David wishes that we were Biblically literate. I resonate with that, preacher.
It is time for us all grow up and become Biblically literate. That won’t happen if we continue to depend on the Good News Bible.
It comes from the same muddled thinking that regards swaying “meaningfully” to that drivel Kum Ba Ya whilst looking at a candle as somehow a modern, cool expression of Christian worship. This stems from the time when Methodism and other mainstream denominations had our collective nervous breakdowns in the second half of the last century.
I don’t know if its just me, but I find the NIV as easy to read as it gets.
I don’t think its the language people have trouble with, it’s the notion that this book is supposed to mean something to us and it is very hard for some people to reconcile that truth with the form and content of what is present in the Bible–we can’t always make it fit into our context.
Similarly, the Bible needs to be understood in its own context and in the context of faith. I don’t think its the language, now, that people really struggle with but language is the easiest scapegoat. The deeper issue in which paraphrases may be a band-aid for, is that people tend to expect things from the Bible that it may not wish to give immediately and that doesn’t always happen. Maybe we could be more honest about that. Maybe we could avoid watered down metaphors such as the Bible being the instruction manual for life so that people stop looking for enumerated lists, but begin looking to encounter God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Maybe we could make sure that we teach the Bible appropriately and deal justly with proof-texting and poor exegesis. Maybe we could better equip our churches with the ability to read, understand, and use the Bible as it desires to be used.
And maybe we could celebrate all of our loving and responsible pastors and teachers who do this and lift them up and encourage them. Sometimes preaching the Word doesn’t bring notoriety and fame and these men and women are okay with that.
My heart as a teacher is to take this need and desire, and attempt to rally the community of faith around it and make sure that people understand the scriptures. As churches what can we do to make sure that people do not need to rely on interpreted paraphrases?