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Reading Psalm 100 Out Loud

One of my Bible study methods, though most important for devotional reading, is to read a passage aloud.  Since the lectionary Psalm for this week is Psalm 100, which is very short, I thought I’d read it aloud in a number of versions and then write my subjective impressions.

I chose to read it from the REB, NJB, CEV, NRSV, The JPS Tanakh, and the NLT.  There was very little method to all this; those versions were just nearest my computer at the time.  I could have read from more by either walking farther or by using my Logos library, but I didn’t.

Prior to reading these aloud in English I had read the Psalm a few times in Hebrew and had done a draft literal translation myself.

The purpose of the exercise, beyond “whatever” was to get a feel for how each version would function in public reading.  I’m frequently asked what the “best” translation is, and one obvious question is always “best for what?”

First, whether more functional or more formally equivalent, the translations were more similar than I would have expected when read side by side.  The NJB was fairly choppy.  I like its use of “Yahweh” in the Psalm, though I don’t use that as a rule in reading publicly.  The REB was similarly a bit choppy and appeared to use vocabulary that didn’t fit well.  (Note that I normally prefer the REB, though today was an exception.

I disliked the use of “love” to translate Hebrew “hesed”, as was done by the CEV and the REB.  I understand the reason in the CEV, but the REB uses “acclaim” in verse 1, “acknowledge” in verse 3, I think they might have employed a few more letters on “hesed.”

The very positive thing about the CEV is that it is very easy to understand when heard, with no difficult vocabulary.  At the same time, it loses all sense of Hebrew rhythm and parallelism.  This is one of those necessary trade-offs in translation.  You’re going to lose something, and if your goal is to translate for a fairly basic set of English vocabulary.

The JPS Tanakh is an excellent translation, though it didn’t seem to read as well as the NLT read aloud.  The NRSV sounded remarkably good to me, which again is not usual.  I usually like the NRSV for the formal equivalence, but dislike its sound.  Unfortunately, it is the Bible used for most scripture readings at my church.

Overall I would give the edge to the NLT as a compromise between easy to understand, decently flowing English text, maintaining some sense of the parallelism, and not translating any of the Hebrew words in too jarring a manner.

All this is, as I have said, very subjective.  One impression is very strong–all of the translations seemed less smooth and readable when read aloud than when read silently.  I know the CEV is designed to be read orally, but I think there it is very hard for me to come from reading the Hebrew text with the parallelism and some sense of similar length poetic lines, and then go to a translation that deliberately eliminates both elements.

I suspect that a major reason why the NRSV sounds good to me in this case is that this is one of those Psalms I memorized in the KJV as a child, and the NRSV is the closest to the KJV amongst those I read.

One thing I believe I should think about is the quality of reading involved.  There are some readers who can make a scripture reading really resonate.  I wonder how much my own inclinations about reading impacted the way I felt about what I read aloud?

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  1. Excellent blog. Holy Bible is among the world’s most holy scriptures. More than half of humanity is guided by the light of this book. This scriptures speak of the eternal wisdom and infinite love of God.Lord Jesus Christ said “let He who is chiefest among you be servant to all.” Management and leadership founded upon this principle will always find a cadre of people willing to complete the task at hand.

    This is why the Bible and all world scriptures teach ‘Hear now, love God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength.’ The great masters teach, when the mind is wedded to God our Lord–like St. Theresa, St. Catherine and St. John to Jesus Christ, the soul sees God face to face and receives the embrace, the kiss of the Lord, and merges in the holy feet of the Lord and do our duty.
    This divine book will contribute to self reflection, finer feeling and deepen one’s inner process. Then life in the world can become a real education—dynamic, full and joyful—no matter what the circumstance. May the wisdom of loving consciousness ever guide us on our journey. What makes the HolyBible a practical psychology of transformation is that it offers us the tools to connect with our deepest intangible essence and we must learn to participate in the battle of life with right knowledge.
    The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.”

    There is no theory to be internalized and applied in this psychology. Ancient practices spontaneously induce what each person needs as the individual and the universal coincide. The work proceeds through intellectual knowledge of the playing field(jnana yoga), emotional devotion to the ideal(bhakti yoga) and right action that includes both feeling and knowledge(karma yoga). With ongoing purification we approach wisdom.
    Holy Bible gives a message addressed to each and every human individual to help him or her to solve the vexing problem of overcoming the present and progressing towards a bright future. Within its all chapters is revealed a human drama. This is the experience of everyone in this world, the drama of the ascent of man from a state of utter dejection, sorrow and total breakdown and hopelessness to a state of perfect understanding, clarity, renewed strength and triumph.

    Human beings face the problem of onflict between emotions and intellect . In almost all of the cases, emotions win. Only a very
    few people have a conflict-free emotion and intellect. Emotions, are required, for, without them, one is a mere robot. They make life pleasant as long as they are sensible and within limits. It has got all the management tactics to achieve the mental equilibrium and to overcome any crisis situation. The Bible can be experienced as a powerful catalyst for transformation. Bible means song of the Spirit, song of the Lord. The Holy Bible has become a secret driving force behind the unfoldment of one’s life. In the days of doubt this divine book will support all spiritual searches. This divine book will contribute to self reflection, finer feeling and deepen one’s inner process. Then life in the world can become a real education—dynamic, full and joyful—no matter what the circumstance. May the wisdom of loving consciousness ever guide us on our journey? What makes the Holy Bible a practical psychology of transformation is that it offers us the tools to
    connect with our deepest intangible essence and we must learn to participate in the battle of life with right knowledge?. It shows us the path to handle the situation with equipoise mind irrespective of what comes our way and reminds us time and again, that what the right action is. Many of my readers might feel that what on earth does the Bible have to do with management? Everything! The Bible is probably the most widely-read book in the world. It is revered for its religious precepts and guidance, its wisdom, and its literary beauty.From time immemorial religion has and would influence each of our lives, our thoughts and our beliefs. We read and appreciate the theories of Koontz, Drucker and many western management scholars but the fact that religion has influenced their lives cannot be overlooked.

    The Bible is the greatest collection of leadership case studies and is full of insightful lessons for today’s managers and leaders. I have tried to explain a few, with relevant examples from the holy text.
    Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence you cannot succeed. But with sound self confidence you definitely can. Emerson said “They conquer who believe they can”.For Example consider Sam Walton who after closing down of his first store, shifted his base and bean all over again. He started all over again but because he ‘believed in himself’ and kept on trying till he succeeded. The most powerful force in human nature is the spiritual power technique in the Bible. Very astutely the Bible emphasizes the method by which a man can make something of himself.

    Remember: God is actually with you & helping you

    Repeat: “God is with me; God is helping me; God is guiding me”

    “If God be for us, who can be against us?”- Mathew 17:20

    Believe, believe so it drives home the truth that faith moves mountains.
    “To be a successful person . . . you have to have integrity. Your word has to be everything you’ve got. You must have a moral compass. That’s especially true if you’re a leader because you’re exposed more. People will get a sense of you, and if you are not true . . . they’ll get a sense that you are sleazy . . . We buy a company, there’s a contract that’s just terrible, but you inherit all the contracts. You can argue the guy had no authority to sign it, but you . . . honor the contract.’’

    Warren Buffett , who has risen to the top in the rough and tumble world of investing, notes that lack of honesty can create adversity. You might think that his hiring criteria would be aggressiveness and hardheaded numbers-crunching. But listen to his real hiring criteria: ‘‘integrity, intelligence, and energy. Hire someone without the first, and the other two will kill you.’’

    The Bible is very specific about doing business honestly: ‘‘Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. You must have accurate weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land.’’ (Deut. 25:13–15)
    Protect yourself also. Jacob though he had an ironclad contract with Laban — he ended up with the wrong wife. David’s success made his boss Saul feel threatened. He ended up out of work (and almost dead). Most bosses are not like that, but you never know which ones are. Make sure to protect yourself and speak up, respectfully, when you feel that a boss is being hurtful.

    Balance makes for better workers. The Torah tells us that employers and employees alike should take off one day a week, Shabbat. The purpose of this day is to lose touch with the work world, and those work pressures and worries in order to find balance in your life by getting in touch with your kids, family, and friends.

    Probably the most powerful management lessons I learned in Hebrew School were about decisiveness and teamwork. Three thousand years ago, Moses and twelve tribes of freed slaves stood on the shore of the Red Sea bracing for an attack by the army of their former masters. As they began to pray, God said to Moses, enough praying … do something. Moses took action, leading the twelve tribes across the sea as one nation, proving that a decisive leader and a unified team can work miracles.

    It has been more than 30 years since I went to Hebrew school, and even longer since the time of Abraham and Moses, but it still stands that God is one great manager of people and that the Torah would make a heck of an HR manual.

    In this modern worls Tension and Stress comes from the way we interact with events in our outer social, physical and spiritual world. For example, we get caught up in traffic, miss an appointment, become frustrated, and then lash out with anger. If you are an impatient, short fused, hostile Type A personality, then matters become even worse.

    Your response sends your blood pressure soaring, dumps stress chemicals into your body, and cramps your muscles. However, maybe traffic doesn’t bother you, but something else drives you up a wall. That is why environmental events are situation specific.

    One event might make me more edgy than it would you, because you have better skills and experience to handle the situation. Perhaps you have a more positive, optimistic personality and are not uptight over little things. Here are some examples of possible pressure provoking events in the environment.

    •Inadequate communication skills or systems.

    •Inadequate skills in relationships that cause conflict.

    •Poor time management skills that keep you behind your deadlines.

    •Problems in the workplace such as problems with fellow workers.

    •Insufficient parenting skills that keep the family in an uproar.

    •Inability to make or handle money correctly, which brings the constant hassle of bill collectors.

    •Etc. This is the catch all category that identifies the area that causes you the most hassle in your life. Again, the environmental events are situation specific to each individual.

    The idea is that if you learn better stress management techniques for these situations, your tension will go down. Many lessons in this website address those specific areas.

  2. I’ve been looking for the best read-aloud version for Psalm 8 which a friend wants me to read in a wedding. I like the KJV tho it’s very old-fashioned with the thees and thous but I think it should be read by a low, sonorous voice not a high, light voice like mine. 🙁

    Still looking for the best version for oral reading.

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