Thursday, October 27, 2005

We have a winner!

For those interested, Pastor Frank Sansone solved the 12-ball challenge problem that I posted back in August. I don't have the great prizes that they are giving away over at Unknowing, so Frank will just have to settle for the satisfaction of a puzzle well solved.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Thirty Sayings?

Even though I am fond of the English Standard Version, there are places where they deviate from their "essentially literal" translation philosophy and produce less than ideal results. One such example occurs in Proverbs 22:20-21.

The KJV reads as follows:

Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and
knowledge, 21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

The ESV reads:

Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, 21 to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?

The ESV follows the latest scholarly research in rendering the Hebrew
as "thirty sayings" rather than the traditional "excellent things"
because this section in Proverbs is said to be influenced by the
Egyptian writings of one Amenemope. Because of this assumed
relationship, the MT has been emended to correspond to Amememope
despite the fact that there is no Hebrew or LXX evidence to justify
such a change. I understand that the Hebrew is difficult here and I
believe the KJV actually follows the qere reading, but I am very
hesitant to assume a secular source for sacred Scripture.

In verse 21, the Hebrew specifically says "words of truth" or
maybe "faithful sayings" (emer emeth) twice in that sentence. I don't
think "right and true" or "true answer" is as literal as the reading
in the KJV. The distinction, by way of application, means that we
ought to do more than give a "true answer" to those who come to us
for counsel; we should try to say things the same way God does, to
think God's thoughts after Him. Is it too much of a stretch to
assume that we will be most effective when we use Biblical logic and
Biblical terminology when we deal with people?

In addition, this passage teaches something about Scripture itself.
The words (and I don't know if the Hebrew means actual words or just
the sayings) are certain – they are both faithful and true. Thus we
learn that Scripture is inerrant. Since the Bible is always true, we
can depend upon it as a faithful guide. I think the ESV does itself a
disservice by not being as literal in this verse as it claims to be.

I hate to be critical of the ESV because, for the most part, I believe it is significantly superior to the KJV and more readable than the NASB. I'm just pointing out places where I would make changes if asked by the translation committee. :)

Monday, October 17, 2005

All Appearance of Evil

I am participating in an exercise on SharperIron in which several of us have volunteered to exegete a key passage on Biblical separation. The goal is to come to better and more unified understanding of Scripture's teaching on the subject. The passage assigned to me was 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22. You can read my analysis HERE. For those who don't want to wade through the entire thing, I offer the following interpretive paraphrase. To capture the thought of the immediate context, I have included verses 19 and 20 as well:

19 Do not extinguish the work of the Holy Spirit 20 by ignoring or rejecting the proclamation of God’s Word, whatever form it takes. 21 Instead, evaluate every prophecy (as you should all things), and embrace it if is found to be genuinely from God. 22 Otherwise, steadfastly resist and avoid evil in whatever way it manifests itself, whether in so-called prophecy or not.

I'm sure this submission will be critiqued as part of the SharperIron exercise. Consider it a work in progress.