Thursday, August 06, 2009

Christian book store sales people selling what they don't know

I dropped into a local Christian book store today just to browse around.

As I came to the Bibles section I overheard one of the store's sales people, a young guy, trying to tell a boy of about 16 and his mother about the different Bible translations.

I stood there for a few minutes listening in on his advice as to why they should buy one translation over another. For a moment or two I was quite stunned at what I heard.

The young boy asked the salesman about the ESV, just to be told that in the ESV and other more modern translations some words have been left out. At this point I jumped into the discussion just to help this poor boy and his mother out of the big hole they have been dumped into by this salesman.

I firmly believe that the salesman had no clue what he was talking about, read a couple of internet sites that claimed that modern translations leave words out and believed it! He referred to the KJV and the NKJV as the better translations based on his internet research.

The problem with the Bibles section in any Christian bookstore is that you cannot have a salesman like this with just a little bit of knowledge. He knows just enough to cause serious damage.

Each Christian bookstore should have a resident, trained person who understands the different translations, and not just the translations, but should have a strong understanding of the theory of Bible translation and of manuscript transmission.

If you do not know the product you are selling, you end up causing more problems than solving any. The same goes for the Bibles section in a Christian bookstore.

A couple of books I can recommend are:

The King James Only Contoversy, James R. White – Purchase: Amazon, Kalahari.
The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition), Bruce M. Metzger – Purchase: Amazon, Kalahari.
The Word of God in English, Leland Ryken – Purchase: Amazon, Kalahari.
How to Choose a Bible Version (Revised), Robert L. Thomas – Purchase: Amazon, Kalahari.


Sam and Shelley said...

Unfortunately, that level of ignorance is rampant here in the States as well. Though, the KJV-O and NKJV-O guys are primarily limited to more ultra-fundamentalist areas. I don't have any problem with people/churches that have a KJV-preference but when they go beyond that and use faulty (debunked) arguments to support a KJV-only stance, I have serious issues.

Great resources you've recommended for folks to get to know more about the issues of textual transmission and translation!

I wonder where the closest Christian bookstore to Mafikeng will be? I know there were two small secular bookstores/stationery stores there when we did our survey trip back in February that both had Bibles and "inspirational" literature sections.


Fun loving truth seeker said...

I have found the niv to be a great reading bible.
For in-depth research I use the concordant and the Interlinear
I also use the web for in-depth opinion that's how I found you,2006
With the creation of the web I couldn't believe the stuff I have had preached to me and I believed it.
I still hear it.It is so nice to find rational truth seekers among religious folks.
I hope Gods blessings to you
Bill A

William Dicks said...


Unfortunately I do not know about Christian bookstores in Mafikeng.

However, you can buy online via (non-Christian), (Christian, but also sells a lot of junk theology) and the best would be

The last one is attached to a local Reformed Baptist Church. Their prices are good and they have really excellent books with good theology.

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