A lesson from family devotions

bible-parableFamily Devotions can be both a wonderful and sometimes even exasperating time.  But sometimes the exasperating experience can be very memorable.

The point of family devotions, of course, is to convey God’s Law and Gospel, the faith in Christ to our children so that they will grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And, as our rite of Baptism in the E.L.S. [Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, p. 136] states that our children are given “instruction in the Christian faith, to the end that [they] may come to the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, and thus, abiding in baptismal grace and in communion with the church, [they] may lead a godly life to the praise and honor of Jesus Christ.” The goal is that they remain in the faith by being grounded in God’s Word and be raised to eternal life.

Sometimes a Bible translation fails to get the point across in the appropriate way. We started on Isaiah again a couple of days ago. Thursday morning, before the school bus arrived, we read Isaiah 3 as part of morning devotion. The tone of the chapter is very serious. God is calling the unfaithful organized church to task for abandoning the faith.

Normally we use the NKJV. It’s the translation used in our Hymnary and forms the basis for our liturgical practice. It is also a fairly literal translation. But that morning I was using an E.S.V. It reads very well. And the translation seems to do fairly well on most things, but there’s always something that doesn’t quite work with new translations.

The ESV rendering of Is. 3:16 “tinkling with their feet,” set the children giggling and laughing trying to contain themselves and be reverent.

I suppose it’s my fault for not having used this verb for the very commonplace sound of ankle jewelry–except in NW Minnesota where in the middle of Winter our woollen socks would absorb any tinkling from our feet.

At least I can say that they were listening to the reading.

At least our kids did understand the point of the chapter, even if the mood of the text was disturbed by a simple choice of words.

About Pastor Joseph Abrahamson

Pastor Joseph Abrahamson serves Faith Ev. Lutheran Church, Clara City, Minnesota (E.L.S.). He and his wife, Mary, have 10 children. Pastor Abrahamson is a graduate of Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, and of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies. He has served on the Faculty/Staff at Bethany Lutheran College teaching Religion, Linguistics, Archaeology, and Self-Defense; and was on Staff at the University of Wisconsin as an Information Processing Consultant (Computer Geek) while doing graduate work in Semitics. Pastor Abrahamson served Clearwater Lutheran Parish (ELS) from 2001 to April 2015.


A lesson from family devotions — 9 Comments

  1. Pastor, my copy of NASB uses the word tinkling too. 🙂 But I don’t think it or anything you posted above should be considered disturbing, inappropriate, or exasperating.

  2. Is. 3:16 AAT: The LORD also said: “Because Zion’s daughters are proud and walk with stretched necks, winking their eyes, swinging along as they walk and jingling the ornaments on their ankles.”

    Is. 36:12 AAT: “Did my master send me to tell these things only to your master and you?” the general asked. “Didn’t he send me to the men sitting on the wall who might have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine with you?”

  3. I’d originally guessed that “LC-MS Quotes” was a seminarian or seminary library staff member, but now I think it might be Rev. Herman Otten.

  4. @Tim Schenks #6

    Oh, I don’t know, Tim. Some of the rest of us own AAT
    and in this case, as others, it’s a better word picture.

    The problem in the first instance was not in Isaiah.
    The ESV translators were a little obtuse…
    although household euphemisms with small children vary.

  5. You have before you a version of the Bible that’s called the AAT, An American Translation, done by a man by the name of Dr. Beck before he died some years ago. He spent about thirty years of his life working in the translating of this Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English that we might understand it a very simple English way.

    Phillip B. Giessler
    Know the Truth
    Topic: Introduction; The Bible

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