Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Andrews Study Bible - Adventism's Next Big Mistake

A few days ago the following announcement was made by Andrews University:
University Press to Publish Study Bible Some of the highpoints of the press statement are:

An international editorial team of Adventist Bible scholars has begun work on a new study Bible to be published by Andrews University Press, according to Niels-Erik Andreasen, president of Andrews University...

Those tools will include an extensive study note and reference system, general articles on important theological and interpretive principles, maps, charts and indexes, all prepared for the general reader. Andreasen said that the heart of the Andrews Study Bible will be one of the standard English translations of the Bible commonly used by conservative evangelicals...

Development of the publication, the first of its kind in Adventist publishing, has been delegated by the Andrews University Press Board to an oversight group called the Andrews Study Bible Project Committee, chaired by Andreasen. Members include Karst, Finley, Rodriguez and Denis Fortin, dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University; Juan Prestol, undertreasurer of the General Conference; two members of the Press staff; and Jon Dybdahl, named in January as general editor of the Andrews Study Bible.

One of the first things I noticed is that they don't give the translation they intent to use just "standard English translations of the Bible commonly used by conservative evangelicals..." The question is why won't they disclose the translation comes to mind. Perhaps they have not finalized the contract with the translators but if I was going to guess the phrase by conservative evangelicals would lead me to think of the New King James version.

"Many churches and Evangelical groups have embraced the NKJV as an acceptable compromise between the original KJV and a Bible with more contemporary wording."

There are still a lot of SDA's who are very nearly King James Only advocates and even though the documents which the King James Bible were translated from is largely based upon Stephanus 1550 edition of the Textus Receptus rather then the more recently discovered and older material that is used in most other modern language translations the King James tradition makes it their preferred Bible. The New King James updates the old King James language and removes the thee's and thou's but it felt to retain the Elizabethan English.

As Queens University states in their article English Versions of the Bible
Also called the Authorized version, this text dates from 1611. It is a revision of the Bishop's Bible (which was somewhat based on the original languages) by a commission appointed by King James I. It was favourably received by the authorities and authorized to be read in the churches. It has had an important influence on English literature. However, it is based on III CE (or later) Byzantine Greek texts, which have subsequently proven to be fairly unreliable from a text critical perspective. The New King James Version (NKJV) updates the language of the KJV while preserving its basic literary structure. There is also The 21st Century King James Version (KJ21). None of these versions are recommended for study purposes.

More particularly the reason I think that it will be the NKJV is because it is one of the very few modern language Bibles which translates Acts 3:19 in such a way that it can be used in the Adventist Investigative Judgment doctrine. The idea that sins are blotted out, as in the heavenly investigative Judgment. I fear that the Study note will reference the KJV interpretation since it is what Ellen white used in her statements to indicate that the sins are blotted out in the Investigative Judgment. Compare the NKJV with the NIV:

Acts 3:19 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV) 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Acts 3:19 (New King James Version) New King James Version (NKJV) 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Acts 3:19 (King James Version) King James Version (KJV) 19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Interestingly the

21st Century King James Version (KJ21)goes back to the same wording as the KJV
19Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

The NKJV also retains the use of the word Lucifer when most all other modern translations do not use the old Latin word as if it was the name of an individual. But the Lucifer myth is important to many Adventist Great Controversy themes.

Isaiah 14:12 “ How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!

Whereas most all other modern translations are similar to the NIV:

Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

Aside from the expected translation problems by choosing a translation most in line with Adventist traditions the problem with an Adventist Study Bible is that it will serve as an indoctrination tool. Other possible views and interpretations will be given short shrift or ignored. The assumption will be that this is the Adventist view and no other view is acceptable. It is the same thing that is wrong will any study Bible whose notes are prepared by people who share one particular view. Such as Schofield' s or Rye's Study Bibles. As the website notes:

*****Many study bibles include interpretive notes. While these may sometimes be helpful, they often do more harm than good. They reflect the biases of the editors and sometimes make the reader think that they are authoritative. Also, any notes like this may prejudice your thinking, not allowing you to come up with your own ideas. The Ryrie Study Bible and the Schofield Study Bible are two notable examples. It is the opinion of the webmaster that these two Bibles contain doctrinal biases which are blatantly contrary to scripture and therefore should be avoided.

This blog has previously posted on the horrible Jimmy Swaggart Study Bible, see Jimmy Swaggart’s Distorted Bible Commentary

It is true that other denominations such as the Baptists and Catholic, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, “The Pentecostal Study Bible, even Reformed Theology have their own study Bibles, it however is probably not sufficient reason for Adventists to do the same unless they are capable of providing seriously comprehensive information brought forth by some of the other views that Adventist Christians hold. Which is interesting in that some Study Bible's do attempt to do just that. For example The New Geneva Study Bible was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 1995

Offers four interpetations on the days of creation:

The NGSB presents four interpretations of the days in Genesis 1 without really declaring any one of them to be the correct interpretation: "Some view these as literal, sequential 24-hour days. This interpretation usually entails the view that the earth is relatively ‘young.’ Other scholars, nothing that the Hebrew word for day (‘yom’) can refer to periods of time (e.g. 2:4) have proposed the ‘day-age theory.’ Still others suggest that literal, 24-hour days are intended, but that these days were separated by extended periods of time. Finally some scholars argue that the ‘days’ of creation constitute a literary framework designed to teach that God alone is the Creator of an orderly universe, and to call upon human beings made in the image of the Creator God to reflect God’s creative activity in their own pattern of labor. This ‘framework hypothesis’ views the days of creation as God’s gracious accommodation to the limitations of human knowledge-an expression of the infinite Creator’s work in terms understandable to finite and frail human beings. This last group of scholars observes that the universe gives the appearance of great antiquity, that the phrase ‘morning and evening’ seems inconsistent with the ‘day-age’ theory and that the notion of intervening ages between isolated 24-hour days is not apparent from the text" (see note under Genesis 1:5, p.7). It appears, from the argumentation above, that the editors favor the "framework hypothesis" while at the same time allowing for the other views.

If The Andrews study Bible incorporates the different views in the Christian interpretations it could be an important book. However I have found in the market place of ideas Adventism has for many years thought of themselves as the only shop on the street. And that is one of the worst things that can happen in the search for truth.


Paul W said...

I'm more sanguine about the translation that could be used. Maybe it will be the English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard or the New Living Translation!

But I don't think it will be the NIV. In allowing other parties to use that text, Zondervan is like the goose that laid the golden egg.

Ron Corson said...

None of those however are known to be popular among conservative Evangelicals, and that was the only clue they gave us.

Johnny Workentine said...

Why in the world not? There's money to be made.

Brent Skilton said...

The more I study the Bible in its original languages and historical contexts, the more I realize that any Study Bible, be it SDA or otherwise, is simply insufficient to represent the spiritual immensity of the truths therein. Let the Bible speak for itself, and let the Holy Spirit tell each of us what it means. That should be enough.

Al said...

Jon Dybdahl, general editor of the Andrews Study Bible.

Very nice person, thoughtful, articulate, firmly in the penal substitution camp. We read out of scripture that which we read into it, so version aside, you now know what you'll get.

doug said...

As we study and memorize scripture texts, it would be nice if we all read from the same book. Early SDA pioneers used and advocated KJV. When we open our bibles on Sabbath to read scripture together, there is confusion and disharmony. The devil would have it thus. Print one in KJV and I'll buy one. You can do what you will with the rest; not for me and my house.

Anonymous said...

Any one interested in purchasing a study Bible should first read:
New Age Bible versions by G.A.Riplinger. There is far more at stake here than mere language/interpretation we cannot allow our church to promote Westcott and Hort's Satanic influence through an official study Bible.

Ron Corson said...

No don't waste your time reading G.A. Riplinger. She frankly does not know what she is talking about or worse yet is intentionally telling lies. She is soundly refuted by many people here is one typical refutation of her King James only nonsense.

david@biblereviews said...

I had a chance to look into this bible a little bit and wrote a review on it. I think its features and stuff are very good, it's no different than a pentercostal wanting a scofield bible or the new reformation study bible for Calvinists! Why would it be such a hug mistake to put the same information out there but with a present truth thinking Scholars annotating?

OPINIONS said...

Why even change the meaning of the Bible to fit your doctrine.
GOD warns us about trying to explain the Bible..He alone will tell us the secrets of the Bible through the Holy Spirit. To trust man is to condemn our souls to hell.
To disagree with an eternal hell is a mistake in my opinion but it is taught.