Tag Archives: Bible

The Perfect translation? by Eddie Arthur

29 May

We’re thinking about the Bible on God52 at the moment, as you’ll find if you read this week’s challenge. In this guest blog, Wycliffe UK’s Eddie Arthur encourages us to consider what our view on the best Bible translation says about us.

Eddie Talking 2If you ever feel like starting an online argument; just ask people what their favourite version of the Bible is. People get really excited about this one and start chucking terms like paraphrase and dynamic equivalence around like hand grenades. Some people love to argue about Bible translations!

Can I let you into a secret? Almost all of the English translations are really good. The NIV, ESV, NLT and a host of other three letter acronyms are all worth reading. They have their strengths and weaknesses and some are more suitable in some situations than others; but they are all good translations. Oh, did I mention that I’m a Bible translator?

To be frank, I don’t care which translation of the Bible you read as long as you read it. Far better to read a version of the Bible that isn’t perfect than to have the world’s greatest translation sitting on your shelves unopened. Get into the Word and don’t get paranoid about finding the perfect translation.

Meanwhile, as English speakers get all heated up about which translation they should read, there are about 210,000,000 people who don’t have a single word of the Bible in their language. That’s right, while we have shelves of versions to choose from, there are about 2,000 languages without a verse of Scripture.

Just imagine trying to plant a church or to help Christians grow without being able to open a Bible and show people what God was saying to them. How about your own Christian life? How would you get along if you didn’t have a Bible or if you had to read it in French or Spanish?

But it goes deeper than this. Think about what it must mean to have a language that is so obscure that even God doesn’t seem to speak it. The people who don’t have a Bible in their language are among the most marginalised in the world. If there is Bible, there is probably no other literature either; nothing written down. If you don’t have a Bible in your language, your educational and political options will be limited and child mortality rates will be higher.

Years ago, it was Christians who pioneered education in the UK; so that everyone could read the Bible. This story is being repeated around the world today as Bible translators and others reach out to the most marginalised.

Eddie Arthur is the Executive Director of Wycliffe UK. Follow him on Twitter @Kouya, or find out more about Wycliffe at www.wycliffe.org.uk

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God 52 – Week Twenty-two (28/5/2013)

28 May

concentrationHope you’re enjoying the continuing focus on the Bible – this week we’re going to drill down even deeper, but if you’ve missed the last couple of weeks, then read this, then this, and catch up!

The first step of the spiritual discipline of Study is repetition (as we explored last week); the second is concentration. This is where we move beyond simply repeatedly reading a passage or chapter, to bringing our full attention to it. In order to make that a little easier, we’re going to pick a short passage of no more than ten verses. If you’re doing this as a progression from the last two challenges, then choose a passage from within the chapter you read last week. If not, maybe just pick a passage from one of the gospels.

22: Set aside at least fifteen minutes to concentrate on a passage of scripture

Time-wise this might sound like an easy task – certainly a walk in the park compared to some of our previous challenges. But because you’re only reading a handful of verses, concentrating for a full fifteen minutes (or more) will require an effort of will and self-discipline.

Allow God to speak to you as you read, and enjoy giving your full attention to his word.

We’d love some guest blogs this week on the subject of Bible study – if you’d like to write one, please read our writing guidelines, then drop us an email.

God 52 – Week Twenty-one (21/5/2013)

21 May
This is 2 Unlimited, singing their 1993 hit 'No Limit.'

This is 2 Unlimited, singing their 1993 hit ‘No Limit.’ I’m sure it’s obvious why.

We tricked you. Last week’s challenge is far from over.

This week, we’re going to be moving into the second part of what will be a multi-part exploration of the Spiritual Discipline of Study. Last week you chose a book of the Bible to read all the way through (didn’t you? No? Quick, go back and do that now).

This week, you’re going to focus down on a single chapter:

21: Pick a chapter from the book you read last week, and read that chapter every day

That’s right. Read the same chapter, every day this week. It shouldn’t take a huge effort of the will – just put aside a little time each day to read the chapter. This is the first element of the discipline of Study: repetition. Think of it like going to the spiritual gym and doing some ‘reps’.

We’re not asking you to do anything more than this – although next week, things will get a little more complicated. For now, just read a chapter,

Then read it again the next day,

and again the next,

and again,

and again,

and again,

and again.

Easy enough, right?

God 52 – Week Twenty (14/5/2013)

14 May

It’s a busy week here at God52 towers. If you’re unsure why, go here and book tickets. Right, that’s the advert over. Anyway, as it’s busy we figured we’d set a challenge that was easy, and wouldn’t take up too much time.

NAAAAAAAAAAAAT. (I’m bringing back that classic 90s gag of saying something, and then shouting NOT afterwards. I’ve no idea why that stopped being popular.)

So this week’s challenge, some of you will find this super easy, others, and especially if you’re like me, will find it more of a stretch. I’m rubbish at reading my Bible, I need both a daily app and an alarm on my phone telling me to do it, and over time they become easy to ignore, but I push myself. I have to, because I know it’s important, I know it’s life changing. And I know that once I get into the rhythm of reading it regularly, the easier and more life affirming it becomes. So…

20: Read an entire book of the Bible during this week.

You could read Psalms or Philemon, John or 3 John, it’s up to you. Just take a chunk of time this week to let God’s word speak to you.

We’re always on the look out for guest bloggers. If you’d like to write a guest post this week on friendliness, please read our writing guidelines, then drop us
an email.

 

Challenge 2: The failure

11 Jan

God 52’s new editor Jamie decided that he’d let his first contribution to the site be an honest one. So here are his struggles with our second challenge

I fell asleep praying this morning. I woke up half an hour later and my first thought was: Can I include this as part of my three hours of prayer that I need to get done this week? It was totally Godly rest, I was soaking in his presence, that was definitely praying. That is definitely one-sixth of my three hours prayer for the week, and my how the person I was praying for must have been blessed by me catching up on sleep.

I wasn’t even kidding myself.

You’ve probably come across people like me previously. I’m the one who, at a prayer meeting, suggests that this entire conversation is prayer and so there is no need for a specific prayer section. I’m the one who humbly lets other people pray while making all the right noises of agreement at the right time, while trying desperately not to get distracted. I’m the one who is really channelling Jesus when I pray in a short, un-showy way, because it really isn’t about the words we use, and not because I bore myself 15 seconds into my own prayer.

The truth is I really struggle to pray. It could be because of my extrovert nature, where I need to be doing four things at a time just to feel settled, it could be because I’m not used to quiet, or it could just be that I’m so self-involved that the idea of giving up some of my free time to talk to the wall seems like a waste of time that I could be on iPlayer/Twitter/Football Manager/a bouncy castle.

Yet honestly, I know it’s important. I struggle to read the Bible as well (another story), but I love reading about Jesus. It could just be our shared initials, love of facial hair or anecdotes that you need to work hard to understand, but I find him utterly compelling, and so if I’m struggling to read the Bible, I go straight back to John. And there’s this trend in the Gospels that just as his ministry is booming, as people are flocking to hear him, Jesus disappears to pray for a bit. He doesn’t wait until the people have left, he leaves them, leaves the crowd, leaves the attention and goes and spends time with his Father. And whenever I read these stories I have two thoughts; firstly, I wish I had a boat I could just disappear in, and secondly, man, this really is important, this really is what I have to ground my ministry, my life, my work, my relationships in.

So I have this system in place. Every morning my alarm goes off on my phone, and it tells me to pray and read my Bible. That’s it. It’s simple. But it works. Honestly. This week I’ve put in a few more reminders on my phone – at times that I know I’ll be pretty much free my phone has told me to pray to meet this three-hour target.

I haven’t had an epiphany yet, prayer isn’t suddenly easier, God hasn’t intervened in the situation I’m praying about. But I’m getting there. I’m working at it. I’m trusting. By Tuesday, I’ll have prayed far more than I normally would, it will become a bit of rhythm, it may feel a bit easier, and if I’m lucky, I won’t have fallen asleep while doing it.

Maybe that’s enough, maybe this #God52 malarky isn’t about seeing the world change but seeing ourselves change, maybe making a prayer a bit more of a way of life is more than enough for this week.