So here is what God showed me today through Ruth and John Calvin. I will start with Calvin and then show you the Scripture and what I found in that by the grace of God.
“I am not, however, so superstitious as to think that all visible representations of every kind are unlawful. But as sculpture and painting are gifts of God, what I insist for is, that both shall be used purely and lawfully – that gifts which the Lord has bestowed upon us, for his glory and our good, shall not be preposterously abused, nay, shall not be perverted to our destruction.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.11.12)
Even Calvin admits to it being ok to paint and such to the glory of God. Why don’t we think it’s ok? Now to Scripture.
She went to her mother-in-law, Naomi, who asked her, “How did it go, my daughter?”Then Ruth told her everything the man had done for her. (Ruth 3:16 HCSB Emphasis mine)
Interestingly, the phrase “How did it go” is literally the phrase “Who are you”. This is not just some discrepency with the Holman Christian Standard Bible, though, and something we can say “They got it wrong” about. Here is the verse in a few of the most popular versions.
And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. (Ruth 3:16 KJV Emphasis mine)
When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did it go, my daughter?” And she told her all that the man had done for her. (Ruth 3:16 NASB Emphasis mine)
And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, (Ruth 3:16 ESV Emphasis mine)
The KJV did render it literally, but I think we miss the essence of it if we don’t reference the modern versions as well. Yes, literally, she was asking “Who are you”. But I think, in asking that, she was also asking, “How did it go”. Obviously that is the case since both renditions are equally shown when you read different translations.
Something the Bible does a lot is play on words. A prime example is when Jesus says to Nicodemus,
Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 HCSB)
“Born again” is the same phrase as “born from above”. There is a play on words being done. I think the same is happening here. Naomi is asking Ruth how things went but at the same time there is something about Ruth that she appears different to Naomi. There is a deeper meaning to the text than what a single Bible translation can give us.
And this goes to something that has been on my mind recently. Why do people advocate for a translation of the Bible translated by a king hundreds of years ago? I confess, the KJV is beautiful and the language is enough sometimes to make you wanna speak in tongues and become charismagic, but it doesn’t make sense to most modern readers. Language has changed.
I am not advocating that we dumb the Scriptures down. There are plenty of versions of the Bible that cater to the ignorant. We need to push for accurate and readable translations of the Bible. You can have a completely accurate translation of the Bible, but if it’s not readable, than how is someone supposed to read it and understand it? Yes, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, but if we are unable to understand the very words He uses to guide us, how is He supposed to do His work?
God doesn’t speak in codes. Even the book of Revelation, while it’s full of symbols and pictures, it is not some code that only us here in the 21st century can understand. There was a meaning for people back in 95 A.D. just as there is a meaning for us in 2005 A.D.
The Bible speaks to different generations differently. History proves this.
Martin Luther – Used Scripture to fight for reform in the church
The Civil War – Scripture was used to advocate or protest slavery
Martin Luther King Jr. – Used Scripture to defend equal rights for blacks
There were different needs in each of those different generations (and countless more examples could be given) and Scripture spoke to those needs. But if the people couldn’t understand the Scriptures, they would never have understood how it met their needs.
So, my point is that we need to lose our pride and prejudices and open our minds to the fact that there are other accurate translations out there other than the KJV. Some of them are even much more readable and conducive to Scripture memorization as well. I will rant about Scripture memorization later.