Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kerith House Bible

While we're on the subject of Bible translations I thought I'd say a bit about the idea of Kerith having a 'house' Bible, or to put it a different way having a default translation which we will be the primary translation we use on Sundays, on our courses and in our literature. 

There are a number of advantages to having a house Bible. It means that if people bring a paper Bible on a Sunday there is a reasonable chance that they will have the translation the preacher is using. Similarly we're soon going to put a bookcase in reception with Bibles on for people to borrow during the meeting or course they are attending - having a house Bible makes it easy to choose the translation to use there. It can also protect the preacher from the temptation to flit around, choosing each time the translation which most says what they want it to say. And it means that when we memorise verses, as we're doing at the moment, we're all memorising the same version.

Having a house Bible doesn't in any way force everyone to use that translation. I'll still expect Sola to make extensive use of the Amplified Bible, and Michael Ross Watson to quote from the King James and New King James versions. And you're utterly free to read whichever translation you find most helpful in any given situation. The aim is not conformity, but some level of uniformity where it is helpful.

For years our house Bible has been the 1984 New International Version. That is about to go out of print, to be replaced by the new 2011 version of the NIV. We therefore need to make a decision about our new house Bible. As elders we've been talking about this for a while (I even wrote a short paper on it if anyone is interested) and have decided to adopt the 2011 NIV as our new house Bible. We did consider various other translations, but in the end felt that in terms of continuity (for those of us brought up on the 1984 NIV the new one is very similar, the primary difference is more gender inclusive language such as referring to 'brothers and sisters" rather than just "brothers" where the word in the original refers to both men and women), and because the mix of "word for word" and "thought for thought" translation styles makes it both accurate and readable, this was the right choice. 

We've got a number of different 2011 NIV Bibles on sale at cost price on the bookshop - I'd encourage everyone to get a copy of the new translation. 

Hope that makes sense. If not you know where to find me :)

Simon.

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