Category Archives: Bible

Translation Tuesdays: 1 John 1-7

trasltuesheaderHey all! Today begins Translation Tuesdays, starting with 1 John 1-7. I’m excited for this series; it should last until the end of April, when my class is finally over and we turn in our translation notebooks. I hope we can learn more about scripture together! Here’s to remembering to post and actually getting my homework done! Don’t you just love it when you can do two things at once? But enough of that. Onward, my dear readers!

The Translation Notebook

Part of my grade is being something I’m not very often—organized. We weren’t given much to go on except “a notebook,” so being me, I went to the campus bookstore the next day and picked up a plain jane spiral notebook. (Don’t go to your campus bookstore without an arm and a leg for cash…)

1 John 1:1

1 John 1:1

I even color-coded! The Greek is in pink, my final translation is in blue, and the NRSV text is purple. I made the verse numbers orange and I’m using green to write the assignments. (Hey, I finally found a use for my mountain of pens!) I’m hoping that maybe, once we’ve translated and corrected everything, I’ll be able to transcribe everything in a nicer notebook to keep. A good way to memorize 1 John, yeah?

The Translation

I have a newfound respect for Bible translators. This first assignment wasn’t too bad—not a lot of new words or odd constructions—but I still struggled. Like in verse five, the Greek reads, “Καὶ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία.”

This verse is one of my favorites in the New Testament, but boy is it confusing in Greek! I’m okay up until “ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν,” and then it gets really weird. Greek is odd because it doesn’t matter what order the words are in as much as what case the words are in. So “σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία” literally reads, “darkness in him not is nothing.” (As best as I can tell anyway.)

But this is where you get one of those cool Greek emphasis things going on, so what it’s really saying is, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” (NRSV) “οὐδεμία” can mean nothing, but it’s really a giant underscore yelling, “No darkness, period. ” Language nerd happiness!

The same thing happens in verse four, which in the NRSV reads, ‘We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” The English doesn’t translate “ἡμεῖς,” which I think is there for emphasis. As if the verse were saying, “Yes, we are writing these things—us the apostles.” With all the false prophets going around, I can see why they’d write this way. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if I got it right in class today.

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope that was an informative, fun post for you all! Tell me what you think. What would you like to see in Translation Tuesdays? Also, here’s a Pronunciation Guide for the Greek; I think we are using the Erasmian pronunciation in my class. Have a great week—1 John and I will see you next Tuesday!

In His Sacred Heart,


Interesting Finds: PIGMA Micron Pens

pigma micron boxI bought these odd pens at the beginning of the year, after reading a lot of internet reviews. I’d originally bought them for marking in my bible, but ended up using them in my planner and textbooks more often! They’ve turned out to be so versatile, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all. Keep in mind that I bought these pens for myself, so no one is paying me to say nice things. Now, onto the review!  Continue reading

The Oxford NRSV Catholic Reader’s Edition

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader's Edition.

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader’s Edition.

The picture above found its way into my post on JPII’s apostolic letter, Salvifici Doloris. I had been so excited to receive this bible, and to finally have a copy of Scripture that was a good size to carry around. When I finally did get my copy in the mail, I was simultaneously happy and disappointed. Happy, because the bible was great. Disappointed, because I knew this particular copy just wasn’t going to cut it. For the sake of this review, I’m going to give you all the good news first and ignore the sad, unhappy bits.

A Bible Packed with Extras

In-text maps!

In-text maps!

What, you mean a Catholic bible with useful things inside? Yes, dears. Unfortunately, this particular version is out of print, but if you can find it and are satisfied with hardcover (the leather version has disappeared), this may be a good bible for you. Actually, it is a good bible. The Reader’s Edition is a great size at  roughly 6.5″ X 9″. It’s no slimline, but this isn’t a giant bible you’d never read away from your desk. The print is easy-to-read with good margins and headings in the text. What really makes this bible great are the in-text maps and charts—64 maps and 12 charts altogether. For example, in the beginning of the New Testament, there are a few pages entitled “A Harmony of the Gospels” that show parallel events from each Gospel and the corresponding verses. Check out the above map of the return from exile. All of the maps and charts are placed in relevant spots.

In addition, this edition has a table of lectionary readings, the papal encyclical Dei Verbum, the text of several common Catholic prayers, the usual Oxford maps, and a helpful concordance. The prayers in the back even include the Divine Praises, so you’re all set for Adoration! All of the goodies just had my Catholic heart a-twitter; if this bible had cross-references, I may have very well fainted. It really is a nice bible, and I have yet to figure out why Oxford won’t print something like this again, perhaps in their usual NABRE or RSV translations. A NABRE edition like this would be a welcome gift option!

A Binding Packed with Problems

Oxford's usual black and gold.

Oxford’s usual black and gold.

That, dears, is where the sparkly-eyed happy fit stops. For all the inside that’s just great, the binding has too many problems to justify keeping this bible. First, the good—the leather is beautiful and soft. It’s thick, too. The end result is a Berkshire leather cover that flexes without being flimsy and feels great in the hand. If you look back at the picture of the in-text maps, you’ll notice the bible also has the gold outline around the inside; it’s a nice touch also found in other editions like the Oxford Pocket NRSV with Apocrypha.

However, it seems this bible has been printed cross-grain, which I mentioned the other day. I had trouble snapping a photo of the issue, but this post over at Bible Design Blog does a good job of explaining and illustrating the topic much better than I could with dorm furniture and an iPhone camera. The pages crinkle very badly near the gutter, and to a lesser extent on the whole page. The spine cracks every time I open the book or flip pages, and the pages themselves have a very bad habit of sticking together. At first I thought it might be humidity, but the bible showed no signs of relaxing. In addition, the page crinkling shows up in the gilding as a subtle wavy line all through. I wanted to like this bible, but it’s too distracting to read when every single page is crinkled. Thankfully, the seller I got it from is willing to refund me. I can happily recommend Bell Wether Books!

You can check out Timothy’s post on Catholic Bibles here, and peruse possible buying options here on Amazon. Perhaps one day I’ll find a good, usable bible for everyday reading, but that day sadly isn’t today. I’ll be shipping the Reader’s Edition off tomorrow and heading back to the drawing board for “Project Reading Bible.” Next week is spring break, so I hope post more when I’m not working on schoolwork. God bless, and thanks for reading!

In His Sacred Heart,


A Side Note on Translations

I just realized that my original Psalm Saturday post mentioned comparison with the RSV2CE, and I’ve been using the RSV! I doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you realize the RSV2CE removes one of my major RSV quibbles—”thee and thou language.” Hm. Which leads me to a sort of reader question. Given a choice between the RSV2CE and NRSV, which do you prefer and why?

I’m beginning to think, somewhat sadly, that I may be sticking with the RSV2CE for now. The OBOY Challenge is fizzling out…badly. Oh, I am a weak, weak woman! But I do love books, especially bibles… It’s become a hobby of sorts to compare translations and editions. Everyone needs a hobby, right? But, onto my reasons.

  1. The RSV2CE is very readable without “thee and thou language” in it.
  2. The RSV2CE is not gender inclusive. I’ve warmed up to gender inclusive language on the whole, but there’s just something familiar and comforting about that traditional rendering. That, and the NRSV’s use of “mortal” is irksome.
  3. The RSV2CE is an actual Catholic edition. I can’t find a good Catholic edition in the NRSV. The Reader’s Edition I received appears to be printed not with, but against the grain, which means the gutter crinkles like nobody’s business, the ruination of an otherwise awesome bible. Most other editions of the NRSV are “with Apocrypha.” At the very least, the RSV2CE is an edition with all the books in proper order, which is important to me.

What about you all, readers? What edition is your favorite and why, if not the NRSV or RSV? Oh do comment; I love comments!

OBOY Challenge: Oh Boy…

It’s Just Problematic…

Well, the One Bible, One Year Challenge has been….erm, challenging, to say the least. I ruined my very nice Cambridge NRSV Reference. (Well, not exactly ruined, per se, but my anxiety won that one.) Then I purchased an Oxford Pocket NRSV with Apocrypha, thinking it would be lovely and also solve the size issue I had with the Cambridge. It was lovely, but unless I suddenly develop super vision, it won’t be used very often, and certainly not as my daily reading bible.

Continue reading

OBOY Challenge Update

Goodbye, friend.

Goodbye, friend.

I have sad news, dear internet friends. My beautiful Cambridge has been damaged… First, I marked with pencil which tore and blurred some pages, but to add insult to injury, it also got wet! Sigh. I suppose I just can’t have nice things. Really, the damage isn’t awful, but I have problems with these sorts of things, so the Cambridge is going on the shelf until I can bear to look at it again. (Which may be never.) Perhaps it’s a psychological thing. I don’t know.

In all seriousness, I did have trouble using the Reference as an everyday Bible. It’s a beautiful book; the text size is perfect, the center-column cross-references are just right, and the paper is good quality. Still, the Bible was pretty large and difficult to carry. Because I’m handicapped, I couldn’t carry it in-hand, and I certainly don’t trust it in a backpack or bag. The only solution was to carry it in the slipcase. It works, but it’s cumbersome and usually stays on a shelf.

With that in mind, I’ve purchased a compact version from Oxford. It was inexpensive and will probably get much more use than the Cambridge ever did. We’ll see. I can say that I’m more or less put off marking in my Bible now. I’m in the process of starting a Scripture journal; hopefully this will be a good compromise between note-taking and my peculiar “pretty Bible” syndrome. Maybe some day in the future I will get over this. I guess because I’ve always had difficulty writing, I find these “mess ups” annoying and stressful. Lord Jesus, help me not to!

But alas, facts are facts. A Bible is no good if it can’t be used, so I’m going the smaller route. I don’t have the best vision, but I should be able to swing it. If not, back to the drawing board. Let’s pray this works out so I can get the Challenge going again.