March 6, 2009

Bible Versions

I got a very clear lesson the other day in why it is important in studying the Bible to consider reference to more than the one version you normally read or study from (and those may be two different versions as reading and studying the Bible are two different things in my mind. But that is another story for another day). The lesson came not from studying the Bibke but from reading through John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. It was a sentence the the second book, second chapter, first section. One sentence struck me as I read:

"Also, it is no less to our advantage than pertinent to God's glory that we be deprived of all credit for our wisdom and virtue."

You are probably saying, huh? I have a confession, the above snippet comes from the website above. I have actually been reading along in a copy of the Institutes that I have had on my shelf for a copy of years but never got around to study. (My friend David at A Boomer in the Pew turned me on to working through the Institutes in a one year reading plan. He is doing a much better job of working through it and mining out meaning and application. Follow him to keep up on the book, not me). I seem to do much better reading from an actual book than on the computer screen, retaining and comprehending better. Does not bode well for me in the future on the on line world, but there it is. I have to have a book in my hand and not on my screen.

So what did I read? The following:

"Not having glorified him by the acknowledgment of his blessings, now, at least, he ought to glorify him by the confession of his poverty. In truth, it is no less useful for us to renounce all the praise of wisdom and virtue, than to aim at the glory of God."

Maybe it is just me, but that hits me completely differently. And I checked the location in the two texts. It is the same thought even if not the same sentence.

My point is that in studying something as deep as Calvin, the interpretation used can impact your understanding. In studying the Bible, which is so deep as to make Calvin seem the shallow end of the pool compared to the vastness of the ocean, how an interpretation translates even as much as just a word can vastly alter your comprehension and understanding.

"Dig in to the Word, but you may need to keep several shovels close at hand."

That isn't from Calvin. That's from me.

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