Bible study tip of the week: Beware of secular translations of Scripture. I've personally ran across this issue this week in a college class I'm taking, and some verses can even be twisted to seemingly "say" heretical and blasphemous things. There are a couple of problems with secular translations.
First, they're not always using the same texts that Christians and Jews believe as God-inspired. You see, there were many other "versions" of Scripture that were altered from their originals - including pre-Muslim-idealogy Arabic alterations for the Old Testament, and Gnostic (an early cult) versions of the New Testament. Both ancient Hebrew and Greek are lanuages where the slightest change in one letter of one word can radically change the verse's entire meaning.
Second, many secular translators are concerned with their translation sounding poetic, not with contextual accuracy. They view it as literature, and literature is open to interpretation - and, there is nothing unethical with shaping a translation to fit your own interpretation/agenda. But, we know that the Bible is not mere literature, so this is not acceptable.
Third, it is extremely rare that a secular translation will have the same level of scholarship going into it that a Christian translation does. Christian translations are performed by teams of scholars who are experts in the language, the cultural context, overall patterns (e.g. translating words with many meanings consistently), etc. So, they truly are better judges of translation, "biased" or not.
In that same vein, my prayer request for the week is about that specific class I mentioned, because the above translation issue *might* come up in class this week. Please pray for God to give me wisdom as to when to speak up, whom to challenge, and what to say.
What can I pray for for you this week?
Finally, I'd like to share a song this week, as well. It's a tad early for Christmas music, but even though this song centers around the Christmas story, I feel it's message applies to our lives anytime. It's called "I Trust You," by Kenny Rogers. I think it's a wonderful take on trusting God and treating the ministries He gives to us with humility.