The Bible: God Has Spoken and He Has Not Stuttered
The Article: The Adequacy of Scripture
The word of God is able to sustain us even in the most difficult of times. It is adequate to the task, through the power and personal ministry of the Spirit, to sanctify the believer. The article, The Adequacy of Scripture, was written from this perspective. The article focuses on the several aspects of 2 Timothy 3:16. First, it is important to note that the verse says that “all” Scripture, not just some is inspired. Second, the article touches briefly on the process of Scriptural inspiration, though this is not the main point of the passage. Third, the article deals with the growth process described in the verse, namely, teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. The main thrust of the passage is the adequacy of the Bible for a life of godliness and usefulness to the Lord.
1. What is the significance of the word “all”? Read Romans 15:4.
2. Christianity is a faith that deeply involves “the whole person,” including his/her emotions. But, if on some issue you had to choose between what your emotions were telling you, and what the Bible was telling you, which would you choose? Why? Think about the nature of the Bible as God-inspired. Give an example of a choice.
3. We live in a day and age in which “doctrine” is being increasingly “dumbed down.” How does this verse speak to that issue? Paul says that God’s inspired word is useful for teaching doctrine, i.e., both what to believe as Christians and how to live in light of that belief.
4. Many people nowadays seek New Age, mindless Christianity, where immediate experience and gratification are the order of the day, not faithful cooperation with the Spirit in hard-won personal character and righteousness. How does the term “training” in 2 Timothy 3:16 speak to this issue? What does the term “training” bring to mind and what does this say about the authentic Christian life? In the balanced Christian life where is the responsibility for growth placed? Carefully read Philippians 2:12-13.
5. What is the goal of obedience to Scripture and training in righteousness? Read 2 Timothy 3:17.
The Article: Why So Many Versions?
This is an extremely helpful article regarding why there are so many Bible translations on the market today and how to choose the best one(s)? The article is broken down into five sections: (1) Why so many versions? (2) the text of modern translations; (3) Deissman and the papyri; (4) dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence, and (5) which translation is best? Let me summarize briefly each section.
The first section suggest three reasons why there are so many translations available today: (1) the text-critical work of Westcott and Hort; (2) the discovery of papyri in Egypt, and (3) developments in translation philosophy or theory. The second section argues that the text of the modern translations is based on the oldest and best manuscripts, while the King James translation was ultimately based on a half dozen or so manuscripts (mss) used by the Dutch humanist Erasmus. While there has been heated debate over these issues, the wise person exercises love and patience with all men. He/she realizes that no major doctrine is affected by any textual variant. Third, Deismann’s papyri discoveries helped us to understand that the NT was written in the language of the common man and that we too should insist that our translations be faithful to the Greek text, but expressed in the language of today. The papyri also helped us understand NT vocabulary better so that we have been able to improve on what the King James’ translators only guessed at. The fourth section deals with the pros and cons of dynamic (phrase for phrase) translation as opposed to formal (word for word) translation. You may be surprised to see what you learn! The fifth and final sections deals with actual translations and gives a brief evaluation of each. In the end, there is no one best translation, per se. While a person may read one Bible more often than others, he/she will want to have a few translations from which to study.
1. How did Westcott and Hort affect Bible translations? For more information on B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort see Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 1167.
2. How has what you’ve learned about Bible translation affected your understanding of the Bible?
3. How would you respond to someone who says, “Well, the modern translations leave out huge portions of the Bible?” What would you say to a person who claims that the King James is the only authoritative Bible? Based on what your read in the article, could you answer, “Which King James do you mean?” How so?
4. What are some strengths and weaknesses of dynamic and formal theories of translation?
5. Why will you want to read three or four translations when doing serious study?
6. What does learning about Bible translations and the involvement of men teach you about God’s sovereignty?