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Some time ago, I read a forum thread on Puritan Board which mentioned that John MacArthur learned the Bible by heart by reading each chapter 30 times.

I have finally found the sermon where MacArthur describes this method in more detail (emphases mine):

as a young guy in my early days in seminary, even a little bit before that, I was looking for a way to understand the New Testament better and I found a way to do that by repetitiously reading it. I read an old book, How To Master The English Bible by James M. Gray(?), an early president of Moody Bible Institute who suggested that if you wanted to retain the Bible, you had to read it repetitiously and not just read it once and keep moving.

And so, I decided that what I’d do is read [a] book of the Bible every day, break it down into sections that were manageable and I would do that for 30 days. Then I figured at the end of 30 days I would pretty well have in mind what was in that portion of Scripture. And I started with 1 John and it was brief, only five chapters, so I decided I’d read it every day for 30 days. At the end of 30 days I felt like I still didn’t quite have it all so I said I’ll go 60 days. At the end of 60 days I said I don’t think I’ve got it yet and I went 90 days. And so every day for 90 days I read 1 John until it became very familiar to me. And as I look back even then in my early twenties of my life, even though I knew what was in the book, the real depth and the real profound elements of this book even then escaped me. There is in this book an almost unending supply of spiritual truth that keeps revealing itself the more diligently one studies so that in a sense there is clear truth on the surface, but much more down below as you go over it and over it. Here we are many, many years after that exercise of mind. By the way, I did eventually did finish the New Testament, it’s about a two and a half, three-year process to do that but you have to stick with the 30 days and not do 90 or it will elongate the whole process.

I hope to acquire the self-discipline in order to try this!

If you have used this method, please leave a comment and let us know how it worked for you.

Apprising Ministries reports that some Bible translations destined for Muslim countries will omit the words ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in order not to offend.

The story referred to is featured on Yahoo! News:

Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Frontiers are under fire for “producing Bibles that remove “Father,” “Son” and “Son of God” because these terms are offensive to Muslims” …

The main issues of this controversy surround new Arabic and Turkish translations. Here are three examples native speakers give:

First, Wycliffe and SIL have produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses an Arabic equivalent of “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”

Second, Frontiers and SIL have produced Meaning of the Gospel of Christ , an Arabic translation which removes “Father” in reference to God and replaces it with “Allah,” and removes or redefines “Son.” For example, the verse which Christians use to justify going all over the world to make disciples, thus fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) reads, “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiahand his Holy Spirit” instead of “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Rev. Bassam Madany, an Arab American who runs Middle East Resources, terms these organization’s efforts as “a western imperialistic attempt that’s inspired by cultural anthropology, and not by biblical theology.”

Third, Frontiers and SIL have produced a new Turkish translation of the Gospel of Matthew that uses Turkish equivalents of “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.” To Turkish church leader Rev. Fikret Böcek, “This translation is ‘an all-American idea‘ with absolutely no respect for the ‘sacredness’ of Scripture, or even of the growing Turkish church.”

The article mentions that Biblical Missiology, a ministry based in Boulder, Colorado, is sponsoring a public petition to protest these changes.  You can find out more and sign the petition here.  They note that

Western proponents condone removing Father or Son because they say Muslims can only see sexual connotations to these terms. Numerous missionaries and national believers, however, strongly assert this is not the case. Further, Christian churches in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Turkey, and Malaysia have asked these agencies to stop producing these translations, but to no avail.

For a thorough explanation of our concerns, including documentation offered in response to Wycliffe’s comments about the petition, please read “Lost In Translation Fact Check.”  For more information, please visit Biblical Missiology, as well as the “Petition Updates” section for articles and resources, including the new book, Chrislam.

The notion of our being adopted sons of God is also very important when evangelising to Muslims. Their relationship with Allah is distant and not a filial one as is the Christian relationship with God.

Let’s pray along with Biblical Missiology that the Bible translators decide not to go ahead with this plan, which would obscure God’s truth.

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