Translation or Transliteration: What’s the Difference?

Angel

Transliterations

I use the term transliteration a lot, but I realize that it is an unfamiliar concept for many. So I figured it would be good to define it for you now.

Translation is quite a familiar concept. A translator takes text in one language and converts it to the equivalent text in another language. In the case of biblical translation, a translator takes the ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic text, which is unreadable to the majority of Christians, and converts it to the equivalent text in English (or the common tongue for another culture).

“Only God Is Awesome!” … Really?

Awesome

Words

I believe in using words properly. In fact, I’m kind of a stickler for it (just ask any of my friends). Words have meaning, and we ought to apply meaning appropriately. It bugs me when people use words incorrectly.

That said, it bugs me even more when people actually insist upon a misguided use for a word. Worse yet is when that misguided effort is based on a misapplication of Scripture. Such is the case with the effort by many Christians to “reclaim” the word awesome for God alone.

What I Want from You on This Blog

I want you.

You didn’t really think I was going to let you get away with being a passive reader, did you? It’s no fun blogging all by myself. I want to build a community around this.

I want us to all participate in mutual edification. I want to see you living out the Christian faith and truly being the church. Remember, biblical knowledge is good, but it is utterly useless if never put into practice.

Yesterday, I gave you my seven promises for this blog. In return, I have just a few things to ask of my readers. Help me with the following seven requests:

My 7 Promises to You for This Blog

Bible

The problem with writing is that it’s more or less permanent. Sure, you can delete a web page, but it’s still out there in the archives. And people will have still read it.

More importantly, by starting up a blog of this nature, I’m assuming upon myself somewhat of a teacher position. That’s not something I take lightly.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. (James 3:1–2, ESV)

It’s Not About the Numbers

Counter

Counting

Don’t get me wrong; I like numbers. Numbers can be very useful. Statistical information is invaluable for planning and strategizing. But there is little place for them in our ministries.

Unfortunately, we tend to place a rather large emphasis on numbers. We count church memberships. We count attendance. We count offerings. We count conversions. We count baptisms.

Before I forget, let me remind myself that I’m just as guilty. I count clicks on links I post to Twitter. I count followers. I count likes and shares on Facebook. I count page views on my blog posts. I count email subscribers.

The Myth of Us vs. Them (Part 2)

Battle

Believers vs. Other Believers

In the previous post from this series, I examined the myth of believers vs. unbelievers, concluding that we are fighting for them, not against them. Today, I am going to look at the myth of believers vs. other believers with whom we disagree.

Truth

The Bible emphasizes truth. Jesus even called himself “the truth” (John 14:6). I believe in truth, and I believe it to be of utmost importance. I would tend to think that the majority of Christians believe the same. Thus, it is our natural desire to defend the truth from error. From this desire comes the field of apologetics.

Martyr Monday

Persecution

I posted earlier about the possibility of persecution in America. But let’s face it. We really have no idea what persecution is. Not yet.

Hundreds of thousands of believers throughout the years have faced persecutions far worse than anything we Americans are likely to ever see in our generation. But many of their stories have been recorded. I believe it is important to know what our brothers and sisters have gone through and to see the bravery with which they went to their deaths for Christ.

Martyr Monday

With that, I highly recommend that you follow Matt Papa’s blog, particularly for his “Martyr Monday” segment. Every Monday, Matt shares more stories of those who truly gave their all for the sake of the one who paid it all. I have found these posts to be hugely convicting yet encouraging, and I believe you will as well.

Active Faith

Bible

Are You Practicing Your Faith?

On his blog, Tyler Hess asked the question, “Are you practicing your faith?

The problem with a lot of sermons, books and blogs is that we like to talk Christian theology in terms of theory.

You believe this and I believe that and let’s sit in circles and talk about it for an hour or two at a time and go away unchanged.

Knowing what the Word of God says is important, but only when it is put into practice.

Preaching in the Synagogues

Preacher

Preaching in the LXX

Alan Knox just finished a series on Preaching in the LXX (Old Testament). He examined the Greek word kerusso (usually translated “preach”) as found in the Septuagint (LXX, the Greek Old Testament).

I have previously done a similar study, looking at kerusso in the New Testament. The conclusion to which I came was precisely the same conclusion Alan reached. Kerusso primarily means “proclaim” or “announce.” The word in no way carries the connotation of preaching a monologue sermon like pastors do today.

In the conclusion to his series, Alan took some New Testament verses that use kerusso, and replaced preach with announce to demonstrate what they really mean. This was very helpful, but he did leave out one verse which may seem to create a problem for our conclusion.

The Myth of Us vs. Them (Part 1)

Battle

For Us or Against Us?

Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23, ESV). But then he also said that “the one who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:50, ESV). So it seems pretty clear, right? People are either for us or against us.

We must of course remember that these statements were made in the context of sharing the good news and performing signs in Jesus’ name. Either a person is aiding in the spread of the gospel, or that person is hindering it. If the latter, does this make that person our enemy?

Messy Church (Book Review)

Messy Church

Messy Church

The church is a family. We are children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and brothers and sisters with one another in Christ. There is certainly more to the church than just this, but the concept of church as a family is a huge aspect that is often overlooked in practical application. In his book, Messy Church: A Multigenerational Mission for God's Family, Ross Parsley emphasizes this truth and shows by example how the church can truly live as a family.

Numerous books have been published recently, all trying to answer the question, “What’s wrong with the church?” Most seem to focus on a particular problem, and then they proceed to castigate the church for failing in that area. This is not an entirely wrong approach, as most of the problems these books highlight are legitimate ones. Yet I wonder if we are spending too much time bandaging bruises and too little time examining the core issues from which these other problems stem. A lack of understanding about the nature of the church is one of the core issues, and Parsley has made some great strides toward overcoming it.

Persecution in America?

Prison

Jailed

Michael Salman has been sent to jail for Bible studies he held at his home in Arizona. Is this persecution in America? The issue is a bit more complicated than it seems at first glance.

Technically, his arrest was due to zoning violations rather than having anything to do with what he preached. But as you’ll see in his video below, there does seem to be a bit of a double standard going on with these zoning laws. One is tempted to ask whether they would be so vigorously enforced for anything that was not a church.

In either case, my prayers go out for Michael, his family, and his local church body. From what I have seen so far, his testimony has been exemplary. He is facing this trial with boldness, and he is being quick to give God the glory.

“How’s Married Life?”

Marriage

Everyone keeps asking me this question. As of Sunday, I’ll have been married to the most incredible woman on this planet for a full month! So how is it?

Tessa McKnight

Awecious!

Yes, that is a word. Because I said so; that’s why.

Seriously, marriage is fantastic, just like God promised.

Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of Yahweh. (Proverbs 18:22, WEB)

Speaking of my amazing wife, did you know that Tessa McKnight blogs too? Here are some excerpts from her latest post, about Christians, cultural relevance, and submitting to one another in love.

Android “Got Saved”

Technology

I posted earlier about things that fill us and have the potential to take us away from the close fellowship with God we should have. One such area that has always been a temptation for me is technology. I’m a tech geek. I have been for as long as I can remember. Technology can very easily distract us from the things that are truly important, but it doesn’t have to. If viewed properly, technology can be redeemed for use in God’s kingdom.

Edifi

In particular, I have found the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets to be wonderfully beneficial. Anyone with such a device has almost immediate access to the Bible in scores of different English versions, plus hundreds of other languages, not to mention all the commentaries, dictionaries, and other such resources available. It has become one of my personal passions to see modern technology used in the spread of the good news.

The “Christian” Android

That said, I was not really sure what to think when I heard about Edifi, the “Christian” Android tablet.

The Gospel for the Middle

Middle of Nowhere

A Question

Frank Viola has posted a question on his blog, and he has invited other bloggers to answer it. You’ll find the copy of his question below, and my answer will follow.

The following exercise is from the synchroblog at http://frankviola.org/2012/07/09/gospelforthemiddle.

Fielding Melish and his wife Felicia have two children, ages 10 and 6. They live in a very remote part of Maine, USA. They are surrounded by extended family, none of whom are Christians. The nearest churches are one hour away, and by all evangelical standards, none of them are good. These churches are either highly legalistic, highly libertine, or just flat-out flaky.

Church Membership (A Response to Mark Driscoll)

Pews

The Church

Mark Driscoll has been posting recently about the church. About a week ago, he posted an article called “8 Biblical Marks of a True Church.” I’ll be writing later about what exactly defines “church,” but for now, suffice it to say that I agree with one of Driscoll’s eight marks. While the other marks he proposed may be desirable, the lack thereof does not disqualify a body of believers from being a true church. Scot McKnight (no relation to me) posted about Driscoll’s proposal, and Neil Cole commented with an excellent rebuttal to the eight marks. I’ll leave it at that for the moment.

What’s the Deal?

Right now, I want to focus on Driscoll’s more recent article, “What’s the Deal with Church Membership?” In it, he posits that church membership is biblically evident and that anyone who disagrees must “have an agenda to disprove otherwise.”

What’s Filling You?

Living for God

I’ve been a “Christian” all my life. Since the day of my birth, my parents have faithfully taught me the good news of Christ Jesus. I accepted the gift of eternal life at about five years of age, and I’ve never really doubted any of the fundamentals of the faith. But for most of my life, I was not really living for God as I should have been.

Don’t get me wrong. I was a pretty good guy, especially on the outside. I would “go to church” every Sunday and even on Wednesdays. Aside from being partially homeschooled, I attended a Christian high school, and then I chose a Christian college. I had all Christian friends. I knew my theology, and I had all the proof texts lined up to defend what I believed. But I wasn’t really living for God.