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Job 13:15–An Exercise in Interpreting!

Every now and then I come across a Bible verse where translations of English Bibles display remarkable and confusing contradictions. Job 13:15 represents a dramatic example. Notice the following: “Behold, he will slay me; I have no hope” (Revised Standard Version, RSV)“Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (New American Standard Bible, NASB)“God…

Can You HEAR the Bible?

One of the often ignored but undeniable features of biblical literature is its oral nature.  Harvey writes (Listening to the Text, 1), “The popular culture of the first century was, technically, a rhetorical culture. In a rhetorical culture, literacy is limited, and reading is vocal [see Deuteronomy 31:10-11; Colossians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:13]. Even the solitary reader reads…

A Hanging Nominative?

John 1:12 in the New American Standard Bible reads, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” The relative clause “as many as received Him,” grammatically a nominative plural clause and that is expected to function as the subject…

When Translations Differ . . .

All Bible translations interpret the Scriptures. One valuable aspect of an English translation consists of people having the Bible in their native tongue, but not all translations interpret Scripture the same. Conscientious scholars, preachers, teachers, and anyone committed to serious Bible study and proclamation should compare different translations to see if and how they vary…

Mirror Reading in Proverbs 9

If “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” it is too bad that so many scholars, Bible commentators and students behold so little Scriptural beauty! This state of affairs perhaps exists because they spend minimal time in the biblical languages and much if not most of their time investigating what others say about the…

Word Picture In 1 Timothy 1:19

The Greek grammarian A.T. Robertson wrote, “All language was originally pictographic. The picture was first seen and then the effort was made to describe it . . . . Prepositions are essentially words of location employed to help out the meaning of the oblique cases . . . . One cannot afford to slur over…

Togetherness, A Biblical Mandate!

Psalm 133 is an ascent psalm to be sung while going to Jerusalem at the three required yearly festivals designated in the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Refusal to make the pilgrimage invited national curses; obedience resulted in national blessings. Verse 1 is vital to a correct interpretation of this Psalm. “How good and pleasant it is when…

Uncommon But Critical Word Studies

Word Studies constitutes one of the most popular Bible interpretation processes. By “word studies” one usually means evaluating the historical meaning of words as it changes through time or at a particular juncture in time or both. Obviously the interpreter cannot do this for every word in the text so a choice must be made…

Clarifying an Image

Imagery represents a universal staple in poetry and Hebrew poetry is no exception. To consciously or unconsciously remove or change the images of a poem diminishes it. When translating Hebrew poetry errors of this sort sometimes occur because of the overwhelming desire to clarify God’s word, an admirable goal but sometimes leads to a misreading…

Hope for the Future

Jeremiah 29:11—“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an end and expectation” (King James Version). The marginal reading of the italicized portion says, “to give you an expected end.” The Revised Standard Version renders the phrase “to give you hope in your…

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