Monday, June 17, 2013

New Version

Some things die hard, like old versions of the Scriptures for preachers who have notes, underlines, and coffee stains marking a favorite Bible or two (okay, I have 17 at last count). For 28 years I have preached out of the NIV (New International Version) that was brand new 29 years ago. At the time, someone said that it was written at about a fifth grade reading level making it very understandable. I was hooked. I've always leaned toward the simple. But it was not just simple, it was a good translation by some scholarly people. It has served me well over the years, but on June 30, I will preach my last sermon from this preaching companion. I'm switching to the ESV (English Standard Version) that came out in 2001. You may wonder be wondering why. There are three simple reasons. 1. The people at NIV came out with an updated version in 2011 and stopped production and sales of their 1984 NIV. I'm not a fan of some of the stuff they've done with the 2011 edition (who am I - not a scholar for sure, but I believe they compromised a little with some translating! These are not "crucial" issues. The NIV is still a perfectly acceptable translation of the Word of God and if you like it...keep with it. For me however, I began searching for another version. I considered the New King James Version because I grew up with the original (yes 1611 version) as a kid and like it poetic symetry. But alas, thou woulds't be more confused if I preached from it. I also like the New Living Translation - very readable, but it's not as scholarly. Hey, it's still the Bible and if you like it, go for it. It just leans more toward readability than word translation, so I searched on. Finally, I came to the ESV. I like it because we have become a going deeper in the word church and it is the most literally translated Bible on the market. You'd have to go to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to get closer to the original. 2. The people who publish ESV are easier to deal with in quoting their sources and reproducing them. The publishers at Crossway seem to give permissions to use their material with less restrictions than the Zondervan folks. Since we are using the Scriptures more and more for on-line communication, the Eastview app, and a whole host of publishing things, we find this a better fit for us. 3. Change is good sometimes. Honestly, I like my old familiar Bible. We have journeyed many sermon together. I have studied it's pages and still have notes that are useful. But a Bible can become too familiar. Since I've picked up my new Bible, it's like discovering the Word of God all over again. It's fresh because the pages are all free from notes, etc... I begin another journey with a Bible that I hope will last me another 30 years. The implication for our congregation is that you'll hear sermons from the ESV not the NIV. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY A NEW BIBLE! You may just hear some of the wording sound a little different. Well, that's enough for a Monday morning. Whatever the version, we are so blessed to hold in our hands what "regular people" never held in their hands for the first 1600 years of the church. The only versions of the Bible were in churches and synagogues. Don't take you Bible for granted today. It is a great gift!


Bob W said...

If you have a Kindle, Amazon is currently offering a FREE ESV Reference Bible!

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think the 2011 NIV is the New Coke of Bible translations. The original didn't seem to need changing.