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A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (UBS4): 2nd Revised Edition by Bruce Metzger

9781598561647oIn the past few months I have been fascinated by the study of textual criticism. To see how men are actively reviewing the manuscripts of the Bible to determine what was originally written has opened up to me a new appreciation for the Word of God. It has also shown me why there are some differences in various translations of the English Bible.

In his book, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (UBS4): 2nd Revised Edition, Dr. Bruce Metzger gives detail into verses of the New Testament and why the committee of the Greek New Testament (United Bible Society, 4th edition) chose the readings that they did. Dr. Metzger gives historical background on certain manuscripts and also the methodology of the translators to show how they arrived at the conclusions they did.

In some cases the choice was easy. A verse or verses did not follow the flow of the writer so it was apparent that someone changed the text. In other cases, many manuscripts agreed with each other and only a few dissented. However, there are some where the decision was not so easy and the reasoning was given by Dr. Metzger on why the reading was chosen over another reading.

As an example, there is a famous passage of Scripture, the woman caught in adultery, that is not in some of the best manuscripts. Also, some have it in a different gospel. Dr. Metzger goes into the history of this passage citing church fathers, current research, and textual evidences to show the reader that this passage may not be authentic. Thus, when the reader sees in a modern translation notes about this story not being in the original, Dr. Metzger’s book gives reasons why it is treated as such.

I also appreciate the introduction which gave history into the field of textual criticism. Dr. Metzger points out that certain documents seem to originate from a common source and there are several common sources for many of the manuscripts discovered to this date. These common sources share characteristics which let the translator know how a passage was written.

Some of the characteristics are: paraphrasing over verbatim copying, explanation of the texts versus leaving the words as is, changing of words for better flow of grammatical structuring, and questioning certain words or phrases altogether.

This book has really opened my eyes into Bible translation and the painstaking way in which the translators are carefully regarding each word they hold to be authentic.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Exalting Jesus in Acts by Tony Merida

ActsWhen going through any book of the Bible one must take note to recognize what the author is trying to convey. Each author has a specific way in which they present Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind. Therefore, the reader must take note as they are reading Bible passages to see how Christ is being presented or hinted at in various passages.

In his book, Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida has written a commentary on how Jesus Christ is exalted throughout the books of Acts. Merida shows how Christ is exalted in Acts and does so in a expository and devotional way.

For example, the section on the first seven verses of Acts has: the main idea of these seven verses, bullet points on the various topics within those verses, as well as its commentary on these verses. In addition, at the end of this section are reflection and discussion questions. These are very helpful for someone who is leading a Bible study or perhaps a pastor who is preparing a sermon.

I was rather surprised by this because most of the commentaries that I have strictly try to take from scripture what the verses are trying to communicate. There is not much in the way of devotional thought. By adding this element, I enjoyed reading the commentaries and using the questions to see my risen Savior in the passage.

With this guide in mind I can see this particular series being very helpful to those who want to do Bible study with a devotional aspect but not a pure devotional study or a pure exegetical study. Rather it is almost a hybrid between the two and I really enjoy that type of approach.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Accuracy of Translation by Robert Martin

accuracy_of_translation-194x320Translating the Bible is a great undertaking. A translator not only has to understand the language being translated but also understand the language using the translation. Such difficulty arises when certain words cannot be translated or if a word or phrase has fallen out of usage thus making it difficult to translate.

Dr. Robert Martin understands some of these difficulties and has written a small book on Bible translation and why accuracy is so important. Using the NIV Study Bible (1984), he shows how translation goals could influence how a version is translated.

Does the translation seek to be a thought-for-thought translation or a word-for-word translation? This could be a problem for either option. For example, in America if a person “kicks the bucket” we understand this to mean that someone has died. Should a foreign person translating our books translate the words as “a person died” or use the term “kicked the bucket” and explain it elsewhere?

Dr. Martin gives examples of where he believes the NIV has failed in translation and should be reconsidered as a Bible. He gives cause to be alarmed as he sees some cultural influences in the NIV that may detract from the original intent of Scripture.

Martin uses this example on page 26 of his book. Mark 9:24 in the NIV reads, “…help me overcome my unbelief.” The words “me overcome” are interpretive and Martin argues should be placed in brackets indicating that these words are not in the original. This is just one example of issues Martin has with some of the translational choices of the NIV Translating team.

I found this book to be quite helpful in understanding Bible translation and how certain committees adopt a policy on how they will translate the Bible. It really opened my eyes that not all translations have the same goal and it would be wise to have several to at least compare.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Greek for Everyone by A. Chadwick Thornhill

9780801018916To really understand someone you must speak their language. Their language reveals their thoughts, their preferences; their personality. It is in language that we convey our desires and dreams.

The New Testament was composed mainly in Greek and to understand the thoughts being conveyed it would do one well to know Greek. In his book, Greek for Everyone, A. Chadwick Thornhill has developed a basic guide on how to read and understand Greek for Bible study and personal application.

The book is set to lay the foundation of recognizing Greek characters and their pronunciation and then how to develop a working knowledge of Greek words. Once this is done, the author gives additional resources to deepen the knowledge of Biblical Greek to enhance the understanding of Scripture. While not meant to be an intensive course, this book does well to setup a reader with basic instructions that should benefit them in their endeavours to understand Greek.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

 

NKJV: Know the Word Study Bible

225_350_book-2067-coverMany would like to have a better understanding of Scripture for their own growth. The NKJV: KNow the Word Study Bible seeks to aid in this quest. This is done by three methods of study: verse by verse, book by book, and topic by topic.

The verse and book aids are similar to most other study bible with footnotes and book introductions. As such, I did not find these much of a standout. However, the topic aid was quite nice with 21 topics and accompanying articles to assist the reader on developing an understanding of each topic.

I would suggest this Bible for someone who is new to Christianity and wants to develop a good foundation before really digging deep in the depths of God’s Word.

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.