On buying a Bible

scribe.2So my old NIV – 84 fell apart.  After dawdling between the ESV and the new NIV, i chose a single column format NIV for the regular use bible.  My more literal reading companion is the ESV Literary Study Bible.  In both cases I avoided lots of notes and clutter (what is a library for?) and red letters (NEVER) and double columns (do any other books come in double columns?)

In the picture from top right (Greek NT), top left (Spanish – NVI English NIV 84 NT)

Multi View of John 19

Multi View of John 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bottom left (new NIV) bottom right (ESV Literary Study bible)

 

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Dividing a Chapter – John 8

oldest fragment of John

oldest fragment of John

 

Here are 7 ways to divide a chapter.

John 8 is a complex “discourse” that involves an extended interaction between Jesus and both seekers and opponents.

John Talbert in Reading John (Crossroad, 1992), sees this pattern.  In each of the five sections we have the following pattern

  1. Jesus makes a provocative statement
  2. Someone in the crowd replies or argues
  3. Jesus gives an answer.
  • v. 12-20 – I am the light of the world
  • v. 21-30 – I am going away
  • v. 31-40 – The truth will set you free
  • v. 41-50 – If God were your father
  • v. 51-59 – …will not see death.

Leon MorrisThe Gospel According to John – NICNT (Eerdmans, 1971).  He notes that this seems to happen at the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles (ch 7) and involved Jesus and his opponents.  (however note v. 30). He offers no reason for his breakdown except at v. 20.

  • v. 12-20 – The witness of the Father
  • v. 21-24 – Dying in sins
  • v. 25-30 – The Father and the Son
  • v. 31-47 – Slaves of Sin
  • v. 48-59 – The Glory the Father gives the Son

Philip Comfort and Wendell HawleyOpening the Gospel of John, (Tyndale, 1994) put the focus on seven “I am” statements.  (This is to be distinguished from the Messianic “I AM” Statements in other chapters.)

  • v. 12 – I am the Light of the World
  • v. 16 – I am not alone
  • v. 18 – I am the one who testifies for myself…
  • v. 23 – I am from above
  • v. 23 – I am not of this world
  • v. 24, 28 – I am he (the Christ)
  • v. 58 – I am!

Translations usually provide divisions with headings, this reflects a kind of commentary on the text.

NIV  (i.e. New NIV)

  • v. 12-20 – Dispute over Jesus’ Testimony
  • v. 21-30 – Dispute over Who Jesus is.
  • v. 31-47 – Dispute over Whose Children Jesus’ Opponents Are
  • v. 48-59 – Jesus’ Claims about himself

NIV – 84   (i.e. Old NIV)

  • v. 12-30 – The Validity of Jesus’ Testimony
  • v. 31-41 – The Children of Abraham
  • v. 42-47 – The children of the Devil
  • v. 48-59 – Jesus claims about Himself

ESV – (Bible Gateway)

  • v. 12-29 –  I am the Light of the World
  • v. 31-38 – The Truth will set you Free
  • v. 39-47 – You are of your Father the Devil
  • v. 48-59 – Before Abraham was, I Am

ESV – Literary Study Bible (Leland and Philip Ryken – Crossway, 2007).  This version of the ESV does not give headings in the text.  They provide a small box with notes before each section.  Here they note that chapter 8 is a collection of stories, they divide the text into three sections

  • v. 12-20
  • v. 21-30
  • v. 31-59
  • Then they noted that one can “comb through the passage looking for the following motifs:  1. Jesus as controversialist, 2. evidence that Jesus is Divine, 3.  The story line of hostility between religious leaders and Jesus, 4. teaching on sin and forgiveness and 5 the authority of Jesus.  It is unusual that they do not attempt to discern a larger structure.

Conclusions:

The ESV seems to agree with Talbert that the passages revolves around strong statements by Jesus, however they divide the text differently   In my version of the ESV, there is a space added at v. 20.

The variety from this small sample shows how fluid this text is.  Talbert is the most interested in internal grammatical structure.  The NIV was on to the idea of  this being a dispute, but they did not label the last section that way, which is odd because it ends with opponents wanting to throw stones at Jesus.  The Old and New NIV’s did not agree on divisions or headings.

Talbert and Hawley’s seven  “I am” statements give one a handle, but I am not sure they reflect the internal structure of the passage.  It is also confusing with the more typically cited “I AM” statements that are claims to divine status.

The Rykens give little hope of finding a structure.

For a preacher this is too much to cover in one sermon – I plan to speak on verses 12-40

Psalm 146: An observation on three Translations.

Ps 146.3 

NIV – 84

Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

NIV

Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.

ESV

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

Ps 146:5

NIV – 84

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,

NIV

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.

ESV

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,

 

I am comparing two verses from Psalm 146 in the old NIV, the New NIV and the ESV.

 

  • The term “son of man” is changed to” human beings” in the New NIV and “mortal men” in the Old NIV.  You see that both try to contemporize an expression to present English.  “son of man” is awkward, and also makes some confusion with the use of that phrase as a title for Jesus.  ESV retains the word for word translation, which is clear with some thought.
  • V. 4 says that such a person goes to the earth.  In Hebrew “man” is “adam” and “earth” is “adamah”.  The pun is lost in all English translations.  However the allusion to Genesis is clear when one remembers that Adam was made of the dust of the earth.
  • The singular “he” is changed in the New NIV to a plural pronoun.  This was also the method used with several others: NRSV, NLT,  Contemporary.  One of the interesting things in Psalm 146 is the interplay between singular and plural.  “Hallelujah” which is a plural command, “Let us praise the LORD”.  The this changes quickly to the singular in verse 2 , “I will praise the Lord.”   The Beatitude of v. 5 is individual, and seems to call for a personal response.

Overall, an argument can be made for each. I benefit by comparing either NIV to the ESV.  For study with colored pencils and observation of words, I like ESV.  For readability, the NIVs are both smoother.  As one instructor said, “every translation is also a commentary.”

 

ESV Literary Study Bible – Isaiah 63-65

I have been using the ESV Literary Study Bible.  At first I was underwhelmed in that the format does not have a lot of information compared to other study bibles.  However, what I do like is that it is set up for reading.  for example the Lectionary passage for Advent is Isaiah 64:1-9, but the LSB has placed that in the context of two chapters of lament (Is 63, 64) followed by a response from the Lord (Is 65).  This was just enough information for me to see how the parts fit and what general context they address.

“Where are your zeal and might?” 63:15

“O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways? and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?” 63:17

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would quake in your presence…” 64:1

“Will you keep silent and afflict us so terribly?” 64:12

“I was ready to be sought by house who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.  I said ‘Here am I, here am I.’  to a nation that was not called by my name

I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way not good….” 65:1-2

Seen in this light, these passages remind me of the disputations between Job and his comforters and finally between the Lord and Job.  Isaiah seems to raising a complaint/lament and God seems to be answering. Isaiah says, “Where are you in our distress?”  The Lord answers, “I have been here all along, but you have sought others.”

The other thing is that the paper is rather thin as is the color of the printing ink – so read with a good light!