March 10, 2009

The Bible and G.I. Joe??

I came across this post on "Stuff Christians Like" (an excellent satirical blog that is quite astute in its observations!) and as a child of the 80s whose dream was to own every G.I. Joe action figure, vehicle and playset ever created, it brought a nostalgic tear to my eye. :)

As I've been having many conversations lately about Biblical translations and text-critical issues that affect various versions and their approaches to handling the text, I felt divinely guided to leave my own contribution to the Bible/G.I. Joe issue. Here's what I wrote:

"As a teacher of Biblical interpretation, translation and hermeneutics who also happens to have been a die-hard G.I. Joe fan, I wanted to offer my meager contributions...

The KJV would be less like Storm Shadow and more like Spirit, I would argue. Noble and dedicated to preserving the traditions of the past, even opting to use less effective weapons/manuscripts for the sake of preserving its heritage when there are far more accurate ones it could be using.

Plus he had an eagle as a pet. I don't know how that relates to the KJV, but who cares? It's a freakin' eagle!

The NRSV is Scarlett. Most other Joe's would scoff at the idea that a woman could overcome the innate assumed gender roles required to lead the troops into battle, but Scarlett proved them wrong and was gorgeous while doing so. Likewise, the NRSV is often scorned for attempting to show that gender-inclusive language can be effective in communicating the Word of God. Yet like Scarlett it does just that and is aesthetically pleasing as well.

The HCSB would be the Lady Jaye of translations. Gritty when necessary, but still maintaining that air of comfortable and down-to-earth. While the other gals might be intimidated by Scarlet's sophistication and sex-appeal, they are more able to relate to Lady Jaye and her down-home laid back charm. After all, there's a reason the HCSB's official spokesperson is Beth Moore!

The Living Bible would be the Bazooka of the bunch. It gets the job done...regardless of it less-than-stellar intellectual approach. However, don't expect much accuracy or precision!

The NET Bible would probably be Beachhead. He didn't care how much you had to work or sweat or groan--he was gonna equip and train you to be the best soldier you could be, even if it meant taunting you to anger in order to motivate you. The NET Bible's 600,000+ notes are intimidating and their use of technical terminology and original languages are tough to wade through...but if you can get through them and endure the constant humiliation of realizing just how little you actually know about the ancient context, setting and grammatical nuances, you'll come out the other side tougher and better equipped than you ever imagined you could be.

And I would also have to differ regarding the Amplified Bible. I believe it is the Serpentor of translations. Just as Cobra Commander picked and chose various parts of various great warriors and leaders in history with no regard for their historical settings or background, so too the Amplified Bible picks any and all relevant lexical glosses of key words and throws them all together into the text with little regard for their context. The result could be a mighty ruler with all the strengths of past geniuses...or an out of control monster that even Cobra is against! :)

Blessings from The Discipleship Dojo ("

When it comes to choosing and using the right translation of the Bible, the closing words of every episode of G.I. Joe are quite applicable indeed:



1 comment:

markblanco said...

In the future, if anyone ever claims "JMS is no scholar..." I'm pointing them right to this blog entry. Well done, sir!

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