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Posts Tagged ‘Clinton Arnold’

Wanted: Prayer

At the risk of overposting this week (if there is such a thing), I found it convincting running across two different posts regarding prayer in the church this week.  As someone who is not a pastor or elder, but is in a leadership position consisting mostly of Bible teaching, I needed to hear (or read) both of these encouragements.

Thabiti Anyabwile encourages people to pray for their pastors and elders (HT: JT), reminding us of the reality of pastors burning out and leaving the ministry.

On the flip side, over at Koinonia, Dr Clinton Arnold (I’ve previously reviewed his book How We Got the Bible) encourages teachers (I’ll extend it to pastors and other leaders) to follow Paul’s example in Ephesians to pray for their students that they do not fall into the trap of spiritual dryness as they study the Word. 

It’s necessary to remember that both groups are susceptible to burning out and becoming spiritually dry.  Those not in a leadership position cannot assume their pastors and elders exist in a consistent state of on-fireness, in fact the challenges to maintain a consistent yearning for the Lord may be even greater.  Pastors and teachers need to know that their biblically sound teaching and passionate preaching of the Word are no guarantee that those under them will somehow avoid the dry desert periods of life- if Paul’s disciples weren’t guaranteed this, then we shouldn’t expect to be either.

So I find myself burdened (in a good way) to pray even harder for my pastors and for those I teach, and I encourage everyone to do the same.  And I hope that someone out there is praying for me, too.

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How We Got the Bible

Special thanks to Chris at Zondervan for a copy of this book to review.  You can also check out Chris and others at Koinonia, Zondervan Academic’s new blog.

 

Every year in my classes, one of the most common questions I get is “how did we get the Bible?”  Most don’t know much about how the Bible was written, copied, and translated through the centuries.  Thankfully, Dr Clinton Arnold has given us a book that covers all of this, and more, entitled How We Got the Bible.

 

The subtitle is “A Visual Journey,” a most accurate subtitle.  Each “chapter” (never actually called that) takes 2 pages, with a short paragraph on the topic and quite a few great pictures.  The pictures alone make this book worth owning (but maybe I just like pictures).  You’ll find pictures of papyrus used for copying the Bible, pictures of ancient scrolls, fragments, etc.  When you see the pictures of the ancient copies with their holes and tears, you’ll realize just how much trouble it is for scholars to determine what the ancient documents actually say.

 

Arnold also includes information on how and where the Bible was copied through the centuries- from scribes in monasteries and scriptoriums to the Gutenburg Press.  You get a sense of the battles over translating the Bible- for John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Martin Luther and even in modern times, such as with the Yali people of Indonesia.  In my mind, after working through these pages you get a little more perspective on the ridiculous “translation wars” of our culture.

 

I couldn’t find much to argue with in this book.  Sure, there were times you could have wished for more information, but this book isn’t an academic treatise.  Perhaps a recommended reading list would have been helpful for those who wanted to pursue a particular topic further.  On his chart of recent English Bible translations, Arnold categorizes some Bibles as “gender neutral,” a term that I find loaded and misleading to many.  But if that’s the worst thing I can say about this book, then I won’t complain too loudly.

 

For me, there were two powerful aspects of reading through the book.  First, it continues to amaze me how God’s people painstakingly copied and produced the Scriptures over the centuries.  While you’ll still find some who argue that the Bible we have today is so corrupt that we’ll never know what it originally said, I find it so hard to support such a claim given the evidence.  This book illustrates this truth.

 

Second, Arnold does give a couple examples of modern Bible translation in languages that did not have the Bible- the Yali people of Indonesia (first Bible in 2000) and the three languages of the people of Kambari, in Nigeria.  It reminded me of just how far we have to go to get the Word of God into the hands of those who most desperately need it.  I’ve said for some time that the Bible is the best missionary there is, but it’s something we often take for granted.  In honor of this, here are links to 2 organizations highlighted in the book that are working to solve this problem: United Bible Societies and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

 

It’s quite a feat to produce a book that is informative yet brief and interesting, Dr Arnold has accomplished this.  I highly recommend this book and hope it gains a wide readership. 

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