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Sunday, January 14, 2007

the one true translation

Mark Driscoll is at it again. The controversial pastor, who caused quite a stir last fall when he alleged that all mainline Christians are liberal homosexual pagan potheads, has recently sparked discussion in the blogosphere over his theological reasons for switching to the ESV translation of the Bible. Several people have already responded to Driscoll's statement, but I want to touch on a point that I haven't seen anyone mention yet.

In point #3, Driscoll says, "Words carry meaning." Unfortunately, he has forgotten about the Bible verse that says, "A picture is worth a thousand words." (I don't recall the exact scripture reference for that one, but I'm pretty sure it's somewhere between "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," and "God helps those who help themselves."

Anyway, my point is that a Bible translation with lots of pictures is therefore better than one without. And the ESV, whatever its strengths, falls woefully short in the area of color pictures.

In fact, most available translations are inadequate in this area. I haven't had a Bible with color pictures since the Children's Living Bible I received when I was five. The only modern translation that even comes close is the Good News Bible from the 1970s, which has some really cool line drawings. But the sad truth is that most modern translations omit the Lego photographs that God placed in the original text. That's why the best modern translation, hands down, is the Brick Testament.

Perhaps an example would help explain why this is so important. Driscoll laments in point #4 the absence in some modern translations of certain theological terms. But honestly, now, which drives home the point better: The terms "justification" and "propitiation" (I'm not sure that last one is even a real word), or this Lego image of Jesus crying out in anguish from the cross?

Granted, the Brick Testament is not even a complete Bible. But because every picture is worth a thousand words (I'm going to find that reference soon), when you add everything up, it leaves out a lot less than most of the modern translations.

And while I'm on the subject, take a look at these three photos. Do you see anything strange? They've taken the cross out of crossing!! Does this politically correct hyper-secularization of our society have no limits?

Whew. I feel a lot better now that I've gotten that off my chest.

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At 1/14/2007 6:22 PM, Blogger Henry Neufeld said...

OK Bruce, that's what I call a great post! Glad I wasn't drinking coffee.

At 1/16/2007 12:33 AM, Blogger Art said...

Anyone who begins by saying something like "all _____ are _____" simply deserves no further consideration in my opinion.

Nice post!

At 1/16/2007 5:35 AM, Blogger John B. said...

I have two things to thank you for, the more important one first:
1) Thank you for this post. I am tangentially reminded of St. Augustine: "The Bible is like a mirror: if an ass peers into it, you can't expect an apostle to peer out of it."
2) Thank you for linking to my blog. I'm flattered and honored.

At 6/24/2007 12:17 PM, Blogger kandm17 said...

Okay...I actually found this site by trying to find the bible verse that says "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". I feel kind of stupid now realizing there is no such thing, but thinks for pointing it out! :)

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