Some bible translations aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. That said, if you’re going to put poison on the shelves for children to imbibe, the least you can do is put a warning label on it. That is apparently what the marriage of the odious and the orthodox is all about in the new MacArthur Study Bible-NIV. Read the text and quickly take the antidote by reading J Mac’s commentary. But do hurry, the quick acting poison of what J Mac acknowledges is deadly is unforgiving… spiritually speaking.
Now, for those who are used to taking poisonous drugs to salve their consciences, this will be a lot like methadone treatments. On the one hand you’ll have something that makes you not care a bit about the truth and on the other, you’ll have the prophylactic. And that is not a homophonic slam on Phil Johnson, though one might truly say that he has put a condom on the whole mess in hopes of staving off the spread of nasty BTD’s (Blog Transmitted Disambiguations).
Lest some think that I agree with one and disagree with the other. I happen to agree with both, it was a bad idea with good motives. I do think that some will come away with a brighter future, on the one hand. On the other, there will be those who justify the translation as something harmless by association. Even in Phil’s piece he disagrees with J Mac in the above video. And that is going to leave the bar doors a swinging for any who want to join the brawl. It is not a poor translation, it is a wrong translation, not just ambiguous, egregious, according to J Mac. So who is to say? It is a horrible translation, but balancing a thousand pounds of ordure in one hand and a thousand pounds of gold in the other, a man/woman/person might just navigate their way across the razors edge to the God who doesn’t need translating.
J Mac’s own non-denomination denomination’s resolution on the NIV2011, (The SBC Resolution on the NIV | Denny Burk), supports what J Mac originally held (there is virtually no difference between the TNIV and the 2011). So it would seem that what it means to be part of the SBC is to be in agreement with it in such a way that to disagreeably act is still in agreement with it disagreeably and if you don’t agree it is because you don’t understand that to be SBC is to agree to disagree agreeably even when you disagree disagreeably. Oh the wonders of autonomous congregational governance. How can two walk together unless they agree? Well, if what you mean by agree is to disagree, join the SBC.
Update: I am adding a couple of videos for the sake of clarity. John MacArthur authored a book and featured this topic at conferences. Listen carefully. It is John MacArthur’s considered opinion that poor translations are a part of the attack on the Truth in The Truth War.
McArthur is wiley. Hear what he says? He wrote the book because it would stir up controversy. Now, that is a motive well suited to signing a book deal that includes his study notes in a translation that he hates.