Switching to the NIV 2011

This year is the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. For hundreds of years after its publication, it was the standard English version of the Bible. Will there ever be another standard English translation of the Bible again? I don’t think so. Most churches pick the translation they feel most comfortable with, and church members eventually use that same translation if they didn’t already.

So what do we do when a Bible translation is significantly revised as in the case of the NIV? Should we upgrade or remain with the tried and true translation? Should we consider a newer and different translation altogether such as the ESV? Knowing that there is no perfect translation, should we all learn Hebrew and Greek?

Continue reading →

Review: Scripture As Communication

Jeannine Brown’s book Scripture as Communication offers the reader a communicative model for biblical interpretation. God communicates with us, and he uses the variegated genres of the Bible to accomplish this purpose. According to Brown, this understanding allows for cognitive and noncognitive interpretations of a text. A biblical author may write a propositional statement, but he may also be doing something as he writes: praising, exhorting, etc. In short, “a communication model allows for such a holistic approach” (pg. 16).

Brown beckons us to approach the Bible with a hermeneutic of communication. Before adopting this the communicative model, we ought to ask whether or not the theory can account for interpreting all of the genres of the Bible, and how well this theory can be applied in practical theology — in the pulpit, in Bible study, in evangelism, and on the mission field.

Continue reading →

The Next Christendom

Philip Jenkins, writing in his pre-9-11 book The Next Christendom, laments the fact that religion — in particular, the dawning of the movement of Christianity from a Western European and North American context to a Latin American, Asian and African one — “was barely mentioned in all the media hoopla surrounding the end of the second millennium.”[1] With the rise of Christianity in the Southern hemisphere, the most important issues in politics, demographics, land and culture in the majority world will have to do with how well Christians interact with each other and with other religions such as Islam. Jenkins writes, “I suggest that it is precisely religious changes that are the most significant, and even the most revolutionary, in the contemporary world. Before too long, the turn-of-the-millennium neglect of religious factors may come to be seen as comically myopic…”[2]

Given the projections that by 2050 only one Christian in five will be white, Jenkins endeavors to investigate the ecclesiastical and theological impact of the Southern hemispheric shift on the whole Church.

Continue reading →

The Mortification of Sin

“Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”

How are believers supposed to deal with remaining sin in their hearts? Those who align themselves with Reformed theology believe in the total or radical depravity of human beings’ hearts. So, even though a believer is free from the dominion of sin (Romans 6) he or she is still under the influence of sin. In order to deal with the influence of sin in the believer the Holy Spirit must put to death or mortify the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).

This putting to death the misdeeds of the body by the Spirit is the subject of John Owen’s masterpiece,The Mortification of Sin. Owen, a Puritan pastor and theologian, lays down this thesis: “The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days, to mortify the indwelling power of sin. The principal cause of the performance of this duty is the Spirit: ‘if by the Spirit.'” Mortification of sin is putting sin to death at the root level. To “mortify” is “to take away the principle of all [its] strength, vigor, and power, so that [it] cannot act or exert, or put forth any proper actings of [its] own.”

Continue reading →