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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Monday, March 16, 2009
The Bible As Entertainment...
Genesis. Exodus. Judges. First and Second Samuel. Jonah, Ruth, Esther, Acts.

I find the narrative books more entertaining than the genealogies, and so do you. Simply put, there are portions of the bible that we don't have to chew first, we can pretty much swallow them right off the page. If the whole bible was like that, I expect more than five or six percent of all (professing) Christians would have read it, and I suspect as well that more than five percent of those who read it once would read it again.

That is because I have a very low opinion of people I guess.

I suspect that in our culture we worship our own leisure, and the only thing we will give up our leisure for is, well, more leisure. We invented TV trays so that our meals could be spent watching television instead of talking with one another - a value trade - I mean, we can talk to our family anytime, but television has a schedule.

The point of the post is an observation, and it isn't directed at those who never read their bible, because (frankly), they aren't going to listen. But to you, the one who desires to read scripture but your reading is sporadic and undisciplined - and getting worse or staying the same.

Hear me: The reason you can't find time for scripture is not because you don't have time, rather it is that you have come to regard reading scripture as just another something you can do. Why read the bible now when you can do that anytime? Surely there is something more entertaining we could be doing.

"Not me," says the peanut gallery, "I would read the bible more, but I really don't have the time!"

There was a man who refused to buy the load of tuna because it was actually a load of carp.

The idea that you don't have enough time is a load of carp, and deep down, you know it.

Stop treating the bible as just another thing you do to fill time in. Think of it as more necessary that your daily food. You feed this body three times a day, and it is going to die - but you starve your soul daily? Hello? Don't you know that the world blinds you? Do we walk by sight or by faith? If we miss a meal - boy we know it. If we haven't eaten all day, we are ravenous at the supper table - why?

Because our carnal selves do not like having an empty stomach.

Guess what? Your carnal self couldn't care less about your starving soul - it isn't aware of it, nor would it care if it was. The only One in you who cares about your spiritual starvation is the Spirit of Christ in you, and rather than giving you hunger pangs, He sends pangs to your conscience. But unlike your stomach, which protests all the more loudly as you ignore it - the longer you ignore your conscience, the easier it becomes.

Don't treat scripture as just another leisure activity. Just has you have appointed times to eat - and seldom miss them without making up for it - do as much and more for the food that actually matters.

I am rambling on this morning because I chose to sleep a little while longer instead of rising early and reading the bible. I stayed up later last night, for no good reason - and decided in that groggy moment when I ought to have woken up - that I "needed" more sleep. I traded spiritual nourishment for a few winks. Don't even wonder how Esau could sell his birthright for a bowl of soup - many of us sell something far more precious than an earthly birthright, for something far less valuable than a bowl of soup. Seriously, if we understood our spiritual economy, I think most of us would be aghast at how wasteful we are.


posted by Daniel @ 8:52 AM  
  • At 10:22 AM, March 16, 2009, Blogger donsands said…

    Dyn-o-mite post. Really.

    Convicting and encouraging. By the grace of God, I have been able to have a schedule in the morning to read my Bible, the (ESV study Bible).

    I have been going through one book at a time, and I simply read the portion that has a heading to the next heading. I stop and think on this section. I then read over the comments. I then pray, and perhaps share a thought with my wife before I leave for work.

    Some mornings my hot coffee gets cold while I read. Some mornings the Word seems more cold to me. I hate my fickleness, but it's the best I can be at the time I suppose, and so I trust Christ as much as I can.

    Thanks again for an excellent post.

  • At 12:43 PM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks Don - you are such an encourager - I love it.

  • At 2:32 PM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    I am wondering, is it still possible to be edified from the KJV and NKJV versions? Does the latest translation really make that much difference to the infusion of grace and truth?

  • At 4:51 PM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, I suspect your question is directed at Don's comment, but I wouldn't mind fielding an answer in Don's stead.

    I want to start with a story Pastor Bill tells, and you may have heard him tell it. He was called to help deal with an pastor who being engaged in ongoing, unrepentant immorality was asked to step down from his role as pastor, but refused to do so.

    The defense, if you will recall, that this wayward pastor gave was that God was blessing his ministry by bringing in new converts; this, that pastor insisted, proved that God was blessing his ministry - and if God was blessing his ministry - then God was okay with his immorality too.

    Pastor Bill, if you will recall, pointed out that if the Devil himself preached the gospel, people would come to Christ, not because God was blessing the Devil, but because God blesses the gospel - that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. They finally ousted the fellow, but it reminds me of a truth that may apply here.

    In the wake of that, let's answer your first question:

    Yes, it is still possible for the King James and the New King James translations to edify people.

    In fact, I personally know of genuine Christians who were saved by reading the Jehovah's Witness translation of scripture!

    Now, given what you know of the New World Translation, would you say that because God used this one translation to infuse grace and truth to one person, that God wants us to use this translation?

    Would you say that because God used this particular translation to infuse grace and truth to one person, that God wants us to regard all translations as equal, since it is God who infuses grace and truth, and not the translation?

    I think I am answering for both of us Jim, when I say, God forbid!

    It is wrong to conclude that when God uses something he is necessarily endorsing it.

    Erasmus hadn't set out to compile a Greek New Testament, except as a supplement to his Latin New Testament. He wanted to update and correct the current Latin bibles, and to show that his new Latin emendments were reasonable, he wanted to appeal to a ready Greek compilation.

    Erasmus was a brilliant scholar, but for all his brilliance, his Greek NT was based entirely on a mere six Greek manuscripts, containing between them not quite the whole of the New Testament (what he lacked in actual manuscripts, he penned in by translating some of his Latin manuscript into Greek.

    He compiled the whole thing by himself, set up his own criteria for determining which manuscript variant he would use when a discrepency was found, and in the course of months he put together the a complete Greek NT. A remarkable scholastic achievement.

    William Tyndale used Erasmus' Greek NT to translate the NT into bible - for which Erasmus' superiors burned him at the stake. Most of Tyndales translation was however, eventually copied verbatim into/as the KJV only a few years later.

    Yet in spite of all this rich history - are we really to imagine that one man in his free time, for personal fame, profit, and glory - brilliant as he was, but no Christian, was what this man slapped together in his basement in a matter of months from six texts chosen to ape his Latin version - is this man's work to be held up as the standard because God used it?

    We ask that because the translation Don writes of, the ESV is based on the work, of tens of thousands of NT scholars, over the course of centuries, and involving well over five thousand manuscripts.

    Thus, when I answer the second question, I load it first with some serious thought - God used the KJV and the NKJV - and uses them today to great effect - not because they are the best, but because God is gracious to us. But ought we to accept a thing as good enough simply because God has used it to infuse grace and truth?

    To that I say, rubbish.

    The ESV is a better version than the either the KJV or the NKJV because it is based upon a more accurate rendering of the original manuscripts. God can infuse grace and truth through even poor renderings of His word (NWT, etc.) - but this is no reason to rest with such renderings. Does not God's prosper in proportion to the accuracy of its presentation?

    Anyway - I hope that answers the question.

  • At 5:21 PM, March 16, 2009, Blogger donsands said…

    Thanks Daniel for sharing that. I have used a NKJV for years. My last pastor preached mainly from a NAS, and the Bibles in the pews were NAS.

    When we have our Bible study we actually look at 5 different versions, NKJV, NIV, ESV, NAS, & NJB (Catholic Bible).

    And a good friend who leads our study is a prof, and is very well versed in the original languages. I am very blessed to be able to attend such a fine time of fellowship, worship, and study in the Word.

    I'm praying the Lord would expand this small group of believers and use us in our community to reach many lost souls. Great blessings come from small beginings.

    BTW, my pastor changed over from the NAS to the ESV a couple years ago, and so I followed him. Not that I had to.

  • At 12:41 PM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, thanks for the defense of the ESV. I have no problem with seeking a more accurate translation of the original languages.

    Do you have a link where I can compare the "shortcomings" of previous translations to the ESV?

    The reason I bring this up is that I find many people more excited about which translation they are actually using than the fact that it is the Word of God they are studying. Every group of believers has their favorite version to endorse.

    BTW, I typically read the NAS in the morning as my devotional Bible.

    What I have noticed however is that almost every translation tends to incorporate the eisegetical interpretation of its authors, which is something we must be aware of.

  • At 2:17 PM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, this might prove a fruitful read: Choosing a Bible Translation.

    I agree that there are all kinds of people who look down their up turned noses at those other people who dare to endorse different translations. It is a regretable, unChristlike thing.

    I prefer those translations which police themselves - striving to eliminate altogether any sort of interpretive bias finding its way into the translation. The translations which strive to acheive this, in my opinion, are better than those that don't for obvious reasons.

    When I translate a verse, I make sure, as best as I am able, to translate what is said, and not what I think is meant, reasoning that if my interpretation is valid, it will show up without my having to impose it in the translation.

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