Picking A Translation

Book Reviewed:  How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth

By: Gordon D. Lee; Mark L. Strauss

Purchase Links: Westminster  Or  Amazon

There are tons of bible translations on the market today.

Why?

Does commercialism drive the choice to produce a number of translations?

Is it personal preference? Is there a “Best” translation?

Which one do you need or want?

The options can be mystifying. If you have felt that way, or are feeling that way now, then today’s book review is highlighting a selection worth your time.

Cover of "How to Choose a Translation for...
Cover via Amazon

The Book, “How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth” addresses these questions and more. This book introduces the reader to the necessary terms for the subject of bible translation, explains why we have the various translations, the differences in the types and their purposes and best applications.

If you are new to the topic of Biblical interpretation or feel lost in a sea of options when picking a new Bible, this book is for you.

If you want to understand the difference between the various categories (“literal” and “meaning-based,” “dynamic equivalent” and “paraphrase”) and their uses, this book is for you.

The authors address the technicalities of translation from Hebrew and Greek, yet the book is easy to understand. Readers will learn the history of translation in English, what category their favorite translation falls into and what makes a translation both accurate and reliable.

The authors cover the four areas of relationship in translating any text: accounting for cultural contexts, differences between languages, presentation (style and format) and dealing with ambiguity.

The ease of approach and helpful glossary in the back make this a useful guide for the pew-sitter and the person involved in vocational ministry.

Pro’s: Terms are well explained and the book is easy to read. Discussion is clear. Topics include process of bible translation, various difficulties, and the history involved. Read this book and you won’t be confused about which Bible to use for which purpose from devotional reading to research.

Cons: Authors seem slightly biased toward the methodology they used and the translation they helped put together. The book is not compromised by this, simply be aware they have an opinion and it shows up from time to time.

God Built: Forged by God – Book Review

I have heard a lot of good things about Steve Farrar but never personally read one of his books until now.  God Built: Forged by God, in the Bad and Good of Life is a very interesting and thought provoking book.

This book goes in depth into the life of Joseph and looks at why each event in his life happened.  From his betrayal by his brothers, to being sold into slavery, to being a chief slave, to being thrown into prison, to being handed the keys of Egypt, Joseph had a life of more downs than ups.  But Joseph acknowledged that everything in his life was orchestrated by God.  Which gets to the main point of this book, the sovereignty and providence of God.

“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. … And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God;” Genesis 45:5,7-8

This book challenged my beliefs on how much God is in control of every detail of our life, and every event, even the bad ones.  It has challenged my views that God does not just allow bad things to happen, but He put them there.

Praising God in the storm

Many will get offended and defensive when I say that, but those are usually the same people who sing that it is “God who gives, and takes away.”  This is a belief that we have acknowledged but never really thought through the implications of.

It is God who gives and takes away; He has a purpose for everything, we just need to learn to accept it and keep following Him regardless of if we see the good in a situation or not.  God had a purpose to allow Joseph to go through what he went through, and He has a purpose for what we are going through.

Take for example the Jasper family.  One day while the father was playing around with his five year old son their go cart flipped over, killing Cooper, the five year old boy.  Along with all of the pain that goes with loosing a child they never took their eyes off of God. They knew that it happened because God wanted it to happen, and this freed them to worship God even in the darkest of moments instead of tearing their family apart with anger towards God or blaming each other.  (Check out their story made into a documentary)

Working for God

Having a better understanding of who God is and how God controls everything also helps us in our day to day life, not just during the bad times.  When working at a job, God put us in that job, if we like it or not we are still working for God so we need to give it our best.

Joseph was literally a slave, but he worked hard to serve God and he ended up becoming the top slave in the house, in control of everything.  Then he got demoted, sent to prison, but his attitude and willingness to serve God meant that he was recognized by the jailer and was put in charge over his area of the prison.

When God puts us in our own dirty jobs, even for years at a time, we need to endure it with a positive, Godly attitude.  That will help us learn the lesson that God may have for us in those situations, and it will be a good witness to those around us that God may want us to minister to.

God’s Control… and Evil

One of the questions that is often brought up when discussing this topic is if God is in control of everything, then that means He made sin and makes us sin.  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has an answer for this, which is explained in a bit more detail in the book.

The great problem is this: if God does govern and control everything, then what is his relationship to sin? All I can do, in answer, is to lay down a number of propositions that are clearly taught in Scripture.

The first is that sinful acts are under divine control, and occur only by God’s permission and according to his ultimate purpose (Genesis 45:8).

The second is that God restrains and controls sin (Psalm 76:10).

The third is that God overrules sin for good (Genesis 50:20).

My last proposition is that God never causes sin, nor approves of it, He only permits, directs, restrains, limits, and overrules it.  People alone are responsible for their sin (James 1:13-15).

You are built by God

All of this is meant to show you that you are built by God, the way you are and the plans He has for you in the future.  It is about us being men, manning up to our responsibilities and living how God wants us to live, because He built us for a purpose.

Your past mistakes and hardships were not mistakes, they were engineered by God to make you who you are.

I would recommend this book to most people, and at only $8 for the hard back at Amazon it is in a price range for most people as well.  So pick it up!

Radical book review

Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream

Radical is one of the toughest, most challenging books I have read in a long time. The book is fairly short, only about 200 pages, but in those pages you will be challenged like never before.

David Platt, the author, challenges its readers to look at their lives and see if they are living their life in radical obedience to Jesus, or if we are too distracted by our pursuists of the American dream to really give obedience to Christ any serious thought.

In my first book, Radical, I explored how the biblical gospel affects individual Christian lives. Simply put, in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need, gospel-believing, God-exalting men and women do not have time to waste their lives pursuing a Christian spin on the American dream.

David Platt compares his life starting out as a pastor of a mega church with pastors of underground churches in Asia just a few weeks earlier which starts him on his journey to see if he really is following and obeying Jesus.

But as a new pastor comparing the images around me that day with the pictures still fresh in my mind of brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, I could not help but think that somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christanity is actually about abandoning ourselves.

At the end of this book is a one-year challenge. What you learn in this book will challenge your faith and your way of life, but hopefully through reading it you will decide to forsake the American dream for the sake of the gospel.

This is a Must Read for every Christian.

Operation World

Operation World is an organization dedicated to seeing the world come to Christ by encouraging Christians everywhere to pray for the world. But not just the world in a general sense.  Operation world focuses each day on a different country or part of the world, and brings up needs that the people in those areas have. Both physical and spiritual needs.  It could be anything from a government that is against Chrsitanity, high illiteracy, or lack of missionaries.

We do not merely pray about the many points featured herein, we pray toward something, and that something is magnificent – the fulfilment of the Father’s purposes and His Kingdom come

Is it effective?

We have a global mission of reaching the lost with the gospel. While each Christian is tasked with the great commission to reach the lost that God sends into our lives, there is also a much greater need. One that we cannot do alone.  Jesus never placed this mission on just one person or one small group.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:36-38

Notice that Jesus did not tell the disciples that it was their job to do all of the work. They had their fair share to do too, but they were also to pray. Not just pray that each person comes to Christ, but for what? For workers.

So yes, this website has an exteremely Biblical context. Praying for workers and other needs in each and every country. One country per day.

A Quick way to draw closer to God

It only takes 5 minutes to do, but the spiritual impact these five minutes will have is enormous. It did not take long of me praying every day for a country before I started to have more of a burden for the lost.  And even better, it strengthened my relationship with God by a lot in a very short time.

So how do you get involved?  First got to their website, http://www.operationworld.org and sign up for the mailing list. You will receive a reminder every day to pray for the country of that day. The daily country is listed on their website as well and most have a short video prayer that you can watch.  And finally, you can get the book, which I highly encourage. The book has a lot more information on most of the countries and gives you more things to pray for.  Plus last year I did have a few problems with the website and mailing list not working as expected but the book is always there telling you what country to pray for each day.

So what are you waiting for? Go get praying!

Resources

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Book name: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.
Price: $8.27 (Amazon) | $5.54 (Kindle)
Author: Francis Chan

The book “Crazy Love” is one of the few books i have read that I recommend to pretty much everybody. I cannot count the number of people I have told to buy this book or how many people I have bought this book for.

It tries to show us that God is deserving of all devotion and our lack of devotion is a problem with our view of God.

The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians. The Crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have a inaccurate view of God. … Jesus came humbly as a servant, but He never begs us to give Him some small part of ourselves. He commands everything from His followers.

The book is divided into two sections. The first three chapters take a look at who God is, and then the final seven chapters examines ourselves in light of what we learn about God.

Come with me on this journey. I don’t promise it will be painless. Change, as we all know, is uncomfortable. It’s up to you to respond to what you read. But you will have to respond to a choice: to adjust how you live daily or to stay the same.

When you get a chance pick up a copy of this book and read through it. It will challenge you to take a look at who God is and who we need to be.

Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make since to unbelievers.

check out our other book reviews

Spurgeon Gold

I am reading a book right now written by Ray Comfort called “Spurgeon Gold“. The book makes quotes and comments about many of the great sermons that Charles Spurgeon gave. If you like the sayings in this post, PLEASE pick up the book. There are so many things being left out of this post that are absolutely invaluable pieces of wisdom.

Charles Spurgeon says about his ministry “My main business is the saving of souls. This one thing I do.” Ray Comfort states “I hope this publication advances Spurgeon’s main business; that its words will not just delight your taste buds. May they energize you to reach out to the lost. God forbid that they should add fat to the theological obesity of many…Time will take you and me into eternity. If we are trusting in Jesus Christ, we have a moral obligation to reach out to the unsaved while there is still time. This was Spurgeon’s great passion, and I pray that it is yours. This gold is not meant to sit on the shelf of a rich man. If it does, then it becomes worthless. Its real value will be seen in its being spent on the cause of the Kingdom.”

So sit back and enjoy some of these pure pieces of spiritual gold that will hopefully encourage you to have a heart for those around us that are lost and for serving our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.


To try to win a soul to Christ by keeping that soul in ignorance of any truth, is contrary to the mind of the Spirit; and to endeavor to save men by mere claptrap, or excitement, or oratorical display, is as foolish as to hope to hold an angel with bird-line, or to lure a star with music. The best attraction is the gopsel in its purity. The weapon with which the Lord conquers men is the truth as it is in Jesus. The gospel will be found equal to every emergency; an arrow can peirce the hardest heart, a balm which will heal the deadliest would. Preach it, and preach nothing else. Rely implicitly upon the old, old gospel. You need no other nets when you fish for men; those your Master has given you are strong enough for the great fishes, and have meshes fine enough to hold the little ones. Spread those nets and no others, and you need not fear the fullfillment of His Word, “I will make you fishers of men.”


The Reason Sinners Live

Read the Ten Commandments, pause at each one, and confess that you have broken it in either thought or word or deed. Remember that by a glance, we may commit adultery; by a thought, we may be guildy of murder; by a desire, we may steal. Sin is any want of conformity to perfect holiness, and that want of conformity is justly chargeable upon every one of us. Yet the Lord does not, under the gospel dispensation, deal with us according to Law. He does not now sit on the throne of judgment, but He looks down upon us from the throne of grace. … Instead of destroying offending man from off the face of the earth, the Lord comes near to us in loving condescension, and pleads with us by His Spirit, saying, “You have sinned, but my Son has died. In Him, I am prepared to deal with you in a way of pure mercy and unmingled grace.”

O sinner, the fact that you are alive proves that God is not dealing with you according to strict justice, but in patienct forbearance; every moment you live is another instance of omnipotent long-suffering. It is the sacrifice of Christ that arrests the axe of justice, which else must execute you.


A Plea to the Lost

Remember, last of all, that the Law, which is so sharp and terrible to men when it only deals with them for their good, will, if you and I die withouth being brought to Christ, be much more terrible to us in eternity, when it deals with us in justice for our punishment. … He will be at once the Lawgiver, the Judge, and the Savior; and you that have despised Him as the Savior will have to appear before Him as your judge. No such judge as He, His justice will be clear and undiluted now that His mercy has been scorned. Oil is soft, but set it on fire, and see how it burns! … If you turn the Lamb of Zion into the Lion of the tribe of Judah, beware, for He will tear you in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver. Rejected love will change its hand. The pierced hand was outstretched with invitations of mercy, but if these be rejected – O sirs, I am telling you solemn truth, and hear it, I pray you, ere I send you away – if from that hand that was pierced you will not take the perfect salvation, which He is prepared to give to all who confess their guilt, you will have to receive from the selfsame hand that blows of that iron rod, which shall break you into pieces as a potter’s vessel. Fly now, and kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish from the way while His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him! Amen.

**Ray Comfort: “It is amazing that we hesitate to talk about the wrath of God, for fear of making sinners feel fearful. The fear they fell this side of the grave will be nothing compared to the fear that they feel when they stand before Almighty God.” **


Hatred of Goodness

For which of his good works, for which of his generous words, for which of his holy deeds will they fasten His hands to the wood, and His feet to the tree? With unreasonable hatred, with senseless curelty, they only answer to the question of Pilate, “Why, what evil has he done?” “Let Him be crucified! Let Him be crucified!” The true reason for their hate, no doubt, lay in the natural hatred of all men to perfect goodness. Man feels that the presence of goodness is a silent witness against his own sin, and therefore he longs to get rid of it. To be too holy in the judgment of men is a great crime, for it rebukes their sin. If the holy man has not the power of words, yet his life is one loud witness-bearing for God against the sins of his creatures.


A plea to the Unsaved

There are some of you standing in these aisles and sitting in these pews, who I feel in my soul will never have another invitation, and if this be rejected today, I feel a solemn motion in my soul-I think it is of the Holy Ghost- that you will never hear another faithful sermon, but you shall go down to Hell impenitent, unsaved, except you trust in Jesus now. I speak not as a man, but I speak as God’s ambassador to your souls, and I command you, in God’s name, trust Jesus, trust now. At your peril, reject the voice that speaks from Heaven, for “he that believeth not shall be damned.” How shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation? When it comes right home to you, when it thrusts itself in your way, oh, if you will neglect it, how can you escape? With tears, I would invite you, and, if I could, would compel you to come in. Why will you not? O souls, if you will be damned, if you make up your mind that no mercy shall ever woo you, and no warnings shall ever move you, then, sirs, what chains of vengeance must you feel that slight these bonds of love. You have deserved the deepest Hell, for you slight the joys above. God save you. He will save you, if you trust in Jesus. God help you to trust Him even now, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


Finding the Right Church

If you wait for a perfect church, you must wait until you get to Heaven; and even if you could find a perfect assembly on earth, I am sure they would not admit you to their fellowship, for you are not perfect yourself. Find out those people who are nearest to the Scriptures, who hold the truth in doctrine and in ordinance, and are most like the apostolic church, and then cast in your lot with them, and you will be blessed in the deed.


Prayer for the Unsaved

If you really desire that men should be saved, pray for them. It is an empty wish, a mere formality, if you do not turn it into prayer. … Oh, for more prayer! Let us cry to God in secret, and in the family, and in all our assemblies, that God would save the sons of men.


The Necessity of Preaching

Suppose that we do not preach the gospel and warn the wickend man, so that he turns not from his iniquity. What then? Hear this voice: “He shall perish, but his blood will I require at thine hand.” What will my Lord say to me if I am unfaithful to you? “Where is the blood of those people who gathered at Newington Butts? Where is the blood of that crowd that came together to hear you speak, and you did not preach the gopsel to them?” Oh, it where better for me that I had never been born than that I should not preach the gospel! “Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel” of Christ, for men perish where there is not the Word of God!


Genuine Conversion

If we labor for souls, we must not be content unless souls are really saved, for the apostle says, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God.” Well, does not that satisfy you, Paul? They are zealous for God. They are red-hot. “No,” says he, “not unless it is in the right way. They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” We feel very thankful when we see tears stream down the cheek, but you know, people cry at the theatre, and there is not much in it. Pray God it may not end in a shower of tears; but that the heart may bleed as well as the eyes weep. It may happen that we have induced our hearers to give up some outward sins. So far, so good. But it is written, “You must be born again;” and if this vital change is not experienced, all outward reformation will land them short of Heaven.


The Crucifixion

Cowardice! cowardice! cowardice, craven, base lies at your door, O humanity! The Christ who was like a sheep-harmless and defenseless- was treated as if He had been one of the wild beasts of the forest. Who could have had the heart to smite Him who gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to those who plucked off the hair? O humanity! If I stand at the bar to impeach you, I scarce know where to commence the indictment, and, having commenced it, I know not where to close it. How fallen, dishonored, infamous are you, O humanity! Low, depraved, heinous, indeed, have you become that you could put the Messiah Himself to death, and crucify the Lord of Glory.


False Converts

Who was it that added Judas, and Ananias and Sapphire, and Simon Magus, and Demas to the church? Who was it that stole forth by night and spread tares among the wheat? That evil spirit is not dead, he is still busy enough in this department, and continually adds to the church each as are not saved. His are the mixed multitude that infest the camp of Israel, and are the first to fall a lusting; his the Achane who bring a curse upon the tribes; his are those of whom Jude says, “Certain men crept in unawares who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.” These adulterate the church, and by so doing, they weaken and defile it, and bring it much grief and dishonor.


The Purpose of the Law

The business of the Law is first to teach us our obligations to God. Let us ask ourselves if we have ever heard the Law teaching us in that way. Brethren, read the Law of Ten Commandments, and study each separate precept, and you will find that in those ten short precepts you have all the moral virtues, the frull compass of your accountability to God, and of your relationship to your fellowmen. It is a wonderful condensation of morals. The essence of all just decrees and statustes lies there. Perfection is there photographed, and holiness mapped out. No one has ever been able to add to it without creating an excrescence, not a word could be taken from it without causing a serious omission. It is the perfect Law of God, and tells us exactly what we ought to be; if we are in any degree deficient, we are to that extent guilty before God. Now, when the Law comes to a man’s conscience, it reveals to him the divine standard of right -holds it up before him – makes him look at it – and apprises him that the Commandments do not merely refer to acts and deeds, but with equal force to the words and thoughts from whence they proceed.

**Note from Ray Comfort: “It is a Perfect Law (see Psalm 19:7) of a perfect God that demands moral perfection. That is what we are commanded to warn every man, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”


I think that’s enough for now, take these words to heart and pick up this book “Spurgeon Gold” by Ray Comfort.

May God bless you as you seek to save the lost!

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