A Study in Affliction: The Sufficiency of God’s Word in Psalm 119 for the Believer’s Affliction (Part 6)

Psalm 119:92, “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (ESV)

With these words, the psalmist provides a wonderful example of how the sufficiency of God’s Word meets the needs of afflictions. In previous posts, we have laid the groundwork of affliction as it is understood in this psalm. Additionally, we have seen how God’s Word provides comfort, encouragement, and direction during those difficult times.

In this verse, the psalmist describes how believers can endure in trying circumstances: delight in God’s Word. The word “delight” is an interesting word. It conveys the idea of rapture, of utter and unmatchable delight (for a similar usage, see Psalm 119:24; Isaiah 5:7; and Jeremiah 31:20). Interestingly, the word is plural. It could (and probably should) be translated delights. In other words, it is a multifaceted delight. Like the delights brought about by a child, or a loved one, the Word of God provides boundless enjoyment and pleasure.

GOD’S WORD IS DELIGHTFUL

The Scriptures speak frequently of the delightfulness of God’s Word. Consider Psalm 119:24, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” (ESV) Or consider Psalm 119:72, “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (ESV) The written and revealed truth of God’s Word is unimaginably delightful. Christians find comfort in the beauty of God’s Word. Passages like Psalm 23 and Romans 8:28 are pregnant with comforting truth that enables a believer to endure overwhelming situations.

GOD’S WORD HAS MANY DELIGHTS

Because the Scripture declares God’s Word is the psalmist’s delights, we see a hint of the multifaceted sweetness of the Bible. It gives encouragement when we are discouraged. It provides correction when we need discipline. It reorients our view of God to match the Scripture, and not our sin-marred view or experience-based picture of Who He is. Search the Scriptures, for they are a limitless treasure chest of many delights.

GOD’S WORD IS THE ANCHOR FOR ENDURANCE

Without the sacred Word of God, the Christian could not endure the afflictions this life has to offer. There are afflictions within, resulting from sinful choices to living in a fallen world. There are afflictions without, again, resulting from our own choices or from the will of others.

The believer, while not free from those afflictions, is nevertheless encouraged because God’s Word anchors his view of reality within the framework of a sovereign, loving God who works all things out for God’s glory and our good.  And lest we depart from the biblical definition of good, we must remember that in Romans 8:28 the good to which God works is the conformity of His children to Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).

CONCLUSION

What a glorious God we serve! His Word is indeed our delights! It is boundless, endless, and matchless. Oh, what a precious treasure He has given to His Church!

Psalm 119:1-8: A Brief Study

Yesterday (Wednesday 4 December 2019) I shared some thoughts to our Prayer Group from Psalm 119:1-8. I have been studying affliction in this particular psalm for some time, but I thought it might be a good idea to start on the sufficiency of God’s Word for the life of the believer.

Without going into much detail, here is the basic outline we examined.

I. There is a happiness that comes from sincere obedience to God’s Word- vss. 1-3
II. There is an expectation to observe God’s Law- vs. 4
III. There is a God-dependency revealed in keeping God’s Word- vs. 5
IV. There is a God-honoring confidence in keeping God’s Word- vss. 6-7
V. There is a Gospel-reminding quality with God’s Commandments- vs. 8

I have thoroughly enjoyed working through this psalm. There is so much meat, it fills my spiritual belly!

What thoughts do you have on these verses? How do you apply them to your daily life?

A Study in Affliction: The Sufficiency of God’s Word in Psalm 119 for the Believer’s Affliction (Part 4)

Affliction is good. 

You may read those words and, like me, say “What?” The concept of affliction is one that immediately brings forth feelings of discomfort and dread. We are creatures that love our comfort.

We love for the comforts of a fire on a cold and wet day. We long for the warmth of our beds. We leap with joy when we can shed our work clothes and don our sweats. But affliction? It is the troll under the bridge, baring our way on the road to comfort and ease. It is the dragon guarding the gold of comfort hidden in the cave. We dislike comfort in the most intense way imaginable.

So how in the world can affliction be good? 

David pens this conundrum,

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71, NASB)

There are a few things that are important to note at the outset. These thoughts will then, I hope, help to provide an explanation of how affliction can be good.

IN THIS VERSE, AFFLICTION IS A PASSIVE EXPERIENCE

David states, “It is good for me that I was afflicted.” That is, he experienced affliction. He received it. He endured it. People and circumstances afflicted David. He was the receiver, not the instigator.

In our own lives, we do not willingly set out seeking affliction (those who do usually have other issues). It is thrust upon us, like the breaking waves crashing on the seashore. We receive the bad report from the doctor. Our employer gives us the pink slip. That one person continues to drive us crazy.

Our afflictions usually come to us, not the other way around. Why is this important? First, we must remember that God is sovereign. He is in control, and regardless of how deep the affliction may be, it comes from God’s hand. The unimaginable comfort brought by the truths of Romans 8:28-29 provide wells of encouragement. Secondly, it also helps us realize that there are times when we can do everything right and still experience affliction. It is a theological error to think right behavior will bring blessings (read through the book of Job to have this view corrected). However, when we experience trials, we can take comfort that it may not be from our own fault.

IN THIS VERSE, AFFLICTION INCREASED LEARNING

I remember hearing in chapel this same thought. One of my professors would say, “You’ll learn more about God through conflict than you will from a systematic theology book!” I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “This guy is insane. There is no way that would happen.” Enter life and ministry, and the lesson holds true.

David realized that affliction brought a deeper intuition to God’s truth. The affliction David experienced enhanced his learning of God’s Word. He learned God’s statutes. Learning requires repetition and interaction. David’s love for God’s Word provided a rich environment in which affliction could yield positive fruits. But it was only enhanced by affliction.

This can help us endure affliction. Rather than dreading it, we can learn from it. We can grow through it. But only as we seek God’s Word. That is the key difference of Christian suffering. God’s Word is a unique tool, inspired by God, to provide growth toward Christlikeness. Affliction is an enhancer of growth. It is a growth activator, if you will.

IN THIS VERSE, AFFLICTION IS TEMPERED BY GOD’S WORD

The last point that stands out in this verse is the fact that God’s Word tempers our affliction. It is only by God’s Word that we understand that all things, including affliction and suffering, are used for good in the Christian’s life (Romans 8:28-29). Affliction turns us away from ourselves, our own accomplishments and abilities, toward God and His truth.

A Study in Affliction: The Sufficiency of God’s Word in Psalm 119 for the Believer’s Affliction (Part 3)

Psalm 119 has seven verses that mention the word affliction. These references help form a framework from which the believer, the child of God, can endure, learn from, and thrive in, affliction.

Of course this idea seems to be a complete contradiction. But as we mentioned before, God’s workings are quite beyond our ability to comprehend (see Isaiah 55:8-9). The fact that we can endure affliction and thrive and learn in it is astounding.

Our second verse is Psalm 119:67. David writes,

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (KJV)

This single verse provides an interesting timeline of events. Like the Order of Service printed on a church bulletin, this verse shows the progression of David’s experiences in affliction and the result of facing them.

MISLEADING AND DECEPTION

David plainly states, “Before I was afflicted I went astray.” That is, before David experienced trouble, he went astray. The phrase went astray is an interesting one. It comes from one Hebrew word, and though there are several shades of meaning, the basic concept is one of deception.

Another was to describe this is misled. Misleading can come in a variety of ways. For example, David experiencing a form of misleading when he was transporting the Ark of the Covenant. In II Samuel 6, David decides to take a large number of people (30,000, according to 6:1), to retrieve the Ark. It must have been a thrilling experiencing! All of those people celebrating the return of the Ark, surrounded by music and joy (6:2-5)!

Then something terrible happened. Tragedy struck a man named Uzzah. As they (Uzzah and Ahio, brothers, 6:3) drove the cart, the Ark slipped and began to fall and “Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it…And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God” (6:6-7).

Can you imagine how David, and the people, felt? It seemed as if they were doing everything right and then tragedy struck.

MISLEADING AND US

Does that not happen to us? Do we not proceed with life thinking we are doing well, but like Uzzah we face some affliction? The question is, “Why?”

Why did God strike Uzzah down? After all, he was trying to save the Ark. Why would God do that?

Affliction was a tool used in Uzzah’s, the people’s, and David’s life to remove that misleading. We are human beings, prone to deception and faulty thinking (see Ephesians 2:3; 4:17-18, for example). We believe we are doing right. We may think our motives are right, and therefore justify the means. We may think the end is right, and therefore justify the means.

This is what happened during the transportation of the Ark. David, leading the people, thought that by bringing the Ark back to the land they were doing good. This affliction, no doubt, drove David to consider God’s truth about the Ark. He would have been sent to the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) in which he would have read Numbers 4:15, 16, and 20.

And this is what happens in our own lives. Far too often we justify unbiblical ways of doing deeds, thinking thoughts, or spreading speech by the motive, the ends, and even the means. And, perhaps unbeknownst to us, we sin.

MISLEADING AND CORRECTION

However, God in His infinite mercy and marvelous sovereignty, uses our failures and deceptions to conform us to the image of His dear Son and our Savior, Jesus (Romans 8:29; cf. Gen. 50:20). David, brokenhearted and confused, “was afraid of the LORD that day” (II Sam. 6:9). Before David experienced this affliction he went astray. He was deceived.

Like us, we often need affliction in order to be driven to the God we worship. Like bumper bars in a bowling lane, affliction keeps us, like it did David, from being misled into the gutters of sin.

MISLEADING AND GOD’S WORD

Affliction is a unique tool in the hand of our sovereign, good God. He uses it so that we, like David, can say, “now I have kept thy word.”

Brothers and sisters, let us keep the Word of God! Let affliction be our guides to read, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word!

A Study in Affliction: The Sufficiency of God’s Word in Psalm 119 for the Believer’s Affliction (Part 2)

A NERDY INTRODUCTION

In our last post we began to examine Psalm 119:50. We used the ESV translation, which states, ” “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”

The ESV chose an interesting way to translate the word אמרתך. The word is translated promise. However, in the NASB and the NKJV, is is translated word.

According to Logos, the word  אמרתך (or its derivatives) is translated one of three ways: word(s), speech, and command.

Psalm 119_50_Word Graphic
The results from a word search on Logos 8, gathered from the NASB95. The graph represents the occurrences of each translation of the Hebrew word. The total amounts of translation are: word(s): 32; speech: 4; and command: 1.

Generally, then, the אמרתך is used to describe word, speech, or a command. In the case of Psalm 119, we can safely presume it refers to God’s Word. Almost every verse of Psalm 119 (176 in total) refer to God’s Word in one form or another. The next question is, How does God’s Word (or promise, as the ESV renders it), provide comfort in affliction?

A PROFOUND TRUTH

Books can be written to answer that question. To limit our discussion (and the length of this post), I want to focus on a few verses from this Psalm in particular.

To begin with, there is a specific happiness that accompanies biblical obedience. The psalmist begins the wonderful chapter with these words, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk int he law of the LORD.” (Psalm 119:1, NASB) During times of affliction, whether spiritual or physical, comfort is gained from the joy of obedience (compare this with Hebrews 12:2).

Or take another verse, Psalm 119:6, “Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments.” (NASB) When we look at God’s commands. Of course the word entails more than simply looking with one’s eyes. It involves observation, intent attentionprolonged and purposeful examination. Even during affliction, observance of God’s Word frees one from shame.

SO WHAT?

So what does this mean for you? Well, it depends upon the affliction facing you. What are you going through? What troubles are attacking your body or soul? What family members are experience tumultuous times?

Do you turn to the only place that can provide true help? As Dr. Berg bluntly states, “It is, rather, mutinous for created beings to turn to themselves for solutions when they were created to depend upon God Himself.” [Jim Berg, God Is More Than Enough: Foundations For a Quiet Soul (Greenville, SC: Journey Forth, 2010), 6.] We are so prone to turn to everything but God, and He has graciously provided His Word to help us during times of affliction. When dealing with anxiety, we can turn to the God Who holds everything together. When struggling with sexual temptation, we can find satisfaction in the wonders of Jesus Christ. The afflictions will vary in kind and intensity, but the answer is always the same: God’s Word.

As we continue to journey through these verses in Psalm 119, I hope that you realize that God’s Word is such a treasure-trove of comfort and delight.

 

OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES

A Study in Affliction: An Introduction to Psalm 119 and the Believer’s Trials

A Study in Affliction: An Introduction to Psalm 119 and the Believer’s Trials

Recently I have experienced some incredible times of God’s presence. I have been reminded of His powerful sovereignty. I am revived by the sufficiency of God’s Word for all of our problems.

What is the cause of these sweet times with my Father? I can answer that question with one word: affliction. I will not go into details, but the last few months have been incredibly difficult for our family. Now, I do not mean that every day has been a struggle. Quite the opposite, we have enjoyed many joyful times in our private and ministerial life. However, we have experienced an increase in affliction.

Shortly before these afflictions began, I started reading Psalm 119. The psalm is packed with references to God’s Word, and I desired to see how intricate His Word is for the life of the believer. This personal study has produced an incredible yield of fruit in my own life, and consequently, in the life of others. My hope and prayer is that this brief series would encourage you with the sufficiency of God’s Word, the sweetness of God’s sovereignty, and the all-sufficient supremacy of God above everything.

In my personal study, I focused on Psalm 119:92. David writes, “If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.” (NASB) One afternoon I had some additional personal study time in which I jotted down just a few thoughts.

  • God’s Word must be meditated on because
    • Because it gives us a right perspective of God
    • Because it gives us a right perspective of ourselves
    • Because it gives us a right perspective of our successes and failures
  • God’s Word must be meditated on constantly
    • Because we often forget about God and ourselves
    • Because we are constantly beset with sin
    • Because our problems are new every day

After reading these thoughts to my wife, she asked if I was preparing a sermon. Though I usually am, it was meant simply for personal edification. However, it turned out that I was given an opportunity to preach, and so I set to work developing these points further.

After the sermon, I realized that there was much more contained in this psalm, and so I spent more time studying.  One goal I had was to develop the idea of affliction as it is used in Psalm 119.

I found seven uses of the English word affliction in the NASB. These are Psalm 119:50, 67, 71, 75, 92, 107, and 153. In my research I found that the word translated as affliction comes from two Hebrew words.

In the following posts, I hope to provide an overview of affliction as presented in Psalm 119. I am amazed at how God’s Word is always the answer to our afflictions. I hope that these tools will find their way in your tool box, for past, present, and future afflictions. I pray that you and I will, like David, cry out “If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.”

 

On the Meditation of Scripture

David declares, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97, NASB)

As Christians, we should love God’s law. Peter says we desire it like new born babies desire milk (1 Peter 2:2). It should be our constant meditation. Unfortunately, many of us do not know how to meditate. Our impression of meditation is sitting with our legs crossed while humming.

Meditation is not that. The word used for meditation can also mean reflection, prayer, musing, and devotion. In other words, it is something you think about. Of course, there are a variety of ways to think about something. This word, however, gives the impression of eagerness and delight. For example, when I come home from work, my children run out shrieking with excitement. It is seriously one of my favorite parts of my day. I think about it throughout the day with increasing excitement. I imagine their smiling, fruit snack-covered faces giving me kisses. I muse on it. Or, to put it in a biblical way, I meditate on it.

That is the idea here. The question, then, is how do we do this?

As with many things in the Christian life, there are a variety of ways to meditate on Scripture. Depending upon your personality and way of learning, you may meditate differently. For some, meditation takes place with pen and paper (I am thinking of Jonathan Edwards here). For others, it may take the form of writing songs (perhaps an Isaac Watts?). The list could go on, but one thing I have found helpful is to briefly jot down some main thoughts.

In order to provide some structure for this, I created a little document I call “Personal Notes on Scripture Reading.” You are free to download it here: Personal Notes on Scripture Reading

I organized it in a way that suits my study habits and personal quirks. Let me breakdown what I have, and perhaps it will help you meditate on God’s Word.

PASSAGE READ

This would be the Scripture you read. It may be several chapters, a chapter, or a section of verses. It simply depends upon your time and ability to consume Scripture. Don’t worry about the amount you read, focus on the content of what you read.

MAIN THOUGHTS

What are the main thoughts of the passage? Is is a story? Is it a letter? The literary genres in Scripture are vast. The different people and points are also expansive. The idea here is to capture the main points (or thoughts) of the passage. This will help you remember what you read throughout the day. (For a little more treatment on this, check out this post.) Besides help in remembering what you read, this also helps in writing the thoughts in your own words. In other words, it helps with retention.

THOUGHTS FOR FURTHER INQUIRY

The third section is for questions that come up during your reading. In my example, my question for Psalm 119:71 is, “Why does affliction bring about greater learning of God’s

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Word?”

When reading Scripture, we need to be asking questions. Will this create more work? Yes, it will. However, it will yield fruit lasting for years. Imagine if you took a few more minutes each day to read Scripture in this way. The gems mined from your daily readings would invigorate your love for God’s Word. It would provide a feast for you for years to come. It would help you understand God, His ways, and our purpose, with ever-increasing clarity. 

 

PRAYER POINTS

The last section of my “Personal Notes on Scripture Reading” is called prayer points. What I am looking for here is how can this shape my prayer life. Using Psalm 119:71 as an example, I wrote, “Rather than praying for the removal from affliction, I should pray for learning during affliction.” This is a personal application. I can easily turn that to a prayer for my family, friends, my students, their families, our church, etc.

Every verse or passage may not lend itself to easy application. It may take more work to fill in this chart for a narrative than for an epistle. But you know what? As I continue to learn and apply God’s Word, I find myself, more and more, crying out “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

 

How do you meditate on God’s Word? I would love to hear about it!

 

Walking Through Genesis- Chapter 31

Sometime (we are not told how long) after the agreement between Laban and Jacob a strife began to rear its ugly head. Laban’s sons were becoming jealous as Jacob was receiving all the material wealth their father had (of course we know that God was blessing Jacob, but apparently Laban and his sons did not see this, though Laban would soon find out that God was with Jacob). After the command came from God for Jacob to leave and return home, the discussion initiated between Jacob and his wives about the treatment they had received from Laban. Apparently, though Laban had made an agreement with Jacob, he changed it ten times. Additionally, Laban had squandered his daughters inheritance creating an even larger division in the family.

Understandably, then, Jacob attempts to leave without notifying Laban. Of course Laban becomes angry and then pursues Jacob, not only to find out what he was doing but also to find his daughters and many grandchildren. During the pursuit God appears to Laban in a dream and warns him not to speak good or bad. Finally Laban overtakes Jacob. A lengthy discourse takes place between the two. Rachel even made the mistake of stealing Laban’s idols but gets away without her father finding out. Jacob and Laban then make an agreement never to seek the ill of the other and then they depart, never to meet again.

Thankfully we are out of the whole childbearing battle from the previous two chapters! But we are still in the midst of family strife. Now the strife involves “extended” family. Boy could we spend a great deal of time here! Suffice it to say, we must be careful how we interact with family, and that includes extended family. A great deal of hurt can come from a foolish word, an action that was done in the wrong spirit, or even the disapproval. I have experienced this kind of hurt, and it takes a long time to heal, and the pain is still there. So as we live our lives, let’s work hard at avoiding the strife that Jacob and his family had the unpleasant experience of dealing with at this time.

Intermediate Hebrew Assignment- Translations and Methods

This assignment included an evaluation of several sections of books written on translations and approaches. The reading assignments were specifically geared toward the translation of the Hebrew Bible, but the principles and methods can apply to the Greek Bible as well. Enjoy!

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.[1] In order to make God’s Word available to all men and women translation must occur. As with any work of translation, certain methods and practices must be followed in order to achieve the desired goal.[2] But before the methods can be discussed, the discussion on how to translate must take place. In other words, what constitutes a proper translation? Is it enough to simply translate word for word without regards to a logical and coherent sense? For instance, if one were to translate a paragraph from Hebrew to English, word for word, would the English translation convey the information found in Hebrew? These are difficult questions, and questions that many scholars and translators have sought to answer.[3] The presence of debate and questions does not negate the fact that a balance must be reached between conveying the meaning of Scripture while also following the structure of the Hebrew and Greek languages.[4] Duvall and Hays described what they believed to be the goal of translation when they wrote, “Translation is nothing more than transferring the message of one language into another language.”[5] However, as Fox pointed out, there is more to translation than simply conveying a meaning.[6] So translators must be able to convey both the message, the way it would have been received, and the method by which it was communicated.

To begin with, translators are faced with the barrier between what Duvall and Hays called the “receptor language” and the “source language”.[7] In Grasping God’s Word, the two provide an example from a verse in the New Testament in which a literal, word by word translation is given.[8] To the common English speaking person the verse would make little to no sense. Because of this, they wrote, “Is a translation better if it tries to match each word in the source language with a corresponding word in a receptor language? Could you even read an entire Bible ‘translated’ this way?”[9] The answer is a qualified no. Because the differences in languages it would be rather difficult to translate every nuance found in the original languages.[10]

This problem is particularly acute in the Hebrew Bible. The gap between the meaning of the Old Testament Hebrew and the translation into English led one author to state that modern translations “have placed readers at a grotesque distance from…its original language.”[11] Perhaps the issue of the translation of the structure of the “source language” is no more significant than in Old Testament narrative prose.[12] The difficulty lies in balancing the ability to communicate the meaning without sacrificing the beauty and the nuances of the Hebrew language. For example, Alter raised the point that English translations fail to properly translate the “waw conversive.”[13] In Genesis 24.16-21 Rebekah draws water for Abraham’s servant. She then proceeds to provide water for all his camels. The waw conversive is used “to denote sequences of consecutive actions…” which would have provided the English readers with the impression that Rebekah did not stop getting water for the camels for a long time.[14] The idea the Hebrew author was attempting to convey is that Rebekah continuously filled her bucket in order to rehydrate the camels. This particular example is not found in many English translations.[15] There are additional examples, but it should become apparent that there are shortcomings in many English translations that fail to produce an accurate reflection of Hebrew thought.[16]

The next text of the translator is to determine the method of translating. There are predominately two main lines of translation: “dynamic equivalence” and “formal equivalence.”[17] The selection of these two methods depends upon the translator’s goal, i.e. meaning or accuracy in regards to the original.[18] While some translations aspire to be “more functional”, they often failure to communicate the nuances similar to the examples provided above.[19] Others strive to present the most accurate reflection of the original languages but fail to provide the reader with a comprehensible piece of literature.[20]

No doubt the business of translation is extremely demanding. On one hand the translator must be able to provide a meaningful transition between two languages; on the other hand he must also be able to communicate the original message in its original literary structure. But there are safe guards that some scholars have developed in order to protect the integrity of the original language while allowing the message to be communicated in modern vernacular. Fox provides a lengthy discussion on how Hebrew translation can be accomplished with the above goal.[21] And Thomas lists the several steps of the “deviation test” in which translators have the ability to objectively examine their own as well as other translations.[22]

Using the methods provide by scholars in conjunction with the balanced approach of dynamic and formal equivalence, translators today can provide the English speaking world (or any language) with an accurate version of God’s Word.

[1] J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-on Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001), 23.

[2] Robert L. Thomas, How to Choose a Bible Version: An Introductory Guide to English Translations (Fearn: Mentor, 2000), 89-100.

[3] See, for example, Grasping God’s Word; How to Choose a Bible Version; and David Horton, The Portable Seminary (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House, 2006), 76, 463, 506, and 569.

[4] Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy ; a New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes (New York: Schocken Books, 1995), xii; xxiii.

[5] Duvall and Hays, 23.

[6] Fox, xiv-xxi.

[7] Duvall and Hays, 33. The “receptor language” is the language into which the translation is being made; the “source languages” are the original languages, i.e.: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

[8] Ibid., 33.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Duvall and Hays provide several of those difficulties by quoting D. A. Carson, 33-34. From D. A. Carson, The Inclusive-language Debate: A Plea for Realism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1998), 48-51.

[11] Robert Alter, Genesis: A Translation and Commentary (New York: W.W. Norton, 1996), x.

[12] For a detailed treatment of the topic, see Fox; Thomas; and Alter.

[13] Alter, xix and xxi; see also Gary Davis Pratico, and Miles V. Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001), 192-194.

[14] Referring to camels ability to consume large amounts of water, “The body rehydrates within minutes of a long drink, absorbing over 100 litres (25 gallons) in 5–10 minutes.” Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “camel,” accessed September 21, 2014, http://www.britannica.com.proxygsu-lrb1.galileo.usg.edu/EBchecked/topic/90756/camel.

[15] Alter, xxxi.

[16] Alter raised this point, writing, “the translator’s task, then, is to mirror the repetition as much as is feasible”, xxviii. He went on to discuss the importance of word order and word location that is often lacking in English translations, xxxi and xxxiii.

[17] Thomas, 89-90. Duvall and Hays use the descriptions of a “more formal approach” and a “more functional approach”. Duvall and Hays, 35. They point out the necessity of balance when they write, “Formal translations run the risk of sacrificing meaning for the sake of maintain form.” Ibid., 35. Referring to the functional approach they warn, “The functional approach is not always as sensitive as it should be to the wording and structure of the source language.” Ibid.

[18] Scholars seem to agree that a balance is needed. See Fox, xxiii; Duvall and Hays, 34-38.

[19] Duvall and Hays, 35. They list the following translations utilizing this method of translation: New Living Translation and the Good News Bible.

[20] Ibid., 35. They list the following translations that practice this method: New American Standard Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version.

[21] Fox, xx-xxv.

[22] Thomas, 90-100. There are five steps: number approximately 30-50 words in the original language; translate the words into the English equivalent as closely as possible; arrange the words in compliance with the original word order until the words make sense (Thomas calls this “minimal transfer”); compare the numerical values to determine the deviation of the translations; one additional step is to complete the process again until a sufficient amount of samples has been obtained to provide an accurate representation of the deviation value of a given translation.