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Jan 27, 2019

 Hey, greetings to ninty-two friends who have signed up for this letter!

If you haven't signed up for our email Digging Deeper newsletters, here's the link to do so.

Thank you for responding to my invitation to join this letter list. If you are listening to the podcast covering the information below and you did not receive an email from me by now, that means that you haven’t signed up. Please visit dailybiblereading.info and follow the link at the top of the site to join our list.

The idea to have a special list for newsletters should have come to me sooner. I finally decided to add this list because it has been so clear that my news update podcasts plus my posts at the Facebook group have not been reaching very many people. You who have signed up for this list will get a maximum of 12 emails in 2019, and then no more. I will start a new list for 2020, and this list will be deleted.

Our Facebook group is now replaced by our forum at http://biblereaders.info.

For those listening to the audio Devotionals in this first semester of the Read To Me Daily reading plan, beginning next semester the devotionals will be read by Ashlee Smith. Ashlee is a member of the same church our family attends in Siloam Springs. For those who have listened to the Daily Bible Reading Podcasts her voice will be somewhat familiar, as she recorded a lot of the women’s parts when those podcasts were made.

Here are The Bible Project videos that will enrich your understanding of the books we’ll be reading.

22 January Job summary   wisdom series

27 Jan 1st Peter summary  

31 Jan Exodus 1-18  19-40  Torah Series

1 February James summary  

7 February 2Peter summary  

9 February Luke summary Luke-Acts Series

11 February Psalms summary  

21 February Leviticus summary  Torah Series

Now I have something rather unusual and surprising to share: Having been in the field of Bible translation for 39 years, I didn’t think that I would change my opinion about the best Greek text to follow in translating the New Testament. But less than a year ago, the Lord arranged for me to meet a world-class expert in Biblical Greek, and he got me interested in this topic. Before meeting him, I confess that I would not have been motivated to click on any link leading to an article about different Greek texts. I was happy with remaining ignorant about the topic. My opinion now is that the Byzantine text (also called the Majority Text) is the most authoritative New Testament Greek text. And I urge every Bible reader to NOT just remain ignorant about what this means.

I have brought this up because I ask for your help in sharing a 12-page article that I have written. If you can help me share it with pastors or anyone else you think would be interested, we have a chance of halting a senseless game of ‘follow the leader’ that has been played in the field of Bible translation for the last 120 years. My article has quite a few supporting links to other articles written by people more knowledgeable than I am about this topic.

Look, I know this is an advanced subject, and many of you are going to say, “This is all Greek to me,” but here’s the point: Most of us are using Bibles that really ought to be considered defective. My own Bible translation work turns out to also be defective, because for 38 years I made translations of the Eclectic Greek text (also called the Nestle-Aland/UBS text). Nearly all Bible translators made the same mistake because we were unaware that suppositions (or opinions of experts) about ancient Greek manuscripts were speculative and wrong. (This should not surprise us! Just think of the conflicting claims of nutritional experts about what are healthy and not-healthy foods!) The defective Bibles I mean include the NIV, NLT, GNT, ESV, NET, and so many others.

My friend Doug Pack (who frequently posts in the Digging Deeper Facebook group) asked me recently how come I still am promoting reading the Bible in translations — like all those I just mentioned — if I believe they are based on a defective Greek text. My answer is that it will take time for the decision-makers and Bible publishers to be open to hearing the truth. I hope all major Bible translations will be revised and released in new versions based on the Majority/Byzantine text. In the meantime, let’s not stop reading the Bibles we have! My article gives information about currently available English translations of the Byzantine Greek text.

If you will help me spread the word by reading my article or sharing the link, perhaps we can hasten the day when new editions of the Bibles mentioned above will follow the best Greek text. Please share my article with people who are dedicated students of God’s Word. You don’t have to be able to read Greek to understand my article.

 

On to a new topic! If you are following the Read To Me Daily YouVersion reading plan and using the audio, you have probably noticed a little bug. I don’t know if this bug shows up for Apple devices. For Android devices it definitely is noticeable. The automatic audio playing of the different Bible portions will sometimes skip back to re-play the Devotional page’s audio, rather than continuing on to the next Bible reading. The YouVersion people have been informed and I am told they are working on this.

Then something I am sure is happening for all platforms is this: If you are playing the audio of Read To Me Daily plan or any other, and if the next portion is only a partial chapter, then the recorded citation of the book name and chapter is not played. When the YouVersion app automatically progresses to the next portion listed for the day, the reader only cites the book and chapter if that next chapter is a full chapter. Take for example day 22 of the RTMD plan. The audio reading of a chapter from Job was immediately followed by Mark 14:1, without even a pause between the two. For people who are not watching the screen, this can be VERY confusing! I have put in a request that this be fixed, perhaps using an automated voice give the citation for partial chapter readings. I think we’ll have to live with this defect for some time.

 

As some of you know, I still go to Indonesia twice per year, and each of my visits there lasts for 7 weeks. My next trip starts on February 5. I would really appreciate your prayers for Gale and myself. This time, Gale will visit her aunt who lives in NY State, and she normally would not pick to go there in February. But her aunt is turning 100, so she is going to help celebrate this milestone. Her aunt is still ‘with it’ mentally and will definitely enjoy Gale being there. I personally thank the Lord for such good communication options as we have nowadays. Gale and I talk with each other every day.

An important activity is happening for our team on this trip to Indonesia. From February 11th through the 28th, a consultant will be helping us with the final pre-publication check of Genesis 5-25 and the book of Esther. Three of our team members will be coming from three different provinces. The consultant herself will be coming from India. There will also be some reasonable costs that need to be paid for some local people who will help us in answering the consultant’s questions. So perhaps now you can see why a full consultant check like this is so expensive! A lot of money will be spent to check just 30 chapters. Thankfully the event will have a lot of training value for our team members. Here are some prayer requests about this:

  • Please pray that the Lord will help us with good health.
  • Please pray the Holy Spirit will help the team of local people so that they will be able to answer the consultant’s questions thoughtfully and correctly.
  • Checking like this always reveals some weak places in a translation. I have never seen any translation pass a consultant check with no changes. Please pray that weaknesses found in our translation will be fixed, resulting in a high-quality and very understandable translation.
  • Please pray that the consultant will be so pleased with the integrity of our work that she will agree to do checking via email in the future, rather than face-to-face.
  • Praise the Lord with us that He has already supplied the funds budgeted for this checking event.

Our translation team is being blessed and challenged daily by the participation of almost 20 active volunteers. These volunteers receive two chapters per day of our draft translation via a Whatsapp group. They respond with helpful suggestions and questions. I am hoping to build upon this and expand the number of active volunteers to 48. The input from these groups has been VERY valuable in checking Genesis and Exodus recently. We offer an online Basics of Bible Translation course online to further enhance the ability of the volunteers to help us. Here are our prayer requests about this:

  • For the first time, In our current group-sharing of our draft of Exodus, we had some people leave the checking group. One person said, “Don’t add or take away from anything in God’s Word!” Uh, well, doing that is certainly not our intention! But there was no discussion that I could find within that group where anyone accused us of adding or subtracting anything from the text of Exodus. Please pray that we will learn how to more effectively manage these groups so that people remain happy to take part in them.
  • Please pray for Jaya, our team member who manages all the groups, currently five groups and some people contributing suggestions via email.
  • Please pray that our active volunteers will grow to 48 people from all over Indonesia.

I will still be in Indonesia through most of March, so I will send my next update letter from THERE and can tell more about what is happening.

May the Lord bless you Real Good!