Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The need for hard words

I'm reading to the kids at night from the Bible, and we are on Romans. I'm using the 1984 version NIV study bible I got while in high school.
Now, as it turns out, I pretty well have the book of Romans memorized from writing my own book, which made the shock so much worse: the NIV sucks. Bad. Really, really bad. So much so that I was just giving them the KJV from memory rather than subject them to a bad translation.

Maybe I'm getting old and grumpy, but it seems to me they commit a cardinal sin in dumbing down or bottoming out all the theological words. I realized today that I spent so much longer stuck in bad doctrine in the Churches of Christ partly because they love the NIV, and it never jabs you with those tough concepts.It's much easier to run into a real theological problem if you have a bad worldview when you are using a real translation, and not one that has had the edges rounded off.
Those hard words are necessarily sharp. Elect. What do you mean who shall bring a charge against the chosen? Elect arrests your attention.
Flesh got replaced by sinful nature. But flesh really captures more than just a propensity to sin.
So long impute.
Or take Romans 8 for example. The NIV thinks governed is superior to set. But set conveys that the mind is not just fixed on sin, and controlled by it, but resting on it. That's sharp.

I'm thinking that next round they will just do away with the remaining ugly, hard words like justification and glorification. Get those big things out of here. Give me instead the soft pillow words that never challenge me, or demand theological precision. Let me drift idly in an ecumenical fog, wrapped in a warm blanket of non-threatening syllables.
Because that's what God was going for when He breathed out the Scriptures.

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