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Featured Is the Bible a confusing book?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Guido, Jan 17, 2022.

  1. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    You mean like 99% of the people that have ever lived? :D

    Ok.
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all. Yet, those things that are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or another, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them” (Westminster Confession of Faith 1.7).​

    Concerning the clarity of Scripture it has been written here that God is not the author of confusion.
    Scripture proceeds from God, it is God’s words to us. It makes some sense that God would not write a confusing message.

    But another aspect of God is that he is INCOMPREHENSIBLE
    He is beyond our ability to fully know and understand him.

    Is it not surprising that his words to us can be hard to comprehend?

    Rob
     
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  3. Guido

    Guido Active Member

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    I would like to say sorry to everyone here for posting this thread here, this being the reason why I did so: I was struggling to understand the KJV. For sometimes it's not so challenging to grasp, but at other times it is. It also depends on the book of the Bible I'm reading.

    So for now I am reading the NIV, because I find it easier.
     
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  4. Reformed1689

    Reformed1689 Well-Known Member

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    The Bible, GENERALLY, is not a confusing book.
     
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  5. George Antonios

    George Antonios Well-Known Member

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    Psa_78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

    2Pe_3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.


    Etc.
     
  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    It's all about rightly dividing:

    13the doers of the law shall be justified...Ro 2

    20 ...by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified... Ro 3
     
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  7. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    What? You are not fluent in archaic Elizabethan English? I though EVERYONE preferred reading Shakespearean English over something more modern. ;)

    NIV is a good balance between readability and “literal accuracy”. Sometimes the NLT is fun to read just to get the message painted with a big brush. Other times, NASB is useful when you want to get a little closer to EXACTLY what the author said and how they said it (without taking several years to become fluent in Ancient Greek).

    Different horses for different courses. Do you want to know what he “said” or do you want to know what he “meant” or some balance between the two. The closer to “literal” the harder to understand it will be (because English is not Greek or Hebrew) and the closer to “thought for thought”, the more the TRANSLATORS words will impact the AUTHORS words.
     
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  8. Guido

    Guido Active Member

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    It's the way that a lot of the passages are phrased and at times the archaic wording.

    So which translation is clearest, most beautiful, and closest to what God said? because that's the translation I want to read and study?
     
    #28 Guido, Jan 23, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2022
  9. Guido

    Guido Active Member

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    Are you saying I should stick with the KJV?
     
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  10. Reformed1689

    Reformed1689 Well-Known Member

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    No
     
  11. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    If you like the KJV but just want to get past the archaic wording, the NKJV might be worth looking at.

    Clearest AND closest to what God said are “conflicting” goals. It is a balance that EVERY translation struggles with. Do you speak a language other than English? I learned a little Spanish back in High School. The order of the subject and verb and adjectives in Spanish is different than the order of those same words in English. So if I translate Spanish to English “word for word” the sentences will be very hard to understand. On top of that, Spanish has different “idioms” (figures of speech) than English, so translating a Spanish idiom literally will create a bizarre phrase.

    Here is an illustration:
    ser pan comido” = “to be bread eaten”
    A common Spanish phrase meaning that something is easy.
    “Piece of cake” = a similar English phrase meaning that something is easy.

    So if the original says “ser pan comido”, should the translator render it in English as “to be bread eaten” or “piece of cake” or “it is easy”? What is the “correct” translation? Which is “clearest, beautiful, and closest to what [the author] said”?

    English is a lot closer to Spanish than it is to ANCIENT HEBREW!
    So I tend to believe that almost all translations are “clear, beautiful and close to what God said”. The translators had an impossible task and did their best to accomplish slightly different goals. The BEST Bible translation is one that you will read and enjoy.


    If some particular passage requires you understand EXACTLY what was written because of some subtle meaning that you need to understand, then I suggest going online and reading the verse in as many different translations as you can get to get the opinions of many translators before rendering a decision. If a specific word is important, there are resources that match the English words in a translation with the original Greek or Hebrew word and link you to a dictionary or Lexicon in the original language. (I use BLUELETTERBIBLE.ORG)

    I personally read the NASB95 … but that is really just a preference for the writing style. I suggest you visit Blue Letter Bible and read from a bunch of different translations to find one that you enjoy and understand. (The NIV is a good one that I used before I purchased my NASB version).

    Another thing that is useful is to have the same translation as the Church group where you fellowship. It just makes Bible Studies easier to have the same translation, or reading along with the Pastor at a service. Ultimately, there is no BEST and only a few BAD translations to avoid.

    Watch out for anything like the NWT which is published by the Jehovah’s Witness (and differs from all other translations based on their church doctrine). Unless you have a specific reason, you probably do not want any bible that includes more than 66 books (no Maccabees or Tobit).

    Honestly, if you like the NIV you have, you should read that. It is a good choice and a translation that aimed for a balance between “literal” and “readability”.
     
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  12. Reformed1689

    Reformed1689 Well-Known Member

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    Really, one should be using MULTIPLE English Translations.
     
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  13. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Here is a guide:

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Reformed1689

    Reformed1689 Well-Known Member

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    Be careful with these guides, they are all a little different. For example, some actually have the ESV as more literal than the NASB, there is a discussion about this at ESV Most Literal?
     
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  15. George Antonios

    George Antonios Well-Known Member

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    You do realize that the implied argument is turned against itself according to those verses since they say that God does speak in dark sayings, right?

    It is noble to seek to make the words of God plain to all.
    But it is ignorance of the Bible God to imagine that he ever seeks to use only plain language.
     
  16. Guido

    Guido Active Member

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    What does God speaking in dark sayings mean? Does it mean that his sayings are hard to understand, by which it is evident that the KJV is likely the most accurate translation, because its wording is the most difficult to understand?
     
  17. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Biblical languages are “dead” languages. That means they are no longer spoken. Today’s Hebrew an Greek are not the same as the biblical languages.

    I have seen people argue the king James authors spoke those biblical languages. That is simple not true. Even if they had a base understanding of the language, they filled the words with modern understanding.

    As an example, in Philippians 1, Paul says he is confident that “He who began a good work in you will complete it” or words to that effect.

    Most believe that refers to personal sanctification which is just incorrect. The word “you” is plural. That makes the word “in” to mean “among”. It should be read “He who began a good work among you will finish it.”

    The main theme of the book of Philippians is the advancement of the gospel in the midst of persecution. The “good work” is the proclamation of the gospel.

    Find a good commentary to assist your study. Read several, in fact.

    peace to you
     
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  18. Guido

    Guido Active Member

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    Okay. So which commentaries do you recommend? Are there any good ones available online? Although of a few I have read a small portion, for me it is often not easy to understand them, seeing they are so abundant in thought, expounding one verse exceedingly, and seeing the sentence structures they use are so challenging.
     
    #38 Guido, Jan 24, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  19. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Well, there are many online. So you don’t get overwhelmed, just pick a book like the gospel of John. Read Gill’s commentary. See what Charles Spurgoen had to say and compare. Just stuck with John’s gospel and immerse yourself. You don’t have to figure it out all at once.

    Additionally, find good biographies of Christians. Spurgeon has several and some are shorter than others. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones was very interesting to read.

    Just take your time and make a life time commitment to study.

    What I found was that the more I studied, the more I realized how little I understood and how short is the time to learn. There will be precious gems that jump off the page at you.

    peace to you
     
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  20. Guido

    Guido Active Member

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    Studying certain books of the Bible is an ample challenge for me, seeing my focus and discernment thereof is short of the needed sufficiency. So now I've resolved to study habitually the passages in it that challenge me, in order to strengthen myself in these two things, and in order to gain for myself the ability to learn the Word of God, in order to be obedient to the Lord.
     
    #40 Guido, Jan 25, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2022
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