Coded for Worship

“…all things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Adam Did What?!

with 2 comments

As a kid, I loved helping my mom cook. One of my favorite things that we made together was fried eggs. I would stand and watch with amazement as the clear liquid surrounding the egg yolk would turn white. It was an amazing transformation in the eyes of a five-year-old boy. Once I got “big enough” to help her cook the eggs, I would ask to help her “salt hay.” It was only years later that I learned that I was actually trying helping her “sauté” the eggs.

I was using a phrase that didn’t mean what it sounded like it should, but my mom knew just what I meant — she didn’t need me to say it the right way.

Aren’t we this way, sometimes? I know that, here in the southeastern U.S., you can say “get me a coke,” and most people will ask you what brand of soda you want without assuming that you want a Coca-Cola™. And as I sat down to begin my new Bible reading plan this morning, I was reminded of these things

I’ve decided to read through the Bible twice before the end of the year. Once for story’s sake with the TNIV. The second time to be a content-focused (more in-depth) reading using the ESV, the Bible version that I use 95% of the time. By the time I’d reached chapter 4 of Genesis, I began to think that I’d put the TNIV back on the shelf. I thought this because, as I took as sip of my coffee and started reading verse 1 of chapter 4, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
-Genesis 4:1 (TNIV)

Adam did what?! I mean, I know what Adam did (he knew Eve), but do you really have to tell me that they made love? Does it really need to be correctly stated that they consummated the first marriage in history? I’m sure there are entire papers written on both the defense and criticism of this one verse in this particular translation. I’m not going to add to that collection. But I will say this: I’m wondering if the TNIV is going to be worth my time.

Then again — I suppose that for someone who didn’t grow up in an area so heavily influenced by the Christian sub-culture that exists here in “the south,” reading the phrase “Adam knew his wife” might make about as much sense as a hearing kid asking his mom if he can help her “salt hay” in front of a skillet full of fried eggs.


Written by Andy

August 24, 2007 at 8:01 pm

2 Responses

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  1. You’ve asked good questions. From what I have observed, most English speakers today do not use the word “know” for what Adam did. They do use phrases such as “made love” or “had sexual intercourse.” It is accurate translation to use terms which convey the original meaning to those who use Bible versions. If “know” does not do that, then it is not an accurate translation.

    I help blog on the TNIV and you are invited to visit our blog.

    Watch that salt hay!


    Wayne Leman

    August 28, 2007 at 3:26 pm

  2. Speaking of the TNIV. There is a great audio version of the TNIV I found called The Bible Experience. A Hollywood production group recorded over 200 top actors, pastors, musicians, with sound effects and music. I have the NT, but the full Bible is coming in October. I found it a great way to engage the Bible. There are some “making of” videos on YouTube. Or you can check it out at

    Tom B

    September 21, 2007 at 12:54 pm

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