Most people who have attended church where I have preached will wonder why I am recommending the ESV over the NIV translation. During my Bible Bowl years I used the commonly accepted King James Version (written on a 12th grade reading level).  By the time I started preaching in 1979 many people had become enamored by the easy read of the NIV (written on a 7- 8th grade reading level).   Although my years of study have revealed to me some obvious areas where the NIV translation bent some text’s interpretation in effort to be “denominational” friendly I continued to use the NIV trying to point out and explain it’s weaknesses.

As a rule, studying the NIV with the NASB (written on an 11th grade reading level) and keeping in hand original language resources usually reveal translation inadequacies while providing  contemporary understanding of the message.   But this year the NIV 2011 version has in my estimation added on one more straw that has broken the proverbial camel’s back for me.   When you change an original text message in order to make the translation appealing to a “politically correct” population I have to stop and say enough for me.  I am seriously considering using the ESV or the NET in the Pulpit where I preach starting in June of 2011.  The ESV has extensive binding options.  The NET has an amazing online Bible program.  It rivals my $650 PC Study Bible. Which ever version I use must have an inexpensive paperback edition to be used as “Pew Bibles.” Feedback is welcomed.

1. The English Standard Version, published in 2001 is unlike many modern paraphrases, which pursue the Dynamic Equivalence (DE) approach, the ESV “seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and personal style of each Bible writer.” Its goal, therefore, was to produce, a “word-for-word” edition.

Although the debate was  a difficult  one to sort out the ESV has won out.  Mostly because it has Bibles we can quickly get into the hands of our members and visitors.  The NET and Holman Bibles were close runner ups.  I will continue to refer to The Message as a paraphrase and research the incredible resources of the NET on the internet.   But as a rule I will read from the ESV on Sunday mornings.   We are working on getting some custom bound Bibles that will spotlight Timber Lake Christian Church.   Other than 4/10, I will continue to use the NIV until June of 2011.  By then we will make economical ESV’s available to the church family.  Keep watching for details!

2. The New English Translation,  The NET Bible is a completely new translation with tens of thousands of notes! Completed by more than 25 scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts this translation is the most accessible ever due to the unparalleled detailing in the notes and up-to-date language.

To read this translation along with all the notes go to where it was the first translation to be made available free online. You can read more about theNET Bible translation process, see sample pages and view the state of the art maps on Or check out the short video about the development of the NET Bible.


ministry students:

  1. “What Should I Preach?” –  a seminar from 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus on subjects that should be taken to the pulpit.
  2. “Stewardship & the Growing Church” – a seminar of biblical principles of stewardship.
  3. “Politics & the Pulpit” – what does the Bible say about preaching subjects that some may say are too political to be in the pulpit?
  4. “When is it Time to Change Churches?”  A one day seminar on how to recognize it’s time for  a change in ministry and how to do it with integrity.
  5. Helping Outsiders Become Insiders
  6. Leading a Ministry at TLCC (4)
  7. Planning ministry in waves: the cycle of waves: high energy low visibility, exponential growth,  visible surge and recess & restructure.
  8. Christian Leaders Building or Eroding Confidence
  9. Identifying a Person with Authority Issues
  10. Eldership Who Determines Essentials?
  11. SAMPLE POLICIES -Policies that support ministry
  12. Senior Minister Job Description
  13. SAMPLE Professional Disclosure Statement
  14. SAMPLE SERMON Evaluation
  15. Doug’s Policy on officiating Weddings
  16. Preachers Stay Put
  17. Helping Your Leaders Make Good Decisions by John Piper

Practical Ministry