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  • J. Randal Matheny 5:06 am on 2016-11-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, ,   

    Stunning election results provide great opportunity 

    Americans awoke to stunning election results. I admit to a sense of relief that the Democrat nominee will not afflict the nation with harmful policies of every type. That relief at the moment is overpowering concerns for the future.

    God controls the affairs of men. He delights in upsets. What appears stable and unbeatable to mere humans he upturns with a mere word. In the halls of power men plan and plot, but God continues to do his will. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:55 am on 2016-11-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, ,   

    The town of Madmen 

    In Jeremiah’s condemnation of Moab, he mentions a number of its cities along the length of the nation, which lay to the east of the Dead Sea. Among them, this one:

    City of Madmen, you will also be destroyed.
    A destructive army will march against you.
    Jer 48.2b

    Madmen is a Hebrew word, not English. It is not where mad men live. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:04 am on 2016-09-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, , , ,   

    The most exciting find of all (and it’s not bacon) 


    There must have been no greater exclamation among the Jews of the first century than that which Andrew declared to his brother Simon and what Philip told his friend Nathaniel: “We have found the Messiah!” Jn 1.41, 45. One can feel the excitement in those words. The NET Bible rightly ends it with an exclamation point. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:11 am on 2016-04-27 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, , , ,   

    Joy and tears and the heart of Philippians 

    Paul’s letter to the Philippians is known, appropriately, as the letter of joy. The topic is an important keynote, all the more so because Paul was in prison when he wrote it. So it is noteworthy when, at one point in the letter, Paul says he writes “with tears.” Do you know what it is that causes his tears, and why the subject brings him to tears? Read Php 3.

    Philippians is less known as a letter of mission cooperation. Paul opens and closes with thanksgiving for their participation in his effort. This literary technique, called inclusio(n), marks their financial gifts as a major theme of the letter. Perhaps we don’t notice it because we lack the missionary spirit the Philippian saints had, or because we’re reading commentaries whose authors don’t have it and therefore treat it briefly. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 7:56 am on 2015-01-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bible versions, deals,   

    Brotherhood translation of hardcover NT for $1.99 

    Slightly imperfect, but a great deal on hardback edition of the Plain English Bible. See details here.

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:41 am on 2014-07-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible printings, Bible versions,   

    Beautiful Bible with no chapters or verses 

    Very interesting project here, a shame it’s not an updated Bible version:


    There are a few Bibles out there with just the text, no chapter or verse divisions or notes or other distractions. Are you aware of any of these? If so, please provide a link or description on the comments.

    • Mark Register 11:51 am on 2014-07-23 Permalink | Reply

      The ESV Reader’s Bible. The link is for the imitation leather cover from Amazon.

    • Mark Register 11:54 am on 2014-07-23 Permalink | Reply

      • Randal 12:24 pm on 2014-07-23 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Mark, for this fine link. I looked at the video, and the chapter and verse numbers have been removed from within the text and moved to the margin. So it’s a bit of fudging, but certainly a better reading experience.

    • jmregi7837 12:28 pm on 2014-07-23 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, okay. The way I understood it is that the only chapter and verse numbers are ranges (ie they show the first and last verse on a page). That way you can go to a study bible, etc. and study deeper into what you read.

      • Randal 12:38 pm on 2014-07-23 Permalink | Reply

        From the info, it appears that way. But the video shots show them in the margins. Still valid your link, however. Thanks!

    • RichardS 11:55 pm on 2014-07-24 Permalink | Reply

      I went to the bibliotheca website to check it out. At first glance it seems ok but to me it should be thoroughly checked out before recommending it to anyone. Are you familiar with the creator of this remake of the ASV? Did you know that he, Adam Lewis Greene, was going to include the books of apocrypha in his edition and that he will use YHWH for the name of GOD instead of JEHOVAH, which seems to be the trend in some denominations?

      • Randal 4:42 am on 2014-07-25 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I’m aware of the approach. We trust our readers to check out any works mentioned here. His work does not include the Apocrypha.

        • RichardS 9:40 am on 2014-07-25 Permalink | Reply

          If you go to his website and click on kickstarter you will see where he says that if he gets enough support he will include the books of apocrypha with every set he ships.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:02 am on 2014-03-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, , ,   

    Good descriptions of patience and self-control 

    Even though I’m not a fan of that foot-loose and fancy-free paraphrase called The Message, I happened across a couple of items in it I thought were good.

    Mr. Peterson, the author of the work, describes patience, in Galatians’ fruit of the Spirit, as “a willingness to stick with things,” and self-control as being “able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”

    Those seem to be fairly good depictions, the latter one especially, as far as they go.

    Also, from the two descriptions, it’s possible to see that a relationship exists between the two.

    How would you qualify these descriptions of the two qualities that the Spirit of God produces in the saint?

    • Gede Prama 12:25 pm on 2014-03-29 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent website . Lots of useful info here . Thank you and best regards friendship 🙂

    • Eugene Adkins 2:53 pm on 2014-03-29 Permalink | Reply

      I think the one for patience is really good. I have that version too, although I’ve never really used it for much; don’t even remember where I got it from.

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:13 am on 2014-03-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, , , ,   

    Languages, word order, Bible versions, Day of the Dying, and the same God for all 

    iciclesOn the nature of languages, grammaticist and author Maria Tereza de Queiroz Piacentini writes,

    As the linguist José Luiz Fiorin explains in the magazine Língua Portuguesa no. 26, “The meaning of expressions is formed as a unit and not by the sum of the words which compose them.”

    This is a more elegant way of saying that words acquire their meaning in context, both the immediate grammatical structure and the larger social and historical setting. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:53 pm on 2014-03-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bible versions,   

    Your Bible version 

    Stack-of-BiblesYOUR BIBLE VERSION

    Your Bible version, even if
    King James himself decreed it,
    Will do no good, in covers stiff,
    If you never bother to read it.

    J. Randal Matheny

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:10 am on 2013-03-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions   

    US Bible sales in 2012 

    From LifeWay’s prez Thom Rainer.

    2012 – Based on Dollar Sales

    1. New International Version
    2. King James Version
    3. New Living Translation
    4. New King James Version
    5. English Standard Version
    6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
    7. New American Standard Bible
    8. Common English Bible
    9. Reina Valera 1960
    10. The Message

    2012 – Based on Unit Sales

    1. New Living Translation
    2. New International Version
    3. King James Version
    4. New King James Version
    5. English Standard Version
    6. Common English Bible
    7. Holman Christian Standard Bible
    8. New American Standard Bible
    9. Reina Valera 1960
    10. New International Readers Version


    • Ron Thomas 3:51 pm on 2013-03-19 Permalink | Reply

      Mine is #4, but I use various translations as compliments to the NKJV (ESV, NET, NASV, Amplified, NIV). I think this is valuable to getting a real sense. Apart from that – no real reaction. I am of the opinion that any translation that is used one can learn the truth.

    • Eugene Adkins 7:46 pm on 2013-03-19 Permalink | Reply

      I “cut my teeth” on a NKJV study Bible. Now I preach out of a KJV/NKJV parallel and where I’m preaching determines which translation I use. Often times I will read out of the KJV but use my own updated word when an archaic word is used just to keep with the sentence structure/flow of most of the people who are following along. The CEB is my main secondary “go to” translation. With the exception of a few verses I really enjoy using it.

      I prefer “word for word” translations far above “thought for word” translations.

    • J. Randal Matheny 2:16 pm on 2013-03-21 Permalink | Reply

      On the second list, unit sales:

      1. Why oh why is the KJV still on the list?

      2. We may not care much for the NLT, but it has a deserved place at no. 1. Overall it does a good job of communicating the text in very accessible language.

      3. I’m surprised the CEB has managed to make the list, so soon. (For a partial answer, perhaps, see #5.)

      4. More surprising is the NIrV on the list. Wasn’t this marketed mainly to kids?

      5. This is not the whole story, of course, reflecting only those stores connected with the CBA. But it makes for an interesting picture.

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:17 am on 2012-12-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bible versions, Online Bibles   

    Who will rise to the occasion for a Bible-only website? 

    This is a call to encourage brethren, churches, somebody out there in the brotherhood, to put together a site for the biblical text, nothing more. Seems we who preach that the Bible alone is sufficient ought to be out in the forefront of sharing the Word of God in its purity and uniqueness, without garnish or explanation.

    The people behind the NLT have put that version online in what I consider pretty much an idea approach. Others are also good. See these three I’ve found so far with just the biblical text. Few sites, however, offer one or more versions of the Bible without some sort of teaching material.

    To my mind, a good recent version should be used, if not several. The KJV/ASV duo were great in their day, but that day is long past.

    • Russ McCullough 11:33 am on 2012-12-12 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t have the technical savvy but bro. McCord’s NT translation with Daniel Webster’s OT translation would be a great place 2 start. .

      • J. Randal Matheny 11:34 am on 2012-12-12 Permalink | Reply

        I had suggested McCord’s version to hthbible.org as a possibility. Great minds think alike … 🙂 Not familiar with Webster’s.

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:22 am on 2012-08-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1 Timothy, Bible versions, church and family,   

    1 Timothy 3. 5: Rule or manage? 

    Do we have a difference in social influence or linguistic development in 1 Tim. 3.5, where most of the modern versions (including ESV, NET, NASB etc.) translate as “manage,” while the older versions render it as “rule.” Modern exceptions are NKJV (maybe just following the KJV) and AMP.

    In my devotional today, I find the former verb referring to the family (rule/manage) to be stronger than the second which refers to the church (take care of). Or have I missed the boat?

    UPDATE: Devo link included.

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:00 am on 2011-11-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Bible versions   

    Just Bible 

    Earlier, we’d asked about sites that offered only the Biblical text, with no other content. Three so far have been found, that offer four versions. The rules set down are stringent, and if no more sites are found, they might get relaxed later. But let’s work with these rules.

    Please suggest more sites that follow the criteria. I’ve put the list, for now, here.

    Somebody, somewhere, might want to make this a project of putting the Bible online, just the Bible, with no further content or links. Don’t we teach that the Bible only makes Christians only?

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:17 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible poll, , Bible versions, LifeWay Research   

    Re: Bible readers prefer ‘word-for-word’ translations 

    LifeWay ResearchRon, thanks for the heads-up. I’d be very skeptical of this research project until more information is available. The LifeWay report (link here) only says the research was demographically representative, but did not state of which population. One suspects it may represent the Baptists more than others, since LifeWay is an official Southern Baptist entity.

    I found it ironic that though a majority wanted language simpler to understand, such a choice goes against the word-for-word preference. Nor does the research, it was noted, reflect people’s buying habits.

    Two flaws in the language of the research: One, the language is slanted; there is no such thing as a word-for-word translation. Only one example is needed to show this to be true: See my note, “No version is literal: mouth to mouth.” This is a mirage, set up to disparage other types of versions.

    Two, as most writers in this area recognize, it’s not an either-or option; translations lie on a continuum (example). The research apparently approached it as if it were a exclusive choice. If people really wanted word-for-word, the interlinears would be selling like hotcakes. (The research did point out that people didn’t know what translation philosophy was followed by the versions they owned.) Long have I encouraged people to use a variety of versions along the continuum to take advantage of what each one offers.

    Evidence of tendentiousness in the research comes from no one less than the director of LifeWay Research in a quote on the HBCS blog (Holman-Broadman is the publishing arm of LifeWay):

    “The Bible includes concepts that may be uncomfortable or may require more study to fully understand,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “This example shows more Bible readers prefer to see the literal translation rather than glossing over such concepts in a translation.” (italics mine)

    See his prejudice showing through? If it’s not a literal translation, then it has to be glossing over concepts. To “gloss over” is a phrasal verb which means to “[t]ry to minimise the importance of something,” or as another dictionary defines it, “to give a false or deceptively good appearance to: to gloss over flaws in the woodwork.” He thinks if it’s not literal, then it’s giving you, minimally, something less than it should. Such a bias is shocking to read, coming especially as it does from their research director, and one suspects the research will now be used to tout their HBCS, which, by the way, is, as far as I have seen, quite a good version.

    (Note: I recognize that the translators or publishers of the HBCS don’t position it as a word-for-word literal version; they invented their own phrase, “Optimal Equivalence,” to describe their approach, which neatly sidesteps the hot buttons in translation. They claim, ingeniously, to have the best of both worlds: “This process assures maximum transfer of both words and thoughts contained in the original.” If that’s true, then they have made the discovery of the ages in biblical translation.)

    In other words, the research, by its very language, is slanted. Who wouldn’t prefer “total accuracy,” as if that were possible?

    I’m no prophet, but I suspect LifeWay will use this to say, you prefer word-for-word but want simple to understand, so buy the HBCS which gives you both.

    • Ron 6:28 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the words, Randal. I appreciate your thoughts in this regard. I, too, encourage multiple translations. As I mentioned in the past, the ones I use on a regular basis (just about in this order) are: NKJV, NET, ESV, NIV, Amplified, FHV, and Williams.

      • J. Randal Matheny 6:33 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

        FHV? I don’t recall that one. It’s not McCord’s published by FHU is it? BTW, did you see my link to Phillips paraphrase? I find it still good, better than The Message.

        • Ron 6:38 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

          Yes, the FHV is McCord’s. I have not seen the link; I did have Philips at one time, but must have given it away. Another modern version on my desk was done by a women with the American Baptists – Helen Montgomery. I have used it sparingly, and have noticed that she used “deaconess” in timothy 3.11 – which I am of the strong opinion is not correct.

        • J. Randal Matheny 6:40 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

          Has that become the common abbreviation for it? I have Montgomery on Eloquent (Mac’s version of e-sword, I think it is). Don’t use it much, though.

          • Ron 6:43 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

            I am not sure if that is the proper acronym, but it is the one I use since it was the university that marketed it (3rd edition), and they have the copyright.

        • J. Randal Matheny 6:46 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

      • J. Randal Matheny 6:38 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

        I added at the beginning a thanks to you for the heads-up, to keep it from sounding like I was taking issue with you on something, in case a reader didn’t reference your post. I understand you were just sharing the information of the research, for which I’m grateful. I would have missed it otherwise.

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:00 pm on 2011-07-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible versions, , ,   

    Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should 

    Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Micah 2:1. Behold! the difference between power and authority.

    Seems the exclusive publisher of what I consider the best Bible version in Brazil puts out inferior products that keep coming apart at the seams. Only a study Bible in that version has held up, and over the years I’ve used nearly a dozen copies, from paper, to hardback, to leather. Nothing holds together. I have to tell people it’s a good version, but the bindings are lousy. What a dilemma.

    “And however deep the trauma of cowardice, we can experience obedience, for God never asks us to obey an order for which He does not also provide courage and strength.” — Ken Anderson, A Coward’s Guide to Witnessing, p. 17.

    Our female dog started yelping after we got home this afternoon. Cold? Bug bite? Cramps? She’s still holding up her hind leg. That may mean a trip to the vet tomorrow.

    Close and precious to God, this is. “Protect me as you would protect the pupil of your eye!  Hide me in the shadow of your wings!” (Psa. 17:8 NET).

    Roots go in different directions. Gratuito, in Portuguese, means free, at no cost. In English, “gratuitous” is used, usually with a negative connotation, of something done or shown without any good reason, unnecessary. The English word is used most often today of television shows and movies.

    This just appeared on Facebook: “Asking for prayers for Brother Will Sadler, the preacher at Keiser church of Christ, and his wife. He will be receiving a kidney transplant tomorrow from his wife.” Keiser is close to I-55 near Osceola, Ark. I don’t know them, but it seems a prayer would be in order.

    • Rick Kelley 7:07 pm on 2011-07-04 Permalink | Reply

      Prayers in order for sure!

    • Mike Riley 9:47 am on 2011-07-05 Permalink | Reply

      Will be praying that Brother Sadler will have a successful kidney transplant and recovery.

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