I’m a Bible junkie. As a pastor, I love preaching the Word and studying translations just to get different angles on how the text is translated. Out of Bible college I really loved the NASB. Well, no one else did. The NIV was king.

Recently I have loved the banter between TNIV and ESV fans. (Banter is the nice word. It gets nastier, obviously.) Over the years I have grown fond of the NRSV as well. My love for church history has made me more aware of the Apocrypha and my reading has included it from time to time.

One of the “bantering” points between TNIV and the ESV has been more along the lines of which one is more “pure” for “real” Christians. Recently, I was jarred once again by the perception that the NRSV is considered a “liberal” translation. Why? Really… because liberal denominations use it.

One comment on a blog actually went so far to say: “The next time you see someone denying miracles, the virgin birth, justification by faith, Christ being the ONLY way, six day creation or the innerancy of Scriptures (among other crucial doctrines), see what translation they prefer.” (Meaning, of course, the flaming liberal MUST be using the NRSV.)

Thus, reading the NRSV leads one to be a liberal.

So, I’ve spent large blocks of time reading the NRSV over the past few years and I’ve discovered that when I read it, all of a sudden I’m overcome with an urge to phone in a pledge to Green Peace. If I keep reading too long, I’m overcome with urges to read The Origin of Species. I’ve often been tempted to hand in my preaching credentials in my Pentecostal denomination because I’m wondering if miracles are true. It’s then I slam the NRSV shut and quickly pick up a TNIV or ESV. I’m then overcome with emotions to sing, “Soon and Very Soon,” send my donations to Concerned Women for America, and vote Republican.

So, I’ve found it to be true. Yes, the NRSV does indeed make one have overwhelming desires to be a liberal.

Be warned.


16 thoughts on “How I Became a Liberal

    1. Oddly enough, I grew up near Lawrence, cheering for KU. I attended North Central University, which was North Central BIBLE College in those days. Conservative. No NRSVs around. These days, we use NRSVs regularly. ( I teach as an adjunct there.) So, NCU is becoming liberal, I suppose. 🙂

  1. well now…. 🙂

    if i wasn’t so dang pro tniv, i’d happily be a nrsv! 🙂

    when i do work in the hebrew i usually find the nrsv the best in reflecting the meaning in the hebrew.

  2. I grew up on NRSV, how’d I get to be so conservative? Oh, well, I guess there are those few areas where I skew left, that must be why.


  3. Strange. I’m about as conservative as they come. I believe in “miracles, the virgin birth, justification by faith, Christ being the ONLY way, six day creation or the innerancy of Scriptures” … “see what translation they prefer”

    That describes me and NRSV was my main translation for three years until late last year. It’s now my third favorite.

    Labels labels. Getting really really sick of this stuff.

  4. That’s funny! Our church bulletins use the NRSV for scripture reading, but sometimes, I quote from the NLT, T/NIV, ESV just to confuse everyone. Maybe I’m secretly trying to veer us back to the right. hehehe…

  5. You seem to have forgotten that all of the translations you mentioned have been created by liberals to steer us away from the King James Version.
    Take my “Segond 21,” for example. The translators deviated so far from the KJV that it’s not even in the same language anymore! Crazy French people.

  6. What would Dr. Nichols from North Central say? He used to call the RSV the “Really Saved Version”. The church I go to now LOVES the KJV but I use the New Living and I must be liberal because it’s gender neutral.

  7. It doesn’t matter to me which translation I use – for me reading the Bible results in me having a more liberal worldview. I just want to be more of a pinko like that Jesus dude!

  8. My 35 yr faith journey looks something like this:

    KJV (required by my legalistic boyhood congregation)
    NASB (required by my legalistic seminary)
    NKJV (required by my increasing distaste for “thee” and “thy”
    ESV (required by my curiosity for all things new)
    HCSB (ditto)
    NRSV (required by my intellectual honesty)

    I do go back to the others and touch base, but I continually find myself going back to the NRSV because of it’s unique wording in places and superior accuracy with the original languages.

    So I, too, am one of those “conservatives” who is drawn to the “liberal” NRSV. I have to conclude that it is because I have succumbed to the influence of that little liberal demon who put the dang translation together in the first place.


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