Fee is the person who got me reading it, and I have not looked back since, and he is an excellent scholar.

Also, to question Ben's authenticity and credibility as a scholar simply because he likes the TNIV is a bit extreme don't you think? If this is the case, you're going to have to boycott alot of good scholar's works. Also, to even argue with a scholar like Dr. Witherington when you probably have no credentials yourself is sort of stepping over the lines. Simply because John Piper and Wayne Grudem have signed a little petition against a translation does not make it bad and incorrect.

Bottom line: don't get caught up in the "which translation is the best" mess because it is not fruitful and is very divisive. Basically, you're wasting your time. Any student of God's word that doesn't know the original languages should have several translations anyways, because chances are each individual translation has problems with it. Your complaints do not reflect upon Ben's credibility, but rather on your immaturity.

Also, that was a little under the belt about Dr. Witherington and Zondervan. None of the books I have from Dr. Witherington are even published by Zondervan. If anybody is marketing here, it's you with your God's Word translation and not Dr. Witherington with Zondervan.

Shirley said...

Very interesting--both the recommendation and the discussion here.My eldest son will have his 50th birthday at the end of the month--perhaps this would make a fine gift.

God bless all.

Shirley Buxton
www.shirleybuxton.wordpress.com

aslan said...

israel,

Please read the following shorter book. It's most helpful for the the translations of Bible. It written for laypeople.

How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions
by Gordon D. Fee , Mark L. Strauss

If you doubt Prof. Ben recommendation, Evanglical scholars circle still have Donald Carson, Gordon Fee, Richard France, Craig Blomberg....etc.to endorsed this text. They have sound original text background.

Find and read Carson and Blomberg's articles online about TNIV, its free. Great read.

I also have God's Word version, I have read it before. Good read for casual reading. When it compare with the TNIV, its obvious not accurate than TNIV.

May be English for you is secondary language like me(I am a Chinese, living in Hong Kong), so you choose an easy to read version.

Israel said...

Thank you Luke. I am studying Hebrew actually. And I do know a little Greek, he runs a fish chip shop down on 3rd St.

Now you built a straw man, so let's just deal with that bit first. I never once claimed any translation as the best. Done.

I never questioned Ben's scholarly fitness. It is his very prestige that made me question why he would use a consensus argument in defense of the NIV/TNIV. Beyond belief, he did it again, "the NIV is in the pews all over the world from Hong Kong to Singapore to Australia to South Africa to Scotland to the U.S. It's ubiquitous."

No study of Hebrew is absent a good chunck of philosophy and argumentation. Ben knows full well that a consensus appeal is the weakest of arguments. For a rather brilliant scholar such as Ben (and I do not say that facetiously) to be using such a form of apologetics in relation to the very Word of God is discouraging and leads one to wonder, "well, if THAT'S your strongest argument, that everyone else has it, so I should use it too, then we need all the more reject this translation". Being ubiquitous is no more valid a reason for using the NIV/TNIV than it would be to say that all Christians need to be Southern Baptists. Even though, well, some do.

As Christians, we don't come to the truth by following trends or what is popular. Indeed what we have learned through history is that if the majority believe/accept something, it's most likely wrong. The truth is usually the exact opposite of what is popular.

And Luke, attack the argument, not the person.You don't know who I am. I am not completely sheltered from the topic at hand.

When a SCHOLAR presents his chosen translation and then is questioned about it and offers nothing more than an appeal to consensus, I think it's probably good to raise this and discuss it. I do not need to be a scholar on a similar level in order to raise simple issues with one's logic. You are then making a poor argument by an appeal to expertise. This is often called Expertism and is again a weak argument. When God chose 12 people to turn the world upside down, he DIDN'T choose experts. Noah built the ark, EXPERTS built the Titanic. I am hoping again that Ben also is not also going in this direction by asking for a list of WHO translated the GWT. Should not a translation stand on its own rather than be defined by WHO translated it.

Aslan. You say the GWT is obviously less accurate than the NIV. Based upon what? Your casual reading? The GWT translation is used by many of the Jewish outreach organizations BECAUSE they feel it is indeed the first Bible to translate many scriptures regarding the Jews correctly, negating the need for them (as they do when using the NIV) to explain to a Jewish person what this scripture actually says in the original languages. But my posts were not to parade the GWT. I just find it a bit of a laugh to consider the NIV to be more accurate than the GWT.

And is my grasp of English really so bad that you would think English is my second language. Shucks. Maybe I should be studying English not Hebrew :) English is very definitely my first language.

Ben Witherington said...

Israel a translation should be measured by a wide variety of criteria, one of which is readability. That the NIV is read by millions does in fact show it is very readable. You suggested in your first post that it wasn't the most read or popular translation amongst Evangelicals, I pointed out that the number of users suggests otherwise. This is far from the most important issue, but you raised it. Secondly, it does matter who translated a Bible. It matters a lot. Would you say-- "it doesn't matter who fixed my car?" or "it doesn't matter who does surgery on me?" Of course it does. I will look forward to seeing the list and see if in fact it is done by those who know what they are doing in making a translation. I noticed on the website that the endorsements are almost entirely by pastors and lay people, some of whom I know, and some of whom don't know the original languages at all. Of the two scholars whose blurbs I could find, one is known, the other is unknown. Translation requires expertise, and no one is an expert in every verse of the Bible. This is why one needs a good team of translators. Finally, of course its true that any translation should finally be weighed against the original language text. But the only people who can adequately do that are those who know the original languages in detail. Not novices. So,I look forward to seeing the list.

One of the things that mystifies me a bit about the endorsements on that website is the one from the Billy Graham Association. I have done events with them, and have recently done various events at their retreat center in the mountains of N.C.-- the Cove. I have never ever seen that translation there, but I sure have seen the NIV and the TNIV.

Blessings,
Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

Dear Israel:

I have now gotten to the bottom of the God's Word translation issue. It was originally a translation done by a pastor from Cleveland in the 60s and then revamped along the way. I have now read the names of the review committee (not the translators) involved and they are almost all Missouri Synod Lutherans, associated with Concordia Seminary.

I do not see this as a bad thing, but sense as they admit it is basically a translation of one person with review and updates, it still has the limits of any one person translation-- which is that they cannot be an expert in every verse of the Hebrew or Greek Bible. This is why you need team translations.

I have done a little test reading of key passages of the whole translation on the website, and unfortunately it fails the tests in each case.

For example, the translation of Heb. 12.2 reads 'we must focus on Jesus the source and goal of our faith'. There are two huge problems here. First of all no Greek manuscript has the word 'our'. This verse is not about our faith and Jesus being the source of it. Rather it is about Christ being the paramount example of faithfulness and the climax of the hall of faith/faithfulness found in Heb.11. A much better translation would be 'looking to Jesus the trailblazer/pioneer and finisher of faith/faithfulness. In other words, Jesus shows us from start to finish what really trusting God and being faithful looks like from start to finish.

Two more examples will have to suffice. Here the translation mess is even more problematic. The God's Word translation reads: "God's approval begins and ends with faith" for Rom. 1.17b-- what the Greek actually says is "for the righteousness of God has been revealed in it (i.e. in the Gospel) from faith/faithfulness unto faith/ faithfulness." The Greek word dikaiosune does not mean 'approval'.

One last example, Phil. 2.4. The God's Word translation reads "don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others." Unfortunately for this translation there is not a single Greek manuscript that has the word 'only' at this verse. None.

Paul is not saying we should be concerned for ourselves but also for others. He is saying that we should be self-forgetful and self-sacrificial and attend to the needs and interests of others. He then uses Christ in 2.5-11 as the example of completely self-sacrificial behavior.

These errors are common in translations that simply follow the old King James renderings but then try to put them into modern English. I do not know if this was the process, but in any case the results are not reassuring. I will say that this translation is certainly quite readable. But readable needs to be accompanied by accurate, and accurate involves assessing the actual current state of knowledge about the more than 5,000 pieces of NT Greek manuscripts we have, and what the earliest and best readings of those texts say.

Blessings,

Ben W.

Michael Gilley said...

Dr. Witherington:

I have to admit your stating that the TNIV is the "best translation there is out there at the moment" took me be surprise simply because I have never heard that before. Plus, the fact that many (did you say most?) scholars use and endorse this translation. In school (I studied Biblical studies) we close to always used the NASB when dealing with the English. Sometimes the RSV because that's what a lot of the scholars in commentaries use, for example N.T. Wright. I'm curious for your thoughts on the NASB, if you wouldn't care to share please.

I remember one specific bone of contention between the NASB and the NIV (and so the TNIV) is the treatment of 'flesh' (sarx) in Rom. 7.4ff, which is rendered as 'sinful nature' in the NIV and TNIV but in the NASB it is printed as 'flesh' as is closer to the Greek meaning.

Ben Witherington said...

This is just my personal opinion, but I find the NASB to be too woodenly literal, and lacking in literary grace as well, even where the Greek is graceful. I much prefer the translation sinful inclination, rather than flesh for sarx in Rom. 7 since the term is being used in a moral not a physical sense here. I do not like the translation sinful nature, as that is not Paul's view of Christians. The NASB on this particular point is of course more literal, but does not tip off the reader that we are not talking about asceticism here.

Blessings,

Ben W.

Michael Gilley said...

Thank you. This is very interesting. Just out of curiosity, do you have your students use the TNIV in class and on exegeticals?

Ben Witherington said...

This is a seminary. We deal with original languages here. If my students ask, I commend the TNIV for their use.

bethel said...

Just a thought: if the trend of ‘gender-neutral’ terms continue – and I don’t disagree that exchanging ‘son’ for ‘child’, etc in certain texts do nothing to change the original meaning – it may be only a matter of time before future generations of believers grow up with texts like: ‘Husbands and wives, submit to each other as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife; and likewise the wife the head of the husband as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior..’ I don’t mean this as a specious example, but if all-inclusiveness and gender correctness are the standard then, well why not?

We should understand ANE cultures in relation to our own in reading the bible, but should take care not to impose our own cultural and politically correct motivations into the text. Since I haven’t used the TNIV, I cannot say this has happened but the more we try to shape biblical texts into our cultural image, the more risks, I would think, of distortions appearing.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Bethel:

Actually that is exactly what Ephes. 5.21 says, except it refers to everyone, not just husbands and wives. Go back and read it and you will see that 'submit to one another out of reverence for Christ' calls all of us Christians to mutual submission--- all of us. The husband wife relationship is just one example of mutual submission.

Blessings,

Ben W.

bethel said...

Dear Ben,

Yes I agree that Eph 5:21 refers to mutual submission that should reflect a Christian community. But wouldn’t substituting ‘Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord’ in the next verse (v.22) with ‘Husbands and wives, submit to each other as to the Lord’ be a distortion of the text meaning? I say this because Paul goes on in verses 23-24 to illustrate the ‘headship’ model in the husband-wife relationship in comparison with Christ and the Church.

Agape & Blessings,
Keith

yuckabuck said...

bethel said,

"it may be only a matter of time before future generations of believers grow up with texts like: ‘Husbands and wives, submit to each other as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife; and likewise the wife the head of the husband"

I don't think that will happen. Making such a change would be an obvious paraphrase, even if it is an accurate interpretation of Eph 5:21. The gender-neutral wording of some texts in the TNIV is the result of a translational philosophy regarding the semantic ranges of words and what they signified in ancient cultures, not imposing "our own cultural and politically correct motivations into the text."

Most people seem to know the difference between a translation and a paraphrase. Sure, there were a few anecdotes of people quoting The Message like it was inspired, and I heard Zondervan tried to market it as a translation for awhile, but I still think most people "got it" that it was a paraphrase.

I can't see any Christian group (of any persuasion) convincing many people that the Bible TEXT says that husbands should submit to wives, whatever one wants to say about the ideas expressed therein. There may Bibles printed someday that say that, but I think everyone will know it was added to the text.

Ben Witherington said...

The important point is that Ephes. 5.22 has no verb in it in the first clause. It simply reads in the Greek 'wives to husbands as to the Lord...'. This means that whatever submit meant in vs. 21 is carried over to vs. 22, and in vs. 21 it was about mutual submission of all of us to each other. Ergo, Ephes. 5.22ff. should be seen as Paul's explanation of how mutual submission works in Christian marriage. The husbands self sacrificial love for his wife, like Christ, is a form of submission and serving by stepping down and taking on the roles of a servant for sure.

BW3

Ben Witherington said...

P.S. Check out my new Ephesians,Philemon, Colossians commentary on this.

Ben Witherington said...

Pilgrim a sinful inclination is not the same thing at all as inborn sin. It is a tendency, not sin resident within. There is a significant difference. Such an inclination is a defect, it is not the same as having sin within as a 'habitus' or indwelling presence.

BW3

bethel said...

Dear Ben,

Thanks. Will try to source some of your commentaries.

R. Mansfield said...

The first "professional" looking copy of the TNIV has just been released--the TNIV Reference Bible.

It's quite nice with a basic black cover and smyth-sewn binding. This will be the Bible I'll be teaching from at church from now on--at least until they can give me a wide margin edition.

My full review of the TNIV Reference Bible can be found at http://homepage.mac.com/rmansfield/thislamp/files/20071211_TNIVRB_hand_on_review.html

eclexia said...

The TNIV is not my favorite translation (that fluctuates from day-to-day :) , but tends to end up mostly with NLT. BUT, I was totally unprepared for the powerful impact of listening to this audio Bible. I have only purchased the book of Psalms (3.99 from Audible.com) and it resonates with me in powerful ways. I love the variety of readers and the passion and emotion they express.

TheThinker said...

Have you heard the beginning of the Revelation...the guy on the audio says the "Book of Revelations"......


Very nit-picky...but c'mon...re-record and get it right...


Otherwise, I enjoy it :)