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Proof of what is unseen

The status of women in OT times

Mark Ward

I just finished reading Ezra and writing about it for tenth graders. I spent a fair amount of time evaluating and seeking to understand Ezra’s actions at the end of the book, the 111 divorces he oversaw.

I had a thought: if marrying a Canaanite woman didn’t make that woman a Jew (you had to be a Rahab or a Ruth to become a Jew, someone who feared God) apparently women in OT times had a responsibility to believe as individuals. Am I wrong to see that responsibility as conferring a higher status on women than did surrounding cultures? Would it occur to anyone to ask the average Hittite wife what her religion was if the husband’s religion was already known?

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Mark Ward

I just got a recommendation from a friend to try a cool Internet radio station called Pandora. You can set up your own Internet radio stations based on your favorite artists.

So I made a station for artists like “Chanticleer” and one for artists like “The King’s Singers.” So far I’m getting all a cappella, but there really just aren’t that many groups like my two favorites so I am clicking the “thumbs down” option on many of the artists they’re suggesting. After a while Pandora will learn more of my preferences.

I didn’t use to have the theological category of common grace, but Chanticleer was a factor in my attachment to that category. I’m a huge fan of Chanticleer because I think unbelievably beautiful singing glorifies the Lord intrinsically.

I was the one who asked them at Bob Jones to sing “Song for Athene” by John Tavener (one of my very favorite choral composers)—the one which they accidentally pitched too high, causing the soprano to squawk. Poor guy.

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Mark Ward

“The more you hang out with monkeys the more you realize just how special people really are.”

—a scientist in the recent Smithsonian

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The TNIV and The Books of the Bible 3

Mark Ward

If you go to “The Books of the Bible” site, don’t be put off by the endorsements.

It appears that IBS realizes that they’ve lost conservative evangelicalism as a target demographic for the TNIV. Too many names we all (rightly!) trust came out against it. So they’re touting endorsements from people who live on the far left side of evangelicalism—or who, sadly, have fallen off the edge.

I’ve received some real profit from Tremper Longman’s work and a little from that of Scot McKnight. But Brian McLaren? (The late) Robert Webber? Those are men who have written some very troubling things.

But I said you should not be put off by these recommendations because aside from the gender neutralization—which is not nothing, but not everything—the TNIV really does appear to be an improvement over the NIV. And if the NIV, despite its faults (recognized over and over again in the commentaries which try to use it as their base text), has become the Bible of many people who truly love the Lord, the TNIV need not be a bogey-Bible.

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The TNIV and The Books of the Bible 2

Mark Ward

When I showed my truly wonderful, open-minded boss my new TNIV without verse numbers and chapter numbers, he said, “Hmm. This is not a step forward.”

I said, “I think it is.” I explained how with my new Bible you don’t have verse numbers and chapter numbers determining where your mind will place breaks. You’re free to read the Bible in the way most conducive to understanding for a modern Westerner.

Admittedly, the paragraphing and section spacing in my new numberless Bible were placed there by fallible men (TNIV: “people”) just like the verse numbers were.

And Paul and Moses didn’t really use paragraphing.

But by communicating paragraphs typographically we’re at least making it possible for visual stops to coincide consistently with thought-flow rather than guaranteeing that they won’t.

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The TNIV and The Books of the Bible

Mark Ward

I’ve seen the power that preaching with a sound hermeneutic can have. Just one effect of a pulpit ministry based on solid exegesis is that listeners develop skill in reading the Bible for themselves.

But most printed Bibles do good hermeneutics a disservice. Good hermeneutics says, “Always read the context!” Printed Bibles, however, make that difficult by making every verse its own paragraph:

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Bolding the verse number at the head of each paragraph, as some Bible editions do, doesn’t help much. It’s the visual cue of paragraph-size (instead of verse-size) paragraphs that best serves good hermeneutics.

So many Bibles now are printed in paragraph format with verse numbers included. That’s a great step in the right direction, but I still think the flow of thought is being interrupted unnecessarily.

A few years ago I saw a single-column KJV New Testament printed in the 1930s which had no verse numbers. And I have an old NEB which tried to include the best of both worlds (in a beautiful edition) by putting chapter and verse numbers in the margins.


Finally, however, the International Bible Society has produced an edition of the TNIV called “The Books of the Bible,” which has elided all chapter and verse numbers (except for one little hint at the bottom of every page). I snapped one up as soon as I could and I’ve decided to go on a crusade for it—because my life is already a crusade for good hermeneutics.

Here’s a picture of the layout:

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A few more notes on this new TNIV are to come (DV) in a later post.

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