I have had to admit defeat. I am getting older. The latest evidence of this is sitting on my desk in front of me. It is a new Bible. I accept that this is not prima facie evidence of my ageing, so I will elaborate.
This Bible is printed with a slightly larger than normal font. This is necessary because my eyesight is deteriorating gently and I now find it more difficult to read without the use of reading glasses. Vanity encourages me to point out that the need for reading glasses is right at the bottom end of the scale, and has also encouraged me to buy a Bible with larger print rather than wear reading glasses.
I tell myself that the reason for this new Bible is that we have changed to new Bibles in our church. The editions that we have are new New International Version Bibles (2011) which were bought in order to replace the ones that had been worn out by years of use. I love the fact that they had been worn out! My usual Bible was a previous edition of the NIV and so did not match what we are using on Sundays. This new version is new NIV (2011).
I’m still not entirely sure why they decided to call the new edition of the NIV the NIV and not the New NIV or something completely different to distinguish it from previous editions.
And then there is getting the right language. I discovered that if I bought a NIV Bible produced by Zondervan this would be an American English edition rather than a British English edition. Alongside the slightly different spellings there are also occasions when different words are used. My benchmark was Luke 22:60. In British English we read about a cock crowing whereas in American English it is a rooster. I discovered that British English editions are published by Biblica (in case that is useful information for you).
Who would have thought that getting a Bible was as complicated as this? For many people in the world it is not complicated at all: it’s impossible. We take for granted that we can read the Bible in our own language and have so many different translations and versions and versions of translations and editions of versions of translations that whilst the choice is bewildering it masks the reality for others in the world.
I have resolved that I will not take this new Bible for granted. I hope to wear it out. And at the same time I will continue to pray for and support the work of organisations like Biblica and Wycliffe Bible Translators who are working to provide editions of the Bible in all world languages.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
The little girl was sitting with her grandmother, who had presented her with her first little children’s Bible, in an easy-to-read translation, when she was just a few days old. Now, a decade or so later, the elderly lady was ready to spend a few sweet moments handing down the big old family Bible, in the King James Version, to her only grandchild.
Understandably excited, the youngster was asking a number of questions, both about the family members whose births and deaths were recorded therein, and about various aspects of the Scriptures themselves. Her grandmother was endeavouring to answer all the child’s questions in terms she could understand, but the one that stopped her cold was this sincere inquiry:
“Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus? Was it the Virgin Mary, or the King James virgin?”