No, the Bible won’t change!
But the Ministers have been carefully considering how we might read God’s word during our services. There is a practical need to replace the pew Bibles used in the new space, as many are tatty and damaged. Using a projector for the Bible passages is not satisfactory, for one important reason: it will never feel quite as ‘real’ and powerful as a physical book in the hand. In addition, we have found there to be technical problems with verse numbering when projecting.
A decision has been taken to adopt the English Standard Version (‘ESV’) in place of the New International Version (‘NIV’). New ESV pew Bibles are being ordered for the reordered church building. There are two reasons for this change.
On the one hand, the NIV is no longer available in the translation used in the red pew bibles. This is because all new NIV Bibles now use ‘gender-neutral’ language. In common with many in our tradition, the Ministry Team regard this as not being as faithful to the original as it might be, thus impairing in some measure the clarity of the word of God.
The ESV is a more ‘literal’ translation, helping us as we look into the detail of God’s revelation to us, and as we ‘search the Scriptures’ together on Sundays. We may find some passages more difficult to read, with longer sentences, and we may need more practice for public reading. You will find many passages are very similar, especially in the Old Testament.
The NIV has not suddenly become heretical! Far from it. It is an excellent translation, and you may prefer to use it in your personal studies. But in the church services, we will be using the ESV when we move back.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to speak to Nigel, Richard or Chris.
[The short slideshow, including a side-by-side comparison is available¬†here.]