Our Electronic God
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
John 21:25 (NKJV UK)
Apparently reading is just as popular as ever—only our reading habits have changed. Even books themselves are said to be on the way out. Now it’s Kindles and iPads. One of the devices, according to the advert for it, can hold 5,000 books in its’ memory.
So today many popular books are produced in hard-back or paper-back versions, but at the same time an e-version is published at the same price, to download and to read on your personal e-device. Already Bibles are available in this format, and I suspect that before long more and more religious books will similarly be published in dual format.
The thing about it is, the Bible can stand being published in e-format. And it has become more accessible in that format, thanks to search facilities. Already we have Bible Gateway as the authoritative source for e-Bible versions, a place where you can already read and search through most of the Bible translations for free.
The only question has to be one that was asked by one of the great commentators of all time on the book of Isaiah. Bishop Lowth, in the 17th century, questioned the wisdom of many translations. Whilst we have one, he said, that version has all our respect. When there become many, respect will be diluted and the solemnity and deep respect for the text will be lost.
Hmm, there is a point to his comment. It is true that overall respect for our English Version, which used to mean just the Authorised Version, has waned in popular opinion. But, again, another translator, J. B. Phillips, who translated his New Testament anew some 30 years after he’d first done so, recognised that language moves on and the intended meaning can now be lost in archaic wording and usage. That, and not to mention the constant erosion of English being understood by those who speak it and who are not taught it as the treasure it is, means that every 40 years or so we need a new version in the debased language of the day.
It was said that the 1611 version was designed for even the simplest of plough boys to understand. That remains the goal today, where we must make the Bible available to the new generation in the language they understand, even if they haven’t a clue what a ploughboy is. Why not try a modern translation yourself? It might just be a refreshing experience.
Holy Father, thank you for your Bible, your mind revealed to us through words and thoughts. Help us to take seriously the need to make your Word available to the next generation through our words and actions, and our example of studying your Bible. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
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