Thursday, October 20, 2016

After the last presidential debate (2016)

I laughed a dozen times and frowned a dozen times too. He always generalizes and exaggerates things without giving details. For example: "Putin is smarter than her or Obama." 

He does not provide any concrete plans or details about how to grow the economy or about other areas of policy making. He just preaches all the time like some preachers. I mean "some." 

He needs to learn how to present himself with decent manner, reasonable facts, and acceptable visions. Instead, he said to her: "no, lie, nasty woman, wrong, ... you cannot translate me." 

She is well prepared for the job and has concrete plans. Moreover, she articulates well what her vision is. 

Most stunning is that he did not say if he would accept election results. 

In my view, politics is a business of negotiation and balance involving many different parts in and outside of this nation. One is aware of complex realities that need workable plans. The other is not. Period.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Do you really care about the Bible?

It is my conviction that many Christians, scholars or not, do not "really" care about the Bible. They consider the Bible equal to the truth of God. In fact, their belief  makes their Bible, sometimes interpreting  it in a "literal" sense that deprives us of deeper metaphorical meanings (for example, John 1:14: "The Logos became flesh"), at other times understanding Jesus's parables only through allegory, still other times naively seeking one meaning only, adopting abusive voices in the text, and becoming silent about injustices. 

In sum, they just read what they want to read from the Bible and support what they believe about God, Jesus, and others. This is where we need a critical study that digs in and out everything in, behind, and in front of the text.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bible translation matters

There are many problems in the translation of the NIV. Especially, a lot of translation issues are in Paul's letters. But today I discovered another interesting place in Luke 15:4 where the translation is really bad in my view. Eremos is a desert or wilderness in the plain sense, but the NIV translates it as "open country." I kind of know why it did so.

In my recent book RESURRECTING JESUS, I dealt with some translation issues in Paul's Letters.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"The body of Christ" being quoted

As a biblical scholar serious about our life, individually and communally, whenever I hit my works quoted in others' work, I am very much alert. At times my work is used negatively. But most of the times it is appreciated. Here is one that I spotted today through the Google Alert system (I receive automatic alerts whenever there is a use of my work).
I received a Google Scholars alert message and found I was quoted: “Yung Suk Kim, in a number of publications, seeks to re-orient the notion of the body of Christ away from the organism metaphor to a description of a way of living that emphasizes ‘Christ’s embodiment of God’s gospel.’ According to Kim, Paul used the body language to stress the exemplary life of Christ that his followers are meant to emulate through embodied practices of service and hospitality. To be Christ’s body, therefore, is primarily ‘an ethic of Christian life,’ and secondarily, a description of the community that practices this ethic. See Kim, ‘Reclaiming Christ’s Body (soma Christou)'; Kim, Christ’s Body in Corinth.” –From book Being the Body of Christ in the Age of Management (Cascade, 2016) by Lyndon Shakespeare.

Friday, September 23, 2016

an interesting conversatioin with a colleague

One of my colleagues asked me in the middle of a meeting: "What is the Greek word for the  pastor in the New Testament?"

I said: Well, I don't think there is a Greek word for the pastor in the NT.
Taking a few minutes, I wrote the following on a sheet of paper.

"The typical titles for the leaders of the early church":
1. doulos, slave (esp. for Paul): "I, a slave of Jesus" (Rom 1:1)
2. diakonos, Phoebe: minister (Rom 16:1)
3. presbyteros: elder, bishop (later epistles)
4. apostolos: apostle (Gospels and Paul's letters)
5. leitourgos: servant (later epistles) ... This was added later by me.

Then he said: "No slaves! We've been slaves too long!"

I said: "Tears!"

He said: "No doulos! Terrible Bible! Oppressive!"

I said: "I agree! We need a new word!"

He said: "You need to un-read that text!"

I said: "Amen! No longer bound!"

Then, our exchange ended.

It was my intention to reveal the historical titles for the leaders of the church in the New Testament, one of which is doulos used for Paul. Often people translate doulos as a servant, which does not seem to reveal what Paul tries to say in his cultural setting. Whether Paul is good or bad in his view of slavery, he uses the word doulos (slave) for himself. Why did he so? That must be explained. That is part of what we have to do. Otherwise, we cannot hide the fact that he used that word for him.

Habakkuk 2:4 in the Septuagint and quotations in the NT

BHT Habakkuk 2:4
Hineh upplah lo-yashrah napsho bo betsadiq beemunato yichyeh

LXT Habakkuk 2:4
ean hyposteiletai ouk eudokei e psyche mou en auto ho de dikaios ek pisteos mou zesetai
(Look at the proud. My spirit is not right in him, but the righteous shall live by my faith)

NRS Habakkuk 2:4 Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

NIV Habakkuk 2:4 "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous will live by his faith--

Quoted in the NT:
Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38

ROM 1:17
NIV Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

NJB Romans 1:17 for in it is revealed the saving justice of God: a justice based on faith and addressed to faith. As it says in scripture: Anyone who is upright through faith will live.

NKJ Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

NRS Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "The one who is righteous will live by faith."

BNT Romans 1:17 dikaiosyne gar theou en auto apokalyptetai ek pisteos eis pistin, kathos gegrapptai, ho de dikaios ek pisteos zesetai.

GAL 3:11
NIV Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."

NJB Galatians 3:11 Now it is obvious that nobody is reckoned as upright in God's sight by the Law, since the upright will live through faith;

NKJ Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."

NRS Galatians 3:11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for "The one who is righteous will live by faith."

BNT Galatians 3:11 hoti de en nomo oudeis dikaioutai para to theo delon, hoti ho dikaios ek pisteos zesetai

HEB 10:38
NIV Hebrews 10:38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."

NJB Hebrews 10:38 My upright person will live through faith but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.

NKJ Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."

NRS Hebrews 10:38 but my righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back."

BNT Hebrews 10:38 ho de dikaios mou ek pisteos zesetai, kai ean hyposteiletai, ouk eudokei he psyche mou en auto

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dao De Jing

I love the Dao De Jing written by Laozi, 5th century BCE sage in China. His book is widely read throughout the world. It has only 81 chapters of poem-like wisdom, which is comparable to Jesus's parables. Both of them took the world seriously and deeply examined it and deconstructed its wisdom. I translated it into English with brief commentaries that evoke biblical teaching.