In January, 2007 my parents, Charles and Ruth Thompson celebrated 50 years of marriage. I included a picture of all their grandkids. They have been godly examples in every aspect of life and we are so thankful for their love. Happy Anniversary! (Sorry it took so long to post these pictures!)


God saw Israel and he knew.

The verse says this: “God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (Ex. 2:25, ESV).

The Israelites had spent hundreds of years in captivity and the slavery was wearing them down. Their groaning reached the ears of God. He heard them.

That verse in the ESV struck me: He saw and he knew. (It is smoothed out in the TNIV by saying, “he was concerned about them.”)

God saw. God knew.

He is the One who hears the cries of his people. Our cries do not fall on deaf ears. God may not respond in our good time, but we can know he does indeed see where we are and he knows.

God’s response to Israel was powerful. It may have seemed far too long for Israel to be in slavery, but when God responded it was HUGE. God sees. God knows.

Sometimes that may not be so comforting. He sees and he knows, and we really don’t appreciate it in that moment! We may be doing something we wished he didn’t see.

The words are piercing as well as comforting. He knows me. He knows my situation. Who is like our God? He is the One who sees, who knows, and who responds. There is no one like our God.


God saw Israel and he knew.

The verse says this: “God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (Ex. 2:25, ESV).

The Israelites had spent hundreds of years in captivity and the slavery was wearing them down. Their groaning reached the ears of God. He heard them.

That verse in the ESV struck me: He saw and he knew. (It is smoothed out in the TNIV by saying, “he was concerned about them.”)

God saw. God knew.

He is the One who hears the cries of his people. Our cries do not fall on deaf ears. God may not respond in our good time, but we can know he does indeed see where we are and he knows.

God’s response to Israel was powerful. It may have seemed far too long for Israel to be in slavery, but when God responded it was HUGE. God sees. God knows.

Sometimes that may not be so comforting. He sees and he knows, and we really don’t appreciate it in that moment! We may be doing something we wished he didn’t see.

The words are piercing as well as comforting. He knows me. He knows my situation. Who is like our God? He is the One who sees, who knows, and who responds. There is no one like our God.

The blessings of God surprise me from time to time. I am grateful, but somehow surprised. He always comes through. It’s my lack of faith that keeps on shocking me.

I have wanted to take a trip to Brooklyn Tabernacle to be a part of their Tuesday night prayer meeting. A group from our district is partnering with a church in the Twin Cities to make the trip later this month.

The cost is not that great because we are chartering a plane and will make the trip in one day. I still needed the money.

The seminary I am currently attending had a grant available for such trips, so I applied. Today I received word they granted my request so they will fund my trip for me! God is SO GOOD.

I am very grateful to the Lord for providing this gift. Luther Seminary, where I attend currently, has the funds through Thrivent Leadership Grant. I am grateful for their consideration.

Thoughts on HCSB

Somewhere in this mix of possible Bible translations comes the Holman Christian Study Bible. As far as I can tell, it’s more readable than ESV, but in many ways more accurate than the TNIV. One interesting point is it if the first brand new translation in decades. The ESV is building off of the Revised Standard Version. The TNIV, of course, is building off the NIV.

One reviewer who likes readability gives the HCSB very high marks.

Another reviewer who likes literal translations is not so kind.

All three are so very similar, I am leaning toward readability. TNIV and HCSB are more readable in many ways. The TNIV is moving forward in acceptance, but it hasn’t been easy. It recently dropped out of the top ten in Bible translation sales. The headaches of being accused of being liberal because it is gender inclusive are really bogging things down. The HCSB is only published by Holman, and while it’s not a Southern Baptist translation, Holman is a Southern Baptist publisher. Take it for what it’s worth. Being tied to one publisher makes it tough to know if it will gain enough popularity to stay marketable and usable.

Yet more grist for the mill of translations. Derek Vreeland has a blog detailing why he is now using the ESV for preaching, and links to Mark Driscoll of the prominent Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Driscoll has a VERY detailed message on why the ESV has become their main text.

I am still scrolling through examining churches who have adopted the TNIV as well. The website for the TNIV has many testimonials from pastors who detail their decision to use the TNIV.

In comparing some passages, I thought I had stumbled on something that would swing me to the TNIV for sure. I was reading Psalm 91 in the ESV to a shut-in I was visiting. While the words rolled off just like the KJV I was going through words like “fowler” and “pestilence” and “pinions.” While that is beautiful prose, I thought, “I have to look these definitions up!”

So, I thought I would open up the TNIV and it would at least give more up-to-date words. The comparison was interesting.

“Pinions” in ESV is “feathers” in TNIV, but pestilence and fowler are still there. In one respect, that makes the TNIV even MORE attractive to me. They really aren’t as “dynamic equivalent” as I thought. On the other hand…WHAT IS A FOWLER?? (I looked it up. It’s a bird hunter.)

What I am convinced of is these really are two very good translations. The TNIV is solidly conservative and evangelical. It is in many ways FAR better than the NIV. I was never a fan of the NIV, even though I tried to be because as a pastor it was what most people were reading. The ESV is also evangelical and conservative. Both have a high view of the Word of God.

Now if I could only figure out “pestilence”…


I am working to sort out two great translations in English. I have long been a fan of more formal, or literal, translations. In Bible college I began using the NASB as my Bible. No one else was using it, which was a problem. My only solace was reading it in a sermon allowed people reading their KJV Bibles to follow along better than if I was reading the NIV.

From Bible college I had just enough Greek to make me dangerous. I was not a fan of the NIV for several reasons.

Now, as our church and ministry embarks on an effort to commend one translation to our church body, I find myself debating the differences between the TNIV and the ESV. One reason for the TNIV is pragmatics. That is a horrible reason for choosing a translation. However, there are other reasons for looking at the TNIV.

For a long time the TNIV was not attractive to me because of the gender-issue controversy. I thought for the longest time all the TNIV did was update the text to bring it gender neutral. If that was the case, I was not interested because that meant the other issues in the NIV were not resolved and I wasn’t going to like it anyway.

The ESV came on the scene and gained some popularity in a way the NASB had not been able to capture. It helps when a ministry the size of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis adopts the ESV and endorses it wholeheartedly. The ESV is more formal so I was examining that translation.

The TNIV popped back up on my radar because I heard a lecture from Gordon Fee, one of the translators. A student of the great Bruce Metzger, Fee detailed some key updates in the TNIV that had NOTHING to do with gender inclusiveness. I then picked up a copy of the TNIV and read through some key areas and found they had indeed worked harder to make some translation issues more clear.

As I am sorting through these issues (basically on my own) I want to have some information on hand that is helpful to me. John Piper is very clear as to why they chose the ESV at Bethlehem Baptist. I have been looking for some help in that area with the TNIV.

Currently, I am comparing two views. John Piper, of course, articulates the ESV usage very well.
On the side of the TNIV, Craig Blomberg, professor at Denver Seminary, points out the significant improvements in the TNIV over the NIV. He cuts through the smoke screen of the gender-inclusive issue and helps me see just how the TNIV really did improve.

Add to the side of thoughtful comments on ESV an article by Alan Jacobs.

Thoughtful comments on the ESV that are NOT so kind come from Allan Chapple.


I am working to sort out two great translations in English. I have long been a fan of more formal, or literal, translations. In Bible college I began using the NASB as my Bible. No one else was using it, which was a problem. My only solace was reading it in a sermon allowed people reading their KJV Bibles to follow along better than if I was reading the NIV.

From Bible college I had just enough Greek to make me dangerous. I was not a fan of the NIV for several reasons.

Now, as our church and ministry embarks on an effort to commend one translation to our church body, I find myself debating the differences between the TNIV and the ESV. One reason for the TNIV is pragmatics. That is a horrible reason for choosing a translation. However, there are other reasons for looking at the TNIV.

For a long time the TNIV was not attractive to me because of the gender-issue controversy. I thought for the longest time all the TNIV did was update the text to bring it gender neutral. If that was the case, I was not interested because that meant the other issues in the NIV were not resolved and I wasn’t going to like it anyway.

The ESV came on the scene and gained some popularity in a way the NASB had not been able to capture. It helps when a ministry the size of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis adopts the ESV and endorses it wholeheartedly. The ESV is more formal so I was examining that translation.

The TNIV popped back up on my radar because I heard a lecture from Gordon Fee, one of the translators. A student of the great Bruce Metzger, Fee detailed some key updates in the TNIV that had NOTHING to do with gender inclusiveness. I then picked up a copy of the TNIV and read through some key areas and found they had indeed worked harder to make some translation issues more clear.

As I am sorting through these issues (basically on my own) I want to have some information on hand that is helpful to me. John Piper is very clear as to why they chose the ESV at Bethlehem Baptist. I have been looking for some help in that area with the TNIV.

Currently, I am comparing two views. John Piper, of course, articulates the ESV usage very well.
On the side of the TNIV, Craig Blomberg, professor at Denver Seminary, points out the significant improvements in the TNIV over the NIV. He cuts through the smoke screen of the gender-inclusive issue and helps me see just how the TNIV really did improve.

Add to the side of thoughtful comments on ESV an article by Alan Jacobs.

Thoughtful comments on the ESV that are NOT so kind come from Allan Chapple.


Jacob is a story out of the Old Testament that can resonate with me. He is a man who is always striving, trying to get ahead on his own, trying to grab a piece of the pie he thinks he has been denied.

He is an opportunist. When Esau was hungry and Jacob knew the man worried more about eating than anything else, he traded Esau the birthright for a bowl of soup.

When Isaac was ready to die and give the blessing, he stole the opportunity from Esau and grabbed the blessing for himself.

He was always making a deal. Even when God shows up in the dream at Bethel (Gen. 28:10-22), Jacob is ready to make a deal. He has not yet learned to rest on God alone.

Jacob is me.

I beat myself up constantly over missed opportunities. I fret over lack of effectiveness in ministry. There is striving in my life trying to “make my church grow.” My mind whirls as I attempt to “figure things out.”

The story of Jacob’s ladder is important. God shows up with the unconditional promises of Abraham. This is a “unilateral” covenant, meaning Jacob has to do nothing on his end of the bargain. This is all about the mercy of God. It’s a powerful covenant.

And Jacob makes a deal! “If God will get me out of this mess and bring me back here, THEN I will serve him.”

The story is important because it demonstrates the power of the Kingdom of God. It is discovered again in the Sermon on the Mount, in the section on the Beatitudes. What Jesus is saying in those verses is that no one is beyond Kingdom blessing. The Kingdom can touch you right where you are.

That is good news. I can mess up so many things, but God’s mercy can still touch me. I may not have all the answers, and I may have messed up the answers I did have, yet God’s mercy can still come down and touch me. God was not waiting for Jacob to make the first move. God moved in his mercy to touch Jacob.

God can move in his mercy to touch me. He can pour his mercy out in my worst situation. Healing can flow. Deliverance is possible. It is allowing his Kingdom to come and touch. Jacob wouldn’t realize that for years to come. He would spend many more years in striving and conniving.

We need not go that route. We often do. I feel like I still do. It just doesn’t need to go that way!


Jacob is a story out of the Old Testament that can resonate with me. He is a man who is always striving, trying to get ahead on his own, trying to grab a piece of the pie he thinks he has been denied.

He is an opportunist. When Esau was hungry and Jacob knew the man worried more about eating than anything else, he traded Esau the birthright for a bowl of soup.

When Isaac was ready to die and give the blessing, he stole the opportunity from Esau and grabbed the blessing for himself.

He was always making a deal. Even when God shows up in the dream at Bethel (Gen. 28:10-22), Jacob is ready to make a deal. He has not yet learned to rest on God alone.

Jacob is me.

I beat myself up constantly over missed opportunities. I fret over lack of effectiveness in ministry. There is striving in my life trying to “make my church grow.” My mind whirls as I attempt to “figure things out.”

The story of Jacob’s ladder is important. God shows up with the unconditional promises of Abraham. This is a “unilateral” covenant, meaning Jacob has to do nothing on his end of the bargain. This is all about the mercy of God. It’s a powerful covenant.

And Jacob makes a deal! “If God will get me out of this mess and bring me back here, THEN I will serve him.”

The story is important because it demonstrates the power of the Kingdom of God. It is discovered again in the Sermon on the Mount, in the section on the Beatitudes. What Jesus is saying in those verses is that no one is beyond Kingdom blessing. The Kingdom can touch you right where you are.

That is good news. I can mess up so many things, but God’s mercy can still touch me. I may not have all the answers, and I may have messed up the answers I did have, yet God’s mercy can still come down and touch me. God was not waiting for Jacob to make the first move. God moved in his mercy to touch Jacob.

God can move in his mercy to touch me. He can pour his mercy out in my worst situation. Healing can flow. Deliverance is possible. It is allowing his Kingdom to come and touch. Jacob wouldn’t realize that for years to come. He would spend many more years in striving and conniving.

We need not go that route. We often do. I feel like I still do. It just doesn’t need to go that way!