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Jan 5, 2020

In the YouVersion devotional notes for this episode and at the bottom of these program notes in the listening app, you can read about the difference between literal and meaning-based translations. So I think it is a good time, at the beginning of this podcast to say a few words about the two translations I have used in the podcasts. First of all, I agree with what the translators of the NIV said in the Preface to the NIV. They said, “There is no such thing as a perfect translation.” That includes the GNT as well as even the more famous and popular NIV.

The whole purpose of these podcasts is to promote the reading, understanding, and fully believing of God’s Word. Literal translations will include passages that are impossible for modern listeners to assimilate in audio form. So I want to read a version that my listeners can understand even if they are driving to work, or even if they are children like my grandkids. The GNT is a wonderful translation of God’s Word, and I think every English speaking believer should read it at least once in their lives. If you have heard people say bad things about it, that is likely because it caused controversy when it was first introduced and when people were not used to using more than one Bible. If the GNT were released today, there would be no controversy. The NLT is my favorite Bible translation. Its predecessor was the Living Bible, which it cannot be called a faithful translation, but is a paraphrase. The NLT was created with a big team of scholars and is a very reliable meaning-based translation.

Because of my Bible translation experience, there are things that I want to tweak in any translation. Listeners to the podcasts from 2014-16 have not accused me so far of making controversial changes or of being doctrinally biased. The little tweaks I make to the GNT/NLT are intended to help listeners understand the meaning contained in the Biblical source languages, and they are documented at the bottom of the episode notes.

GENESIS 9-10:
In chapter 8 the flood receded. After everyone came out of the boat, Noah made a sacrifice.

JOB 5:
In chapter 4 Eliphaz implied that Job’s guilt was the reason he was being punished:
“Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?
8 NLT My experience shows that those who plant trouble
and cultivate evil will harvest the same.

MARK 4a:
In chapter 3 we have seen that opposition to Jesus was mounting from the Jewish religious leaders. They were already plotting to kill him and saying he performed miracles by the power of Satan.

I want to comment briefly about the sin of blaspheming or reviling the Holy Spirit that we heard about at the end of chapter 3. Some people worry about whether they have done this and committed the unforgivable sin. Note the context here. The experts in the Law were saying the Jesus was working by the power of _Satan_. But Jesus was working by the power of the _Holy Spirit_. A person in a frame of mind like those Law experts will never repent. So Jesus was warning the Pharisees because they were mighty close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit by what they were saying about Jesus. I want you to know this: If you worry about whether in some past time you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, then you haven’t! If you are the kind of person who feels sorrow for sins already committed and are ready to repent of sin, then you have never blasphemed the Holy Spirit, nor are you likely to ever do so.

———————

Choose a good Bible version for your reading this year!

I recommend that you choose a good _meaning-based_ translation for your Bible reading this year, not one of the _literal_ versions. I recommend that you use a literal version whenever you have time for in-depth study, but not for your daily devotional reading. Here’s the difference:

The advantage of a literal translation is that it gives you a word-for-word view into the _form_ of the original. The disadvantage of literal translations is that they cannot give you the _meaning_ in clear and natural English.

The advantage of a meaning-based translation is that it gives you the _meaning_ of the text in clear, natural English. The disadvantage of the meaning-based translation is that they cannot show you the word-for-word _form_ of the original text.

We need both kinds of translations! Use both kinds when you are doing an in-depth study. But for devotional reading, my top choices are the New Living Translation and the Good News Bible. These meaning-based translations will help you be successful in reading the Bible in a year because the text is so much easier to understand.  Both have good scholarly backing and are reliable.

 

I don’t recommend using a paraphrase like The Message. The popular NIV is halfway between literal and meaning-based. (This means that you cannot immediately know if a verse is translated literally or more freely based on meaning.) One of the most popular literal translations these days is the English Standard Version. My advice is to NOT use the ESV for your devotional reading unless you have time for reading the notes in your study Bible.

GNT Translation notes:

Genesis 10:2 [These were the sons of Japheth: //The sons of Japheth—] Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras[. The people groups who were their descendants bear their names.//— were the ancestors of the peoples who bear their names.]

[And similar changes were made to aid my reading in the rest of the chapter. I found I just couldn’t read the text clearly the way it was.]

5 they were the ancestors of the people who live along the coast and on the islands. [They//These] are the descendants of Japheth, living in their different tribes and countries, each group speaking its own language.
====
Mark 4:8 But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and bore grain: some [stalks] had thirty grains, others sixty, and others one hundred.”

12 so that [— just as God said through Isaiah],
‘They may look and look,
   yet not see; …

24 [Jesus/He] also said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear! …