Is it right to sell the word of God?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Harald, Jan 10, 2002.

  1. Harald

    Harald
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    Is it right to sell the word of God?

    I just came to think about a thing, or actually it has flipped through my mind a few times lately. Is it right and just to sell God’s word, the Bible. Maybe someone else has asked the same question. By its very nature the oracles of God were freely given to the sons of men. God did not sell His inspired revelation to mankind, it was entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). So then, is it thus right and just that both purely secular as well as professedly Christian booksellers demand money for God’s Scriptures. Might not the saying in the Bible (Matt. 10:8), ”for naught ye have received for naught give ye”, apply to the written word of Almighty God? How dare professed saints demand money for God’s word, which was freely given to the company of saints. And more so, how dare professed believers in God sell perverse translations (GNB, Living Bible etc.), at the same time marketing them as God’s very word? And more recently those on the internet who offer downloadable Bibles and even the testaments in the original languages for a specific sum of money. What is this flood of new Bible versions but profiteering, since each new translation has a price tag attached. Some wise man said that the bussiness of translating the Scriptures ought not to be left in the hands of infidels and secular person’s hands. He said each New Testament assembly or possibly association of assemblies should themselves take care of this important thing of carefully translating the originals and then freely distribute copies of the finished translation to the members and others. Of course I admit I have bought those Bibles I have, it just happens to be so in this evil age, but it ought not to be so. In my opinion it is a deplorable and disgraceful thing. Someday I might even buy another new translation, but still I maintain it should not be like this. The word of God should be free, he who wished to pay for it for some reason could do so. I know the printing of it always costs, but it could wisely be taken care of in such a manner that when available to the people for the taking and reading it would not have a price tag. Some may say I talk foolishly. Maybe so, but I for one do not want to come before the Lord at that day as one who made my living on selling and marketing His written word (or perversions of the same), which in the beginning was handed down freely to His people and then copied and distributed in a manner suiting to His glory. As for me if I ever get the Textus Receptus translated into my mother tongue, Swedish, or into Finnish, the official language in my home country, I hope to God I will not deal so deceitfully as to sell it for money. But as long as we the Bible reading people accept things as they are the peddlers and other profiteers will make their fortunes on selling God’s holy word. What think ye?

    Harald
     
  2. Pete Richert

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    I would wish that there would be a Bible for everyone one earth and they would all be free. But it costs money to print Bibles, money to pay for those who work at the publishing houses (who have children to feed as well), money to ship the products. If we feel so strongly about it, we should donate large sums of moneys to different publishers, or better yet, just buy the Bibles ourselves and give them away. Every church I have been a part of has always been willing and cheerful to give a Bible to anybody who asked. I myself give Bibles away, especially when I am whitnessing to people. I just head down to Borders and pick them up a copy and give it to them. Bibles can be pretty cheap you know. You can get a Bible for 10 dollars as long as you don't buy the big leather bound books with maps and notes.

    One of my favorite stories from my own life happened a couple of years ago. I was working at Oak Ridge National Lab and had been sharing the gospel with a coworker for a couple of weeks. I decided to go buy her a Bible. I went to Chick-fa-la and bought a lunch for $6.75, then headed to books a million and picked up a Bible for $8.00. I couldn't help but laugh to myself. "$6.75 for lunch and $8.00 for salvation!"
     
  3. Scott J

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pete Richert:
    ... picked up a Bible for $8.00. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Here's a link that could save you alot of money if you give many Bibles away.
    www.scripturetruth.com

    They have great prices on all their products.

    I have to disagree completely with the idea that selling Bibles is wrong.

    What scripture supports the notion that making a profit or a living off of an activity precludes it from being righteous or wholesome? We pay our pastors...and some of them very well. We pay Christian teachers and other workers as well. Even many missionaries earn a salary and have a retirement plan.

    No place nor time has had greater access to the Word of God than present day America. I suggest that no one in the US is so impoverished that they cannot afford $6-$8 for a Bible...and, like Pete exemplifies, there are many Christians who would willing give a person one without considering it a burden. As long as no authority has the ability to monopolize the market, commercial publishers probably deliver our Bibles and other materials at higher quality and lower expense than any other system ever has or could.
     
  4. rlvaughn

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    I do not think there is anything inherently wrong in charging for a Bible in order to recoup the cost involved. But I have two further thoughts: (1) Much of the multiplication of versions and types (this study Bible and that study Bible, and Bibles for this specific group or that one) is probably motivated as much by money as it is by ministry; and (2) the Lord's churches are probably to be held negligent in not being as involved as they should be in seeing the Bible is freely distributed - whatever form that takes.
     
  5. Pete Richert

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    I agree with your number (2) for sure. You qualified your number (1) but I would still comment. It may be soley for profit, but I am not usually that pesimistic. Surely the revisors and translators for the ESV felt that a revision of the RSV would serve to further the kindom of Christ, and I agree with them. I know many of those men and I can assure you that not many are wealthy and few are being paid. One of them finnally finished off his seminary loans just a year before he took out loans for his kids to begin college.
     
  6. rsr

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    I don't think it is wrong to sell Bibles. By and large, the cost is that of printing, and commentary, sometimes of the cost of translation. Folks who want a specific Bible for a specific purpose will spend as they desire.

    As far as multiplying translations, I can't give an opinion. It may be true in some cases.

    As pointed out above, the cost of a Bible has to be taken in context. I've known families that were too poor to feed their children, but the kids had $100 sneakers.

    I think it's an excellent idea for churches to distribute scripture. There are many organizations, such as the Gideons, the American Bible Society and the International Bible Society, to distribute the scripture -- many churches help these organizations.

    And distribution can be made by the churches themselves. Cost is ridiculously inexpensive. The IBS, for example, sells New Testaments (NIV, KJV and NKJV) for as little as 75 cents and entire Bibles for $2.25 to $3. Smaller portions of the Scripture are even less expensive. A good way to let a church -- and individuals -- have a lot of bang for its buck.

    [ January 10, 2002: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  7. Harald

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    Ok, maybe I was a bit extreme in my views, perhaps unrealistic. But I am glad many of you see the good in churches themselves getting more involved in the bussiness of translation and distribution. Personally I have also given away the Bible a few times when someone has been without one, and still I have many left for further give aways. It's just that each home over here seems to have at least one bible, seeing when people get married they usually get a wedding bible from the state church. Or some get one upon confirmation so called. And of course there are some atheists who have none and do not even want a Bible. And some of you see the bad thing about so many new and yes, unnecessary versions and extravagant editions of this and that Bible. BTW, is the ESV a Bible worth having? I could get it quite inexpensively if I hurry.

    Harald
     
  8. Forever settled in heaven

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    i think it's more reprehensible to deride God's Word as "perverse" than to peddle it for profit.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Harald:
    And more so, how dare professed believers in God sell perverse translations (GNB, Living Bible etc.), at the same time marketing them as God’s very word?
    Harald
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  9. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Harald:
    BTW, is the ESV a Bible worth having? I could get it quite inexpensively if I hurry.

    Harald
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Harald:

    IMO, it is. See the thread

    ESV: What Do You Think?
     
  10. Harald

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    FSIH. Yes, I said what I said, and I will not withdraw my statement unless someone shows I am wrong. I believe I am not entirely alone in regarding those two specific versions as corrupt, perversions. They are dynamic equivalency translations if I am not entirely mistaken, and that is a translation method I believe is God-dishonoring and very bad. In general those two are perversions of what God did give by inspiration. Dynamic equivalency, according to its proponents, is not even aiming to translate formally, as accurately as is possible. They aim at conveying "the thoughts of God" in "understandable everyday language". Many more definitions there be what d.e. is about. You might not have read Dynamic Equivalency by D W Cloud. In my opinion this is an eye opener and a good treatise on dynamic equivalency, notwithstanding the man's KJV Only stance. It might be there are passages in the two mentioned versions which are accurately and acceptably translated, but still overall they are not translations the Sovereign Potentate ordered, but these men ran unsent.

    Harald
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Cloud has greatly misrepresented dynamic equivalence and in so doing has done a misservice to the good translations that use it in varying degrees (KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV). It is impossible to translate with some degree of dynamic equivalence. Even the KJV is possessed with more dynamic equivalence than one might realize. It is definitely more dynamic than the NASB for instance though not as much as the NIV. The point is that DE is not, in and of itself, wrong.

    The problem with the versions mentioned above is that they are not faithful to the original language texts. It is possible to be dynamic and be faithful to the text. It is also possible to be literal and not be faithful to the meaning of the text.
     
  12. Harald

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    Pastor Larry. I agree with you in what you say the 2 mentioned versions are not faithful to the originals. I would not agree Cloud has done a misservice to those others you mentioned. If they are good translations they will stand the test of time among God's faithful. I agree there are more or less instances of D.E. in those four, but I believe at least KJV, NKJV and NASB were in general translated with the formal equivalence technique as the preeminently dominant method, notwithstanding their instances of dynamic e. I also agree it is as good as impossible to translate without sometimes having to translate dynamic equivalently, but in my opinion one should aim at a formal translation as far as is possible. As to what you say it is possible to accurately convey the meaning of the originals by using D.E. I guess it is up to how one defines it. But still I believe there are certain passages which greatly suffer if dynamic equivalency is used, and thus theological accuracy suffers and is sacrificed on the altar of unlawful simplification (if I may say so). This is an important issue, translating God's words. Also, to me it is very interesting and for some reason an important matter, accuracy of translation that is.

    Harald
     
  13. Harald

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    Thank you for the reminder, Chris. I checked the thread, and emailed an inquiry after ESV. Hopefully it will arrive within 2 months. Then I will know for myself. And even if it were not among the best Bibles it still might be good to have at hand if I may need to check some things in it. I kind of regret I was so foolish I burnt my NIV some year ago upon reading some extreme KJV Only literature, it could have come to use in some instances when it is being discussed. Nevertheless I stand by what I have said regarding it, that it borders on being God-dishonoring, in general.

    Harald
     
  14. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:
    Cloud has greatly misrepresented dynamic equivalence and in so doing has done a misservice to the good translations that use it in varying degrees (KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV). It is impossible to translate with some degree of dynamic equivalence. Even the KJV is possessed with more dynamic equivalence than one might realize. It is definitely more dynamic than the NASB for instance though not as much as the NIV. The point is that DE is not, in and of itself, wrong.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would tend to disagree. I think there is a marked difference between occassional interpretive-translating of idioms within a formal equivalent translation, and dynamic equivalence as a philosophy of translation. As many have noted, a word-for-word translation from one language to another is not always possible, nor desirable. Yet a primary philosophy of dynamic equivalence does damage to verbal, plenary inspiration.

    The difference appears to me to be one camp tries to translate as formal as possible, paraphrasing as little as possible, preserving the very words of God, while the other strives for idiomatic equivalency firstly, if at all possible.
     
  15. Karen

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Scott J:
    .........
    I have to disagree completely with the idea that selling Bibles is wrong.
    ........No place nor time has had greater access to the Word of God than present day America. I suggest that no one in the US is so impoverished that they cannot afford $6-$8 for a Bible...and, like Pete exemplifies, there are many Christians who would willing give a person one without considering it a burden. As long as no authority has the ability to monopolize the market, commercial publishers probably deliver our Bibles and other materials at higher quality and lower expense than any other system ever has or could.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with above. See my more general thoughts on the free market in the money forum in the stock market thread. :D

    I have given a number of Bibles away. And will continue to do so. But I also buy them with "fancier" features than just a plain one. For example, I got my mother a neat, small leather one for Christmas with a clasp.
    I was pleased to transfer money to receive such a well-done product. Nothing wrong with a company making a profit on what it freely offers and I freely choose.
    The company would not make a profit merely by making them and offering them for sale.
    I had to choose to actually pay the cash.

    So,in a far more general sense, this gets into the nature of choices in a market economy. For example, if I were running a command economy here, I would probably get rid of all that money spent on golf and football. I don't care anything about either. THINK of all the money that would be freed up! If you were running the economy, you would pick a different list.
    The beauty of the actual system is that it is the sum of all our individual choices.

    Karen
     
  16. rlvaughn

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    Concerning my reference to the multiplication of Bible translations and types - this is just a general observation. If there were no demand for more and more Bibles, there would not be more and more Bibles. So I see it as a supply and demand situation, based on economics, not so much that people that people desire to minister in getting the word out. So to say that this is based more on money than ministry does not mean that all the motives of those involved are evil. Some may have great motives and some may not, but I do believe that economics plays a large part in Bible sales in this country.

    Here is an anecdotal experience from a Christian bookstore that partially illustrates this - I was looking for a Bible to give someone at Christmas. I told the salesman specifically what I wanted. He didn't have it so he kept trying to sell me anything he had that he thought was close and didn't want to take no for an answer. Now this guy is probably a fine person, but what he was doing was trying to make a sale.
     
  17. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    if ur understanding of Dynamic Equivalency is based on Cloud's, i'm afraid it's based neither on primary literature or on an accurate description of DE. there's nothing eye-opening about what he's written, or what his mentor D.A. Waite has written (i've read and/or heard them both).
    pity, too, for when the fuel of zeal is added to Cloud's basic misunderstanding, one starts making dangerous statements against the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

    if u'd like to take a look at primary literature, there are many eye-opening links available at www.post1.com/home/amarillo/heresy.htm


    [Moderator/Administrator: Last warning. If you mis-represent me and my position again you will be banned from posting to this forum.]

    [ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: Thomas Cassidy ]
     

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