I recently bought a beautiful duo-tone NIV Study Bible. I am not a KJV only advocate. I enjoy reading the Bible in plain modern English. I think most of the writers of the Bible wrote it in the plain modern language of their time and that it was meant to be easily understood. I think the NIV captures that concept well, although at times the translation is a little too interpretative or “loose” for my likes (See, for example, the blatant mistranslation of 1 Peter 4:6 with the addition of the word “now”). Anyway, I digress.
I bought this Bible for personal study. I’ve decided I don’t know the Old Testament as well as I ought and that I need to spend more time reading and studying it. The NIV Study Bible has been a wonderful edition for my study thus far. It contains many useful cross references as well as extensive explanatory notes that are often very insightful. However, one such note really caught me by surprise today. I was reading Exodus 33 when I came across verse 11. The context of this verse is that Moses had a tent that to which he’d go to converse with the Lord (Yahweh). Verse 11 is commenting on this process:
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
In my view, there is nothing in this verse to indicate that it wasn’t literal or that “face” meant something other than “face,” etc. However, the explanatory note says:
33:11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face. God communicated with him directly–but without visually showing his “face.”
How could the explanatory note be more different from the actual text? The text says “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face” and the explanatory note says he didn’t show his “face.” I think it’s interesting that they put the word face in “quotation marks” as if God couldn’t really have a face, but rather a “face” (*wink* *wink*). Why don’t the commentators just state that they reject the plain meaning of scripture out of preference for their creeds which state that God has not body, parts, or passions?