I GET WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. I’ve heard many people say this over the years. Heavens, I’ve said it myself. But here’s why I believe it is wrong (or at least careless) to use this term “colorblind” when relating to people from a different racial group, along with my proposed solution.

** What people mean is probably something like this: I don’t judge anybody based on their skin color.
What people are usually saying – but probably not meaning – is this: I don’t care about your racial background. Your story is in the past just like mine. Let’s just move along and forget the past.

I’m in a ministry with a passionate black brother who is full of energy, Biblical knowledge, and talent. I often refer to him as the “fireworks” of our ministry, and I’m the – ahem – older one of us. I’m enjoying learning his STORY. Who he is. Where he came from, who his family is, what they believe, what vision and passion he has for our future. And I’m not sure I’ve ever met a more singularly talented individual. But he has a story… and everyone of my brothers and sisters in Jesus has a story.

God’s word says this by the pen of Paul: …you have been renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility…  (Colossians 3:10-11)

I met an older middle-aged white fellow walking down my street the other day: short, skinny, with a limp. Hair all grown over his ears, puffing a cigarette, and he asked me if I needed any help weeding my flower beds. I even asked if he had a business card, and he gave me a slip of paper which he had written his name and number. “I’m happy to give you a bid to do that work, sir” he said. I kindly told him that I intend to do it, but the weather and schedule hasn’t allowed me to do it yet. I felt the demon of harshness/judgment/bigotry rearing his head. He’s a harmless guy; who may not be well educated, not on top of the financial heap, and not socially savvy. But the man has a STORY that would explain who he is, if I would only get to know it. How dare I look at him and think I’m somehow better than him.

When we say we are COLORBLIND, we quickly cop out. We don’t mean to do it.


In fact, the opposite is true; we mean well. The story of our black brothers and sisters is a deep and powerfully influential heritage. It’s a story of rich culture, triumph, celebration, oppression, and a curvy road that was filled with heinous evils leading to the present time. But you might read this and say, “I didn’t vote for separate bathrooms, water fountains, or neighborhoods.” And of course, hardly anyone today did. But the ugly past is unfortunately ALL of our past. While those days of inequality are largely behind us from a legal sense, institutionally, these things sometimes still occur in society. In its largest sense, I wholeheartedly praise God that Dr. King’s dream is largely realized: that little white boys and girls and black boys and girls in Alabama would be “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” But we have a lot of work to do. When we discount the past and write it off, we show disrespect to the valuable journey of our brothers and sisters who have become who they are BECAUSE OF IT.

Some people may read this and feel they don’t meet this description at all; they truly do embrace others. But what often happens leaves an unintended consequence; we classify by writing-off. We don’t embrace one another. We don’t get to know each other. We don’t understand each other’s stories, each other’s hardships, each other’s unique personhood, family history, and background. We maintain our distinctions, and keep our “other” cultures.

The church is a place of broken-down-barriers, or rather – it should be. It is a place where the love of Christ shines, and the face of Christ is seen in our actions toward one another. Here is my recommendation for specifically Caucasian Americans who long to see reconciliation and equality in fellowship:

  • Live with a humble, sympathetic tone.

This doesn’t mean WE, as modern white Americans are literally guilty for the evils of our past. But it may mean that we’ve perpetuated them ourselves. Repent of those sins. Put YOUR past behind you, and FULLY EMBRACE your brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus’ way is the better way; and it is greater than our past… whatever it is.Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 1.41.01 PM

  • Learn your brother and sister’s STORY.

This isn’t just limited to racial differences, but all sorts of cultural differences on which we allow caveats to limit our fellowship. “So-and-so is a drug addict. She is a terrible mother.” “So-and-so is a drunk, and he always will be.” “So-and-so is a hot-head and talks to his family in a sinful, despicable way, and doesn’t embody Christ.” “So-and-so is a racist, and he can’t possibly change.” Everybody has a story. There is pain, difficulty, and sometimes habitual sin utilized in trying to cope with the past and the present. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, and the only means of bringing a person out of it is the unquestionable love of Christ being shown to that person.

  • Clothe yourselves with the character of Jesus.

Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be long-suffering. We live in a time when that word – and it’s meaning – has become lost to us. We don’t even suffer each other SHORT. I saw a Facebook video from here in town just 2 day ago, where some macho 4×4 driving country boys literally passed a guy and stopped, put it in park, and got out of the truck to walk toward a driver whom they were going to “handle” – whatever they intended to do. The guy slammed it in reverse and drove around them to avoid an altercation. Christ-followers must be the example of mature long-suffering for the world to see.51184408_377599849694784_4255367968113819648_n

LASTLY, understand that the story of people is the story of all of us. This applies to both sides of the discussion. The blood of Jesus was shed on the cross of Calvary to wash away the sins of every. single. man. woman. child. who ever walks the soil of the earth.

If I go in the hospital and need blood; I get AB-. I don’t limit that – nor would I ever – by language, race, sexual preference, or any other distinction. I need blood to live. AND HERE’S THE IRONY… One man shed blood for all humanity. To love, forgive, and bring the message of love and life to the rest of the world. We drink it every Sunday and swear to walk in a manner worthy of that calling. But do we?

IMG_5746In a time when the silliest things separate humans, let us in the church unite behind the blood of Jesus to love and forgive. The power of a changed life, and forgiveness of sins is the most powerful emancipation of all history. Being shackled by hatred, bigotry, and judgmentalism has caused more problems than the world can ever count.

I beg you to consider these words, and consider using language of adoption. The church is a collective of sanctified people, who have all been fixed of their brokenness. Adopt your brother and sister as YOUR OWN. Let’s not perpetuate the evils of the past by continuing to sin; Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (Colossians 3:15)


Drive-Thru Prayer


For many Christians, prayer is a sporadic and erratic event. Do you have a daily prayer time to which you commit?  I’d like to hear about it.

prayerFrom the tradition in which I grew up, the “liturgy of the hours” wasn’t practiced. Well, it may have been by some, but they certainly didn’t call it that.  In fact, there was often a disdained attitude toward anything that feels or sounds Catholic or “corporatized” about Christianity.  I don’t think anyone hated the traditions of Christendom, but there certainly was an attitude present – whether taught overtly, or environmentally absorbed – that had little value for human traditions of “the church” (the Roman Catholic church).  However, there is great value in understanding the meandering road of our Christian history; whether good or bad in its practices.

Too often, Christians I know participate in something I’d call drive-thru prayer.  After all, we hit the drive-thru for an expressed purpose, and are quick about it, and when it’s over we have little use for it again until next time we visit out of convenience or because we’re in a hurry.  Too often prayer is treated the same way.


In my heritage, we prayed, and were encouraged to pray.  In fact, we often quoted Paul of Tarsus’s instruction to the Colossians in 4:2; “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.”  But there has often been something missing.  While of particular value, I’m referring to much more than dinner-table or bed-time prayer.

In the history of the church, there was a group who became known as the desert fathers. One of the traditions they developed was a revitalized Jewish practice; a specific time of day in which practitioners would devote themselves to spiritual communion with God in prayer.  Out of this practice developed many different types of prayer and spiritual exercises focused on drawing nearer to the Almighty through prayer, meditation, & reading. (I’d encourage you to click the link on desert fathers and learn more about them!)

About 500-600 years before Christ, Daniel the Hebrew’s practice is documented; “Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously.”  He continued in other situations with this prayer ritual – “Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.”  He was a Hebrew taken into exile with others from the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.  These historical events are well documented outside the Bible.

Back to the point:  I’m very interested in hearing from anyone who has developed a personal practice of the divine hours, or “the divine office” or whatever you call your fixed time(s) of prayer each day. This is an ancient practice, and I’d be interested in knowing the value of it that you have experienced.  Have you set alarms on your phone to do this?  Ever how private it must be, do you stop anything you’re doing to devote yourself to that communion with God?

prayer timeIt’s really about holiness.  I try my best to be holy at all hours of the day, whether public or private alone time.  We live in a time where UNHOLINESS, wickedness, and hedonistic idolatry is the god of most of the world, regardless of whether or not they visit a church like a drive-through every week.  It’s a challenge to be what we need to be, and to continue to stand out.  My prayer for myself and my family is that we would be like Daniel;  Now this Daniel was distinguishing himself above the other supervisors and the satraps, for he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom.”

Have you developed a practice of this in your life?  In light of recent political and social developments in our country, how has this affected your divine hours time?  We who are disciples of Jesus should make time, and make it a priority to put in the solitude time.  Thanks in advance for your thoughtful comments.

Pasture & Abundant Life

the sheep follow the shepherd.
the sheep follow the shepherd.

What is the abundant life?  Placed in its appropriate context, the discussion of John 10 takes place on the heels of a miraculous healing that Jesus performed on a guy who had been blind since birth.  The Pharisees (religious elite) were put out by Jesus over this whole thing, and couldn’t believe that such a thing could happen (understandably).  So Jesus’ teaching in chapter 10 is directed at holier-than-thou, “we’re the religious chosen ones” believers in God.  People who in actuality were NOT in the fold of God based on their hardness of heart and arrogant spirits, and that is clear in John 10.

The most amazing thought that came to me in preparation for this message was that of pasture.  On occasion, I drive the 40-minute trek up Colorado Hwy 36 to Estes Park, and use my annual pass to go up into Rocky Mountain National Park.  I am uplifted every time I go, without fail.  Something captivates me about not only the wide-open spaces, but the vast wilderness that is lush, cut by rivers and streams, teeming with life of beasts, birds, fish, and flowers, and surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Rockies.  When I think of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, I cannot help but envision the sheep following him through those fields and open spaces, and they find pasture.

In pasture, the sheep can frolic and play.  They can graze and feed, drink a fresh drink from the clean mountain streams, and they have the protection of their shepherd.  He protects from the beasts; primarily wolves and coyotes, bears and mountain lions, but anything else that might come about looking for them.  Dangers are unpredictable, so the shepherd must be well prepared and sufficient to protect, which Jesus completely does.

And then he says, “I lay down my life for the sheep.”  And he says, “I have authority to lay down my life, and take it up again.”  And the Good Shepherd does more than contain us in a pen.  The Good Shepherd does more than contain us in buildings.  The Good Shepherd leads us to pasture.  He came that the sheep might have “life, and have it more abundantly.” 

And then there’s that… abundant life.  Abundant life has nothing to do with STUFF.  Nothing to do with wealth, or riches; cars, houses or clothes.  Abundant life means having relationships whose value surpasses the wealth of kings.  It means having peace in your heart from following in faith – in pasture.  Abundant life is a faith-filled existence that values trust in God more than financial stability, more than your own pride, or even our own accomplishments.  Abundant life might mean one thing to one believer, and another to me.  But I know this:  it means more than coming to church on Sundays; more than singing songs, bowing for prayers, and eating communion.  It means living every day with a definitive purpose to reflect God’s holiness, and to live life to the fullest, all-the-while looking over our shoulder to make sure the Shepherd is still there.  He will protect us.  His direction is what guides us.

It’s ironic that the pasture provides nourishment.  In John 4, and in John 6, Jesus teaches both an individual, life-is-a-mess woman and also a group of Jews who were following him for food.  He taught that HE provides the living water, and his flesh and blood provide REAL sustenance.  Metaphors aside, I pray that you will meditate today on what it means to partake of Jesus’ living water, of his flesh and blood, and what nourishment HE provides.


“I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”  Are you living an abundant life?  Another great passage of scripture yields light on this concept:  Romans 8:6-11.

6 “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Quit living your own way.  Life for pasture.  It’s the only way to achieve peace.

Remember WHAT about 9/11?

Almost without exception, the Facebook posts I read today have to do with “Never forget!” or “Always remember!” (Pessimist/Optimist views). The events of September 11, 2001 will be hard to ever forget for those of us who were adults on that day. I’ll never forget that it was a CRYSTAL clear, bright blue perfect sky in Memphis, TN that day. I was in the middle of Greek class with Dr. Allen Black at Harding School of Theology; wondering, “how can a perfect day yield such terror?” The hallway became all abuzz about the events of the morning, and we had to break from class and find a TV to see what was going on.

What is it that we remember? What is it that people want us to remember? Is it “never forget that psycho Muslim jihadists attacked and murdered our people?” or is it, “never forget that that day will live as a perpetual alteration to the ease of our travel and security” or something else?  Different people have differing motivations to remember, I suppose.

What is it we want to remember?

It occurs to me, that for disciples of Christ, our memory is so often a selective one that it would behoove us to stop and think about just WHAT we want to remember. Things like the events of 9/11 leave life-long prejudices against other people.  Sometimes, Christians jump on the National Patriotism bandwagon and wave the Stars & Stripes without reflecting on some important things.  My grandfather, for example, died at 83 believing that Japanese people were mostly traitors; devilish kamikazes who destroy innocents and have no real regard for human life. Obviously his worldview was painted in part by the events of December 7, 1941, the first day that “will live in infamy.”  He was a deeply devoted Christian.  But was his perception of all Japanese accurate?

What about Muslims?  What about Muslim Jihadists? Our world is mostly different now, post 9/11, that’s for sure.

But what about the most violent, evil day in human history? What about that day that the people of God – the Jews – took the son of God and brutally murdered him – one LESS THAN deserving of death… in fact, totally deserving worship, honor, and praise – they betrayed, murdered, and hated him. Their claims and evidence were completely thin, clouded by the red cloud of fury and hate.  If you’re reading this, you might wonder, “why the sudden change of subject, Drew?”

It’s all about perspective. BECAUSE Christ died, I can remember the world, and world events through a different lens.  Because Christ suffered, I can learn what it means to love my enemies and “pray for those who spitefully use you.”  BECAUSE Christ lived, I have hope and longing for the day that our re-creation into something better is possible. BECAUSE I remember Him, I am motivated to love, and not hate for others, even though some people may be full of ignorance, bitterness, and wrath. BECAUSE Jesus taught about humility and service as the means of achieving true greatness and “status”, I am motivated to love and serve even those who might betray me brutally, such as Judas did to Jesus. And YET, Jesus washed his feet that night (John 13). What was HE thinking? Knowing full well that his betrayer was sitting there, and he washed his feet. Was he extra rough with Judas’s feet, knowing what was about to happen in a few hours? Did he wash them extra thoroughly? Was he even more kind than usual?

9/11 was a day that forever changed the world. Much less, America. There have been brutal days in world history that probably equally deserve a “never forget” graphic. I was fortunate to be able to go to NYC about 2-1/2 weeks after the attack. I saw the rubble. I smelled the air – the burning metal, wood, materials, and flesh – most of the burnable materials had already been consumed by that point. For the love of Christ, we took 3000 care packages from Searcy, AR to NYC Fire houses, and distributed some love to those people.  Prayer was powerful, and I will never forget that experience of standing there, watching workers, seeing the despair, listening to firefighters tell me stories like, “see that guy right there?  He’s a walking miracle.”  I believe Christ motivates us to view the world in three ways:

  1. View the world as POST-Christian.  That is, we live after Jesus, and if we’re in Christ, we benefit NOW (and later) from the sacrifice of Jesus. His teaching changed it all.
  2. View the world as broken.  People make poor choices, and ultimately hurt others many times, because of this.
  3. View the world with hope.  Jesus gives us the future to experience now in part, and in its completion later.

Followers of Christ have a deeper motivation than “simply” care for loved ones or fellow Americans. It is a devotion that causes us to value THOSE relationships even more than we ordinarily would, since we value life from a different perspective. Today I encourage you to consider what it is that you’ll NEVER FORGET! What is the motivation for your life?

Consider John 12:23-35
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

I hope you have a great day. Remember 9/11… but remember it in the light of the MOST important things. We are called to be children of light, to influence the world around us and give hope and change that lasts. I suspect most people would say “we will never forget” out of a sense of National Pride and Patriotism. They simply won’t forget it, or how they felt, or how it changed things. But what about the life-changing news of Christ? What about the world-changing, forever hope granting, “kingdom that will never be destroyed” kind of change that Christ brought to the world?  It’s more than National Pride.  It’s my total allegiance, my true citizenship, and my identity in Jesus.

What is God saying to you?

This semester, I’ve been taking Spiritual Formation & Guidance @ Lipscomb.  On more than one occasion, I’ve been blown away by some of the new things I’ve been able to learn.  Prior to recent times, I have never really “listened” to God speak to me.  That point has been realized loudly Imageand clearly.  What I have realized is occurring is that I have been so daftly selfish in my prayer life, that I have asked and prayed God to “make me this… do this… thank you for this…” deeply ego-centric prayers.

Recently I’ve been blessed to spend time learning the ancient spiritual disciplines of silence & solitude.  Do you have a practice of simply going away and wasting time with God?  Do you have a place you go to just BE with God?  A place, perhaps, where you go, and talk, and “listen” and just experience the opportunity of making yourself available to God.  Maybe that’s an idea that is silly to you, but maybe you just haven’t begun to try.  Maybe it’s something you’ve been doing for years, and you should have told me about it earlier!

God is Spirit, and those that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.  Jesus said these words.  Was he challenging us to receive the Holy Spirit baptism of the Apostles?  What he challenging only the woman at the well – the Samaritan with whom he shouldn’t even have spoken?  I believe by extension of the inspiration of scripture that he was also speaking to us, perhaps in a peripheral way.  A way in which we must come to understand that worshipping, communicating with, and abiding in GOD – is something that we have to do in some way since he gave the exhortation to do so.  Do you have a place you go for that solitude and silence?  While two distinctly different disciplines, they are often interwoven into one experience.  Where is your place?  Your home?  probably not… a monastery?  Nature?  Jesus had a place… it behooves us to find one too.

If God is a spirit, how do we communicate with him?  Is it only by the reading and comprehension of the word of God?  Is there a way that we can come in contact with our spirit-self, and communicate with him on a level above, beyond, and away from the “stuff” of our lives?  For me, that has recently been magnified through my understanding of solitude, and silence.  Sometimes, it is going to sit on a rock for a 30 minute period… or maybe an hour.  Not deliberately praying… but perhaps deliberately praying sometimes.  Sometimes, it is on my bike, withOUT the iPod rockin’ out in my ears.  Sometimes, it may be sitting by a stream, or sitting in my office, or my car, in complete silence.  God desires our attention.  To Job, God said, (Job 33)

31 “Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
speak up, for I want to vindicate you.
33 But if not, then listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

And there’s this nugget from Luke 5:

16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Why do we resist the opportunity to grow nearer to the Creator of all things?  It is in times like these moments of solitude that if we allow God, he will speak to us in very clear terms.  Not in an audible voice, but with such clarity and resonance that he may as well be standing next to us.  Solitude and silence are about complete and selfless submission to God.  Submission to his leading, to his answers, to his way of peace that comes only through submission to the cross of Christ.  There may be days that you don’t hear him speaking.  Other days, you may be so well in tune with the Spirit of God that you can nearly hear him speaking out loud about what you should do, how you should be, or what to purge in your life to most appropriately emulate Christ’s selfless example of true holiness.

It is in the common, temporal beauty of nature and solitude (not always in nature, of course) that God begins to give us focus and clarity, with such remarkable peace that it simply cannot be experienced apart from this venue.  I’ll close with the words of Paul Tillich, a German theologian who said it very well in, “The Eternal Now”.

“In these moments of solitude something is done to us. The center of our being, the innermost self that is the ground of our aloneness, is elevated to the divine center and taken into it. Therein can we rest without losing ourselves.

Now perhaps we can answer a question you may have already asked — how can communion grow out of solitude? We have seen that we can never reach the innermost center of another being. We are always alone, each for himself. But we can reach it in a movement that rises first to God and then returns from Him to the other self. In this way man’s aloneness is not removed, but taken into the community with that in which the centers of all beings rest, and so into community with all of them. Even love is reborn in solitude. For only in solitude are those who are alone able to reach those from whom they are separated. Only the presence of the eternal can break through the walls that isolate the temporal from the temporal. One hour of solitude may bring us closer to those we love than many hours of communication. We can take them with us to the hills of eternity.

And perhaps when we ask — what is the innermost nature of solitude? we should answer — the presence of the eternal upon the crowded roads of the temporal. It is the experience of being alone but not lonely, in view of the eternal presence that shines through the face of the Christ, and that includes everybody and everything from which we are separated. In the poverty of solitude all riches are present. Let us dare to have solitude — to face the eternal, to find others, to see ourselves.”  -Paul Tillich

Which Translation of the Bible should I use?

A lot of folks have asked me about modern English translations.  Which one is best?

(Click image for John 1 in NIV 2011)
John 1 in the King James Version 1611

Which one is worst?  “That NIV ain’t a version, it’s a PERversion!”  🙂

This post will be a short one in terms of the ink spilled on this topic, but I hope to answer it fairly well in a few paragraphs.  I have been attracted to the NIV 2011 ever since mid-2010 when it was released on Bible Gateway.  There are quite a few video tutorials out there to see and take the words of the translators themselves, as well as a host of critical writers out there.  (Watch the NIV 2011 video here)
Below is a quickie table showing the year, translation, and my quick two-word opinion on them:

Year           Translation             Strengths   Weaknesses

1611             King James Version                           Largely Distributed        Awkward
1901             American Standard Version       Extremely Literal           Very Awkward
1952             Revised Standard Version            Ease of reading                Some bias
1963             New American Standard               Literal                                  Readability
1966             Today’s English Version               Easy to read                      Less accurate
1971             Living Bible                                            Readability                       Very Inaccurate
1973             New International Version         Easy to read                     Bias/Inac.
1979             *New King James Version            Easier to read                  Rev. KJV
1989             *New Revised Standard                  Easy to read                    Gender inclusion
1995             *NASB Update                                        Literal/Accurate           Readability
2001             *English Standard Version          Literal/Accurate           Readability
2010             *NIV 2011                                              Easy/Conversational    Somewhat Biased

*All reliable translations, and capable of teaching the lost about Christ with great accuracy.

While “somewhat biased” is my weakness label for the NIV 2011, I am a fan of it.  It is largely accurate it seems, and it has re-placed original text in many of the controversial biased spots of the 1984 NIV.  For example, sarx (flesh) in Greek is translated “sinful nature” in the 1984 NIV, which indicates a definite bias toward a doctrine of original sin.  Although I am not offended by the phrase, “sinful nature”, it is not necessarily the Biblical meaning for the term flesh.  If you are referring to a general state of being lost in the human condition, I’m cool with it.  If you’re referring to the idea that I was born as a sinful infant, inheriting the guilt of my fathers, I disagree.  However, I’m a fan of the 2011 because although there are a few liberties taken, they appear to be driven by a desire to be combination literal word-for-word, and also phrase-for-phrase.
To answer your question… Romans 5 does utilize “flesh” in the NIV 2011, rather than “sinful nature” – although – it does use “sinful nature” in that chapter several times.  When I say “somewhat biased,” that’s what I’m referring to.  They respect the desire to allow the reader to establish his own meaning for the term, flesh.
Another specific example for consideration.  In 1 Cor. 6:9, the quite literal NASB (New American Standard Bible) states, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,…”  – feel free to look it up by the link and read it in context.

HOWEVER, the NIV 2011 translates it like this:  “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men…”  
Footnotes:  1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.
For that matter, the ESV (English Standard Version) does the same thing for the verse, stating, “nor men who practice homosexuality”.  See that verse HERE.
Clearly, literal translation in the NASB is somewhat vague in terms in modern English, and misses the Greek meaning of the term malakos.  Some of us think we know what “effeminate” means in English; however, the Greek terms malakos and arsenokoites are extremely graphic, and are clarified in the footnote above (taken directly from the NIV 2011 text).  Combining those two terms – clearly meaning two different things – does help in the NIV 2011.  It helps in the sense that it states unequivocally that homosexuality is sinful in either case; whether one is malakoi (a receiving male prostitute, or youth who is in a relationship with a man) or arsenokoites (one who sodomizes, or lies with a man like he would a woman).  In this case, the English of the NIV 2011 spares us some terribly graphic details of Greco-Roman sexuality, and accomplishes the meaning of the passage at the same time.
Graph & bottom paragraph below courtesy of:  Dan Wallace – A Review of the NIV 2011: part 3 of 4

Elegance, Accuracy, Readability

in Major English Bibles

(scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best score)

Elegance Accuracy Readability




























NIV (whole tradition)








At bottom, there is a variety of factors that one must consider when choosing a translation. The three basic translation philosophies—which, incidentally, correspond to the three periods of English Bible translation: elegance (1536–1881), accuracy (1881-1971), readability (1978–present)—are just one way of looking at these translations.

So which translation should you use?

Do you have an affinity for the lack of understandable English, yet the more Regal and Beautiful language of the King James Version?  Or would you prefer accuracy, yet more readable NIV 2011?  This post hasn’t explored the inaccuracies of the KJV, but rest assured there are several there as well; particularly 1 John 5:5-8 and Hosea 11:12.

It depends on how well you memorize scripture, and how you use the Bible you have in your lap.  At any rate, serious students of the Bible do need to consider translations, when reading.

The Tim Tebow Phenomenon: God’s Providence or Good Luck?

I praise God that Tebow is who he is.  The fact remains though, that he is presently the most polarizing figure in all of sports.

Since I’m an Alabama boy, I naturally LOVE the game of football.  Matter-of-fact, the harder the hit, the more fun the game really is (within reason of course).  But as a minister here in Colorado, I am trying to sort this out theologically.  Even if you’ve been under a rock, you may know that Tim Tebow, the unlikely, “not fit for the NFL” Quarterback has led the Denver Broncos to an impressive 7-1 record since taking the helm on week 6.  But typically, he does it in the 4th quarter, almost “miraculously” bringing the game back and eeking out the win.  I really appreciate the perspective of Owen Strachan, author of a recent blog article on the Gospel Coalition about “Tebow, Calvin, and the Hand of God in Sports.”

In his blog post, Strachan states, “Instead of living each day for our own glory, Paul urges us to adopt a theocentric way of life: ‘So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor. 10:31 ).”  I send a hearty “amen, preach it, man” to that statement.

In the New Testament, God’s children are called to a higher way of living; a higher perspective than the everyday Joe out there on the street who may not have Christ as the focus of his life.  I differentiate between CHRIST and GOD only in this sense; Jesus himself consistently lived for and prayed, “if I testify of myself, my testimony is not valid.” – John 5, 8, 17, and Matthew 5 all show this attitude that Jesus, although the Son of God, deflected the glory to his Father.

David prayed repeatedly in the Psalms for the Lord to lead his steps.  Even in Jeremiah 10:23 states, Jeremiah prays, “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”  I truly believe the Lord is far bigger than football, sewing, barbershop harmony, or any hobby.  But when we commit ourselves to his influence and his glory in all things, it takes on a special type of meaning and ministry, even in the simple things.  Even that simple thing (perhaps football on Sundays in Denver) takes on an aire of salt and light, that it is done to His glory and to season as salt, and illuminate as light the way to God.

That’s why I am encouraged by Tebow.  As for miraculous or amazing comebacks, I’m not doubting God can do it… but I do doubt that he necessarily IS doing it.  Tebow has an amazing mix of willpower, leadership, Theo-centric focus, and athletic talent.  All of those combined, he seems to pull it off in the end with full-belief and poise, that his talent can overcome odds.  The fact that he does that, and then gives GOD the glory time after time is unbelievable to me.  It proves that this young man’s heart is set on being holy and a vessel of God’s light.

But bigger than that, he seems to have done the same thing in Denver that happened in Gainesville.  His team BELIEVES. Once you get that swagger, it’s hard to LOSE the chip on your shoulder… and yet, Tebow gets in front of the camera and never takes credit for the play.  He deflects to his teammates, his coaches, and his Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  I guess more than anything I’ve seen this kid do, it’s the fact that becomes louder and louder to me with each interview… it’s not about me.

I’ve heard Tim talk.  I know guys who film him for channels 2 and 9 in Denver.  They testify to the same thing; the guy is as authentic as they come.  In the post-game Sunday, the punter Britton Colquitt said Tim Tebow has electrified the team with confidence, and then he personally went on to claim God is doing something amazing here in Denver.

What I think, is that Denver’s Defense is very, very good – especially with Dumervil, Vaughn, Bailey, and all the other stellar contributors.  Tim needs to improve a lot of aspects of his game; but he’s a champion.  He has an un-measurable quality that all greats have had; the confidence and command to execute when it has to be done.  Combine that with some good catches, great long field goals, and a great measure of willpower, and this guy is a powerful commodity for Denver.

Regardless of whether you feel it is God’s direct providence, or a huge stroke of good luck, my emphasis is this:  Tim Tebow is good for football, and he’s good for Christianity.  He deflects glory being poured out on him to the Savior, and he builds up others in the process.  THAT is from God.  Oh – and you bet Tim needs to be taking Matt Prater (place kicker) out for some steak.  Tim Tebow makes every player on that team believe he is better than he really may be.

That’s the kind of person I want to be.