Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


President John Atta Mills takes oath of office.

The moment I saw this picture on the BBC website yesterday, I wanted to post it on this blog, mainly because the version of the Bible that new President of Ghana,Professor Atta Mills, is holding in his hand is clearly visible as the English Standard Version (ESV). I have heard a lot about this version, or rather read a lot about it on the Christian blogs and I get the impression that it is the favored version for the Reformed Christian community- Reformed Christians as in the tradition of the Reformation, Luther, Calvin; I might add that they are very vocal in the portion of the Christian blogosphere where I often lurk.

I read the New International Version (NIV) and also the Good News Bible (Today’s English Version) - I particular like the latter because of the skilful cartoon illustrations on almost every page. These two versions and the Revised Standard Version (RSV) were very common in Ghana when we were growing up in our Scripture Union days. I also remember a time, during the Charismatic wave of the 1980s, when the King James Version (KJV) was touted as the real and only deal for the Ghanaian Christian. I think that had more to do with the verily, ye, thee and thou words found in the KJV being considered to have some kind of inherent spirituality compared to words like truly and you found in newer translation.

I was never a KJV guy because, verily, I found it difficult to understand. I often wonder about why some would insist on “KJV only” when you consider the fact that many Christians all over the world have the luxury of only one translation of the Bible in their local language, which is most likely not a translation of the KJV.

Back to the ESV, I have not actually seen or for that matter read one before but I think Gaius Dissentus probably has one. I think the only Bible version that he does not have is the New World Translation of the JWs, for good reason too. But it looks like the ESV may now be in fairly common use in Ghana, seeing that the President took his oath on it. Do any of you guys have any experience with it?

The ESV website proudly published the picture of Ghana's new President taking the oath on their Bible today- I followed the link to this from another blog that I read often- and seeing it there made me smile too with some pride; pride for the Ghanaian democracy and the peaceful transition of power to the previous opposition party in such a close election. By the way President Mills apparently fluffed some of his lines as he took the oath and some are speculating that he did it intentionally because he knows what the Bible says about oaths; i.e., just let your yea be yea etc (KJV) and he may be scared of the consequences if he fails to keep his promises. ;) - Robbo


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a happy day for him when he gave us our new lives, through the truth of his Word, and we became, as it were, the first children in his new family. JAMES 1:18 LB

January 8, 2009 at 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Gaius Dissentus said...

I do have the ESV. It is a nice translation but probably not too different from the ones you mention.

I, like you, felt good about the good press Ghana is receiving. See this article
in the current issue of Economist magazine. Goes to the deeper point, which we have all made, that in the end it is far better that Ghanaians go through a number of peaceful transitions between parties than that one party--even if preferred by 50% of the electorate--should hold monopoly. That, for me, is the real blessing in the current outcome.

I heard reported in the news, an interesting observation by a Harvard professor (I think of Political science) who commented prior to our election that this kind of transition from one party to another and back again (full circle)--he considered this to be the mark of a mature democracy--had not happened in Africa. If so, this result in Ghana not only raises our stature but may torch the way for other African nations to follow. Better still the good press we have received (the Economist article had some very good things to say) vs. the bad press received by other nations like the Congo and Zimbabwe may shame these bad players into getting their act together. We can only hope!

January 8, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous alien warrior said...

The ESV translation of the Bible is good and easy to read, but for some reason I am stuck with my KJV and RSV (sometimes the NRSV). I also like the New American Standard Bible (NASB). I think that given the difficulties of translation there will never be a perfect translation and so a serious Bible study will always involve more than one translation and a concordance. You can now get an NIV version of the Strong’s concordance which makes it easier to study from the NIV. The NASB also has a Bible that has links to Strong’s.

Incidentally what happened to the Amplified Version- it does not seem as popular as it was in the past? Alternately, you can learn Hebrew and classical Greek, then you will have no need for any man to explain the original text to you :) AL

January 8, 2009 at 6:22 PM  

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