This video caught my attention yesterday and it made me smile.
Piper is a man who is passionate about the Bible. You can tell, if nothing else from the fact that he spent two minutes of his sermon last week, that he really, really loves the words of Scripture. They’re really important. And because every single word is important, it can be argued that we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to read them all.
Let me tell you a story about a man named… me.
The first Bible I read for myself was The Message paraphrase (sorry if you just spit something at your monitor). I bought this at the Christian bookstore that is now a board shop down the street from my house in London. And, y’know what? It was really helpful for me. God, in His mercy, saved me through the text of that paraphrase. Neat, huh?
But, I quickly became dillusioned with The Message. Certainly not because it was horrible and evil, but because as I read it, something seemed to be missing. And in September/October of 2005, just a few months after becoming a Christian, I bought… The TNIV.
It was like night and day, in comparison. I first purchased the TNIV for Men Bible, with lots of man stories about man problems. After all, I was a man with man problems, so I figured it could be helpful. And it was. Eventually I started getting really interested in more in-depth study, and for Christmas 2006, Emily gave me the TNIV Study Bible (swoon!).
It was pretty dreamy, with lots of footnotes, and explanation all sorts of helpful goodness. And for a year and a bit, I diligently read my TNIV Study Bible, made lots of notes. God taught me a lot using that translation.
When reading the TNIV, I started noticing it’s prominent use of gender neutral wording, when it really didn’t fit. Perhaps I’m overstating, but there’s a certain charm that’s lost when you change Jesus’ words from, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17 NIV) to “Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people” (TNIV). That’s a small example, to be sure, but it’s one that caught my attention. As I read and learned about different kinds of translations (Literal, Dynamic Equivalence, Free/Paraphrase), I still found it profitable, but I began to sense that there was still something missing.
And then, I found the ESV.
I bought my first ESV in January 2008, and, much like my move from The Message to the TNIV, it was like night and day. There were words I’d never seen before, like “propitiation.” Big, important words. Passionate words.
Immediately, I fell in love with this translation (not in a creepy or idolatrous way, by the way). I once again found myself learning more and becoming more and more excited about the words of Scripture. An excitement which led to my beginning to teach, to write, to speak.
Because all the words of Scripture are beautiful. All the words of Scripture are profitable (2 Tim 3:16). And that’s how I learned to love the ESV.
And now, I’d like to hear from you, gentle reader…
What translation do you prefer?
Why did you choose the one you use today?
What do you like best about the translation you use?
I’m look forward to reading your stories.