Browsing Translations

Recently, for reasons mostly related  to work, I installed the new Windows 7 OS on both my laptop and desktop. For all intents and purposes things went smoothly on both. However, there were some problems on my laptop that were very frustrating but resolved to a large degree.  Each unit experienced difficulty with a reinstall of Security software. Those issues were also resolved with a bit of perseverance and a bit of technical assistance from the manufacturer.  While working on some of the issues with my laptop, a tech friend pointed me to a couple of different web browsers other than Windows Internet Explorer.  One was Google Chrome and the other was Opera.  Of course, I wanted to try them both and found each to be much faster and more efficient than IE. Each have features I like and some I don’t like. I’m not sure whether that’s because I have been accustomed to IE over the years or my learning curve is much longer than it use to be. Either way, it’s been interesting learning my way around these other programs.

Over the years I’ve also found myself experiencing different translations of the Bible. I’m never quite certain why there are so many biblical translations, even “eco-friendly” versions. Some are done for politically correct reasons – neutral language and the like, and others are done simply because they have a different theological viewpoint to promote Currently I use the Reformation Study Bible which is an ESV version. Prior to that, I used The New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV, that one has probably been my favorite. Prior to that it was the New American Standard, before that the NIV, and prior to that the RSV and the of course there was the infamous King James Bible. Heck, even some of them were “red letter” Bibles. It’s always good to know when Jesus is talking and when he’s not. 🙂

I suppose each translation served to reflect a particular era in my theological journey. Some were chosen because they were the “in” translation at the College or Seminary I was attending. Some because is what my professors used or my pastor used. Others, I selected simply because I liked them.  My wife uses the New Living Translation and she likes it a lot. Me, not so much.  I’ve also used different translations in my study – but most of those are electronic versions all the way down to the Good News Bible.

Some people I know have used the same translation – sometimes the same Bible – all their lives. I’m not sure I would like that. It certainly prevents wrestling with different nuances of translation, but it does not necessarily serve to open the mind to new thoughts and ideas.

I’ve about run the course with the Reformation Study Bible and plan to move back to the NRSV. Not that I do not like the ESV translation, heck, I even have the behemoth ESV Study Bible sitting on my desk. Rather, I believe out of all of them I still prefer the scholarship of the NRSV.  Plus, I prefer more neutral notes in my study bible rather than notes with an obvious theological underpinning as in the Reformation Study Bible.

New things are good. Trying new things can open our mind and challenge us to learn and stretch our imagination.  But there is something about the familiar that beckons us to return. Perhaps, after a few weeks and months playing around with Opera or Google Chrome, I may find myself back at the familiar Internet Explorer. Until then, I’ll enjoy the experience of new things and see if I can master them to some degree.

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