George Lucas and the NIV

star wars episode 4 advance posterIn 1997 George Lucas redid the classic Star Wars trilogy. He said that he wanted to do what he originally wanted to do with the series. He updated the special effects and added in other things. One particular scene which had been cut in the original 1977 edition was added back in with the re-release of A New Hope. And Han Solo no longer shot Greedo first. (Han still shot first in my book).

There was some outrage by fans about the 1997 re-release. There were fanboys (and fan girls) who cried foul. How dare they mess with what they loved. How dare Lucas tweak and fiddle with what they loved so much. How dare he make things updated and changed. And then a little while back, he released the whole series (episodes 1-6) on Blu-ray. And he made the Ewoks blink and Darth Vader say “Noooooooooo!” all over again. It made even more fanboys and fangirls upset and frustrated. Why couldn’t Lucas just leave things alone. Why did he have to constantly update things?

I personally don’t fully like the ’97 re-release and I haven’t seen the Blu-rays because the Ewoks blink. I call the ’97 Star Wars movies abominations. I don’t like them. My wife loved them. She didn’t grow up with Star Wars like I did. She didn’t have the action figures and play sets like my brother and I did. She didn’t see them all in the theaters. She didn’t see Return of the Jedi opening weekend when she was 6. I know the lines. I know the words. I know it. And Lucas changed it.

In 2011, Biblica Inc, the ones behind the NIV, released a new translation of the NIV. It’s different than the 1984 edition. Psalm 23 is different. Genesis 4:1 is different. John 3:16 is different. Mark 1:1 is different. They aren’t salvific issues. They aren’t issues that will change theological ideas. They are translation changes that attempt to give us a deeper, better understanding of the Biblical text.

I’m on the fence about it. When they came out with the TNIV some years back, many people cried foul. Many people were upset with Biblica, Inc (then the International Bible Society) in changing beloved scripture passages, in making things more gender neutral, in updating some wordings, etc. There were many who said that there was a secret agenda behind it. It didn’t fare well in the market place and was eventually pulled.

With the 2011 NIV, things are a bit different than the 1984 edition. Psalm 23 is worded differently. It no longer has “Though that I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death” but has “Though that I walk through the darkest valley.” That’s a big difference. And it’s just one of them.

Much like the ’97 Star Wars changes, people were upset with the changes in their beloved text. Things they knew, things they memorized, things that brought them comfort were changed.

Now, I’m not comparing Star Wars to the Bible. Not in the least. Changes are hard. I still don’t like the changes made to Star Wars. But I’m open to understanding the reasons behind the changes in the NIV.

The thing about the Bible is that it needs to constantly be updated in its translations. It is a timeless text. It is a timeless book. It cannot be frozen in time but must be ever changing and updating while at the same time being unchanging. It’s a weird paradox.

Scripture is God-Breathed (says so in both the ’84 and ’11 versions). It is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is written to be lived. It is living while at the same time unchanging. It remains in time yet is timeless. To limit it is to limit the Holy Spirit at work. To limit it to one translation is to limit God to work through things. New translations give deeper understanding to the text. It helps us see things from different perspectives. It helps us understand it from new ways.

Unlike Star Wars, the translation of the Bible needs to constantly happen. It needs to be ever flowing and ever updated. Star Wars isn’t like that. It’s a piece of art (yeah, I said it) and should stay as it was. But that’s just my opinion. It is owned (or at least was) by Lucas. Disney now holds the rights to it. They are making episodes 7-9. Hopefully they’ll stop fiddling with it and look to the future in expanding the universe.

So, I’ll read the 2011, I’ll actually probably preach from it too. I’ve already started doing my devotions from it, reading through Romans. So, I’ll see how good it is. At least there aren’t any blinking Ewoks in it.

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One Response to George Lucas and the NIV

  1. Pingback: My Old Green Bible and My New Brown One | Spiritual Musclehead

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