Daniel’s Diet

How could I give this up?
How could I give this up?

First off-apologies for my absence from posting. I usually post during the week, but I have been ill since Monday afternoon. I may still be a carrier, but such things do not transmit via the internet. You should be safe.

In reading the first chapter I was reminded of something I had heard of a while back that some churches were doing (and there is even a book associated with it), that is the “Daniel Diet.” I’ve seen it also called the Daniel Plan, the Daniel Fast, etc. Upon reading this passage folks thought, “why not?” So churches and other groups have tried it.

While I cannot attest to its health benefits I like the idea of seeing something in Scripture–something simple–and trying to do it. We sometimes can see something simple, turn it into something complicated, change it in all sorts of ways as we try to translate it from centuries ago to today’s culture, and in the end it is something altogether different.

We do at times need to do such translations. For example, not many of us are tempted to set up wooden totems devoted to foreign gods within our homes, but we are just as susceptible to idolatry today as God’s people were in the past. On the other hand we sometimes make things over complicated like when Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. Surely we learn from that story that we can’t exclude people. Neighbor can be applied to anyone. Yet neighbor still does mean those people who live right next to you. In all of our attempts to understand “love your neighbor” we sometimes neglect our next door neighbor.

So I like the simple approach to the Daniel diet. I may not agree with all of its tenets*, although there probably is variety among the different types, but they’re trying it. They see something do-able and do it.

This may not be the thing for you, but what else does Daniel do that we could imitate? Prayer three times a day? I think that is simple, do-able, beneficial. How about a Daniel Diet of Prayer? Three square meals of time talking with God? I bet that’ll do our body good.

*In just a brief reading I saw one sight equating the mind to emotion, which I don’t think is right.

Which translation is for me?

It is amazing to live at a time when we actually have choices as to which translation of the Bible we should read. For so long the person in the pew couldn’t have their own copy, and even if they did it would have been in a foreign language.

Now we have so many versions at our finger tips it can be hard to make a choice. Zondervan, who publishes lots of Bibles, put together a helpful chart to describe the differences and philosophies behind the more common translations. Zondervan publishes the NIV, so it gets top billing. I typically read from the English Standard Version (ESV), which is a bit more literal. I lean this direction because these sorts of translations try to stick closer to the original and refrain from making a decision on a translation that would shut out other interpretations. On the other end of the spectrum, the thought-for-thought style Bibles, those translations help communicate the text by paraphrasing the original for you. This can be helpful to present a very readable style that can even refresh some of the more familiar texts, but they may obscure or lose certain meanings in the text.

With so many tools online to read and compare versions, you don’t need to make some lifetime decision to stick with just one. Reading multiple translations can be a great way to better understand God’s Word. I bring this up in preparation for the Year in the Bible because I wanted to have a physical edition that I use for my daily readings. This Bible will serve almost like a journal to record the process–notes in the margins, underlines, and other squiggles. I look forward to the day, a year or so from now, when I can compare the way my Bible will look compared to its current “mint” condition.

Translation Chart (pdf)