July 31, 2006


Category: Miscellaneous :: Permalink

Steven Wedgeworth (whom I haven’t actually met, in person or online: Hello, Steven!) and Jeff Meyers tagged me for a book thing that’s going around the web. Ask me again and I could, of course, give different answers to each question.  But these will do for now.  If you want explanations, feel free to ask.  

1. One book that changed your life: The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John Frame
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Lancelot by Walker Percy
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe (but I’d especially want to have The Book of the New Sun and The Book of the Short Sun too)
4. One book that made you laugh: The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
5. One book that made you cry: Born Brothers by Larry Woiwode
6. One book that you wish had been written: Genesis: A Practical and Theological Commentary by James B. Jordan
7. One book that you wish had never been written: The New International Version
8. One book you’re currently reading: Absolute Truths by Susan Howatch
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Introduction to Systematic Theology by Cornelius Van Til
10.  Now tag five people: Actually, I’m tagging seven. Anyone mind?


Posted by John Barach @ 9:56 pm | Discuss (10)

10 Responses to “Books”

  1. Karen Howell Says:

    Dear Sir,

    Since it is only “coincidence” that I found your blog, please excuse my boldness, but I have to ask: Why, when you mention the notable books, is the Bible not on the list? (And I don’t think the negative NIV statement counts.)

    May God bless you and your church,

    Karen Howell

  2. Glenda Says:

    Thanks for letting me play! I’ll post my response on my blog.

  3. Gideon Strauss Says:


  4. Elliot Says:

    I’d definitely have to agree on number 3. Barring the Bible, of course. Any respectable desert island would supply a Gideon Bible at the very least.

    So what’s the problem with the NIV?

  5. John Says:

    Karen: Glad you stumbled onto the blog and thanks for your question.

    I didn’t include the Bible in the list primarily because the questions asked for only “one book that…” I could have mentioned the Bible as the answer for 1, 2, 3, 8, and probably also 4 and 5 and 9.

    But the Bible is only one of the books that changed my life, that I’ve read frequently, and so forth. Readers of this blog know that I read the Bible, so including the Bible as the answer to the questions wouldn’t tell my blog readers anything new. So instead I talked about other books.

  6. katajohn Says:

    Elliot asked, “So what’s the problem with the NIV?”

    It’s not a great translation. In fact, it’s a poor translation of the Bible. In many cases, it leaves out words. In other cases, it interprets instead of giving the actual translation of the word.

    For instance, Paul frequently talks about “flesh.” There’s a whole theology of the flesh that you could develop from the Bible. But the NIV doesn’t translate the word consistently, which makes it useless for serious Bible study. If you read Romans 4:1 in the NIV, for instance, you’d never know that Paul was talking about “the flesh.”

    In Hebrews 11:11, the NIV — with ABSOLUTELY no textual support in any Greek manuscript — brings in Abraham: “By faith Abraham, even though he was past age — and Sarah herself was barren — was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.”

    Again, there isn’t a single Greek manuscript that says that. What do they say? Something closer to the NIV’s marginal reading, but even that leaves out the “seed” language and substitutes “bear children.”

    Here’s the NASV margin: “By faith even Sarah herself received power for the laying down of seed, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered him faithful who had promised.”

    The subject of the sentence is Sarah, not Abraham. Furthermore, the NIV makes it sound as if Abraham was past the age of having children, which is strange because men don’t go through menopause and because Scripture tells us Abraham had more children after Sarah died.

    In short, if you’re trying to preach from the NIV or trying to lead a Bible study and people have the NIV, you have to do a lot of extra explaining.

    The popularity of the NIV and its approach to translation (or should I say paraphrase) led me to say that it’s one book I wish hadn’t been written.

  7. Elliot Says:

    Very interesting!

    All I’d heard was that the NIV was favored by conservative churches, the NRSV by more liberal ones. I wasn’t aware of the translation issue (though I have heard the NRSV’s translations are criticized.)

  8. John Dekker Says:

    I think when this meme was designed the Bible was specifically excluded.

    John, I’ve had a look at your answers after I’d done mine, and I see that we’ve got the same answer for question 4. Out of all the Wodehouse books, I could have selected almost any one, (though I prefer the Jeeves and Wooster stories), but I picked The Inimitable Jeeves mainly because I was thinking of “The Great Sermon Handicap” story.

  9. Ted Gossard Says:

    The TNIV corrects the NIV Hebrews 11:11 problem.

  10. End of Times » Blog Archive » Tagged by Ben Says:

    […] He was right. John didn’t recognize Steven’s name, but he felt a little intrigued that a stranger had contacted him in this way. Still he wasn’t very surprised. The blogosphere was a fascinating place to him these days. What was more curious was that John had gotten two identical challenges within three days. His friend Jeff Meyers had sent him the same one. Small circles. After writing down his replies, among others, he tagged a buddy over in California. […]

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