To Pastor, From Pastor—A Gift Recommendation For 2012

Every Christmas one of my favorite bloggers and Christian thinkers, Scot McKnight, takes part in a little tradition he’s been carrying on for years. It’s a little tradition he calls “To Scot, From Scot” in which he buys himself a gift, wraps it, and puts it under his tree. It’s a practice he highly recommends—mostly because the chances go way up for getting what you want! It’s also nice treating ourselves to something once in a while, especially after a long year of ministry.

While Scot treated himself to a new pair of Sperry shoes, I’d like to recommend a special gift that Zondervan published earlier this year. It’s called the NIV Greek and English New Testament, and from one pastor to another this resource rocks—it is definitely a worthy contender for your “To Pastor, From Pastor” 2012 gift.

What I have grown to love about this pastoral, preaching resource is that the Bible features the NIV translation along with the Greek text side-by-side; carries footnotes on the Greek text; contains a handy Greek dictionary in the back; has the full-color maps you’d find in the back of other Bibles; and it even lays flat on your desk or pulpit for easy handling.

Of course the biggest selling point for me is that it allows you to compare the original Greek text with the bestselling english translation side-by-side. Not only is this resource an ideal way to keep up on your Greek after your Greek exams are (thankfully!) rotting in some landfill. It allows you to move easily between the Greek and English texts while preparing for sermons or bible studies, or even while teaching those sermons and studies.

A few years ago I wish I would’ve had this resource while teaching a Bible study on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Before the update to the NIV translation in 2011, several people in my congregation were still using the 1984 edition, which curiously translated the Greek word for “works” as “miracles” in John 14:12. Of course the Greek word for “miracles” is not the same word used in John 14:12, which shifted the conversation on doing what Jesus had been doing through the power of the Holy Spirit thanks to that mistranslation. Having this resource back then would have helped me shift the conversation back to what I believed the NT was saying using the original Greek. Unfortunately, I didn’t have such a resource and I lost an opportunity to correct the mistranslation mid-study. Thankfully now I have such a resource I can easily carry with me and use while preaching and teaching in order to communicate the original Greek text in my 21st century english context.

As a little early Christmas gift, HERE is a PDF download of the Christmas story I scanned from my own Greek-NIV side-by-side New Testament (pardon the personal quality to the scan!). I hope it shows you how fantastic of a gift this could make to launch your own “To Pastor, From Pastor” tradition to reward you for a year well-done, while empowering your ministry in a new way, too.

I pray that your Christmas day tomorrow will be wonder-filled as you remember and celebrate the moment when God became flesh and made his dwelling among us in that tiny baby born of the virgin. I also pray that your new year of pastoral ministry, with all of your teaching and shepherding responsibilities, will be richly blessed and find great fruit in 2013.

Merry Christmas,


Jeremy Bouma has spent a decade ministering among our postmodern culture, first in Washington D.C. and most recently as a pastor in West Michigan. He is the founder of THEOKLESIA—a content curator dedicated to helping the 21st century church rediscover the historic Christian faith—holds the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and writes at

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