An UnCommon Endorsement for the Common English Translation

The picture here is the view from atop Mt. Nimrud in Turkey.  It is an uncommon view, and something uncommon has happened in the world of modern Evangelical Seminaries— one of them has picked an official translation to use in all its classes—- the Common English Translation.   This translation is deliberately simply much like the old TEV or NIV and concentrates on readability for almost any audience. My only real beef with it is that it messes up the phrase ‘Son of Man’  as applied to Jesus, and it too falls into the trap of simply going along with earlier translations in places where the translation is not warranted (e.g. in Hebrews 12 the Greek does not say Jesus is the author and finisher of  ‘our’ faith).   But on the whole this is a fine translation.    Here is the press release about Fuller’s decision.

Fuller Theological Seminary Approves the Common English Bible
for Official School Use

NASHVILLE, TN (May 9, 2011) – Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, has approved the new Common English Bible (http://CommonEnglishBible.com) (@CommonEngBible) as a translation for use in biblical studies courses for its more than 4,000 students, and particularly for all master’s-level instruction in the seminary’s School of Theology, School of Psychology, and School of Intercultural Studies on all eight of its campuses.

“Fuller’s mission is to prepare men and women for the manifold ministries of Christ and his church. We work out this calling with an eye toward both academic excellence and service to the church. The Biblical Division’s decision to approve the Common English Bible for classroom use reflects these commitments,” says J. R. Daniel Kirk, assistant professor of New Testament at Fuller. “We’ve approved the Common English Bible because it’s an academically excellent translation, because it communicates the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts in a clear and accessible fashion, and because it reflects the reality that the communities for which the Bible was written consist of both women and men.”

Fuller has more than 35,000 alumni in 130 countries, serving as pulpit ministers, mission leaders, academic leaders, mental health professionals, chaplains, translators, and community and marketplace leaders. The Common English Bible joins two other translations officially approved by Fuller: the New Revised Standard Version and Today’s New International Version.

Combining scholarly accuracy with vivid language, the Common English Bible is the work of more than 200 biblical scholars and church leaders, including members of more than 20 denominations, who translated the Bible into English directly from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. More than 500 readers in 77 groups field-tested the translation. Every verse was read aloud in the reading groups, where potentially confusing passages were identified. The translators considered the groups’ responses and, where necessary, reworked those passages to clarify in English their meaning from the original languages.

The digital revolution is accelerating changes in language and its everyday usage. The new Common English Bible is written in contemporary idiom at the same reading level as the newspaper USA TODAY—using language that’s comfortable and accessible for today’s English readers. With the complete Bible arriving in stores in August, this new translation strives to make Bible reading more clear and compelling for individuals, groups, and corporate worship services.

“The Common English Bible is a brand-new, bold translation designed to meet the needs of people in all stages of their spiritual journey,” says Paul Franklyn, associate publisher for the Common English Bible. “For students—whether at colleges and seminaries or outside a formal institution—it combines and balances highly respected ecumenical biblical scholarship necessary for serious study with responsiveness to 21st century clear communication requirements for comprehensive clarity. The Common English Bible can help students experience the insight and knowledge that comes from a fresh reading of the Bible.”

The Common English Bible is an inclusive translation, using male and female pronouns where appropriate to indicate the meaning of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text when referring to general human beings. Pronouns for God, Lord, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit are translated as he, his, or him.

Another unique feature of the Common English Bible is the inclusion of exclusive, detailed color maps from National Geographic, well known for its vibrant and accurate map making.

Visit CommonEnglishBible.com to see comparison translations, learn about the translators, get free downloads, and more.

The Common English Bible is a denomination-neutral Bible sponsored by the Common English Bible Committee, an alliance of five publishers that serve the general market, as well as the Disciples of Christ (Chalice Press), Presbyterian Church (Westminster John Knox Press), Episcopal Church (Church Publishing Inc.), United Church of Christ (Pilgrim Press), and United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press).

Learning How to Think Biblically– Part Four
Learning How to Think Biblically— Part Five
Best Books– Part Seven
Fear Based Thinking vs. Faith Based Thinking

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