Sometimes it just makes me sick…

Call it getting up on the wrong side of the bed – or maybe I am just a little bit grouchy this morning – but there are times when the Christian Marketing machine just makes me sick! I’m reading through my copy of Outreach magazine (great magazine by the way) and I came across one of the many ads found in there for various Christian ministries etc. This ad has this tagline:

Ever wonder if your sermons are connecting? Try the translation that speaks to the heart.

and goes on to say:

As a pastor, you want your messages to connect on the deepest possible level. Thankfully, the New Living Translation delivers living language that hits the target every time. Scripture comes to life. People pay attention. The message gets through. It’s the translation you can count on to connect, and that you can depend on for precise scholarship. Speak God’s Word to your congregation in language that they understand – and watch them wrap their hearts around God’s message.

And finally at the bottom of the ad they advertise that Pastor’s can get a free 4-week sermon series at – when I clicked to check it out I couldn’t find it.

I guess what bothered me most about this ad is not the fact that it’s advertising a Bible Translation – actually I use the NLT on occasion myself because it is written very clearly and sometimes does aid in getting a point across. What bothered me the most was that it appeared to me the ad was appealing to a pastor looking for a quick fix and communicating the idea that using this particular Bible Translation will solve all your problems with sharing God’s message with the congregation. The subtle message, “Use this translation and it will work wonders!” is communicated in the ad and frankly it turned my stomach.

Since when did the power and authority and life-changing work of preaching God’s word depend on what translation of the Bible you used? It is not the choice of phrasing, or transliterations that impacts life-change in people but instead the Spirit who breathes life into peoples hearts as they hear God’s word. Hey, what about what Paul wrote to Timothy…

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. — 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

I wonder what Paul would have said if he saw this ad?

  1. Dear Brethren in Christ,
    Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! I studied your web site, and I am deeply inspired with all of the teachings. This is such a wonderful studies you have arranged for all the nations, in the long run of your service for the nations of the all the world. I am from Islamic Republic of Pakistan where it is difficult to have Radio and TV channel for preaching purposes. As the religious extremists and fanatics are very active they would not allow us to do that here; the Satan has real strong hold over everything. We humbly request you to expand your outreach your program in Urdu and Punjabi and other Pakistani languages so that Urdu and Punjabi and other Pakistan languages speaking may listen your message particularly in Pakistan and generally in the world. Urdu and Punjabi are the languages spoken and understood by more than one sixth of the total population of the world. Urdu is spoken in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Afghanistan and also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran and others. I would ask you to pray and share it among the brethrens there. I would offer my services for being translator, recorder and distribution/sales. I pray that God may bless you to take a good decision. May His perfect will be done! Grace and Peace be with you, all brethrens.
    Yours brother in Christ
    Nadeem James , Pakistan

  2. @nadeem
    Feel free to translate any of the sermons I’ve preached found at into the languages of your people. If you post them online however all I ask is that you link them to the corresponding page at Also, whatever you use must in turn be made freely available.

Leave a Reply

Up Next: