Last night I was sitting and skimming through the newest issue of Relevant Magazine. Frankly, I consider it a complete waste of time. I could have been doing something more edifying or more entertaining – like watching Deal or No Deal, which isn’t at all edifying or all that entertaining. Get the point. Anyway, I came to pg. 31, and that is what set off this rant – an add for the new TNIV (Today’s New International Version) edition called The Story…
First, I’m not at all a fan of the TNIV which has adopted gender neutral language. It replaces words like “man” with “human beings” and seeks to elimate male-oriented language like “brother”, “father”, “his/him”, etc. You can read great critiques of this at http://www.genderneutralbibles.com. I particularly recommend an article called “Small Changes in Meaning can Matter: the Unacceptability of the TNIV” by Vern Poythress.
Second, this particular edition of the TNIV “Condensed into thirty accessible, it [The Story] reads more like a novel than your typical religious text”. The real issue I have with this, besides condensing the Bible, is the idea that the Bible is a “typical religious text”. God’s word stands apart from every other “typical religious text”. It is living, powerful, inspired and innerant. It is our guide to life and salvation. It reaveals God’s glory in the person of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t need to be repackaged and sold!
Despite the above evidence to the contrary, those aren’t the things that set me off. What really made me mad was the catch phrase at the bottom of the add “This isn’t your Grandmother’s Bible”. Ok, to begin with, it’s a bad rip off of an Oldsmobile add campaign a few years ago – “This isn’t your grandfather’s oldsmobile”. Come on. Be a little original.
More importantly, the phrase conveys something very disturbing – that the Bible our grandparents used, or great grandparents used, isn’t relevant anymore. It’s old and worn out, out of style, out of step with the times, kind like their oldsmobiles. I see something very disturbing among the Emerging Church Movement – disregard, sometimes bordering on disdain, for the faith of those who came before us. My grandparents and great grandparents generation fought battles of the faith (probably more successfully than we are fighting them now), took new ground (at greater cost), brought the gospel to new people groups (with less help from technology), loved God and knew their Bibles (the old out dated ones). I think we should be thankful for their committment to the truths contained in their old worn out Bibles.
Moreover, I can’t stand the idea that we need to make the Bible relevant (done of course by adding a new trendy looking cover that you can get in flourescent green or pink, or metal!). The Bible is relevant precisely because it doesn’t change with the culture. If it changed to be relevant to our culture today, it wouldn’t be relevant to our kids twenty or thirty years from now when the culture shifts yet again. It is relevant because it is timeless truth. These truths are life changing, soul saving, God glorifying, and church edifying truths. They were true for my grandmother, and my great grandmother (who started the church with her husband that my father was brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in, who subsequently shared his love of God and Christ with his family – meaning me). If we hope to have impact on the world, that hope better not hinge on new marketing (or ripped off marketing). It better hinge on God’s Spirit doing something new and tremendous through the proclamation of his timeless word!
Let me just say, if it isn’t my grandmothers bible, I don’t want it. Thank you very much!