Over at Abberation blog there is a post regarding Christian incivility toward the Bible with a few examples as:
#1 During the holidays at our local Christian retailer, customer walks in and examines the Bible section to see if they carry The Message Bible. Customer finds they do so he orders the clerk to come over. He begins to berate her for the store carrying it and stated it’s not a Bible and it belongs in a garbage can. Long story short, he ends up flicking a couple Message Bible’s off the store shelf onto the floor. At that point she threatened to call the police and he leaves.
#2 Over on the Puritanboard this was written about the Today’s New International Version,
the TNIV is a TERRIBLE translation. Its novelty is NO reason to trust it…look at how the original languages are represented (and look at the motivations of the translators!)
Do you have a wood burning fireplace? You might remove the covers from your TNIV and use the pages to help start fires.
…TNIV is the most accurate reflection of contemporary western society’s declining morals…
The Nearly Inspired Version?
yesTerday’s New International Version.
Truly Non-Inspired Version
#3 The New Living Translation (NLT) has a new fanpage. Considering the source, I don’t take this one very seriously. It’s announcing that it’s “straight from Hell.”
Then there is Gary sharing about his dilemma about what translation to go with for his regular Bible. He also describes an instance where he couldn’t just sit with one Bible and read it – he kept switching around.
Then, one person commented on TC’s blog post about if the unreached will be saved or not, stating in part:
“Of course if we read the NLT only all this would be clearer and we wouldn’t need to think so hard…. Or we could be ESV-onlyists, and be none the wiser, but at least bathe in the glow of our illusion that literal = accurate.”
Whew, where to begin? I want to suggest as well that you read this article on The Art of Manliness blog about the problem of consumerism creating a lack of creativity and even commitment – more choices hasn’t help creativity it’s inhibited it, in fact even blocked it because it takes too much work to create – it’s easier just to consume and toss out – and I think this problem of consumerism as other Christian philosophers and scholar/pastors have noted, has completely consumed the church even to the point it is inhibiting our ability to really and faithfully live out the Christian life and witness to Jesus.
How does this relate to the post and my title? Well, I think the problem of incivility towards the Bible is possibly a part of this problem with consumerism on two fronts. One front is some are getting worn out by the consumer mentality and it is showing in the example #1 above – though this man’s temper tantrum reveals another problem of a general lack of understanding about Bible languages and how they work, thus the comment about our illusion that literal = accurate.
In my opinion proper understanding of the biblical languages and how they work (linguistically, syntactically, etc) should lead to a more or less dynamic and smooth translation not a more literal one (e.g., TNIV, NLT, etc). A literal translation only leads to one feeling as if one is reading his or her Greek Bible in English, not necessarily to a better understanding of the text at hand per se.
Which leads to the problem on the other front: we want to badly to be right that we have trouble dealing with any sense of inaccuracy or even ambiguity – which is leading to the problem of being willing to just stick with ONE Bible and go with that one – to read it through and through, to know it well.
I wonder if the whole issue of multiple Bible translations and the vast array of types or editions of Bibles is a result of this consumer mentality – we want our choices and so much so we are not willing to stick with one Bible for fear a more accurate one might come out and so on.
This is the same problem with Church life – we can hardly stay at the same church for too long anymore because we want freedom of choice and to be able to consume and move on and he same with Bibles, as I mentioned.
Well, mymind is still reeling on this issue but these are some thoughts for now.