What I’m Reading.

Yet another former Darwinist examines the evidence and finds it woefully lacking.

About the Author:

British University professor Neil Thomas was a committed Darwinist and agnostic—until an investigation of evolutionary theory led him to a startling conclusion: “I had been conned!” As he studied the work of Darwin’s defenders, he found himself encountering tactics eerily similar to the methods of political brainwashing he had studied as a scholar. Thomas felt impelled to write a book as a sort of warning call to humanity: “Beware! You have been fooled!” The result is Taking Leave of Darwin, a wide-ranging history of the evolution debate. Thomas uncovers many formidable Darwin opponents that most people know nothing about, ably distils crucial objections raised early and late against Darwinism, and shows that those objections have been explained away but never effectively answered. Thomas’s deeply personal conclusion? Intelligent design is not only possible but, indeed, is presently the most reasonable explanation for the origin of life’s great diversity of forms.

Neil Thomas is a Reader Emeritus in the University of Durham, England and a longtime member of the British Rationalist Association. He studied Classical Studies and European Languages at the universities of Oxford, Munich and Cardiff before taking up his post in the German section of the School of European Languages and Literatures at Durham University in 1976. There his teaching involved a broad spectrum of specialisms including Germanic philology, medieval literature, the literature and philosophy of the Enlightenment and modern German history and literature. He also taught modules on the propagandist use of the German language used both by the Nazis and by the functionaries of the old German Democratic Republic. He published over 40 articles in a number of refereed journals and a half dozen single-authored books, the last of which were Reading the Nibelungenlied (1995), Diu Crone and the Medieval Arthurian Cycle (2002) and Wirnt von Gravenberg’s ‘Wigalois’. Intertextuality and Interpretation (2005). He also edited a number of volumes including Myth and its Legacy in European Literature (1996) and German Studies at the Millennium (1999). He was the British Brach President of the International Arthurian Society (2002-5) and remains a member of a number of learned societies.

Reviews In:

A brilliantly synoptic, dispassionate overview of the controversies that have swirled around Darwin’s theory of evolutionary transformation over the past 160 years. The more that science has progressed, argues Neil Thomas, the greater the dissonance between Darwinism’s simplistic mechanism and the inscrutable complexities of life it seeks to explain. Thomas’s open-minded interrogation of the implications for our understanding of ourselves and our world is masterly and persuasive.

-James Le Fanu, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Taking Leave of Darwin bristles with righteous indignation. Retired British humanities professor and lifelong rationalist Neil Thomas believed the confident claims for Darwinism. Now he knows better. Writing in elegant, erudite prose, Thomas excoriates those who have robbed people of their right to grapple with our mysterious universe as best they can. I highly recommend the book.

-Michael J. Behe, Lehigh University Professor of Biological Sciences and author of Darwin’s Black Box

Professor Neil Thomas has written a brief, courageous, spirited, and lucid book. It shows the commendable willingness of a committed agnostic intellectual to change his mind about Darwinism, the great contemporary sacred cow, in the face of the large, accumulating body of new evidence against it and also to avail himself of the insights and arguments of intelligent critics of it since the very beginning and across 160 years-including Sedgwick, Mivart, Butler, A.R. Wallace, Agassiz, Max Muller, Kellogg, Dewar, Jacques Barzun, and Gertrude Himmelfarb. His intelligent, non-specialist survey of the contemporary state of the question is enriched by references to the insights of the distinguished philosopher Thomas Nagel and the MD and award-winning science writer James Le Fanu, and by a quite moving rationalist commitment to “follow the argument where it leads,” however unexpected and uncomfortable this loyalty to logic and truth has made him. He provides a gratifying and illuminating case study in intellectual courage.

-M.D. Aeschliman, Professor Emeritus, Boston University, author of The Restoration of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Continuing Case Against Scientism

 

 

De Fideli.

Book Review: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries that Bring the Bible to Life.

 

Chock full of archaeological facts that uphold the Biblical narrative.

Title: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries that Bring the Bible to Life

Author: Titus Kennedy Ph D.

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7915-3

Number of Pages: 254

Price: £13.99(UK) Paperback

 

 

In this review blog, I’ll be exploring a sample of the huge body of archaeological evidence that affirms the historicity of the Biblical narrative, brought to us by the American field archaeologist, Dr Titus Kennedy.

 

Tune in soon for the full review………………………………..

 

 

De Fideli.

 

Review: The Complete Jewish Bible.

 

A great Messianic Jewish Bible.

Preamble

For the vast majority of Christian history, the ordinary person could neither read or hope to gain hold of the words of Scripture. Such knowledge was the preserve of the scholarly priests, who dispensed nuggets of spiritual truth to their congregations. It was only after the momentous events that led to the Reformation beginning in 16th century Europe, before the common man or woman could begin to read the words of God in his or her own language; first in Spanish, English, and German, and later in a panoply of other languages – many thousands in all – spoken across the world today. In the 21st century, we live in a golden age of Bible scholarship, where it has never been easier to access Biblical truth. Yet, at the same time, there are so many distractions in the full-on materialistic world in which we live, that many have lost touch with much of its truth claims, to the extent that what many- perhaps the majority – believe and hold as morally acceptable is often totally at odds with the mores laid down in the Bible. Indeed, it is this author’s impression that the rapid decline in western civilization we are now in the midst of is at least in part attributed to the uncoupling of our societies from Judeo-Christian values, and with truly disastrous consequences.

Reading the Bible has become for me an essential part of everyday life. As the world becomes entrenched in ever more evil and immoral practices, only Biblical truth can keep me on the straight and narrow path. Indeed, reading the Bible is one of the best ways I can recommend to keep sane in a world that is becoming more insane by the day. And while we all have our favourite translations that we can return to again and again, I really enjoy reading the various versions of the Bible to gain as much theological insight as possible. Here I would like to provide my impressions of a most unusual translation of the Scriptures; the Complete Jewish Bible, the brainchild of the Israeli-American  Messianic Jew, David H. Stern (b 1935).

Stern has an interesting background. Born and brought up in Los Angeles, California,  he is the great grandson of the first diaspora of Jews who put down roots in the city. Dr Stern earned his PhD in economics from Princeton University, serving as a professor at UCLA.  But he also displayed a passion for mountain climbing and surfing(authoring a book on the subject), as well as establishing a number of health food stores. In 1972, he came to faith in Jesus Christ, which led him to study theology and the earning of a Masters in Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and further graduate work at the University of Judaism. After marrying a fellow Messianic Jew in 1976, he was enrolled in the establishment and delivery of the first course in Messianic Judaism at Fuller, which led to a number of published works exploring the rich and deeply interconnected relationships between Christianity and Judaism, including the Messianic Jewish Manifesto, Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel and a Message for Christians.

Dr Stern and his family made aliyah in 1979, settling in Jerusalem, where he has played an active part in progressing the cause of Messianic Judaism in Israel. But arguably Stern’s greatest work is the Bible he gave birth to, which was first published in 1998 and which aimed to restore the Jewishness of the Old and New Testament. Since then the Complete Jewish Bible has gone from strength to strength, being used by many faithful Christians and Messianic Jews the world over.

Though I’ve covered other Messianic Jewish Bibles before, the Complete Jewish Bible(CJB) integrates Biblical Hebrew into the Scriptures far more extensively than anything I have studied before. Whereas translations such as the Tree of Life Version(TLV) uses Hebraic terms sparingly and rather selectively, Stern’s translation is far more ambitious and makes no apologies for doing so. Here you will find many more transliterated Hebrew words that really bring the Scriptures to life in ways that genuinely impressed me. Where the TLV presents the books of the Old Testament in the traditional Jewish Way, the individual books therein are headed by the names most Christians are familiar with. Not so with the CJB. Upon opening the Book of Genesis, we see B’resheet, Exodus becomes Sh’mot, and Leviticus is headed as Vayikra etc. 

The CJB restores the original Hebrew names throughout the Bible.

The CJB introduces many more Jewish terms and names than the TLV. Abraham is presented as Avraham, Joseph is Yosef, Moses appears as Moshe, Sha’ul is Paul, Isaiah is Yesha’ yahu,  Solomon is Shlomo, Yochanan is John, and 1st & 2nd Peter becomes Kefa 1 & 2. Unleavened bread is ma-tzah. The word ‘Lord’ is replaced by Adonai. Re-introducing such names would be viewed by many Christians as rather trivial, but Dr Stern’s ambitions go much further still. For example, all of the Jewish feast days have their transliterated Hebrew names restored in this text, as are the names of towns and cities. God’s glory is revealed as Sh’khi-nah. The city of the Great King is referred to as Ye-ru-sha-la-yim and the tower of Siloam, replaced with Shi-lo-ach. The word ‘Pharisee’ is referred to by P’rushim and the ‘Saducees,’  Tz’du-kim. You’ll not find any mention of Jesus’ (Yeshua) disciples in the New Testament either. They were His talmidim. When first engaging with the text and all the new words, the reader will very likely need to have permanent bookmarks placed in the glossaries at the back of this Bible.

What is the over-arching effect of restoring all of these Hebraic terms? For one thing, it gives the reader a crash course in Biblical Hebrew, reminding us that Christianity had its roots in the Jewish community who gathered in synagogues, after which it spread across the vast Roman Empire to the Gentile(or pagan)nations(Go-yim). We, as Gentile believers are grafted into God’s Olive Tree and not the other way around. All in all, the CJB shows us that God chose the Jewish people above all others to reveal His glory to humankind. Most importantly, the reader will begin to see clearly that in removing nearly all references to the spoken language of the Jews, conventional English Bibles helped to cement and foment the erroneous notion that God has finished with the Jewish people. That might have seemed appropriate in the days of Martin Luther(a radical anti-Semite), but the re-birthing of the modern state of Israel in 1948 and its flourishing as a vibrant and wealthy democracy in defiance of its many enemies, is proof enough that God will come to the aid of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the closing years of human history, when all of the goat nations of the world attack Israel.

In addition to the re-introduction of many Hebrew words, the CJB is peculiar in a number of other respects. The word ‘faith’ is not to be found, only ‘trust’. You can also see that Dr Stern has considerable respect for the most famous of English Bible translations, the Authorised King James Version. For example, in Genesis Chapter 47 we hear echoes of the KJV in phrases like, “when I sleep with my fathers” (Genesis 47:30). In Romans Chapter 2, the text bursts into the memorable language of the KJV:

“Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

You can also see the influence of the KJV in the opening chapter of the Gospel of Luke:

“My soul magnifies Adonai” (Luke 1:47)

Dr Stern also takes a few liberties with the text, as evidenced by the rendering of the closing passages of Isaiah 66, where, instead of ending in a rather gloomy note in verse 24, he repeats the more reverent words of verse 23:

The rather strange ending of Isaiah 66 in the CJB.

Each book of the CJB has a brief introductory text that provides the reader with some of the relevant historical background and the themes developed within the text.

Each book of the CJB features some brief introductory notes to ease the reader into the main text.

In terms of translation philosophy, the CJB is firmly in the camp of dynamic equivalence rather than being ‘word for word.’ But it reads very smoothly and is, in my opinion, suitable as a stand-alone Bible, even though it is the work of a single author. I especially enjoyed reading through Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Romans and Revelation. I’ve not found a single typographical error in this work either – quite an achievement in my estimation – and in contrast to a few modern Bibles I’ve read through, even though these texts were laid out by a team of Bible scholars! The CJB does not use gender neutral language either; surely a good thing, as the Bible was never meant to be politically correct.

Another eminently useful feature of the CJB is its use of bold print when referring to Old Testament phraseology appearing in the New Testament;

The CJB uses bold text in the New Testament to indicate phrases originating in the Old Testament.

Maybe you’ve heard something recently about the movement among some false teachers, who have suggested that we should uncouple the Old Testament from the Bible? Well, as these bold printed references attest to, Jesus Himself used the writings of the prophets of old in his teachings and so did St. Paul, so there’s no getting away from it! Indeed, the Old and New Testaments are a seamless whole, and totally incomplete one without the other. Indeed, Dr Stern cleverly reminds the reader of this by not mentioning the terms Old or New Testament at all! The text goes straight from 2 Chronicles to Matthew as it ought to!

Another neat and rather amusing feature of the CJB is Stern’s inclusion of hand-written texts at the end of some of St. Paul’s epistles, where he emphasises that they were written by his own hand. Check out this presentation at the end of 1 Corinthians:

Stern cleverly introduces handwriting at the end of some of St. Paul’s epistles to emphasise the freshness and authenticity of the text!

All of these subtle and not so subtle renderings of the Scriptures really adds to the vibrancy of the Bible as a living, breathing record of God’s unchanging words and morals, challenging the reader at every turn of the page.

The CJB is available in Kindle format for those who like having access to the Bible on their phones and other electronic devices. It is also available in a hard back format(see the the right hand-side Bible in the opening photo of this blog). I also acquired a very nice giant print version in a flexisoft edition, which is very easy to read but not exactly practical for mobile use. It is Smyth sewn however so should last many years of use. Those interested in more expensive renditions of the CJB can also purchase it in real leather if that floats your boat. There is also a CJB study Bible published by Hendrickson which uses a modified(gender neutral?) version of Dr. Stern’s excellent text complemented by additional background information for the curious student of historical Biblical knowledge.

In summary, I would highly recommend the CJB to all Bible believing Christians. It provides an excellent grounding and reacquaintance with the culture and language of the original Jewish authors of the Bible, and provides a fresh and lively ‘thought for thought’ reading of the Holy Scriptures. With the rise of antisemitism across the world, the CJB will help the reader re-engage with our Jewish brothers and sisters and better understand the demonic nature of the political world’s hatred for Israel and the Jewish people. This is especially prescient, as we are now seeing the alignment of Satanic forces allied against the Christian world and the imperilled nation of Israel, now that its historic ally – the United States of America – with its radical far-left government  – has turned its back on them.

 

Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy. 

 

 

De Fideli.

Review: KJVER Sword Study Bible; Giant Print Edition.

The KJVER Sword Bible Giant Print Red Letter Edition in Genuine Leather.

Preamble

 

Title: KJVER Sword Study Bible Giant Print Genuine Leather(Burgundy)

Publisher: Whittaker House, New Kensington, PA, USA

Country of Printing: South Korea

ISBN: 978-1641230476

Dimensions: 21.34 x 5.33 x 25.4 cm

Format: Double Column, single ribbon marker

Page number: 2352

Font Size: 15 point.

Retail Price: £54.70 UK

 

 

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 KJVER

 

If you’re not a Christian, the world must seem to be a depressing, confusing and bizarre place right now. Global lockdowns, pestilence, freak weather, a dramatic increase in the frequency of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, strident attempts to create a one world government by godless autocrats, massive spikes in human conflict leading to wars and rumours of wars, the ‘celebration’ and empowerment of the sexually depraved, wholesale economic collapse, the current implosion of the formerly Christian United States under a thoroughly wicked and illegitimate Marxist government, which is tearing down every traditional institution that once made the nation great, large increases in UFO sightings(demonic in nature) and so on and so forth.  To the Christian in tune with God’s unchanging Word, as uniquely revealed in the Bible, there can now be no doubting that we are living in the final phase of human civilization; a time the Bible refers to as the last days.

The Bible predicts that such events are like the birth pangs of a woman with child. As the time of delivery approaches, so too do the birth pangs become more frequent and more intense. I believe that is what we are now seeing in this dying world in which we live. Human wickedness is now off the charts and it’s time for God to begin to wrap things up. But the body of Christ shouldn’t be fearful or anxious. God is acting and in complete control, and Jesus is coming back! So we continue to watch world events with a sense of excitement and anticipation.

This past year, I’ve been spending more time than ever reading the Scriptures. They are a source of great comfort to me and help me make sense of world events as they continue to unravel. Having read and enjoyed many of the fine English language Bible translations now available, I felt it was high time that I settle on a good study Bible that best reflected my convictions and nourish me spiritually as these last days unfold. And while many Christians have moved away from the King James because of its archaic language, I’ve found that I’ve been swimming against the tide, as it were, moving back from the New King James, which has been my favourite for many years now, to the Old King James.

Why? Well, I have been witnessing the trend in recent years to continually update and ‘improve’ the Biblical texts with new research findings, new footnotes etc. Many new translations have begun to use so-called gender neutral language, which could be seen as a move to make Biblical language more politically correct, a move that is not at all needed if you’re really serious about discerning Biblical truth. But what I’ve also been noticing is how the arrival of these new translations has dove-tailed with the rampant apostacy in the Church. Instead of coming together in Christian unity, all we see is schism after schism. My own personal reaction to all of this was to seek out a version of God’s word that was stable,  which could not and would not be changed in any significant way, and the only one that was immune to this constant flux was the Authorised King James Version.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the language of the King James Version(KJV) is the most majestic and beautiful of all Biblical renditions. It uniquely connects the faithful across many generations since it was first published in 1611. It was the Bible of Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Spurgeon, William Wilberforce, Florence Nightingale, James Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson(Lord Kelvin), C.S. Lewis and Amy Carmichael. The men who served on the committee to create the KJV were undoubtedly godly individuals who were deeply interested in conveying Biblical truth to the masses. In contrast, many Biblical scholars today are non-believers or have developed nuanced opinions about the truth claims of Christianity, and this can sometimes come across in the work they do. They bring naturalistic science into their decision making, sowing more seeds of doubt. When I read the text of the KJV I can be assured that, as far as is humanly possible, the doctrines it outlines are those most clearly delineated by Almighty God.

But having said all that, I recognise that no translation is perfect and that also is true of the KJV. I have followed the ‘KJV Only’ controversy with great interest, but I also had the presence of mind to consider both sides of the argument. Accordingly, I have read some of the works of David W. Daniels, Gail Riplinger, and Dr. James White. I have sympathy with both sides of the argument, but ultimately my reasons for gravitating towards the Byzantine line of manuscripts(from which the KJV is derived) were based on nostalgia and literary beauty more than anything else. Still, I recognised that some of the language of the King James has become dated. Some of the words it uses no longer mean what they once meant. Nor do we speak in Shakespearian English and I’m pretty sure God doesn’t either. Accordingly, I recognised a need to update the language of the KJV in a reverent but minimalist way.

I wanted a study Bible that would strongly uphold the doctrine of Creation, thoroughly purged of satanic evolutionary thought. I have spent many years explaining to people that evolutionary thinking, as applied to the biological sciences, is, as St. Paul so eruditely claimed, ‘science falsely so called‘(1 Timothy 6:20). There’s a good reason why it is now falling from grace among a growing army of serious scientists. Modern science has clearly shown that living things are stupendously complex and couldn’t possibly have evolved. And the more we probe the living realm, the more complex it becomes. Quite simply, we are ‘without excuse‘(Romans1:20). But instead of expressing awe and humility for the mysterious, some militant materialists cling to evolutionary ideology like rats on a sinking ship. I have faced reality. Evolution is pseudoscience and damnable heresy. It is blasphemy. And if you continue to believe it in light of all the science now stacked against it, you’re a naive fool and deserve your place with the lost.

These considerations led me to this unique study Bible produced by Whittaker House, the King James Version Easy Read (KJVER) in giant print format. As we shall see, it ticks all of the above boxes.

Content & Presentation

The KJVER is a beautifully constructed Study Bible, from end to end.

From the moment I unpacked this Bible, I was overpowered by the strong smell of leather from the burgundy Bible cover. This is by far the best quality Bible I have thus far purchased for personal use. Sure, it’s not a Cambridge or a Schuyler but it’s a nice, soft genuine leather with a good Smyth sewn binding and beautiful gold gilding on the page edges. How can you tell it’s Smyth sewn? Well, a good sign is that it opens flat in the Book of Genesis and requires little or no ‘breaking in’. This Sword Study Bible does. Another way to verify a sewn binding is to open the Bible near the centre and look carefully along the spine edges of the pages where the stitches should be clearly seen; and they are!

The contents in a nutshell.

Unlike the thinline version of the KJVER I previously reviewed, this giant print edition contains a list of all the words – about 700 in all – that were changed from the original KJV. The vast majority of these are simple modernising of the archaic word. For example, ‘doeth’ becomes ‘does,’ ‘craveth’ is changed to ‘craves’ and so on. The thees and the thous are changed to ‘you’ and ‘yours,’ and unlike all other Bible versions where it is unclear if the ‘you’ is singular or plural, the KJVER places a small p subscript after the ‘you’ to indicate that it is plural. Although the text renders the name of God as ‘Lord’ throughout, the KJVER also tells you the exact Hebrew expression used for God at the end of the sentence.

The words in the KJVER changed are shown upfront. No doctrine is changed by these updates.

Because of these minimal changes, the text of the KJVER is much closer to the KJV than the NKJV. The Biblical text is a lovely, large 15 point font, is properly line matched and very easy to read, even without glasses. Each book of the Bible has a useful, two- page introduction covering the background to the text. Words of God are presented in red throughout the Old and New Testaments – a unique feature of the KJVER. Words that are a difficult to understand are underlined and a modern alterative is placed at the end of the sentence. The alternative words are not strictly meant as substitutes so the reader is free to ignore them as appropriate. The KJVER study Bible also contains an excellent essay on the so-called inter-testament period, covering the time between the writings of the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.

The text of The KJVER study Bible is large and very easy to read. Words of God are in red, even in the Old Testament, and difficult words are underlined, with a modern alternative suggested at the end of the sentence.

Now for some negatives.  Although the Biblical text is 15 point, the accompanying study articles are considerably smaller, and are of varied size. Some are 12 point, some are 10 and a few are smaller still. Indeed, it looks like 7 or 8 point in some places. In addition, there is only one ribbon marker for such a large study Bible. Finally, I found a typographical error in Luke 12:59;

I tell you, you shall not depart from there there, till you have paid the last mite.

Luke 12:59 (KJVER)

 

The Study Notes: Emphasis on Creation

The Bible makes it crystal clear that the Biblical God is the “Author of life”( Acts 3:15) and this KJVER study Bible honours that position better than many others I’ve perused. There are some really great essays by Ken Ham(founder of Answers in Genesis), the late Dr. John D. Morris, Dr. Carl Wieland, Dr. Don Batten and Ray Comfort, who have written excellent mini-essays on the origin of the races, the Noachan flood, scientific discoveries that support Creation, interpreting the fossil record, and how evolutionary theory is fundamentally at odds with Biblical teachings. While the contents of these essays present their anti-evolution stance from a Young Earth Creationist(YEC) perspective, I personally take the view that the Earth and the Universe around us are old. Indeed, I see no problems whatsoever with holding to a Old Earth Creationist(OEC) perspective and fully embracing the Biblical narrative.

There is however, a widespread misconception that those who do not accept a YEC worldview are somehow compromising their faith because they falsely claim that believing in an old Earth and Universe also entails accepting evolution. This is categorically not the case, because even if the Universe had millions of times more matter and existed for trillions instead of billions of years, the laws of physics and chemistry are just not capable of generating anything viable without Divine fiat. In short, all creationists hold the following to be true:

Physics + Chemistry  + Time  ≠  Life

 

In addition to upholding a creationist worldview, the KJVER study Bible also has very interesting material on the strengths of the Authorised King James translation,  the Biblical End Times(by Rev. Charles Childers) into which we are now entering. Though the KJVER writers seem to favour a pre-Tribulation rapture scenario, they also give mention to other eschatological positions. Personally, I haven’t ruled out or in any of these options, so it’s good that all have been included for posterity.

The KJVER study Bible also presents an essay on angels, a comprehensive list of Messianic Bible prophecies, genealogies, the significance of Babylon and the Tower of Babel, but also a wealth of ancillary material, such as a guide to Christian witnessing, how to interpret the Bible, Biblical chronology & symbolism, and the harmony of the gospels. Finally the KJVER study Bible features a very comprehensive 300 page topical concordance, enabling the reader to study any Biblical topic or concept in depth. 8 comprehensive maps cover biblical geography, from the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem, to the conquering Empires surrounding it. They are not in colour though, as many study Bibles now are, but are still very clear to read and easy to understand.

Having a good physical copy of a study Bible that you can hold in your hand is important to me. Make no mistake about it; the banning of Bibles is coming! With more and more government officials now influenced by the wicked woke in our societies,  they’ll soon be calling for our holy books to be removed from sale. That’s why it’s very important that serious Christians buy a good Bible that they can study and memorise tracts from before the online Bible software websites get wiped.

I would highly recommend the KJVER study Bible to anyone who enjoys the KJV. It will provide an excellent bridge back from the newer Bibles now saturating Christian bookstores the world over, and will undoubtedly help more people appreciate the majesty and literary beauty of the greatest story ever told.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

De Fideli.

Book Review: “The Story of the Cosmos.”

Declaring God’s majesty throughout the Universe.

 

Title: The Story of the Cosmos, How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God

 

General Editors: Paul M. Gould & Daniel Ray

 

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

 

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7736-4

 

Price: US $22.99

 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1

The night sky is the last great frontier. From a dark country site, away from the lights of towns and cities, the full grandeur of the starry heaven can be enjoyed. It melts even the hardest heart and fills us with awe as we contemplate its vast size, its teeming multitude of effulgent hosts and its great preternatural beauty. But for the Biblical King David, the night sky also presented powerful evidence that a Creator had fashioned it all. As an avid stargazer from my youth and a committed Christian, I have always regarded the majesty of the night sky as a grand expression of the created order.

That’s why my curiosity was piqued when I came across a new book, The Story of the Cosmos: How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God, edited by former schoolteacher and amateur astronomer, Daniel Ray, and philosopher/apologist, Paul M. Gould, who have assembled a stellar line of some of the finest Christian minds across a multitude of disciplines from the sciences, arts, philosophy and theology, united in their conviction that the Universe at large displays the unmistakable hallmarks of order, design and foresight from the microscopic realm of the sub-atomic to the macroscopic world of stars and galaxies; the handiwork of an all-powerful God; the God of the Bible.

The Story of the Cosmos comes at an especially exciting time when Darwinian ideology is being toppled by an avalanche of new science. The origin of life is as mysterious as ever; the more we probe its depths the more complex it becomes.  So too is the nature of human consciousness. The book draws upon an exceptionally rich repository of intellectual thought from Aristotle, Plato and St. Augustine in the ancient world, to great Christian thinkers in the modern era including C. S Lewis,  Alvin Plantinga, John Lennox and others who have all formulated the same answer to an age old question; why is the cosmos intelligible, rational and ordered? Their answer, arrived at using various philosophic approaches, is that the universe is the way it is because its Creator is also rational and human beings, made in the image of God, are capable, to some degree, of thinking God’s thoughts after Him.

Three chapters in Part I of the book, written by distinguished scientists, Guy Consolmagno, Guillermo Gonzalez and David Bradstreet, respectively, explore another, related question. What was God’s purpose in creating a cosmos that is intelligible to humankind? Their answer is that God has allowed us to be active participants in unravelling the mysteries of His creation and delights in humans figuring things out through the dual virtues of deep, logical thought and scientific experimentation. Our God has spilled his grace upon humankind in such a way that it encourages us to explore the riches of the Universe and to delight in learning something new. Planetary scientist, Dr. Guy Consolmagno, imagines himself studying the precious meteorites in lock step with his Creator, who he imagines is ‘sitting across from him’ in his laboratory, watching as he stumbles on some new insight. Astrobiologist, Dr. Guillermo Gonzales, describes the fascinating details of how our planet, far from being an ordinary world lost in the immensity of space, shows all the hallmarks of super-intelligent design for life in general, but human beings, in particular. He offers fascinating insights into things few people would never even consider. Why can we see the stars? Why is the Earth just right for launching probes into space? Why are we located on the outskirts of an enormous spiral galaxy, where the night sky is dark and transparent? The answer, as Gonzalez explains so eloquently, is that our Creator had it in mind all along to allow humans to come to some understanding of the great power, majesty and glory of His creation. In this sense, when we express awe for the beauty of the night sky, we are, in a certain sense, offering up a prayer to the Almighty. The same kind of enthusiasm is conveyed by stellar astronomer, Dr. David Bradfield, who describes how studying the complex light curves of variable stars is an exciting way to unravel the machinery of God’s creation.

It is not only through the media of science, philosophy and theology that humans have reacted to the created order. Artists too have also responded with their delicate brush strokes. In a wonderful essay by Terry Glaspey, we learn how the great out of doors and the beauty of the night sky inspired artists throughout history to see both the terrestrial and extra-terrestrial realms as a “grand cathedral” wherein the presence of God is palpable.

But all of this naturally raises other questions; what happens when scientists do not pursue the evidence wherever it leads? That’s a fascinating question that is answered by astrophysicist, Dr. Sarah Salviander, who describes in some considerable detail, the consequences of abandoning what I would call Judeo-Christian ways of thinking. Salviander showcases the disputes that arose between the astronomer, Sir Arthur Eddington, and his brilliant Indian graduate student, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Chandra). Although Eddington admired Chandra’s theoretical achievements, he refused to accept where those conclusions concerning the fate of massive stars (neutron stars and black holes in particular) would lead him. Salviander writes:

The answer is that Eddington fell victim to some combination of the four primordial barriers to understanding that are constantly at work in the minds of every person; limited perspective, misleading emotions, intellectual inertia, and excessive pride……………..Longstanding and popular ideas are often difficult to overcome even when compelling evidence like Chandra’s is presented. And, sometimes people like Eddington experience a lapse in humility that causes them to use their authority to oppose an idea they just don’t like.

pp 94-95.

In similar fashion, the distinguished nuclear physicist, Robert J. Oppenheimer fell victim to the same kind of cognitive dissonance:

A close friend of Oppenheimer’s, the Nobel laureate physicist Isidor Isaac Rabi, believed that Oppenheimer’s abilities as a physicist suffered as a result of his turning away from the beliefs of the Old Testament in favour of the literature of Hindu mysticism. According to Rabi, Oppenheimer was scientifically blinded by an exaggerated sense of mystery and the boundary between the known and the unknown and became incapable of following the laws of physics to the very end.  pp 95.

The same resistance to wholly rational and reasonable conclusions about the nature of reality is explored by Christian apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig, who explores the mindset of atheist cosmologists such as Lawrence Kraus, who expects his readers to believe that the Universe came into existence out of nothing, with no material cause or need for a Creator. In particular, he focuses on what Kraus attempts to pass as ‘nothing’ and convincingly concludes, citing sonorous rebuttals by his own scientific peers, that Kraus’ concept of nothing is in fact, a whole lot of ‘something.’

Physicists, Luke Barnes and Alan Hainline, who take a decidedly neutral stance on Christian theism in the book, similarly debunk ill-thought-through statements made by Darwin-thumping atheists such as Richard Dawkins, who famously declared that;

The Universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares, DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

Unlike Dawkins, whose expertise is in zoology, Barnes and Hainline are actually qualified to comment on the notion of cosmic fine tuning, observing that, at every conceivable level, our Universe provides compelling evidence of being very special indeed. Why? Because if Dawkins’ statement were actually true, our Universe would simply not harbor life, especially conscious human life.

Given the overwhelming evidence for design and purpose in the Universe, how should the atheist or agnostic best respond to it? That question is explored in a thought-provoking essay by Paul M. Gould, who sets out a robust argument for theism based on the reasonable premise that naturalism cannot account for the flourishing of human life. Gould highlights the significant weaknesses of the so-called neo-Humean synthesis, which asserts that all of physical reality can be reduced to its micro-physical parts, in favor of what Gould calls the Aristotelian-Christian worldview, which much more robustly accounts for the properties of the Universe we humans observe in practice as image bearers of God’s character.

It was a great pleasure to read this beautifully composed work of Christian literature. It is timely, thoughtfully written and illustrated, reverent and inspiring, with great apologetic appeal. The Story of the Cosmos is a refreshing oasis for the human soul and deserves a special place in the library of all Christians, sky gazers and curious agnostics alike.

Dr. Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy.  His large historical work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, explores the lives of astronomers and how their work often re-affirmed their strong Christian convictions.

 

De Fideli

Bible Review: The KJVER.

The only way to keep sane in a world gone mad.

Make no mistake about it, we live in very dark and perilous times. The secular world, of course, can offer no coherent answers to our problems. Believing humans to be nothing more than evolved animals, their inept ‘woke’ officials are just too preoccupied corralling hard working people into pseudoscientific, oppressive lockdowns, decimating livelihoods and whole economies. The corrupt mainstream media peddle fear and promote the ideologies of creepy elites who finance their aberrant narratives. Liquor and cannabis stores, casinos and abortion clinics across the United States, once the greatest Christian country on Earth, remained open for business, of course, but churches and synagogues were either shut completely or restricted to just a few tens of people. You can shout from the top of your voice in a riot, but are prohibited to sing in church. Brainwashed by clueless ‘masktards’ into wearing useless face diapers which offer no credible protection against a virus that only poses a danger to a very small minority of individuals, swathes of once sensible, intelligent citizens of our nations have turned into intimidated imbeciles or snitching Nazis in all but name – take your pick.

Meanwhile, the ongoing push to enforce the politics and ideologies of the far left on our societies continues apace. Organisations like Black Lives Matter, run by trained Marxists and sexual deviants are feverishly dismantling Judeo-Christian values and the sacredness of the nuclear family. They care nothing for black lives, of course, or any other lives for that matter. Their goal is the complete dismantling of western society, profaning everything decent and civilised in their wake. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church too, has turned his back on historic Christianity, quoting mostly himself, to embrace the new Eco-Marxism, placing the pagan gods of the nations on an equal footing with the true God, which is idolatry. Francis is a pantheist and one of the leading architects of the Great Reset! I sometimes wonder if Pope Francis has ever read the words of Genesis, where God promised mankind that the world will go on until the day He decides to end it?

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis 8:28

No, clearly not! He ‘d rather hug a tree than feed his flock!

Brown-nosing with elite socialists and fear mongering environmentalists, who worship the creation rather than the Creator, and using the new religion of ‘climate change’ to impose their radical, unscientific, Draconian, and unworkable polices, is it any wonder that the faithful are leaving the Roman See in record numbers? Yep, God has left the Vatican and the so-called ‘descendant’ of St. Peter has donned the robes of the Biblical False Prophet.

Our societies are sex obsessed. No longer do people promote themselves primarily in terms of their worldly achievements; it’s their sexuality that counts most! They define themselves in terms of their homosexuality, bisexuality or pansexuality(does that mean they’d get up on just about anything?). Or how about transsexuality? Normal, heterosexual people, in contrast, have no platform any more. We are the silent (or silenced) vast majority. And you daren’t say the obvious: that every child gets the best start in a stable, loving family, with a mother and a father at the helm. No, that is now deemed hate speech.  How about polyamory? Yep, it’s already happening in Massachusetts City. And what about paedophilia? No, surely not paedophilia! Well, canvass the boys at Netflix to explain this?

Legal bestiality is sure to come next! Approved of by the good citizens of planet Earth.

And there, in a nutshell, is what St. Paul prophesied in Chapter 1 of the Book of Romans.

We’ve well and truly arrived!

Woke social media networks have become nothing more than cesspits of immorality, patrolled by hate-filled cowards hiding behind keyboards. Free speech and common sense are being silenced and those that dare speak out are ‘cancelled’ or fired from their jobs. In short, the Bible expresses this new spirit of lawlessness that is now alive and well in our societies most succinctly:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Of course, I’ve not mentioned the proliferation of false teachers that have infiltrated the Church, the push for cashless societies, the ‘strong delusion’ God has clearly placed on the unbelieving world, a marked increase in persecutions of the saints, wars and rumours of war, pestilences, famines, earthquakes, wild fires and a string of other natural disasters. All these signs are before our eyes, just like Jesus said they would( see Luke 21, Mark 13, Matthew 24 & Revelation 13).

Without a shadow of a doubt;  the Biblical End Times are upon us.

For sure, we cannot know with certainty what time it is on God’s cosmic count-down clock; it could be months, years or even a decade, but all Bible believing Christians can clearly see that day is rapidly approaching and indeed, Christ Himself implored us to keep watch and to occupy the time until He comes in flaming vengeance against all the sons and daughters of disobedience.

With world events worsening by the week, it pays to stick closely to the time-honoured truths of the Bible. Reading Scripture is like watching the news headlines as prophecy after prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. There are many versions of the Bible available in the English language but the King James Version is still loved and adored by millions of Christians around the world. The reasons pertain to its majestic prose, unchanged wording, as well as its literal accuracy. And while there are a few modernised versions that stick quite closely to the King James Version(KJV), some readers feel that none of them capture Biblical doctrine quite the same way.

That said, many Christians are turned off by the KJV because it uses archaic words that are no longer spoken in everyday English. And while many of these words can be negotiated, it can make for a difficult read in many places. But what if you had a Bible that uses the original KJV text but only updates those archaic words that make for a smoother read? Enter the King James Version Easy Read or KJVER.

First published by Whitaker House back in 2001, the KJVER has a number of neat features not seen in other English translations. For one thing, both the Old and New Testaments have red lettering! To see what I mean, take a look at this section of Leviticus shown below:

Words spoken by God in the Old Testament of the KJVER are printed in red.

The KJVER updates the text but it does so with a very light touch. This is achieved by replacing words like ‘thee’,  ‘thou,’  and ‘ye’ with ‘you.’  But unlike all other versions where ‘you’ can be  singular or a plural, the KJVER places a small superscripted ‘p’  where the ‘you’ refers to the plural case.  And rather than totally removing all of the archaic words, a great many are maintained but a modern equivalent is listed at the end of the sentence to help the reader more fully understand the text. This greatly helps both in public and private, devotional reading. An illustration will help:

The text of the KJVER only lightly updates the original KJV and offers modern equivalents to old words that are no longer used in everyday parlance.

The reader will also note that the KJVER gives the Hebrew words for God whenever He is mentioned in the Old Testament. In this capacity, it actually enhances the original KJV. Italicised words are also preserved in the KJVER and represent the words that were added by the original committee who compiled the Authorised version. In all about 800 of the most redundant, archaic words are replaced by their modern equivalents. For example instead of saying ” cleave to” in the KJV, the KJVER replaces with “cling to.” As a result, the reader will hardly notice these changes as they read through the text.

As a result of these very modest changes, the KJVER is much closer to the KJV than the NKJV or MEV(both of which are also based on the Textus Receptus). Does it work? I would have to say yes, although I would have personally kept the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ in because they are not a hindrance to understanding Scripture and many readers will quickly come to terms with them. Who is the KJVER for? Those that love the language and cadence of the KJV but have difficulty understanding archaic language. It will make an excellent study text for folks who want to eventually use the KJV as their main Bible.

In summary then, the KJVER should be in the library of anyone who likes Bibles which are based on the Majority(Byzantine) Text. One reading through of this Bible will allow you to more fully engage with the KJV and enjoy it without prompts or footnotes.

In the end though, I urge the faithful, who are not appointed to the wrath to come, to keep holding the Bible as their gold standard, especially in these days when our societies are plunging ever more into depravity and insanity, as we enter the tribulation period. Like the Bible reminds us:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 3:16 KJVER

Thanks for reading!

 

De Fideli.

 

Book Review: “Dominion” by Tom Holland

The Christian influence on Western Civilisation will never be erased.

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland

Little Brown 2019

(594 pages, Hardcover $20.79)

 

 

As I sat down to collect my thoughts for the review of the distinguished British historian and author, Tom Holland’s latest book, Dominion- How the Christian Revolution remade the World,  we are in lockdown, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the planet. Deprived of our usual liberties to roam where we will, humanity had risen above the drudgery of government imposed captivity, and shown its better side – if only for a while – helping those who are vulnerable, the sick and the elderly, the poor and the destitute, supporting our health care workers on the front line, raising countless millions of dollars for struggling charities, as well as lifting the spirits of families around the world with songs, stories, games and jests.

The irony of this predicament was not lost on me as I finished the final chapters of Holland’s latest tour de force. The thesis of Dominion is that, despite the west’s departure from Judeo-Christian values upheld for centuries and millennia, and though we largely live in a post-truth society more concerned with feelings than facts, the Christian message still casts a long shadow over the shared values of our contemporary, secular, civilisation. Acts of charity, selflessness, compassion and sacrifice – all of which are deeply anchored in the gospels of the New Testament- were abundantly on display in our societies during this time of crisis.

Drawing on 25 centuries of human civilisation, Holland calls upon a rich depository of ancient, medieval and modern history to drive his point home. Beginning with the Jews, who were the first people to receive instruction from the Creator God of the Bible, Holland contrasts the strict monotheism of Judaism to the polytheism of the surrounding nations. In addition, unlike the idols of silver, gold and fine polished stone used to characterise the gods of other nations, the Biblical God first revealed to the patriarchs was not to be worshipped in like manner. Drawing on the moral laws preserved in the Torah, Holland explores the implications of the Ten Commandments, the sabbath and laws establishing proper sexual relations in this ancient people. These laws and precepts, Holland convincingly argues, though resisted by the Persians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans, gradually became written on the hearts of what we might call western civilisation in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman world.

The singular life of Christ – an itinerant preacher and healer born and raised in the Roman-occupied territories of Palestine, and subjected to a horrific execution on a Roman Cross – Holland argues, set in motion the greatest revolution in human cultural history the world has ever seen. Indeed, Holland goes so far as to suggest that the ideas conveyed in the New Testament effectively detonated the cumulative wisdom of the ancient world. We are not the benefactors of Greek and Roman civilisation, as many historians have asserted, but of Christendom.

Accordingly, Holland lays out the evidence for this startling conclusion, exploring how the early Christians followed the example of their Lord and Savior through great acts of charity, caring for the sick, the orphaned, the poor and the weak, not to mention heroic acts of martyrdom that shocked and horrified the pagans who lived alongside them. Surviving waves of persecution under tyrannical Roman Emperors, the blood of its martyrs sowed the seed of evangelism in the hearts and minds of both slave and free for the cause of Christ. And instead of stamping the new religion out, such heroism only served to swell its ranks across all tiers of society, from the mega-rich to the abject poor.

After Constantine the Great  granted his imprimatur to the Christian religion in the 4th century AD, a golden age of Christian literature blossomed in its wake, including many of the writings of the early Church Fathers – Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine of Hippo, in the western tradition, and Basil of Caesarea, Athanasius of Alexandria and John Chrysostom in the eastern tradition. And after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west in the late 5th century AD, Christian ecclesia become synonymous with centres of learning. On the precipice of the known world, Christian monasteries preserved the knowledge passed down from classical antiquity and would eventually become the seedbeds for the establishment of the first university towns such as Padua, Bologna, Oxford, Cambridge and Madrid, to name but a few.

Holland explores the long ascent of what would emerge to be the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which came nearest to making the Christian religion truly catholic, or universal, but does not shy away from the problems within the Roman See which eventually led to its greatest schism; the Reformation and Protestantism. Holland displays a nuanced understanding of how key individuals of the Reformation such as Martin Luther, fanned the flames of antisemitism by equating Jews with vermin and calling for their extirpation for the rejection and murder of the true Messiah. How could Luther, who was in lockstep with the beating heart of so many ordinary people, turn out to be a hater of the original People of the Book? Are not all human beings made in the image of God? Whatever the reasons, antisemitism remained alive and well in the centuries that followed, as Holland explores in discussing the persecution of Jews by the Spanish Church throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, and culminating with the Nazi regime which ordered the extirpation of millions of Jews in the years leading up to and throughout World War II.

But antisemitism was just one aberration that emerged from what Holland couches more generally as muddled theology. The same could be said to have occurred with the problem of slavery and racism in general. Holland recounts stories about folk who could look you straight in the eye and tell you that their Bible – in both the Old and New Testaments – condoned slavery in its various forms. And yet, while it’s easy to take a few Biblical verses out of context to justify almost anything, most references to bondservants in the Old Testament do not have the same meanings we ascribe to slavery in our own society. Evidence of this is clear enough in Exodus 23:9 when the Lord warns the people of Israel not to oppress the ‘alien’ and the ‘foreigner’ in the land, and that to remember that they too were once under bondage. Furthermore, St. Paul boldly proclaimed that there is neither slave nor free, neither Jew nor Greek – all are one in Christ Jesus. It was with such convictions that prominent Christians such as William Wilberforce and others -curiously not mentioned by Holland – who provided the abolitionists with the political power to end slavery, first across the British Empire, and later in the New World,  especially through the monumental efforts of Abraham Lincoln in the aftermath of the American Civil War. The author revisits racism later in the book in his discussion of the late Nelson Mandela and the thorny issue of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa.

Holland also explores the radical effects of science on the Christian faith, particularly the works of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin’s dangerous ideas gave intellectuals who either hated or held the Christian worldview in contempt – Aldous Huxley, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Andrew Carnegie and Adolf Hitler – plenty of ammunition to show that blind, impersonal and implacable forces shaped the origin and development of all life on earth. And man, long held to be a special creation by God – was merely just another evolved animal. One idea united all these men; if nature was red in tooth and claw, where the fittest only survived, surely human societies had a duty to follow suit. Suddenly the centuries old Christian ideals of compassion, sympathy and charity, respecting all individuals as unique creations of the Godhead, were now being portrayed as vice – deluded and ‘pusillanimous’ – and certainly not how an enlightened mankind ought to behave. And yet, all the while, there were (and still are) Christians who came to accept evolution, they do so ignorantly, since the latest scientific advances, which sadly, are not investigated by Holland in this treatise, are now rapidly and firmly demolishing those claims.

The God of the Bible is the God of love. Shouldn’t love always win? Holland looks at some controversial manifestations of ‘love wins,’ including the rise of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle in the modern world and the ordination of women clergy. If life-long monogamous relationships are the Christian ideal, Holland asks, what is so immoral about gay marriage? And if the Bible teaches that men and women are equal but different in the eyes of God, who shows no impartiality, why can’t women deliver sermons from the pulpit? Holland shies away from offering his own opinion on these questions but suffice it to say that a close reading of the Bible condemns all homosexual acts as gross violations of God’s plan for human beings. What’s more, such deviant behaviour has a strong destabilising influence on the nuclear family. And, as to the question of women clergy, St. Paul only offers his opinion (in the negative) rather than stating that it is a decree from Sovereign Lord, and thus is open to fresh debate.

Dominion is a book that deserves to be read by a broad cross-section of society, by people of faith and those of none. And while Holland maintains a decidedly agnostic tone throughout, he is certainly sympathetic to and, I suspect, somewhat in awe of the long shadow the Christian worldview has cast over human civilisation; a shadow that shows little sign of abating in the 21st century.

 

Dr. Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy. He also earned a Diploma in Classical Studies from the Open University. His latest historical work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, demonstrates how the science of astronomy was profoundly influenced by observers fully committed to the Christian faith.

 

De Fideli.

A Short Commentary on the Christian Standard Bible(CSB).

The Christian Standard Bible(CSB) by Holman.

Preamble

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through him and for him.
 He is before all things,
and by him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have
first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have
all his fullness dwell in him,
 and through him to reconcile
everything to himself,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace
through his blood, shed on the cross.

                                                                                             Colossians 1:15-20(CSB)

 

At the end of May 2020, I pulled the trigger on a brand-new Bible translation – the Christian Standard Bible – published by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. And owing to the lock-down, I’ve had a chance to read through the majority of the text and would now like to offer my opinions on this fresh, new translation of the Holy Scriptures. If you’re in a hurry, I would heartily recommend this rock-solid translation to you as it offers a unique blend of readability and accuracy that will certainly enrich your walk in the Christian faith. What follows here are some general notes I made of this new translation.They are merely my impressions of the work, so are entirely personal. For more details, please read on.

The Christian Standard Bible(CSB), which was first published in 2017, is a completely updated version of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) which was first published back in 2004. Although I have not personally read through the HCSB, I understand that it is a good and well-respected version of the Bible in the English language, but had some peculiarities that are not found in other modern translations. For example, The HCSB used the Hebrew name for God, known as the Tetragrammaton – YHWH or JHVH – articulated to Yahweh, or Jehovah, more often than the more commonly used term, Lord. The CSB, in contrast, uses the word ‘Lord’ throughout the text. If you don’t like this change, best to stick with the older, HCSB, which, I’m reliably informed, will continue to be published by Holman in the coming years.

The second thing that you’ll notice is that the CSB introduces more gender neutral language than the HCSB. This is quite a common move among many modern English Bible translations, where terms like  ‘brethern’ or ‘brothers’ is replaced by ‘brothers and sisters’. That said, the use of such gender neutral terminology is much more subdued in the CSB than in other popular translations such as the NIV 2011 or the NLT. Personally, I don’t mind the inclusion of such changes if it makes the text more friendly and inclusive, but I do understand that its over-use tries too hard to be politically correct and we should never view the Bible in a way that comports with any human-derived political movements. The Bible is just not PC and should always remain above and beyond petty societal concerns.

That said, using the more inclusive phrase, ‘brothers and sisters’ certainly works well in many places when reading through the Biblical narratives but it is noteworthy that the CSB is more respectful in places where this is simply not necessary – unlike the NIV 2011, for example.

Based on the minority texts, the CSB often refers to God as the ‘Lord of Armies,’ which is a legitimate name for the Creator in that one of His attributes as a truly righteous God is wrath(after all, a truly righteous deity must avenge sin). Here the CSB follows the NLT which uses the related attribution of ‘Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’  Technical words like ‘propitiation’ are replaced by more understandable terms like ‘atonement,’ so readers who like to see such age-old terms as these may be a little disappointed with the CSB in that it follows many of the most popular ‘thought for thought’ translations in this regard. Yet, in other ways, it is more traditional. For example, the CSB retains the rather obscure term ‘selah’ throughout the book of Psalms which many modern versions interpret, rightly or wrongly, as ‘interlude.’

The 100-strong team of inter-denominational Bible scholars, linguists, stylists and proofreaders commissioned to work on the CSB project went to great lengths to use the most precise modern language to maximise the intelligibility of the text that is obvious on every page of the translation. As I’ve explained before, Bible translation philosophy falls into two camps; so-called ‘thought for thought’ and ‘word for word.’ The former emphasises the essential thoughts conveyed in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and koine Greek but at the expense of departing somewhat from the precise wording of these foundational texts. The latter philosophy tries very hard to insert an English word corresponding to each Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek word found in the original manuscripts but, as a result, can make the text more wooden or clunky, with the result that the translation can be more difficult to assimilate. What the CSB translation team claim is that they have found a so-called ‘optimal equivalence,’ which they assert, combines the very best of both. And while the same term conveys the impression of being some sort of precisely defined mathematical rule, it’s really just a way of saying that they made a more concerted effort to keep the accuracy as good as possible whilst retaining the overall flow of text.

An example will help illustrate these principles. Consider 2 Samuel 22:23 in three different translations;

“For all His ordinances were before me,
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. (NASB)

 

I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees.(NLT)

 

Indeed, I let all his ordinances guide me
and have not disregarded his statutes. (CSB)

 

Notice that the highly accurate NASB uses words like ‘ordinances’ and ‘statutes,’ both of which are retained in the CSB, but are replaced by ‘regulations’ and ‘decrees’ in the less literal NLT. However, in departing from the phrase, ‘ all His ordinances were before me,’ you do seem to lose a sense of the ‘majesty of language’ in the CSB that more literal translations retain. That said, I’ll leave it up to you to judge which translation best conveys the essential thoughts of the original writers!

I found the Book of Psalms to be the most difficult to navigate in the CSB, simply because I have a strong grounding in more traditional Bible versions such as the NASB, KJV and NKJV. Every Bible reader comes to his own personal favourite of the Psalms and it doesn’t come easy when the wording is changed significantly in a new Bible translation. Consider the much loved Psalm 23 in the NKJV and CSB respectively:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:1-4(NKJV)

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

Psalm 23:1-4(CSB)

For me, the poetic virtues of this time-honoured Davidic psalm are somewhat subdued in the CSB rendering, making it less engaging and exciting to read. Yet, if I were a beginning Bible reader, I don’t think I’d have any problem with the CSB translation!

 You see, it’s all down to personal taste!

Did the CSB translation committee achieve their goals? I think so!

I would consider the CSB to be more literal than the NIV but less than the NKJV, more smoothly reading than the ESV, but less so than the NLT.

Now, I would like to say a few words about the particular CSB Bible I purchased and why I absolutely love it!

Consider the two Bibles shown below, both published by Holman; on the left is the NKJV and on the right is the CSB.

The Holman NKJV(left) and the CSB(right).

Both Bibles retail for about £20 UK, have a lovely faux leather cover, with the same simple embossed cross. Both have a good, Smyth-sewn binding, gold-gilded page edges and possess a single satin ribbon marker. But now, have a look at the differences in the paper used and the text.

Both the NKJV(left) and the CSB are line-matched, but the text is slightly larger and has less bleed through in the CSB.

Though the NKJV is a 2013 printing, I think you’ll agree that the CSB has a larger font size and has less ghosting than the former. The paper used on the CSB also seems to be of slightly higher quality than the earlier NKJV edition.  Another great feature of the CSB is its neat thumb indices which make finding the right book of the Bible a lot easier and quicker to access a given book and chapter;

The books of the Bible are easier to access courtesy of these neat thumb indices on the CSB Bible. Check out the gorgeous red satin ribbon marker!

The lovely, large print on the Holman CSB makes the text very easy to read, even without eye glasses, yet is still small and light enough to take along with you anywhere!

I would thoroughly recommend these Holman Bibles(CSB or otherwise) to anyone as they offer exceptional quality for a very reasonable price. No doubt, I’ll be checking out more from their new range in the future!

God bless you all and thanks for reading!

Erratum: I came across one printing error in the CSB, which occurs in Zechariah 2:5( see below) page 1264 of the text. However it is correctly presented in the online text. See here.

The word ”fire’ is misprinted ‘fRre’ in Zechariah 2:5

 

 

Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy. If you like his work, please consider supporting him by buying one of his books.

Thank you!

De Fideli.

Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: Still Going from Strength to Strength!

Celebrating the best of visual astronomical history over four centuries.

Last Updated July 15 2020

Well, since its launch in November 2018, my new book, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, has now received 25,000 downloads!

A Big Thank You! to all who have supported my work over the years, despite some personal setbacks. 

Latest review form The Observatory Vol 120 (February 2020) reproduced, with permission, here:

Chronicling The Golden Age of Astronomy consists of a preface, acknowledgements, and a table of contents followed by 41 chapters in roughly historical order, and concludes with an appendix and index. This book contains such a wealth of information there is not enough room in this review to comment on everything in detail.
I shall only cover some of the most significant highlights. There are very few
typographical errors, and even though a multitude of diverse topics are covered
they are presented in a very readable style, the transition from one subject to
another flowing smoothly. It should be on everyone’s shelf and provide many
evenings of education and entertainment.
The preface should be read first because it explains the author’s aims.
The first chapter describes Thomas Harriot, the first British telescopist and
a contemporary of both Galileo and Hans Lippershey. Sadly, Lippershey is
not mentioned anywhere in the text. The idea of the telescope spread quickly
through Europe and many people caught on to the technique of its construction.
History grants credit to Hans Lippershey (of the Netherlands) and Galileo
because they were the first to publish the most detailed description of its
design, and especially Galileo who documented his astronomical observations
in detail. Simon Marius of Germany also constructed a telescope and published
his observations, though after Galileo. Galileo openly condemned Marius.
Apparently Galileo had a caustic personality and was antagonistic to several
high church officials. This no doubt contributed to his being brought to trial.
The story of these early inventors (except for Lippershey) and observers is well
described in the first three chapters. Chapter 5, describing the development of
speculum mirrors, tells of more obscure telescope builders and observers and
deserves a careful read. Chapter 7 covers the extensive observations of Thomas
Jefferson in more detail than many of the large number of biographies published
about him. It does not, however, mention Benjamin Banneker, the first black
American astronomer, whom Jefferson hired to do surveying work.
In Chapter 8, which runs to 39 detailed pages, the author goes extensively
into the Herschel dynasty of William, John, and Caroline in a manner that holds
your attention fast and gives you the impression that you are on the scaffold of
William’s great telescopes. Amazingly this writer learned that William Herschel
met the great scientist James Watt, but Watt’s name is not mentioned in the
index. Chapter 9 describes how the Earl of Rosse at Parsonstown followed
Herschel’s exploits and after several years of struggle was able to construct a
72-inch reflector with two interchangeable mirrors. Speculum tarnishes rather
quickly and has to be re-polished. Two mirrors reduce the downtime of the
instrument. The later invention of silver or aluminium on glass eliminated this
problem. Despite the low reflectivity of speculum the large diameter of the
mirror permitted the spiral structure of nearby galaxies to be identified.The 72-
inch remained the largest telescope in the world for many years and prominent
astronomers of the day like George Biddell Airy, Otto Struve, Sir John Herschel,
James Nasmyth, and William Lassell, among others, visited.
In my 60-year-plus pursuit of astronomical literature I attended many events
and casually met several of the people mentioned in this book. Most of them
grew old and passed into history. One, however, became a friend. I ran across
a classified advertisement in an astronomical publication about some lunar
journals for sale. The advertiser was Tom Cave, manufacturer of Cave Astrola
Telescopes and a well-known lunar and planetary observer. I phoned him and
he invited me to pick them up at his home in Long Beach, California. When I
arrived we started to talk about our mutual interest. I listened to his stories far
into the evening.Tom knew everybody that was anybody in astronomy. I wound
up spending many evenings for the next few years listening to his stories until
shortly before his death in 2003. If I had thought to take a tape recorder his
stories would be priceless. If anyone deserves a biography it is Tom Cave.

The other prominent person in this book I had more than a passing
acquaintance with was John Dobson. Dobson was the father of modern sidewalk
astronomy and the inventor of his namesake the Dobsonian telescope, a design
that made it easy to transport and operate a relatively large amateur instrument,
usually eight to twelve inches aperture or larger. His design could have made
him millions but he never patented it. He was not money-orientated. Several
manufacturers cashed in and produced and sold thousands. They dominate
most star parties today. I met John through Gerard Pardeilian who had spent
many years learning how to grind, polish, and figure telescope mirrors. He
ran the weekly Saturday night star party at the Lawrence Hall of Science in
Berkeley, California. I volunteered during the 1970s to assist operating the
telescopes. Gerard, although like many in the optical industry not professionally
educated, had become a master optician and worked at the prestigious Tinsley
Laboratories and later became a master optician at the Lick Observatory optical
shop in Santa Cruz, California. He helped design and construct a massive
spectrograph for the Mt. Palomar 200-inch telescope. On page 628 it states
that the corner of Broderick and Jackson Streets was Dobson’s favourite locale
in San Francisco. The reason was that the sidewalk astronomers were either
renting or given use of a large house at 1600 Baker St. a few blocks away. They
stored and constructed their telescopes in that building and could easily dollie
them to the corner of Broderick, which undoubtedly was in the shade of a
large building.When John had to move I went over with some other people. He
kindly presented me with several boxes of journals and several surplus eyepieces and prisms. Page 629 states that a light bulb was used to test their telescopes.
Gerard informed me that they actually used the reflection from a street light on
a telephone pole insulator a mile away. It acted just like a point source as a star
would. It was then possible to figure their mirrors on cloudy nights.
A detailed reading of some chapters will demonstrate how expert observers
using relatively small apertures could obtain amazing results, far beyond what
most observers today would think possible. This is one of the finest books on the
history of visual astronomy I have ever read. Virtually every sentence conveys a
bit of history, and it is remarkably illustrated with sharp photographs. I can only
suggest that every reader obtain a copy. The writing is excellent. The 653 pages
of text are too short to contain everything of the rich history of 400 years of
observing. Observers and constructors, such as Jack Marling the filter expert, Al
Nagler of eyepiece fame, Charles F. Capen the Mars observer, comet hunters
like Lewis A. Swift, William Robert Brooks, and John Tebbutt among others,
either glossed over or neglected, should be covered in a following volume.
Continue your story Neil English!

Leonard Matula, The Observatory, Vol. 140 (1274), February, 2020

 

A review by Dr. Guillermo Gonzales( Professional Astronomer) and co-author of Privileged Planet with Jay Richards. Posted with the Permission of TouchStone Magazine.

Stargazers’ Log

Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: A History of Visual Observing from Harriot to Moore
by Neil English

Springer, 2018
(665 pages, $219.99, hardcover)

Reviewed by Guillermo Gonzalez

When I was asked to review Neil English’s new book on the history of visual telescopic observations, I jumped at the opportunity. Before I became a professional astronomer, I spent many nights (and some days) observing the heavens with my 8-inch f/7 Newtonian reflector in my homemade, backyard, roll-off-roof observatory in the suburbs of Miami, Florida. When I look through the eyepiece of a telescope to observe a planet, the moon, or a deep-space object, I feel I am making an intimate connection with the great observers of years past. And I can share in their joy in reading God’s great book not written with words and freely accessible to all with normal vision.

Unfortunately, Chronicling is far from free. Only a relatively few individuals with a strong interest in science history and telescopic observation will want to hand over $200+ for a copy. I would think that school libraries with a substantial science section are the most likely purchasers.

English is eminently qualified to write this book, having been a regular contributor to the British amateur astronomy magazine Astronomy Now for 25 years. Evidence of this can be glimpsed in some of the book’s 41 chapters, wherein he employs his extensive background knowledge to bring helpful insights to bear on historical questions. For example, in 1611, at a meeting with members of the Collegium Romanum, Galileo had the members look through his telescope. Some claimed they could see nothing through the telescope. English notes that this is likely because Galileo’s telescope had a very narrow field of view and required placing the eye just right to see through it (20).

The chapters in Chronicling are arranged roughly chronologically, but each is self-contained. Each is about an astronomer, a telescope, an important published work, or an astronomical phenomenon. Though together they are an eclectic mix, the emphasis in each chapter is almost always on history, often in the form of a biography. The main exception is the chapter on Walter Scott Houston’s “Deep Sky Wonders.” English also interweaves astrophysical concepts throughout, and he even throws in a few equations. At times, a chapter might resemble a college-level introductory textbook on astronomy.

Still, the book is an easy read and includes many illustrations. English has a gift for presenting history in an engaging way. He makes all sorts of connections between the subject of a given chapter and that person’s contemporaries.

Men of Faith

Why would a reader of Touchstone be interested in this book? I can give several reasons, some of which are obvious. For instance, there’s the “Galileo Affair.” English writes that “the mythologized view of Galileo standing for truth and reason versus religion and superstition of the Roman Catholic Church is not at all accurate” (20). Historians of science know what science popularizers don’t, and English has clearly read the former’s books (which he lists at the end of the chapter). His lengthy chapter on Galileo is an excellent summary of modern scholarship.

Those interested in topics related to science and faith will not be disappointed. From the very first chapter, English does not shy away from discussing the religious beliefs of the telescopists. For instance, Thomas Harriot actually turned his telescope towards the heavens before Galileo did. But how many atheist–narrated TV documentaries on astronomy would also mention that Harriot translated the Lord’s Prayer into the Algonquin language? (8).

In fact, most of the telescopists of the Golden Age of Astronomy were Christians. A number were Jesuit priests, such as Christoph Scheiner (Chapter 1) and Angelo Secchi, the “father of modern astrophysics” (Chapter 22). Several were “clerical astronomers”: William Dawes (Chapter 14), Thomas Webb (Chapter 15), and Theodore Philips (Chapter 30). Of Webb, English writes,

Despite the growing power of scientific naturalism with the later Victorian society, Webb couched everything, with firmness and gentleness, in terms of the Biblical God he believed in. Seen in this light, his astronomical writings, and his devotion to exploring the wonders of Creation with his telescopes, were more like prayers than anything else.

As if it even has to be said (and sadly it does), the evidence is clear that having a strong Christian faith does not hinder a person from being a successful scientist. On the contrary, the great works of many of the telescopists English describes are testimonies to the motivating influence of their faith.

To the believer, this should not come as a surprise. More than other aspects of the Creation, the starry heavens seem to evoke from us a sense of the divine. The Psalmist wrote,

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1–4)

Kepler voiced eloquently what other great astronomers must have believed, that he saw himself as a kind of “priest of God” at the pulpit, reading the “book of nature” as an act of worship, to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”

A Rare Sneak Past the Censors

What did catch me off guard were some of English’s comments on Darwinism. For instance, when commenting on Percival Lowell’s ideas about life on Mars, English writes, “To begin with, scientists were gloriously unaware just how complex even the simplest forms of cellular life were during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . Lowell, like Darwin, thought the cell to be merely composed of blobs of protoplasm” (386). Later, English comments thus on Lowell’s beliefs about life beyond Earth: “Many scientists anticipate that life will be commonplace in the galaxy, but this is based on Darwinian reasoning. However, there are many scientists who now doubt the Darwinian paradigm and do not expect life to be commonplace, as has been widely believed in the past” (397). English is qualified to comment on Darwinism, as he has a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

I agree with English’s stance on Darwinism, but what surprised me was finding his comment in a book published by Springer. The editor must have been asleep at the keyboard! It also is interesting that English lists Hugh Ross’s book, Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home (Baker, 2016), in the sources to the Percival Lowell chapter. He lists another of Ross’s books in the sources to the chapter on Clyde Tombaugh (Chapter 32). We are in a sad state when the censorship of certain scientific ideas in the public square has become so common that we feel we must jump up and cheer when someone boldly sneaks a few “forbidden” thoughts past the censors.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in amateur and professional telescopic astronomy, the history of science, and the relations between science and faith. 

 

British Astronomical Association(BAA) Review by Archivist, John Chuter

 

Cloudy Nights Review

 

Stargazer’s Lounge Review

 

Endorsements:

“This is an excellent book and will complement Ashbrook’s Astronomical Scrapbook and therefore have wide appeal to both amateur and professional astronomers.”
Wayne Orchiston, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Southern Queensland.

 

New Citation here

 

To Be Continued……………………….

 

De Fideli.

Bible Review: Tree of Life Version(TLV) Thinline Edition.

The ornate cover of the TLV Thinline edition.

Then I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn.  In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, mourning like Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. 

Zechariah 12:10-11

 

Title: Holy Scriptures: Tree of Life Version

Publisher: Baker Books

ISBN: 978-0-8010-1921-0

1216 pages

Single satin ribbon marker

Gold gilded page edges

Price: £16.10 (UK)

 

The Bible is God’s love letter to humanity. Some 40 authors, writing independently of each other over centuries and millennia, under divine inspiration, composed its 66 books that form a highly coherent narrative which speaks of God’s desire to tabernacle with humanity, to live among us and guide our thoughts and actions. It has the power to transform lives for the supreme good and, until fairly recently, its moral teachings formed the cornerstone of western civilisation.

Today, we are blessed to have many excellent translations of Holy Scripture to suit most everyone’s needs, and as an avid student of the Bible, I count it as a great blessing and source of comfort to be able to read the words of our Creator in the various thought-for-thought and word-for-word translations now available. That said, some versions of the Bible are more interesting than others. And this new Tree of Life Version(TLV) is of particular note. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its introduction of key Hebrew words that emphasise the authentic Jewish origin of the Biblical narrative.

First published in 2011, the TLV was the brain child of Daniah Greenberg, a gentile lady who betrothed a messianic Jew ( who also accept Jesus as their Messiah), and who came to recognise the need for a good Bible translation that re-introduced some Hebrew words into Scripture, so as to remind Christians that we share a rich tradition with the Jewish community; after all, there is no denying that their God is our God too! Greenberg, who now serves as President of the Messianic Jewish Bible Society, commissioned a small team of 32 Jewish Bible scholars to produce a brand-new translation of the Holy Scriptures. This review will take a close look at the Thinline version of the TLV, a smaller, more portable rendition of the larger giant print edition, which I commented on in an earlier blog.

One would think that the task would merely involve taking an existing Bible version and replace some key words with their Hebrew equivalent. But Greenberg had an altogether more ambitious goal: to get the scholars to re-structure the sentences from the traditional Greek format and rewrite them in the distinctive cadence of the Hebrew language. And it is this achievement that renders the TLV so distinctive and powerful.

Most modern English Bibles have greatly diluted the Jewish accent of the original Scriptures. But the fact remains that Jesus was a Jew; his name is not Jesus but Yeshua. His mother was Miriam and not Mary. Jesus’ half brothers were Judah and Jacob, not Jude and James. Indeed, many of the modern English translations have all but purged much of the original Hebrew context of the Scriptures which has no doubt contributed to replacement theology or supersessionism – the erroneous notion that the Church has replaced Israel. Yet, a careful study of the entire Bible clearly reveals that God has not at all finished with Israel. On the contrary, the final events in human history will make Israel and the City of the Great King – Jerusalem – of central importance at the closing of the age.

That’s why I feel it’s important for Bible believing Christians to try to re-connect with some of the original Hebrew terminology, or at least their English transliterations. And that’s where the TLV really shines. God the Father is referred to as Adonai or Elohim. The Holy Spirit is Ruach ha-Kodesh. The sabbath is Shabbat and the saints, Kedoshim. These re-introduced terms greatly enrich the Biblical narrative and present an altogether refreshing change from the norm that I believe many avid ‘Bibliophiles’ will appreciate.

The TLV also departs from the traditional way in which the individual books of the Bible are presented, adopting instead the traditional Jewish rubric. The Torah(Law) is presented first, just like a regular Bible – covering the five books attributed to Moses;  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is followed by the Neviim(Prophets); from Joshua right through to Malachi. After these the TLV presents the Ketuvim(The Writings) featuring the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles. So it’s the Christian Old Testament, but with books presented in a different order to its conventional modern equivalent. The New Testament order of books is however identical to any regular Bible. In ‘shuffling’ the Biblical deck, as it were, the TLV offers readers a new and exciting way to study and assimilate the word of God, to both strengthen and deepen your faith.

To my mind, the TLV steers a middle of the road path between translations that are highly literal( so-called word-for-word) and those that follow the principle of dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought) but is also respectful of other highly thought of translations such as the King James Version. For example, the TLV maintains classic phrases lost to many modern translations such as Behold and Selah (which is thought to represent an interlude or pause for thought) found in the Psalms. Another change the reader will notice is the absence of the word baptism, which implies infant baptism, which was most likely not practised by the earliest followers of Yeshua and indeed only appears as a controversial topic in the third century AD  (see Tertullian’s c 206 AD, de baptismo, ch. xviii). The TLV re-introduces the proper terminology here; Immersion. Thus John the Baptist becomes John the Immerser, etc. This is a more accurate description of how the earliest believers – all of whom had come of age – symbolically affirmed their dedication to the Christian faith and so feels more natural and less contrived than sprinkling luke warm water on the head of an infant who is not cognisant of the significance of the event.

Unlike many popular, thought-for-thought translations, such as the NIV and NLT, the TLV maintains a very conservative line on keeping accuracy a priority. For example, consider Romans 1:16 in the NIV, which dispenses with the word ‘Greek,’ replacing it with ‘Gentile’:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16(NIV)

The TLV maintains greater accuracy like the more literal, word-for-word translations available(e.g. the KJV, NKJV, NASB & ESV):

For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 (TLV)

The reader can thus be assured that such close attention to linguistic details is strongly adhered to throughout the TLV, ensuring that the Bible reader is getting a highly accurate rendering of the Holy Scriptures.

Notable Features of the Thinline Edition of the TLV

The soft faux leather covering and Smyth-sewn binding makes the TLV open flat on the table.

The thinline TLV measures 5.5 inches wide, 8.5 inches long and just 1 inch thick. The font is clear, approximately 9-point sized, and is line matched to minimise ghosting.

The thinline TLV has a beautifully designed spine:

The decorative spine of the thinline TLV Bible.

 

The TLV text doesn’t have an overwhelming number of Hebrew words, so you’ll rapidly learn those words and phrases. But just in case you get bogged down, there is a nice little glossary at the back where you can quickly look up the meaning of any word that you’re unfamiliar with.

The TLV has a small glossary at the back which you can consult if you’ve forgotten the meaning of any Hebrew phrase you come across.

Like the Giant Print edition, the Thinline TLV also contains a number of Hebrew prayers and blessings, the Lords Prayer and the Aaronic Benediction. These can all be found after the Scriptures are presented. This is a wonderful Bible for devotional study at home or to take along to church with you.

The beautiful gold gilding on the page edges of the TLV.

 

Well, I hope you will understand why the TLV has become one of my favourite Bible translations for both accuracy and poetic beauty. These are difficult times to be sure but they are also exciting because we can see world events aligning just like the prophets of old and Yeshua, whose testimony is the very spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10) foretold.

Neil English is working on a brand new book on Newtonian reflectors. If you like his work and wish to support him in your own small way, why not consider buying one of his books? Thank you and God bless you!

 

De Fideli.