Thursday, November 24, 2011
The Bible is a masterpiece of authoring and editing. Culturally so ingrained, often we don’t realize we are referring to it. Consider some of the phrases the Bible introduced into our lexicon:
• Turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)
• Apple of my eye (Deuteronomy 32:10)
• The root of the matter (Job 19:28)
• The skin of my teeth (Job 19:20)
• Fell flat on his face (Numbers 22:31)
• Pour out your heart (Psalms 62:8)
• Wits’ end (Psalm 107:27)
• From time to time (Ezekiel 4:10)
• Blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14)
• Scum of the earth (1 Corinthians 4:12-14)
National Geographic has just highlighted these and other fascinating insights in its December 2011 issue.
With re-readable plots and subplots, a balance of dialogue and description, and a thread that pulls the story from beginning to end, the original Bible text was, in some cases, inscribed on papyrus. Notwithstanding those tedious chapters on lineage, and even with divine inspiration, how do you pull that off in a draft or two?
In addition to the Greek and Hebrew-speaking authors, Latin and English translators (e.g., default editors) deserve some credit. Under King James I in England, the well-known English translation was first produced more than 400 years ago. And today, over 100 million Bibles are sold or given away each year.
Since to everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1), Thanksgiving seems an appropriate time to stand in awe (Psalms 4:4) of the writers and editors of the Bible. Happy Thanksgiving!