I’m going to make a bold proclamation. I believe my church is in cahoots with Zondervan Publishing.*
(Reads the room, hears the gasps, and sees the puzzled expressions from the audience)
When I was baptized at the age of 11, the pastor of our church gave me a New International Version (NIV) Bible with my name inscribed on the front of the cover. I thought it was the coolest gift ever – especially since my name was on the front cover. My wife got her Good News Bible when she was confirmed, but it didn’t have her name inscribed on it, and I can tell at times that she’s jealous of my Bible. Did I tell you it has my name inscribed on the cover?
Growing up, my family didn’t fall into the old school, OG King James Version crowd. We apparently lived on the other side of the tracks where they were handing out NIVs. When I got married, one of my best buddies growing up gave me a NIV study Bible. He was kind of obligated to do that since he was in seminary at the time, but it was definitely a gift I still cherish today.
But here’s the thing that bugged me about the NIV translation. At what point does it stop being new? That was always the debate I had in my career when we’d introduce a new experience or product on our website. We’d add “NEW” to the heading to try to draw our prospective customer in, but when did it stop being new? 6 months? A year? NIV was first published in 1978 so surely in 1997 when I got married, it wasn’t new any more.
When we joined a new church 8 or so years ago, their elder board made the decision to move to the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It aligned better with the theology of the church so eager to fit in, I bought a HCSB study Bible. A few years later, the elder board made the proclamation one Sunday morning that we’d be moving to the English Standard Version. I rushed out and got an ESV study Bible and moved the HCSB to the book shelf with my NIVs. I’m sure they would get along fine. Guess what happened this year? We moved to the Christian Standard Bible.
Switching Bibles three times in eight years can only mean one thing. Surely Zondervan is giving some sort of kickback to our pastor and elders to switch translations every few years. That would most likely explain the new truck with the ZNDRVAN vanity license plates, right?
On a more serious note, switching translations frequently has been a blessing in disguise. When I was forced to start working from home back in March, I used my ESV study Bible and Grudem’s Systematic Theology to raise my computer screen to eye level. Jesus would be all about ergonomics after all.
Thanks for reading and remember…take God seriously, not yourself.
*Disclaimer: This blog post is strictly satire in nature and in no way do I think Zondervan and my pastor are colluding.