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The Art and Agony of Translation

1 John 5:7-8 reads differently in the King James Version than in other translations because Erasmus lost a bet. If you compare this verse in the King James Version, you will find a Trinitarian formula (“the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one” ) that does not appear in mos...
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Translations of the Bible Into English

You decide to buy yourself or someone else a Bible, so you run down to the nearest bookstore—but they have so many different translations, you don’t know where to begin. Here is something that might help: a list of modern translations that you are likely to find in a bookstore, with a description of...
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About Those ‘Literal’ Translations

Every so often, someone writes to ask me about some obscure Bible translation, and invariably they add, ‘it is supposed to be a literal translation.’ For me, this is a red flag. Let me explain. New Testament Greek is quite a different language from English, and a strictly literal translation is impo...
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The Nicene Creed and the New Testament Canon

The New Testament and the Nicene Creed are deeply entangled with each other. The wording and the concepts in the Nicene Creed come from the New Testament—in fact, one of the most important debates at the Council of Nicea concerned whether it is proper to include a word in the Nicene Creed that does ...
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The Torah in Modern Scholarship

The first five books of the Bible are called the Torah by Jews and the Pentateuch by scholars. The word ‘Torah’ is Hebrew for ‘teaching’ or ‘law,’ and the word ‘Pentateuch’ is Greek for ‘five books.’ Sometimes scholars include the book of Joshua and term the collection the ‘Hexateuch,’ which means ‘...
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The Apocrypha and the Old Testament

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.—Proverbs 30:5-6, NIV The canon of scripture—that is, the official list of what’s in the Bible—is not revealed to us by any saying of Jesus, nor does scr...
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New Testament Scholarship

The Insufficiency of Literary Analysis Unaccompanied by Other Tools New Testament critics generally assume that our gospels are the product of a scribe having two or more editions before him, which he takes together to produce a new version that contains material from the old sources. They say this,...
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The Synoptics and John

If you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke in a row, you get a “haven’t I read this before” feeling, because they are so similar to each other. In many places, they even have identical wording! For this reason, Bible scholars lump them together with the term “synoptic gospels.” The word “synoptic” means “t...
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Leviticus For Christians

A few interesting laws from Leviticus, which at first glance don’t seem to concern us today: Forbidden leftovers When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the LORD, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day;...
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Slavery and Sonship

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”—John 8:34-36, NIV Notice that Jesus has the slave living in the house, albeit temporari...
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Are There Contradictions in the Bible?

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise yo...
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The Rescue of Lot

The story of the destruction of Sodom and its sister city of Gomorrah is of compelling interest today because of the current debate in the churches over homosexuality. In the course of this debate, these two chapters of Genesis have been degraded from a story of God’s justice and providence to a dia...
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Evolution and Creationism

Why does water boil? Fred and Ethel have different explanations. Fred says that heat causes the vapor pressure within the water to rise to the same level as the atmospheric pressure on its surface. That causes bubbles to form, which rise and break the surface.Ethel says that’s nonsense. The water wa...
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Reading What Isn't There

“Judge others, but you are exempt from judgment. You must go out and tell it like it is, exposing sinners wherever you find them. You will receive a special bonus for each evil you expose.”—Matthew 7:1-2, Reversed Fractured Version “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you ju...
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Wrong Impressions

Do you have a regular Bible study plan? Well, I’m so glad to hear that! You don’t? Well, maybe that is not so bad. You know, a lot of people who have a regular Bible reading plan are very systematic about it. Certainly you’ve met the type: they read a chapter a day, or some other arbitrary amount. I...
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But Is it Biblical?

Recently I helped my boss decode a rather obtuse document, in which the writer had used obscure words instead of plain language. “This is,” I said, “an example of what happens when people go to the dictionary for permission instead of guidance,” and my boss thought that was an astute observation. Ju...
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The Bible and Personal Revelation

God reveals Himself to us in nature, for Scripture says: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.Their voice goes out in...
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The Inspiration of the Bible

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.—2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV Someone recently asked if I consider the Bible the inspired and inerrant word of God or if I fee...
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