The Common English Bible

A new Bible translation is now available, the Common English Bible.  Check out the website, which includes this comparison of passages from the new CEB and other translations:  Common English Bible – Compare Translations.

What agendas are evident in this translation?  What theology is at work in the word choices?  What can you say about the literary quality of the CEB?

HT: Matthew Cantirino

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    “What agendas are evident in this translation?” All the usual suspects.

    “What can you say about the literary quality of the CEV?” “Common” is an excellent qualifier for it.

  • Pete

    “What agendas are evident in this translation?” All the usual suspects.

    “What can you say about the literary quality of the CEV?” “Common” is an excellent qualifier for it.

  • Matthew H

    Imagine that, the NIV is preferable.

  • Matthew H

    Imagine that, the NIV is preferable.

  • Tom Hering

    This year’s new model from the marketing folks in the Bible publishing industry.

  • Tom Hering

    This year’s new model from the marketing folks in the Bible publishing industry.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    It was rather narrow-minded and exclusionary of them to take a text that has had broad cross-cultural appeal for many centuries and then change it to create appeal that is peculiar to a modern American audience.

    As for literary quality… “And that’s what happened”…? Seriously?

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    It was rather narrow-minded and exclusionary of them to take a text that has had broad cross-cultural appeal for many centuries and then change it to create appeal that is peculiar to a modern American audience.

    As for literary quality… “And that’s what happened”…? Seriously?

  • Eric Brown

    It tries to explain too many things… and poorly and limitedly. The Scriptures are a deep, complex, and often difficult book, with many interconnections. To try to simplify the Scriptures just steps all over that.

  • Eric Brown

    It tries to explain too many things… and poorly and limitedly. The Scriptures are a deep, complex, and often difficult book, with many interconnections. To try to simplify the Scriptures just steps all over that.

  • Joe

    The change from “blessed” to “happy” in the sermon on the mount is troubling. It really does turn it into a check list for living you best life now.

  • Joe

    The change from “blessed” to “happy” in the sermon on the mount is troubling. It really does turn it into a check list for living you best life now.

  • WebMonk

    I admit to being pretty much in the dark as to the up-close maneuverings of the various Bible translations. Is the CEB a revision of the CEV? (or were the CEB/CEV mis-types?)

    As far as the comparisons, I don’t see any particular pattern. Some passages actually seem to be an improvement in technical translation. Others seem to be aiming for low reading level people. Other passages seem to be using more advanced wording. Some seem to be trying to be smooth.

    No particular pattern that I can see. On the whole I can’t say that I care for it.

  • WebMonk

    I admit to being pretty much in the dark as to the up-close maneuverings of the various Bible translations. Is the CEB a revision of the CEV? (or were the CEB/CEV mis-types?)

    As far as the comparisons, I don’t see any particular pattern. Some passages actually seem to be an improvement in technical translation. Others seem to be aiming for low reading level people. Other passages seem to be using more advanced wording. Some seem to be trying to be smooth.

    No particular pattern that I can see. On the whole I can’t say that I care for it.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Joe (#6) In the Beatitudes, the original Greek term used is makarioi which can be translated either as blessed or happy. The definition chosen by a translator speaks loudly to the theology they bring to their work.

    In the tradition orthodox translation, the church has always chosen blessed to express the acceptance of the Lord to our actions. This denotes an acceptance by God that what we believe, teach or confess is considered holy or sacred by the Lord.

    When the modern translator chooses happy, the emphasis shifts from God to mankind. Happiness is an emotional response originating within ourselves; this has the effect of rendering the beatitudes as our work to which you correctly stipulated.

    My challenge to anyone preferring the happiness connotation over the blessed is to explain the Cross in happy terms. The foolishness of the Gentiles becomes painfully apparent in this view for we are made holy through Christ’s work on the Cross but I find no happiness in the suffering God’s Son endured for my sins. I’ll reserve happiness for judgment day when sin is no more; until then, I rejoice that He choose to suffer so I may once again be holy.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Joe (#6) In the Beatitudes, the original Greek term used is makarioi which can be translated either as blessed or happy. The definition chosen by a translator speaks loudly to the theology they bring to their work.

    In the tradition orthodox translation, the church has always chosen blessed to express the acceptance of the Lord to our actions. This denotes an acceptance by God that what we believe, teach or confess is considered holy or sacred by the Lord.

    When the modern translator chooses happy, the emphasis shifts from God to mankind. Happiness is an emotional response originating within ourselves; this has the effect of rendering the beatitudes as our work to which you correctly stipulated.

    My challenge to anyone preferring the happiness connotation over the blessed is to explain the Cross in happy terms. The foolishness of the Gentiles becomes painfully apparent in this view for we are made holy through Christ’s work on the Cross but I find no happiness in the suffering God’s Son endured for my sins. I’ll reserve happiness for judgment day when sin is no more; until then, I rejoice that He choose to suffer so I may once again be holy.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • LAJ

    Thank you for that explanation. I know I prefer blessed but you explained why very well.

  • LAJ

    Thank you for that explanation. I know I prefer blessed but you explained why very well.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My question is like WebMonk’s. CEB? CEV? I like the Contemporary English version for kids who are 5th grade and younger because they can actually read it and get what it is saying. My husband and my son read it cover to cover over about a year and a half starting when my son was in 5th grade. It is counter productive to have a kid sit and read from a text and not be able to understand it. It just teaches him that it is too hard, and then he just quits. The CEV didn’t seem to have the gender neutrality or some such. It was just phrased very simply, at about the 5th grade reading level instead of many others that are 12th grade level. The Bible should be accessible to pretty much anyone, and since it is a translation, any version will not be exactly like the original. So, there is no reason not to make it as easy as is reasonable to do.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My question is like WebMonk’s. CEB? CEV? I like the Contemporary English version for kids who are 5th grade and younger because they can actually read it and get what it is saying. My husband and my son read it cover to cover over about a year and a half starting when my son was in 5th grade. It is counter productive to have a kid sit and read from a text and not be able to understand it. It just teaches him that it is too hard, and then he just quits. The CEV didn’t seem to have the gender neutrality or some such. It was just phrased very simply, at about the 5th grade reading level instead of many others that are 12th grade level. The Bible should be accessible to pretty much anyone, and since it is a translation, any version will not be exactly like the original. So, there is no reason not to make it as easy as is reasonable to do.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    There just seems something contradictory about “Happy are people who grieve” …

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    There just seems something contradictory about “Happy are people who grieve” …

  • Jim

    Looking over the list of translators, the group is overwhelmingly liberal. Only one person is listed as Evangelical, a couple of Nazarenes, and everyone else is from mainline, liberal churches. One translator is a Reform Jew!

    The website says that this is a revision of a current translation. My guess is that it’s a revision of the New English Bible which was also quite liberal in it’s translation history.

  • Jim

    Looking over the list of translators, the group is overwhelmingly liberal. Only one person is listed as Evangelical, a couple of Nazarenes, and everyone else is from mainline, liberal churches. One translator is a Reform Jew!

    The website says that this is a revision of a current translation. My guess is that it’s a revision of the New English Bible which was also quite liberal in it’s translation history.

  • MarkE

    The Common English Genesis account appears to strongly suggest theistic evolution.

  • MarkE

    The Common English Genesis account appears to strongly suggest theistic evolution.

  • Jonathan

    One’s theology (or lack thereof) is of no consequence in translating from one language to another. What matters is one’s understanding of the languages.

  • Jonathan

    One’s theology (or lack thereof) is of no consequence in translating from one language to another. What matters is one’s understanding of the languages.

  • Helen

    For some reason, the comment section didn’t pre-fill in my name, etc. as it has been.

    Anyway….I’m “happy” (or should I say blessed) that the this topic of Bible translations has come up. This is off topic for today, but if any of you have any insights or opinions on “The Lutheran Study Bible”, Concordia edition, I’d be interested in hearing them. I have begun attending a LCMS local church and have learned of the study bible. I’ve seen it on Amazon so that is pretty much what I know of it. How is it different from other study Bibles I may have seen in the past? I do have a “New Geneva Study Bible” that I obtained when D. James Kennedy offered it years ago while he was pastor at Coral Ridge. Thanks!

  • Helen

    For some reason, the comment section didn’t pre-fill in my name, etc. as it has been.

    Anyway….I’m “happy” (or should I say blessed) that the this topic of Bible translations has come up. This is off topic for today, but if any of you have any insights or opinions on “The Lutheran Study Bible”, Concordia edition, I’d be interested in hearing them. I have begun attending a LCMS local church and have learned of the study bible. I’ve seen it on Amazon so that is pretty much what I know of it. How is it different from other study Bibles I may have seen in the past? I do have a “New Geneva Study Bible” that I obtained when D. James Kennedy offered it years ago while he was pastor at Coral Ridge. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The New Geneva Study Bible is going to have Calvinist leaning notes and commentary, while the LSB will be Lutheran leaning.

    Also, the NGSB is NKJV, while the LSB is ESV.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The New Geneva Study Bible is going to have Calvinist leaning notes and commentary, while the LSB will be Lutheran leaning.

    Also, the NGSB is NKJV, while the LSB is ESV.

  • Helen

    Thanks, Mike @17.
    I grew up with the original King James Version and still love it. All the verses we memorized in Sunday School were KJ of course and so they stick. In years since, I’ve managed to have a few more translations or what I think would be called paraphrases. J.B. Phillips comes to mind. Living Bible. New Testament in Modern English. And a couple of others I can’t recall.

    Amazon opinions includes comments that the LSB has thin pages and a little difficulty in readability due to Christ’s words in red. Some readers suggested that the large print version has thicker pages, etc. It sounds like a heavy book. Do you think it’s worth purchasing? Or would I be better just using a Lutheran commentary alongside another version?

  • Helen

    Thanks, Mike @17.
    I grew up with the original King James Version and still love it. All the verses we memorized in Sunday School were KJ of course and so they stick. In years since, I’ve managed to have a few more translations or what I think would be called paraphrases. J.B. Phillips comes to mind. Living Bible. New Testament in Modern English. And a couple of others I can’t recall.

    Amazon opinions includes comments that the LSB has thin pages and a little difficulty in readability due to Christ’s words in red. Some readers suggested that the large print version has thicker pages, etc. It sounds like a heavy book. Do you think it’s worth purchasing? Or would I be better just using a Lutheran commentary alongside another version?

  • Joe

    Helen – I think it is worth while to purchase. It is a from the ground up Lutheran study bible – with helpful notes and commentary, including Luther’s introduction to the books of the bible and cross references to the Confessions. The other advantage it has is that it is ESV, so what you read at home will be the same translation that you hear on Sunday morning during the DS.

  • Joe

    Helen – I think it is worth while to purchase. It is a from the ground up Lutheran study bible – with helpful notes and commentary, including Luther’s introduction to the books of the bible and cross references to the Confessions. The other advantage it has is that it is ESV, so what you read at home will be the same translation that you hear on Sunday morning during the DS.

  • Grace

    This issue below is about HIS own Blood, shed for our sins!

    Common English Bible

    Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God’s church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son.
    Acts 20:28

    The above translation is in ERROR:

    The BLOOD of CHRIST is pivotal to our Salvation, … it was HIS Blood shed on the Cross for our sins, which is the great price Christ paid. To minimize this as the ‘Common English Bible does, by leaving out ‘BLOOD, — the ‘AGENDA is obvious.

    Acts 20:28

    English Standard Version

    Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

    New American Standard Bible

    “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

    International Standard Version

    Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to be shepherds of God’s church, which he acquired with his own blood.

    King James Bible

    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

  • Grace

    This issue below is about HIS own Blood, shed for our sins!

    Common English Bible

    Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God’s church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son.
    Acts 20:28

    The above translation is in ERROR:

    The BLOOD of CHRIST is pivotal to our Salvation, … it was HIS Blood shed on the Cross for our sins, which is the great price Christ paid. To minimize this as the ‘Common English Bible does, by leaving out ‘BLOOD, — the ‘AGENDA is obvious.

    Acts 20:28

    English Standard Version

    Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

    New American Standard Bible

    “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

    International Standard Version

    Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to be shepherds of God’s church, which he acquired with his own blood.

    King James Bible

    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Helen, I also really like The Lutheran Study Bible. A friend of mine has the large print version and it is great if it is going to stay in one place in your home for reading (its a little too heavy to lug around). One of my favorite things about The Lutheran Study Bible is the faithful and devotional quality of the textual commentary. There are prayers to help guide your own prayers right there in the notes corresponding to the Bible text! I love that.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Helen, I also really like The Lutheran Study Bible. A friend of mine has the large print version and it is great if it is going to stay in one place in your home for reading (its a little too heavy to lug around). One of my favorite things about The Lutheran Study Bible is the faithful and devotional quality of the textual commentary. There are prayers to help guide your own prayers right there in the notes corresponding to the Bible text! I love that.

  • mendicus

    Jonathan@15
    In the immortal words of Larry the Cucumber, “you couldn’t be more wronger.” Translation inevitably entails interpretation, which is why the theological outlook of Bible translators is crucial.

  • mendicus

    Jonathan@15
    In the immortal words of Larry the Cucumber, “you couldn’t be more wronger.” Translation inevitably entails interpretation, which is why the theological outlook of Bible translators is crucial.

  • Helen K.

    Appreciate your comments, Joe and Bryan. @19 and @21.

    I want to thank you for the kind responses to my question. I
    thought my computer was “going down”. Just want to respond in case my system crashes.

    And of course now, the big news as I type is the earthquake on the east coast. I can almost hear Pat Robertson…quakes in divers places.

    That is one thing I’m becoming enlightened about in my new study of Lutherism: No “secret” rapture. I was always instructed in “pre-trib” theories. And for some reason, I could never get interested in the “Left Behind” series. Now I can see why.

    I will probably buy a Lutheran Study Bible. It sounds like something I would really benefit from. I wasn’t familiar with the ESV version until I discovered Dr. Veith’s blog and the various links and discussions. Truly a blessing to me.

    I pray that if any of you are on the east coast that you are o.k. and not observing any damage from the quake. I’m originally from CA and WA State, so I’ve experienced a couple of quakes.

  • Helen K.

    Appreciate your comments, Joe and Bryan. @19 and @21.

    I want to thank you for the kind responses to my question. I
    thought my computer was “going down”. Just want to respond in case my system crashes.

    And of course now, the big news as I type is the earthquake on the east coast. I can almost hear Pat Robertson…quakes in divers places.

    That is one thing I’m becoming enlightened about in my new study of Lutherism: No “secret” rapture. I was always instructed in “pre-trib” theories. And for some reason, I could never get interested in the “Left Behind” series. Now I can see why.

    I will probably buy a Lutheran Study Bible. It sounds like something I would really benefit from. I wasn’t familiar with the ESV version until I discovered Dr. Veith’s blog and the various links and discussions. Truly a blessing to me.

    I pray that if any of you are on the east coast that you are o.k. and not observing any damage from the quake. I’m originally from CA and WA State, so I’ve experienced a couple of quakes.

  • CRB

    Have not read it, but judging from some of the negative comments, I wonder if it may be another one to thrown into the fire along with, “Good News for Modern Man”?!

  • CRB

    Have not read it, but judging from some of the negative comments, I wonder if it may be another one to thrown into the fire along with, “Good News for Modern Man”?!

  • –helen

    The previous “Study Bible” for LCMS was a ‘reformed’ translation with their notes, to which were added notes by Lutheran theologians. NIV ’84, I believe; I’ve given it away, so I can’t check.
    I do remember it as more legible (larger type, I think).

    They crammed so much commentary and other stuff into The Lutheran Study Bible that they had to use very thin pages and what I consider small type to avoid putting a handle and wheels on it.
    [Someone had the "large print" edition at Bible class the other night but I don't think I would carry it very much.]
    Perhaps some day they will reduce the Bible to notes and text in larger type on more opaque paper and publish the rest in a companion volume. I’d like that!

    My early learning was KJV and I would have chosen NKJV, but I’m getting used to this translation.

  • –helen

    The previous “Study Bible” for LCMS was a ‘reformed’ translation with their notes, to which were added notes by Lutheran theologians. NIV ’84, I believe; I’ve given it away, so I can’t check.
    I do remember it as more legible (larger type, I think).

    They crammed so much commentary and other stuff into The Lutheran Study Bible that they had to use very thin pages and what I consider small type to avoid putting a handle and wheels on it.
    [Someone had the "large print" edition at Bible class the other night but I don't think I would carry it very much.]
    Perhaps some day they will reduce the Bible to notes and text in larger type on more opaque paper and publish the rest in a companion volume. I’d like that!

    My early learning was KJV and I would have chosen NKJV, but I’m getting used to this translation.

  • Grace

    Common English Bible

    1 When God began to create the heavens and the earth—

    2 the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters

    1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    English Standard Version
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

    New American Standard Bible

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    King James Bible
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    2. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    New International Version
    Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    English Standard Version
    The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

    New American Standard Bible
    The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.

    King James Bible
    And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters

    The Common English Bible in verse 1, adds “began” rather that the definitive “created” –

    The Common English Bible in verse 2, deleates “the Spirit of God” and uses “wind” rather than God’s SPIRIT, which is the third person of the Trinity. The SPIRIT of God is offensive? “wind” is a weak definition of the Spirt of God in verse 2.

    Common English Bible

    Then God said, “ Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth. ”
    Genesis 1:26

    New International Version

    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    English Standard Version
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    New American Standard Bible

    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    King James Bible
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

    “Humanity” instead of “man” — and then “charge” instead of “rule” or “dominion” which are much stronger words to define the meaning – “man, rule and dominion are much more accurate with strength than “humanity and “charge.

  • Grace

    Common English Bible

    1 When God began to create the heavens and the earth—

    2 the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters

    1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    English Standard Version
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

    New American Standard Bible

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    King James Bible
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    2. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    New International Version
    Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    English Standard Version
    The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

    New American Standard Bible
    The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.

    King James Bible
    And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters

    The Common English Bible in verse 1, adds “began” rather that the definitive “created” –

    The Common English Bible in verse 2, deleates “the Spirit of God” and uses “wind” rather than God’s SPIRIT, which is the third person of the Trinity. The SPIRIT of God is offensive? “wind” is a weak definition of the Spirt of God in verse 2.

    Common English Bible

    Then God said, “ Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth. ”
    Genesis 1:26

    New International Version

    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    English Standard Version
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    New American Standard Bible

    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    King James Bible
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

    “Humanity” instead of “man” — and then “charge” instead of “rule” or “dominion” which are much stronger words to define the meaning – “man, rule and dominion are much more accurate with strength than “humanity and “charge.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    off topic,

    Hey, how’s it shakin’ over there, Dr. Veith?

    I heard, you all just got hit with an earthquake.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    off topic,

    Hey, how’s it shakin’ over there, Dr. Veith?

    I heard, you all just got hit with an earthquake.

  • trotk

    Grace, sometimes I get the impression that you think the Bible was written in English.

    Your posts would be more persuasive if you compared the CEB to the Greek and the Hebrew, rather than to the NIV, KJV, or whatever other version you find online.

    For example, you state, “man, rule and dominion are much more accurate with strength than “humanity and “charge.”

    Grace, this may or may not be more accurate. The only way to know is to be a scholar of the original language, or at least to have access to a scholar’s work.

  • trotk

    Grace, sometimes I get the impression that you think the Bible was written in English.

    Your posts would be more persuasive if you compared the CEB to the Greek and the Hebrew, rather than to the NIV, KJV, or whatever other version you find online.

    For example, you state, “man, rule and dominion are much more accurate with strength than “humanity and “charge.”

    Grace, this may or may not be more accurate. The only way to know is to be a scholar of the original language, or at least to have access to a scholar’s work.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Where’s Harold Camping when he might be right! Earthquakes in Babyon, I mean Washington D.C. and Grace espousing Lutheran theology on the same day. I am breathless awaiting the third leg of the trifecta.

    Grace couldn’t be more correct in post #20 – the core of Christianity is the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. When God called His people out of Egypt to the base of Mount Sinai, they were given first His Law, then the sacrificial laws for their atonement. At the center of this system, Leviticus 17:11 clearly stated, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

    It was not the blood of goats, bulls or lambs which provided atonement; they were but a type of what was to come. When the Baptizer loudly proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of world” the days of the Temple and Leviticus were at an end. The true propitiatory blood would be shed by God’s Son – for us and our salvation. Only the shedding of blood would seal the new covenant purchased by His blood on the cross.

    So, my compliments to Grace for her keen eye and theological soundness. I might hasten to add agreement with the literal creation account and note this God, my God, who is capable of speaking a universe into existence, watching those He created in His image corrupt the entire creation, promising from the beginning to the incarnation to become a part of this creation to redeem it; this same Christ is now present at our Divine Service to give us His very body broken for you and to drink His very blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Oh, taste and see, the Lord is Good.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Where’s Harold Camping when he might be right! Earthquakes in Babyon, I mean Washington D.C. and Grace espousing Lutheran theology on the same day. I am breathless awaiting the third leg of the trifecta.

    Grace couldn’t be more correct in post #20 – the core of Christianity is the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. When God called His people out of Egypt to the base of Mount Sinai, they were given first His Law, then the sacrificial laws for their atonement. At the center of this system, Leviticus 17:11 clearly stated, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

    It was not the blood of goats, bulls or lambs which provided atonement; they were but a type of what was to come. When the Baptizer loudly proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of world” the days of the Temple and Leviticus were at an end. The true propitiatory blood would be shed by God’s Son – for us and our salvation. Only the shedding of blood would seal the new covenant purchased by His blood on the cross.

    So, my compliments to Grace for her keen eye and theological soundness. I might hasten to add agreement with the literal creation account and note this God, my God, who is capable of speaking a universe into existence, watching those He created in His image corrupt the entire creation, promising from the beginning to the incarnation to become a part of this creation to redeem it; this same Christ is now present at our Divine Service to give us His very body broken for you and to drink His very blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Oh, taste and see, the Lord is Good.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Grace

    trotk @28

    “Grace, sometimes I get the impression that you think the Bible was written in English.”

    The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God.

    When the Bible is translated they don’t translate from one translation to another – they translate from the original language into another language – the translation is made from the original to whichever language the Bible is being translated, in other words it’s not done from Greek to English to French, to German, from any of those to English – each translations is from the Greek manuscripts to whichever language the Bible will be translated into. The accuracy of the translations are trustworthy.

    When one realizes how miraculous the Old Testament is, the findings of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls, one begins to understand the POWER of GOD to keep HIS Word pure. Nothing has changed, it is what HE wants it to be.

    God did not send His Son to die for our sin, and then allow His Word to go adrift. Then again, look at the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ how HE proves the power of HIS Hand on the Word. Read the Old Testament and prophecy and its coming to fruition in the New Testament regarding the birth and death of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a fit, there isn’t a piece out of place. That’s the miracle, that’s what HE gave us so that we might know the TRUTH.

  • Grace

    trotk @28

    “Grace, sometimes I get the impression that you think the Bible was written in English.”

    The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God.

    When the Bible is translated they don’t translate from one translation to another – they translate from the original language into another language – the translation is made from the original to whichever language the Bible is being translated, in other words it’s not done from Greek to English to French, to German, from any of those to English – each translations is from the Greek manuscripts to whichever language the Bible will be translated into. The accuracy of the translations are trustworthy.

    When one realizes how miraculous the Old Testament is, the findings of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls, one begins to understand the POWER of GOD to keep HIS Word pure. Nothing has changed, it is what HE wants it to be.

    God did not send His Son to die for our sin, and then allow His Word to go adrift. Then again, look at the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ how HE proves the power of HIS Hand on the Word. Read the Old Testament and prophecy and its coming to fruition in the New Testament regarding the birth and death of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a fit, there isn’t a piece out of place. That’s the miracle, that’s what HE gave us so that we might know the TRUTH.

  • kerner

    Hey, I have to stick up for Grace this time around. Changing “blood” to “death” is a subtle, but real, change in the text that breaks up a number of biblical themes that should be seamless throughout scripture. When the word used is “blood”, the translators should assume that the word was chosen for a reason and translate the text as written. Modifying a Biblical text (as though we could do a better job of making a point than Scripture does) is a pretty arrogant thing to do. Atta girl Grace.

  • kerner

    Hey, I have to stick up for Grace this time around. Changing “blood” to “death” is a subtle, but real, change in the text that breaks up a number of biblical themes that should be seamless throughout scripture. When the word used is “blood”, the translators should assume that the word was chosen for a reason and translate the text as written. Modifying a Biblical text (as though we could do a better job of making a point than Scripture does) is a pretty arrogant thing to do. Atta girl Grace.

  • kerner

    Whoops, I thought I was the first Lutheran to defend Grace @20, but Dennis@29 beat me to it. Thanks, Dennis. Good point, well made.

  • kerner

    Whoops, I thought I was the first Lutheran to defend Grace @20, but Dennis@29 beat me to it. Thanks, Dennis. Good point, well made.

  • Jonathan

    From a dynamic equivalence standpoint, this seems like a good translation. Impressive list of translators and readers.

  • Jonathan

    From a dynamic equivalence standpoint, this seems like a good translation. Impressive list of translators and readers.

  • trotk

    Dennis, Kerner, and Grace -

    I agree that blood shouldn’t be changed to body. I believe translations should be as literal as possible.

    That said, my point isn’t about that. Grace, my point is the fact that you are judging this translation without any knowledge of whether it is more or less accurate in the Genesis account. Some of the changes may be acceptable renderings, if we bothered to consult the Hebrew. But because they sound different than the versions and translations you are accustomed to, you reject them. The appropriate thing to compare it to is the original, because the Bible wasn’t written in English.

    As for your post at 30, it has nothing to do with the point. But just so you know, translations and versions from translations do exist, some of which are terrible, some ok, and some just necessary (usually on the mission field).

  • trotk

    Dennis, Kerner, and Grace -

    I agree that blood shouldn’t be changed to body. I believe translations should be as literal as possible.

    That said, my point isn’t about that. Grace, my point is the fact that you are judging this translation without any knowledge of whether it is more or less accurate in the Genesis account. Some of the changes may be acceptable renderings, if we bothered to consult the Hebrew. But because they sound different than the versions and translations you are accustomed to, you reject them. The appropriate thing to compare it to is the original, because the Bible wasn’t written in English.

    As for your post at 30, it has nothing to do with the point. But just so you know, translations and versions from translations do exist, some of which are terrible, some ok, and some just necessary (usually on the mission field).

  • Grace

    Dennis and Kerner,

    Thank you both for your kind remarks, .. it’s very much appreciated.

  • Grace

    Dennis and Kerner,

    Thank you both for your kind remarks, .. it’s very much appreciated.

  • Grace

    Jonathan @33

    I asked you a question — “Mormons rule on the Web” post number 49. Are you able to answer the question?

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/08/22/mormons-rule-on-the-web/

  • Grace

    Jonathan @33

    I asked you a question — “Mormons rule on the Web” post number 49. Are you able to answer the question?

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/08/22/mormons-rule-on-the-web/

  • George

    This seems unnecessary:

    Common English Bible (CEB)

    “With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being. The human said, “This one finally is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She will be called a woman because from a man she was taken.”

    Do we really need to make “man” gender neutral here, when the “man” is in fact… a man, which is to say, male?

    Furthermore, let us examine the translation of the first Psalm, verse one:

    “The truly happy person
    doesn’t follow wicked advice,
    doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
    and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful. ”

    Now most translations I know of read “Blessed is the man,” and I was always under the impression that the “man” here spoken of was Christ. But it would seem that in the their passion for gender equality, they have successfully extinguished a prophecy of our God and Saviour.

  • George

    This seems unnecessary:

    Common English Bible (CEB)

    “With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being. The human said, “This one finally is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She will be called a woman because from a man she was taken.”

    Do we really need to make “man” gender neutral here, when the “man” is in fact… a man, which is to say, male?

    Furthermore, let us examine the translation of the first Psalm, verse one:

    “The truly happy person
    doesn’t follow wicked advice,
    doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
    and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful. ”

    Now most translations I know of read “Blessed is the man,” and I was always under the impression that the “man” here spoken of was Christ. But it would seem that in the their passion for gender equality, they have successfully extinguished a prophecy of our God and Saviour.

  • Jon

    In English, “man” does not always mean “male,” it can mean “human being” or “one.” Depends on the context, or, as here, on the meaning of the word being translated into English. Same for “he,” which can also mean “one,” not necessarily a male. A gender neutral noun, so called, means it can refer to a male or female. It’s important to make the distinction in English, especially, since “man” is often taken for “male.”

  • Jon

    In English, “man” does not always mean “male,” it can mean “human being” or “one.” Depends on the context, or, as here, on the meaning of the word being translated into English. Same for “he,” which can also mean “one,” not necessarily a male. A gender neutral noun, so called, means it can refer to a male or female. It’s important to make the distinction in English, especially, since “man” is often taken for “male.”

  • Grace

    Blasphemy

    The Common English Bible

    31“Therefore, I tell you that people will be forgiven for every sin and insult to God. But insulting the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven.

    32 And whoever speaks a word against the Human One will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven, not in this age or in the age that is coming.
    Matthew 12

    The LORD Jesus Christ is DEITY, He is part of the HOLY Trinity – referring to HIM who gave HIS life, HIS Blood as a Sacrifice for our sins…. referring to HIM as “the Human One” is not respectful to our LORD and Savior.

    King James Version

    31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

    32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
    Matthew 12

  • Grace

    Blasphemy

    The Common English Bible

    31“Therefore, I tell you that people will be forgiven for every sin and insult to God. But insulting the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven.

    32 And whoever speaks a word against the Human One will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven, not in this age or in the age that is coming.
    Matthew 12

    The LORD Jesus Christ is DEITY, He is part of the HOLY Trinity – referring to HIM who gave HIS life, HIS Blood as a Sacrifice for our sins…. referring to HIM as “the Human One” is not respectful to our LORD and Savior.

    King James Version

    31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

    32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
    Matthew 12

  • Jon

    “Human One” seems jarring to those of use raised on “Son of Man,” but even “Son of Man,” when applied to Christ, means Human, not Son of a Male, since Christ was Virgin born.

  • Jon

    “Human One” seems jarring to those of use raised on “Son of Man,” but even “Son of Man,” when applied to Christ, means Human, not Son of a Male, since Christ was Virgin born.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jonathan@15: That is a fabulously incorrect statement. Translation is interpretation.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jonathan@15: That is a fabulously incorrect statement. Translation is interpretation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@39), you keep trying to demonstrate that the CEB is a bad translation by comparing it to other English translations. That is, as has already been pointed out to you, no way to assess a translation’s validity. It merely begs the question of what is the validity of the other English translation to which you’re comparing it. Now, clearly, you have assumed that the KJV’s translation is just fine — and I’d say without proof that, in general, it is, though I could show you several places where poor choices were made — but you still have yet to demonstrate this.

    For instance, in your latest comment, you appear to take issue with the CEB’s use of “insult/insulting” when compared with the KJV’s “blasphemy” — or so I have gathered from your having bolded these words without additional comment.

    Now, I didn’t know this until just now, but I did at least bother to look up that verse in an interlinear translation, where I found that the English word “blasphemy” is basically a direct loan word from the Greek (βλασφημία/blasphēmia). Just using the word doesn’t really give English users not already familiar with its denotation an idea of what is being expressed in the Greek. So how does Merriam-Webster define “blasphemy”?

    1a) the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God

    Based on that, I’d have to say that, at a first pass, “insult” is a pretty decent translation, given a desire to use simple, common terms.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@39), you keep trying to demonstrate that the CEB is a bad translation by comparing it to other English translations. That is, as has already been pointed out to you, no way to assess a translation’s validity. It merely begs the question of what is the validity of the other English translation to which you’re comparing it. Now, clearly, you have assumed that the KJV’s translation is just fine — and I’d say without proof that, in general, it is, though I could show you several places where poor choices were made — but you still have yet to demonstrate this.

    For instance, in your latest comment, you appear to take issue with the CEB’s use of “insult/insulting” when compared with the KJV’s “blasphemy” — or so I have gathered from your having bolded these words without additional comment.

    Now, I didn’t know this until just now, but I did at least bother to look up that verse in an interlinear translation, where I found that the English word “blasphemy” is basically a direct loan word from the Greek (βλασφημία/blasphēmia). Just using the word doesn’t really give English users not already familiar with its denotation an idea of what is being expressed in the Greek. So how does Merriam-Webster define “blasphemy”?

    1a) the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God

    Based on that, I’d have to say that, at a first pass, “insult” is a pretty decent translation, given a desire to use simple, common terms.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Moving on, Grace (@39), you fleshed out (see what I did there?) your complaint about the CEB’s “the Human One” a bit more:

    The LORD Jesus Christ is DEITY, He is part of the HOLY Trinity – referring to HIM who gave HIS life, HIS Blood as a Sacrifice for our sins…. referring to HIM as “the Human One” is not respectful to our LORD and Savior.

    Well, first of all, it’s sloppy at best to only say that “The LORD Jesus Christ is DEITY”. You’re definitely missing half of the equation there. In fact, when you take explicit umbrage at “the Human One” not being “respectful”, it almost seems like you’re taking issue with the Incarnation. Jesus became human. If you find that “disrespectful”, you have much larger issues to deal with.

    But, of course, you still didn’t make reference to the actual, underlying Greek — “uiou tou anthrōpou” (would’ve posted it untransliterated, but some of the characters wouldn’t work), which, again, is necessary to actually assess a translation.

    Now, there’s little question, based on my very basic use of these publicly available tools, that “Son of Man” is the literal translation of the Greek there. But the question is: is that the best translation for English readers? Even when it’s translated word-for-word, we English readers take that phrase to be idiomatic, so I kind of have to assume that it’s also idiomatic in Greek. Keeping the source language’s idioms intact in the target language can preserve a unique or poetic quality, but it’s usually not the best idea for an easy-to-understand translation, since it requires you to bring some prior knowledge to your reading.

    Now, I won’t defend the phrase “the Human One” from a literary standpoint. Like many here, I’m simply too used to the many English translations that use “Son of Man”, and I can no longer recall what it would be like to not know what that phrase means.

    But I will say that the CEB does seem to preserve the intent of the original phrase — that is, a reference to a person of the Trinity that also makes clear his humanity. In case you didn’t notice, the CEB always capitalizes “Human One”, making use of the common English tendency to capitalize references to deities. And the phrase itself makes Jesus’ human nature quite obvious.

    So is it awkward? Maybe. Is it disrespectful? Almost certainly not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Moving on, Grace (@39), you fleshed out (see what I did there?) your complaint about the CEB’s “the Human One” a bit more:

    The LORD Jesus Christ is DEITY, He is part of the HOLY Trinity – referring to HIM who gave HIS life, HIS Blood as a Sacrifice for our sins…. referring to HIM as “the Human One” is not respectful to our LORD and Savior.

    Well, first of all, it’s sloppy at best to only say that “The LORD Jesus Christ is DEITY”. You’re definitely missing half of the equation there. In fact, when you take explicit umbrage at “the Human One” not being “respectful”, it almost seems like you’re taking issue with the Incarnation. Jesus became human. If you find that “disrespectful”, you have much larger issues to deal with.

    But, of course, you still didn’t make reference to the actual, underlying Greek — “uiou tou anthrōpou” (would’ve posted it untransliterated, but some of the characters wouldn’t work), which, again, is necessary to actually assess a translation.

    Now, there’s little question, based on my very basic use of these publicly available tools, that “Son of Man” is the literal translation of the Greek there. But the question is: is that the best translation for English readers? Even when it’s translated word-for-word, we English readers take that phrase to be idiomatic, so I kind of have to assume that it’s also idiomatic in Greek. Keeping the source language’s idioms intact in the target language can preserve a unique or poetic quality, but it’s usually not the best idea for an easy-to-understand translation, since it requires you to bring some prior knowledge to your reading.

    Now, I won’t defend the phrase “the Human One” from a literary standpoint. Like many here, I’m simply too used to the many English translations that use “Son of Man”, and I can no longer recall what it would be like to not know what that phrase means.

    But I will say that the CEB does seem to preserve the intent of the original phrase — that is, a reference to a person of the Trinity that also makes clear his humanity. In case you didn’t notice, the CEB always capitalizes “Human One”, making use of the common English tendency to capitalize references to deities. And the phrase itself makes Jesus’ human nature quite obvious.

    So is it awkward? Maybe. Is it disrespectful? Almost certainly not.

  • Joe

    I think one of the biggest problems with the CEB (and other super easy to read translations) is that in the effort to make it super easy to read they often make it dull and boring. In addition to telling of Christ’s person and work, a good translation (in my opinion) should convey the mystery and other-worldliness that is so much of the reality of what Christ did for us. This is often effectuated by keeping some of the archaic language – this conveys to the reader that something different is happening here. Its a baptism not just a washing.

  • Joe

    I think one of the biggest problems with the CEB (and other super easy to read translations) is that in the effort to make it super easy to read they often make it dull and boring. In addition to telling of Christ’s person and work, a good translation (in my opinion) should convey the mystery and other-worldliness that is so much of the reality of what Christ did for us. This is often effectuated by keeping some of the archaic language – this conveys to the reader that something different is happening here. Its a baptism not just a washing.

  • Jon

    Archaic language was once not archaic; it was contemporary. Now that it’s archaic, such language films over the meaning of the words, obscuring them, in a way unintended by the authors. The hankering for “runneth” instead of “runs” is fine for personal use but should not be imposed on others. Hence the need for contemporary translations.

  • Jon

    Archaic language was once not archaic; it was contemporary. Now that it’s archaic, such language films over the meaning of the words, obscuring them, in a way unintended by the authors. The hankering for “runneth” instead of “runs” is fine for personal use but should not be imposed on others. Hence the need for contemporary translations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Contemporary translations are fine. The ESV, I think, is an excellent contemporary translation. I also like the NKJV. The NIV (especially the latest incarnation thereof) not so much. The CEB is horrible, in my opinion. But it’s not the worst.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Contemporary translations are fine. The ESV, I think, is an excellent contemporary translation. I also like the NKJV. The NIV (especially the latest incarnation thereof) not so much. The CEB is horrible, in my opinion. But it’s not the worst.

  • Joe

    Jon – I think your misunderstanding my point. I am not saying we should not have contemporary translations – we should. But, there is a difference between the 1984 NIV or the ESV and the CEB or the New Living Translation. All four are contemporary translations but the latter two toss the baby out with the bath water by making “easy to read” the highest (if not sole) purpose of the translation.

    I agree that archaic language can obscure meaning at times – but it is equally true that archaic language clarifies meaning in other settings. Take insults God versus blasphemy – literally they mean the same thing, but blasphemy is a word that has acquired additional meaning in our lexicon over time. Thus while either would be a “correct” translation – choosing insult gives up some of that specialized meaning. This is also true of the example I gave: baptism v. washing.

    Obviously, this is not the case with your example of “runneth” v. runs. I have no problem ditching runneth.

  • Joe

    Jon – I think your misunderstanding my point. I am not saying we should not have contemporary translations – we should. But, there is a difference between the 1984 NIV or the ESV and the CEB or the New Living Translation. All four are contemporary translations but the latter two toss the baby out with the bath water by making “easy to read” the highest (if not sole) purpose of the translation.

    I agree that archaic language can obscure meaning at times – but it is equally true that archaic language clarifies meaning in other settings. Take insults God versus blasphemy – literally they mean the same thing, but blasphemy is a word that has acquired additional meaning in our lexicon over time. Thus while either would be a “correct” translation – choosing insult gives up some of that specialized meaning. This is also true of the example I gave: baptism v. washing.

    Obviously, this is not the case with your example of “runneth” v. runs. I have no problem ditching runneth.

  • Jon

    Joe, you make a fair point.
    Yet why not both – “insults God” and “blasphemes”? In my opinion, the Bible, like any book translated into a language, particularly a language as vibrant and liquid as English, should be read in several translations. Frankly, for me, the CEB wouldn’t make the top 5, but I could recommend it to, say, someone learning English or my catechism class.

  • Jon

    Joe, you make a fair point.
    Yet why not both – “insults God” and “blasphemes”? In my opinion, the Bible, like any book translated into a language, particularly a language as vibrant and liquid as English, should be read in several translations. Frankly, for me, the CEB wouldn’t make the top 5, but I could recommend it to, say, someone learning English or my catechism class.

  • Grace

    Mike @ 46

    The CEB is horrible, in my opinion. But it’s not the worst.”

    I agree!

  • Grace

    Mike @ 46

    The CEB is horrible, in my opinion. But it’s not the worst.”

    I agree!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@47), without defending the CEB as a whole, I still think your argument doesn’t work for everyone. As you said:

    Take insults God versus blasphemy – literally they mean the same thing, but blasphemy is a word that has acquired additional meaning in our lexicon over time.

    Sure … for a reasonably informed person sufficiently familiar with religious terminology. But there are a lot of people these days who aren’t aware of the denotation, much less the connotation, of the word. If you want to see what I mean, look up “blasphemy” at Merriam-Webster’s site and scroll down to the comments section.

    Look, I grew up with the NIV and often find myself reading the ESV these days. I get the value of those translations. But I’m a pretty literate guy with a lot of religious knowledge. “Easy to read” Bibles aren’t for me. But they are for other people, who don’t share the same rich religious heritage you and I do.

    From what I’ve read, the New Testament wasn’t written in a particularly literary way or at a high reading level. “Blasphemy” and “baptism” really were “insult” and “washing” to those people, since they were pre-existing words in those languages (which we then adopted wholesale into English).

    Might as well argue that Romans 9:29 should be translated “Lord of sabaoth” instead of “armies” or “hosts” — although I’d argue that, of those, only “armies” makes sense to the modern ear — because it’s a direct transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a direct transliteration of the Hebrew word. But pretty soon, you’re just reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew transliteration.

    Again, not that I’m defending the CEB in particular, but rather the idea of Bibles written for younger readers or those with less exposure to religious ideas.

    From what I’ve read (which isn’t much), it looks like SG’s favorite, the Contemporary English Version, is probably superior to the CEB. For what it’s worth, here’s how they translate the passages Grace mentioned:

    I tell you that any sinful thing you do or say can be forgiven. Even if you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven, either in this life or in the life to come.

    You’ll note that they also thought “blaspheme” wasn’t all that helpful a translation. But they do use “baptize” liberally.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@47), without defending the CEB as a whole, I still think your argument doesn’t work for everyone. As you said:

    Take insults God versus blasphemy – literally they mean the same thing, but blasphemy is a word that has acquired additional meaning in our lexicon over time.

    Sure … for a reasonably informed person sufficiently familiar with religious terminology. But there are a lot of people these days who aren’t aware of the denotation, much less the connotation, of the word. If you want to see what I mean, look up “blasphemy” at Merriam-Webster’s site and scroll down to the comments section.

    Look, I grew up with the NIV and often find myself reading the ESV these days. I get the value of those translations. But I’m a pretty literate guy with a lot of religious knowledge. “Easy to read” Bibles aren’t for me. But they are for other people, who don’t share the same rich religious heritage you and I do.

    From what I’ve read, the New Testament wasn’t written in a particularly literary way or at a high reading level. “Blasphemy” and “baptism” really were “insult” and “washing” to those people, since they were pre-existing words in those languages (which we then adopted wholesale into English).

    Might as well argue that Romans 9:29 should be translated “Lord of sabaoth” instead of “armies” or “hosts” — although I’d argue that, of those, only “armies” makes sense to the modern ear — because it’s a direct transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a direct transliteration of the Hebrew word. But pretty soon, you’re just reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew transliteration.

    Again, not that I’m defending the CEB in particular, but rather the idea of Bibles written for younger readers or those with less exposure to religious ideas.

    From what I’ve read (which isn’t much), it looks like SG’s favorite, the Contemporary English Version, is probably superior to the CEB. For what it’s worth, here’s how they translate the passages Grace mentioned:

    I tell you that any sinful thing you do or say can be forgiven. Even if you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven, either in this life or in the life to come.

    You’ll note that they also thought “blaspheme” wasn’t all that helpful a translation. But they do use “baptize” liberally.

  • Joe

    I guess the question becomes how far down the road of illiteracy do we go? ;)

  • Joe

    I guess the question becomes how far down the road of illiteracy do we go? ;)

  • Grace

    Joe @51

    “I guess the question becomes how far down the road of illiteracy do we go?”

    For some individuals, it appears they would go so far as, ‘Dick and Jane books, the most simplified books many older Americans read in grade school.

    The HOLY Scriptures have been understood by millions of people with limited educations.

    The Common English Bible is one of the worst examples!

  • Grace

    Joe @51

    “I guess the question becomes how far down the road of illiteracy do we go?”

    For some individuals, it appears they would go so far as, ‘Dick and Jane books, the most simplified books many older Americans read in grade school.

    The HOLY Scriptures have been understood by millions of people with limited educations.

    The Common English Bible is one of the worst examples!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    > Dick and Jane books, the most simplified books
    > many older Americans read in grade school.

    Yikes! I guess that makes me an “older American.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    > Dick and Jane books, the most simplified books
    > many older Americans read in grade school.

    Yikes! I guess that makes me an “older American.”

  • Grace

    Mike @53
    ;) you’re picture doesn’t look old at all!

  • Grace

    Mike @53
    ;) you’re picture doesn’t look old at all!

  • Grace

    The verse below, both in the Common English Bible and the King James Version – the (CEB) leaves out the “Blood” a word which any individual can understand, be they a young child to an adult. Changing this passage holds no water, as to understanding – The question is; WHY did the translators fool with this passage?

    Common English Bible

    Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God’s church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son.
    Acts 20:28

    All the excuses in the world make no sense as to WHY the “Blood” of Christ was deleted from Acts 20:28

    King James Version

    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28

    See post 20 -

  • Grace

    The verse below, both in the Common English Bible and the King James Version – the (CEB) leaves out the “Blood” a word which any individual can understand, be they a young child to an adult. Changing this passage holds no water, as to understanding – The question is; WHY did the translators fool with this passage?

    Common English Bible

    Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God’s church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son.
    Acts 20:28

    All the excuses in the world make no sense as to WHY the “Blood” of Christ was deleted from Acts 20:28

    King James Version

    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28

    See post 20 -

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Thanks Grace, but I feel old. In fact, today is my birthday, so I’m even older than I was yesterday. …and I did read those Dick & Jane books when I was in elementary school…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Thanks Grace, but I feel old. In fact, today is my birthday, so I’m even older than I was yesterday. …and I did read those Dick & Jane books when I was in elementary school…

  • Grace

    H A P P Y —- B I R T H D A Y Mike

    I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

    I’ve looked over some of the Dick and Jane books – I wish grade school could once again be so innocent. Children learning to read stories that were wholesome. Today much different, the schools want to teach things which they have no right to.

    Again, Happy Birthday – God bless you :)

  • Grace

    H A P P Y —- B I R T H D A Y Mike

    I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

    I’ve looked over some of the Dick and Jane books – I wish grade school could once again be so innocent. Children learning to read stories that were wholesome. Today much different, the schools want to teach things which they have no right to.

    Again, Happy Birthday – God bless you :)

  • Jon

    @55, Grace, Acts 20:28 reads slightly differently in some ancient texts, as I understand it. Would you tell me if you’re a KJV-only advocate?

  • Jon

    @55, Grace, Acts 20:28 reads slightly differently in some ancient texts, as I understand it. Would you tell me if you’re a KJV-only advocate?

  • Grace

    Jon @58

    No, I am not a KJV only, but I prefer it over other translations.

    “Grace, Acts 20:28 reads slightly differently in some ancient texts, as I understand it. “

    Below is an excerpt from my post @30 –

    “The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God. “

    Another interesting point regarding the Bible…. the “Dead Sea Scrolls” were found to match up with what we already had in our Bible. There again, God gave us the assurance that HIS Word had not been changed or destroyed. Because more than 350 Prophecies have come to pass, which were Prophesies given in the Old Testament and New Testament, I have no problem believing the Bible to be inerrant. The ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ are a point in fact, they were identical to what we already had when compared. This fact, along with Prophecy which has come to pass, is PROOF that the Bible is truth. The ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ were found in 1948. The scrolls were hidden in caves, a child found them, which was the most wonderful discovery to PROVE the Bible to be true, and accurate. The scrolls were found in eleven different caves.

    The Scroll manuscripts of the OT Books were one thousand years older than any in existence before the find, and THEY MATCHED. God took care of those ancient writings, and preserved them for us, to compare and examine to what we already have as the Old Testament, with that PROOF, and the Prophecies fulfilled, I HAVE NO DOUBTS about who God is, His Son or the Holy Spirit. God is who HE said He was, and IS and so is His Son.

  • Grace

    Jon @58

    No, I am not a KJV only, but I prefer it over other translations.

    “Grace, Acts 20:28 reads slightly differently in some ancient texts, as I understand it. “

    Below is an excerpt from my post @30 –

    “The New Testament was written in Greek – we don’t have the original documents, but we do have almost six thousand copies of the Greek manuscripts that were copied close to the originals in time. The interesting and MOST important part of these copies agree with each other and its almost one hundred percent (100%) accurate. The NT is just over being 99.5% pure textually —- taking it another step further there is about 1/2 of maybe 1% of all the manuscripts that don’t agree 100%. Most of the so called inaccuracies are nothing more than spelling errors, which in themselves are minor. It’s been pointed out many times that the errors are those which are, instead of the copy saying Jesus, instead says Jesus Christ. The documents have been proven to be accurate as that of the original manuscripts/documents – The Bible we have is the inerrant inspired Word of God. “

    Another interesting point regarding the Bible…. the “Dead Sea Scrolls” were found to match up with what we already had in our Bible. There again, God gave us the assurance that HIS Word had not been changed or destroyed. Because more than 350 Prophecies have come to pass, which were Prophesies given in the Old Testament and New Testament, I have no problem believing the Bible to be inerrant. The ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ are a point in fact, they were identical to what we already had when compared. This fact, along with Prophecy which has come to pass, is PROOF that the Bible is truth. The ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ were found in 1948. The scrolls were hidden in caves, a child found them, which was the most wonderful discovery to PROVE the Bible to be true, and accurate. The scrolls were found in eleven different caves.

    The Scroll manuscripts of the OT Books were one thousand years older than any in existence before the find, and THEY MATCHED. God took care of those ancient writings, and preserved them for us, to compare and examine to what we already have as the Old Testament, with that PROOF, and the Prophecies fulfilled, I HAVE NO DOUBTS about who God is, His Son or the Holy Spirit. God is who HE said He was, and IS and so is His Son.

  • Jon

    Grace, the Scrolls matched in some parts, but were wildly different in others, e.g., Exodus. Textual variants are a fact of life.

  • Jon

    Grace, the Scrolls matched in some parts, but were wildly different in others, e.g., Exodus. Textual variants are a fact of life.

  • Grace

    Jon @ 60

    “Grace, the Scrolls matched in some parts, but were wildly different in others, e.g., Exodus. Textual variants are a fact of life.”

    “Wildly” ?

    What differences and variants have you found?

  • Grace

    Jon @ 60

    “Grace, the Scrolls matched in some parts, but were wildly different in others, e.g., Exodus. Textual variants are a fact of life.”

    “Wildly” ?

    What differences and variants have you found?

  • Jon

    @ 61, Read, for example, the Wikipedia entry on the Scrolls, particularly the part dealing with the canon of scripture.
    I share your enthusiasm for the KJV; quite a statement for a Catholic, but it’s my favorite translation, errors notwithstanding.

  • Jon

    @ 61, Read, for example, the Wikipedia entry on the Scrolls, particularly the part dealing with the canon of scripture.
    I share your enthusiasm for the KJV; quite a statement for a Catholic, but it’s my favorite translation, errors notwithstanding.

  • Grace

    Jon @60

    You will need to do better than Wikipedia – that’s not a source for Biblical accuracy – I do enjoy some of their sites, but not as a definitive source for God’s HOLY Word.

  • Grace

    Jon @60

    You will need to do better than Wikipedia – that’s not a source for Biblical accuracy – I do enjoy some of their sites, but not as a definitive source for God’s HOLY Word.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@55), once again, you’re attempting to judge the validity of a translation without ever once making reference to the language being translated from. That makes no sense. It makes me think that you don’t actually understand how translation works, if all you can do is offer up comparisons to other English translations.

    Anyhow, a quick glance at an interlinear Bible tells me that the typical translation of Acts 20:28 — along the lines of “which he purchased with his own blood” — is a more or less word-for-word literal translation from the Greek. And that’s fine although, again, such translations tend to be less clear in the target language, precisely because they pass on foreign idioms and the like.

    But in this case, though you’ve raised quite a hue and cry about their using a different word than “blood”, you’ve actually missed the more notable issues with the CEB’s translation.

    After all, in English (and, it would seem, in Greek), “blood” as used in Acts 20 is a type of metaphor known as metonymy. Though Jesus did literally shed his blood, it was not merely that he bled for us, but rather, that he died. Of course, the verse refers to this concept, but note that it doesn’t literally say that Jesus gave up his life. No, in the Greek — and in most of your preferred translations — it says he gave up his blood.

    All of which makes me wonder what possible issue you could have with the CEB’s referring to Christ’s “death” instead of his giving up “his own blood”. How is that not a faithful interpretation of what that verse is saying? And yes, I would argue that “death” is more clear than the giving up of “blood”, precisely because any metaphor — including metonymy — tends to sacrifice clarity for the sake of literary qualities. Now, I happen to like literary qualities, but I still can’t see any issue with using the word “death”.

    No, the more glaring issues — for which, again, you’d have to actually look at the underlying Greek — are the CEB’s substituting “obtained” for “purchased” and referring instead to “God’s Son” instead of continuing the antecedent that refers to God. As for the first example, “obtained” simply doesn’t carry the same connotation as “purchased” — notably lacking the sense of an exchange — though, again, “purchased” is somewhat metaphorical.

    But I’m more troubled by the shift in persons in the latter part of the verse. The original Greek doesn’t actually say anything about “Son”. It just talks says that God purchased the Church with “his own blood”. Now, this is obviously a reference to Jesus, but as written in Greek, it seems to more strongly note that Jesus is God. When the CEB says that it was the death of “his own Son” by which God purchased the Church, it seems to put a little more distance between God and his Son. Perhaps that’s overstating things, especially given that I am not a Greek scholar. But that’s my sense of things.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@55), once again, you’re attempting to judge the validity of a translation without ever once making reference to the language being translated from. That makes no sense. It makes me think that you don’t actually understand how translation works, if all you can do is offer up comparisons to other English translations.

    Anyhow, a quick glance at an interlinear Bible tells me that the typical translation of Acts 20:28 — along the lines of “which he purchased with his own blood” — is a more or less word-for-word literal translation from the Greek. And that’s fine although, again, such translations tend to be less clear in the target language, precisely because they pass on foreign idioms and the like.

    But in this case, though you’ve raised quite a hue and cry about their using a different word than “blood”, you’ve actually missed the more notable issues with the CEB’s translation.

    After all, in English (and, it would seem, in Greek), “blood” as used in Acts 20 is a type of metaphor known as metonymy. Though Jesus did literally shed his blood, it was not merely that he bled for us, but rather, that he died. Of course, the verse refers to this concept, but note that it doesn’t literally say that Jesus gave up his life. No, in the Greek — and in most of your preferred translations — it says he gave up his blood.

    All of which makes me wonder what possible issue you could have with the CEB’s referring to Christ’s “death” instead of his giving up “his own blood”. How is that not a faithful interpretation of what that verse is saying? And yes, I would argue that “death” is more clear than the giving up of “blood”, precisely because any metaphor — including metonymy — tends to sacrifice clarity for the sake of literary qualities. Now, I happen to like literary qualities, but I still can’t see any issue with using the word “death”.

    No, the more glaring issues — for which, again, you’d have to actually look at the underlying Greek — are the CEB’s substituting “obtained” for “purchased” and referring instead to “God’s Son” instead of continuing the antecedent that refers to God. As for the first example, “obtained” simply doesn’t carry the same connotation as “purchased” — notably lacking the sense of an exchange — though, again, “purchased” is somewhat metaphorical.

    But I’m more troubled by the shift in persons in the latter part of the verse. The original Greek doesn’t actually say anything about “Son”. It just talks says that God purchased the Church with “his own blood”. Now, this is obviously a reference to Jesus, but as written in Greek, it seems to more strongly note that Jesus is God. When the CEB says that it was the death of “his own Son” by which God purchased the Church, it seems to put a little more distance between God and his Son. Perhaps that’s overstating things, especially given that I am not a Greek scholar. But that’s my sense of things.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@63):

    You will need to do better than Wikipedia – that’s not a source for Biblical accuracy

    Come on, Grace, don’t bury your head in the sand. If you’re half the accomplished researcher you make yourself out to be on this blog, you know how to look up the references in Wikipedia to go to the original sources. Just scoffing because it’s in Wikipedia is naive.

    In the case of the particular Wikipedia article that Jon invited you (@62) to read, Wikipedia quotes quite a bit directly from the The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Tell me, do you consider that work (or the works it, in turn, cites) to be “definitive”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@63):

    You will need to do better than Wikipedia – that’s not a source for Biblical accuracy

    Come on, Grace, don’t bury your head in the sand. If you’re half the accomplished researcher you make yourself out to be on this blog, you know how to look up the references in Wikipedia to go to the original sources. Just scoffing because it’s in Wikipedia is naive.

    In the case of the particular Wikipedia article that Jon invited you (@62) to read, Wikipedia quotes quite a bit directly from the The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Tell me, do you consider that work (or the works it, in turn, cites) to be “definitive”?

  • Stephen

    Sometimes a little bit of information leads to even less understanding.

    Jon is correct about the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are striking similarities, but their are also a number of places where the Masoritic texts differ from Qumran. Much of what Grace said @59 is overblown and inaccurate. Nothing is being “proven” here by these similarities. There is a great deal of consistency from about the 10th c. onward in the Hebrew Bible. That is certainly true. This is due to the cantillation marks in the text which guide the singing of the scriptures in the synagogue along with enumeration and divisions in the text in order to standardize and make copying easier and more accurate. Go here and read about the Masoritic texts if you are interested. It doesn’t meet with Grace’s approval I suppose, but then she hasn’t revealed her “sources” either. Read about Cave 4 at Qumran and how it is believed to have been a dump for bad manuscripts, yet these are the ones that actually match with the Masoretes. Crazy stuff!

    Interestingly, the NT writers likely did not use the Hebrew for their references to the OT (though I think Luther did, not sure), but instead used the Septuagint as Hebrew was not very common and nearly dead in the 1st c. as a spoken language. The Roman world spoke Koine Greek, including the Jews, as well as regional dialects like Aramaic, which we know Jesus spoke to 1st c. Palestinian people.

    As for the NT, it is simply not true that the variants are insignificant as Grace claims. As an example, one of the most well-known among NT scholars is Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV). The problem with this passage, for instance, is that from the variants (meaning the numerous fragments that agree or disagree) there is really no way to tell if it should read “we have peace with God” or “we may/might have peace with God.” It requires not only translation but interpretation. In the Nestle-Aland Greek NT used by most scholars of the NT, depending upon the edition (there are now 27 editions) it will read either way. Upon reflection, it is easy to see how there is a very profound theological difference between these two readings. One implies that justification is complete and thorough (“we have . . .”) while the other seems to indicate tension, as if more is yet required of the believer (“we may have . . .” as in “it is possible, but not absolutely certain”).

    So, what must be done is to judge by the context. That is usually where the rubber hits the road in translations of any ancient manuscript to determine what is being offered. In the case of creating bible translations, this is done by a group of scholars and they typically have theological perspectives that they bring. It usually comes down to a vote. The deck may be stacked. I like the RSV because of the breadth of scholars used at the time. The NRSV is also good, but dry as a stick. So when I just want to read and absorb and not parse everything I read the NIV or the old Good News for Modern Man I received in confirmation. There is never going to be precise translations of the scriptures in any real sense. There is always a language context into which they are set yet again. Think of how our language changes (“nouning” for instance as in “impact” used as a verb now). In my experience, where one is more literally accurate in one sense, another has more fluid grammar that overall “feels” more like the Greek. Where one uses old terminology that is familiar and brings up feelings we associate with what the bible ought to say, new terminology invites reflection rather than breezing over the text because one has heard it before. Anyone who is bilingual knows the difficulty of getting the “sense” of one language into another. Some are better at it than others.

    And don’t get me started on the cultural agenda at work by the imposition of the clinical term “homosexuality” in the scriptures. :)

    But, that said, God still comes to us to speak His promise regardless. This is His chosen means – frail and fragmentary human language spoken and written by sinful human beings, just as stale wafers, overly sweet wine, and tap water are also His means of coming to be with us, for us.

    My advice (if anyone cares) is to get lots of translations and compare them over time. This is especially helpful if you are really digging into a particular book or epistle. Read commentaries (Luther!) and study words at least. But also find one that is comfortable to read. Sometimes nothing beats Shakespearean language and sometimes simple, easy, contemporary English is best. I get a great deal out of just reading entire epistles in one sitting without stopping. Same with the Psalms (and I like very much Psalms Now!, but maybe that is sentiment).

    Other than that, I’m for old-school pastors who give a crap about doing their own study of the Greek NT (at least!). The last time I did Greek translation I got lost in two verses for an entire evening. You haven’t read/heard “Consider the lilies of the field/the birds of the air” until you have read it in Greek. If you can’t do that, encourage your pastor to teach the scriptures using Greek more. Insist on it by supporting seminaries. Give pastors sabbaticals for a year just to study the NT in Greek. This is our Holy Scriptures after all.

    And oh yes, find a way to teach your kids Greek and Latin, but especially Greek. Oh well, I think I probably said all this before.

  • Stephen

    Sometimes a little bit of information leads to even less understanding.

    Jon is correct about the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are striking similarities, but their are also a number of places where the Masoritic texts differ from Qumran. Much of what Grace said @59 is overblown and inaccurate. Nothing is being “proven” here by these similarities. There is a great deal of consistency from about the 10th c. onward in the Hebrew Bible. That is certainly true. This is due to the cantillation marks in the text which guide the singing of the scriptures in the synagogue along with enumeration and divisions in the text in order to standardize and make copying easier and more accurate. Go here and read about the Masoritic texts if you are interested. It doesn’t meet with Grace’s approval I suppose, but then she hasn’t revealed her “sources” either. Read about Cave 4 at Qumran and how it is believed to have been a dump for bad manuscripts, yet these are the ones that actually match with the Masoretes. Crazy stuff!

    Interestingly, the NT writers likely did not use the Hebrew for their references to the OT (though I think Luther did, not sure), but instead used the Septuagint as Hebrew was not very common and nearly dead in the 1st c. as a spoken language. The Roman world spoke Koine Greek, including the Jews, as well as regional dialects like Aramaic, which we know Jesus spoke to 1st c. Palestinian people.

    As for the NT, it is simply not true that the variants are insignificant as Grace claims. As an example, one of the most well-known among NT scholars is Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV). The problem with this passage, for instance, is that from the variants (meaning the numerous fragments that agree or disagree) there is really no way to tell if it should read “we have peace with God” or “we may/might have peace with God.” It requires not only translation but interpretation. In the Nestle-Aland Greek NT used by most scholars of the NT, depending upon the edition (there are now 27 editions) it will read either way. Upon reflection, it is easy to see how there is a very profound theological difference between these two readings. One implies that justification is complete and thorough (“we have . . .”) while the other seems to indicate tension, as if more is yet required of the believer (“we may have . . .” as in “it is possible, but not absolutely certain”).

    So, what must be done is to judge by the context. That is usually where the rubber hits the road in translations of any ancient manuscript to determine what is being offered. In the case of creating bible translations, this is done by a group of scholars and they typically have theological perspectives that they bring. It usually comes down to a vote. The deck may be stacked. I like the RSV because of the breadth of scholars used at the time. The NRSV is also good, but dry as a stick. So when I just want to read and absorb and not parse everything I read the NIV or the old Good News for Modern Man I received in confirmation. There is never going to be precise translations of the scriptures in any real sense. There is always a language context into which they are set yet again. Think of how our language changes (“nouning” for instance as in “impact” used as a verb now). In my experience, where one is more literally accurate in one sense, another has more fluid grammar that overall “feels” more like the Greek. Where one uses old terminology that is familiar and brings up feelings we associate with what the bible ought to say, new terminology invites reflection rather than breezing over the text because one has heard it before. Anyone who is bilingual knows the difficulty of getting the “sense” of one language into another. Some are better at it than others.

    And don’t get me started on the cultural agenda at work by the imposition of the clinical term “homosexuality” in the scriptures. :)

    But, that said, God still comes to us to speak His promise regardless. This is His chosen means – frail and fragmentary human language spoken and written by sinful human beings, just as stale wafers, overly sweet wine, and tap water are also His means of coming to be with us, for us.

    My advice (if anyone cares) is to get lots of translations and compare them over time. This is especially helpful if you are really digging into a particular book or epistle. Read commentaries (Luther!) and study words at least. But also find one that is comfortable to read. Sometimes nothing beats Shakespearean language and sometimes simple, easy, contemporary English is best. I get a great deal out of just reading entire epistles in one sitting without stopping. Same with the Psalms (and I like very much Psalms Now!, but maybe that is sentiment).

    Other than that, I’m for old-school pastors who give a crap about doing their own study of the Greek NT (at least!). The last time I did Greek translation I got lost in two verses for an entire evening. You haven’t read/heard “Consider the lilies of the field/the birds of the air” until you have read it in Greek. If you can’t do that, encourage your pastor to teach the scriptures using Greek more. Insist on it by supporting seminaries. Give pastors sabbaticals for a year just to study the NT in Greek. This is our Holy Scriptures after all.

    And oh yes, find a way to teach your kids Greek and Latin, but especially Greek. Oh well, I think I probably said all this before.

  • Stephen
  • Stephen
  • Grace

    Stephen @ 66

    “Much of what Grace said @59 is overblown and inaccurate. “

    One sentence from you, and all is a puff of smoke.

    “Read about Cave 4 at Qumran and how it is believed to have been a dump for bad manuscripts, yet these are the ones that actually match with the Masoretes. Crazy stuff!”

    Stephen, you IGNORE the PROPHECIES

    Which “dump” do you believe the world uses to disclaim the prophecy of the Word of GOD -…..

    ANSWER: Any dump you or anyone else will trundle through to discredit the Word of God!

    “As for the NT, it is simply not true that the variants are insignificant as Grace claims. “

    You are wrong, but it most likely serves your purpose as you ramble along with Wikipedia as a few others and YOU put their trust.

  • Grace

    Stephen @ 66

    “Much of what Grace said @59 is overblown and inaccurate. “

    One sentence from you, and all is a puff of smoke.

    “Read about Cave 4 at Qumran and how it is believed to have been a dump for bad manuscripts, yet these are the ones that actually match with the Masoretes. Crazy stuff!”

    Stephen, you IGNORE the PROPHECIES

    Which “dump” do you believe the world uses to disclaim the prophecy of the Word of GOD -…..

    ANSWER: Any dump you or anyone else will trundle through to discredit the Word of God!

    “As for the NT, it is simply not true that the variants are insignificant as Grace claims. “

    You are wrong, but it most likely serves your purpose as you ramble along with Wikipedia as a few others and YOU put their trust.

  • WebMonk

    Stephen, don’t worry about Grace’s blatherings. Everyone can see the substance of your post and the complete lack of the same in Grace’s post. You gave a solid example of a significant difference between source texts in the NT, and what was Grace’s response – “You are wrong” and that’s it.

    Don’t bother responding to her; it’s not worth it. What’s there to argue with – she stated you’re wrong, and that settles it! :-D

    I wish I could remember the book, because I really, really want to re-read it, but I went through a book on the Psalms that had virtually zero theology introspection, but was almost entirely a literary study of Psalms and a study of its poetry in the Hebrew.

    (if anyone happens to know of that book, or one like it, let me know! it was in college and I didn’t appreciate it much then, but parts of it consistently come back to mind since then, though not the title or author)

    The variations in the original texts seemed significant, though there was usually a general concept that guided the meaning even though there might be several different words/phrases used in the original texts.

    College OT classes thoroughly disabused me of any idea that there is a single, completely correct version of the OT texts – they are all hand-copied with plenty of minor variations and even purposeful changes according to copyist preference. As a whole they align in concept and message quite well, but in detailed word-by-word comparison, it is hard to find a modern chapter of the OT that doesn’t have at least three or four variations in our collections of the original texts.

    That has made me a LOT less concerned about the precise wording that modern translations use. I’ve picked out my ‘favorite’ versions that I find need the least amount of double-checking and still flow smoothly enough.

    I enjoy my ESV most regularly, but NIV and NAS get used as well. I’ve never been a fan of the KJV except for memorization of some particular passages, and especially not since I heard a pastor give a sermon that pivoted around the phrasing in the KJV. In the KJV it made the sermon sound solidly rooted, but I happened to have my NIV there and the meaning was extremely different. A bit of research afterward turned up that the words used in the KJV had a wildly different meaning 400 years ago. I’ve always been twitchy about using the KJV, always wondering if the words I’m reading have changed meaning and I am mis-using them.

    It’s made for some good Bible studies, though – I run across a passage that doesn’t feel right in the KJV, and I have to go pull out different translations and my Strongs to double-check it.

    And … I’m rambling. Sorry y’all. Waiting for some stuff at work that I can’t do anything without.

  • WebMonk

    Stephen, don’t worry about Grace’s blatherings. Everyone can see the substance of your post and the complete lack of the same in Grace’s post. You gave a solid example of a significant difference between source texts in the NT, and what was Grace’s response – “You are wrong” and that’s it.

    Don’t bother responding to her; it’s not worth it. What’s there to argue with – she stated you’re wrong, and that settles it! :-D

    I wish I could remember the book, because I really, really want to re-read it, but I went through a book on the Psalms that had virtually zero theology introspection, but was almost entirely a literary study of Psalms and a study of its poetry in the Hebrew.

    (if anyone happens to know of that book, or one like it, let me know! it was in college and I didn’t appreciate it much then, but parts of it consistently come back to mind since then, though not the title or author)

    The variations in the original texts seemed significant, though there was usually a general concept that guided the meaning even though there might be several different words/phrases used in the original texts.

    College OT classes thoroughly disabused me of any idea that there is a single, completely correct version of the OT texts – they are all hand-copied with plenty of minor variations and even purposeful changes according to copyist preference. As a whole they align in concept and message quite well, but in detailed word-by-word comparison, it is hard to find a modern chapter of the OT that doesn’t have at least three or four variations in our collections of the original texts.

    That has made me a LOT less concerned about the precise wording that modern translations use. I’ve picked out my ‘favorite’ versions that I find need the least amount of double-checking and still flow smoothly enough.

    I enjoy my ESV most regularly, but NIV and NAS get used as well. I’ve never been a fan of the KJV except for memorization of some particular passages, and especially not since I heard a pastor give a sermon that pivoted around the phrasing in the KJV. In the KJV it made the sermon sound solidly rooted, but I happened to have my NIV there and the meaning was extremely different. A bit of research afterward turned up that the words used in the KJV had a wildly different meaning 400 years ago. I’ve always been twitchy about using the KJV, always wondering if the words I’m reading have changed meaning and I am mis-using them.

    It’s made for some good Bible studies, though – I run across a passage that doesn’t feel right in the KJV, and I have to go pull out different translations and my Strongs to double-check it.

    And … I’m rambling. Sorry y’all. Waiting for some stuff at work that I can’t do anything without.

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the encouragement Webmonk. Maybe the book you are after is this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Psalms-Structure-Content-Message/dp/0806617624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314294502&sr=8-1

    Claus Westermann is an OT master. One of my profs, James Lindburg, wrote a book on him. Maybe that helps. If it’s not the book, you might like it anyway. I found Westermann fairly easy going my first year of seminary.

    Another great story about manuscripts comes from the life of Constantin von Tischendorf. He discovered the Codex Sinaiticus in a Syrian monastery in the mid 19th c. This is one of the most significant finds EVER because it is a 4th c. codex that contained the entire NT, and it was not available when the KJV was translated. One of the stories goes that on one of a few trips he took there he found a monk burning old manuscripts to heat the monastery. He rescued some from the basket near the fire (Read Bruce Metzger on this stuff). When the Tischendorf translations began to come out it caused some controversy and, as I recall, was when the first inklings of the “KJV only” thing began.

    The point about Cave 4 at Qumaran was that those manuscripts that seem to best agree with the much later Masoritic texts of the 10th c. were not found in jars. This may mean that they were set aside to be destroyed, either because they had gone into disuse or perhaps were not favorable versions. The ones found in jars are thought to be the more precious and favored versions, and they agree less with the current Hebrew bible. Go figure.

    It was common practice for hundreds of years to destroy older manuscripts simply because the materials had decayed or the text had become illegible. When a new copy became available, the old ones were destroyed, sometimes by burning them (just like the monks in the 19th c.). The development of the Greek NT, for instance (I know more about that) continues as new papyri and vellum manuscripts become available for research. I’m not opposed to new translations, though I do think there can and are certain cultural agendas in the works, especially these days, as well as marketing strategies at play. All that to say it pays to be involved in serious study, which includes learning about how and why we have these books we call bibles.

    In that regard, I was thinking about when Jesus said “take my yoke upon yourselves and learn from me.” Mat 11:29. “Disciple” means “pupil.” Learning more is not to be feared and is even encouraged. We are commanded here to learn.

    It’s pretty fascinating. For me, it simply tells me that God truly is in the details of human existence, at work in, with and under what we do to bring us his Word. Initially, when I learned Greek and began studying the NT it was disorienting. But then the upshot is that such a challenge to my intellect and reason threw me back on faith alone in Christ alone. What is it, after all, that we are meant to receive in the Holy Scriptures? Is it proof? If it were, we would have no need for faith.

    “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe .” We can never put our “hand into the side” or “see the nail prints” of the Scriptures so to speak with the kind of certainty we associate with something like mathematics. There is not a formula for a perfect translation either. But if one is baptized and receives Christ in the Supper they have what the scriptures ultimately promise. Faith comes by hearing. The next time you want to know what the bible “really” says, dip your hand in the font on your way up to Holy Communion. Listen and remember you were baptized.

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the encouragement Webmonk. Maybe the book you are after is this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Psalms-Structure-Content-Message/dp/0806617624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314294502&sr=8-1

    Claus Westermann is an OT master. One of my profs, James Lindburg, wrote a book on him. Maybe that helps. If it’s not the book, you might like it anyway. I found Westermann fairly easy going my first year of seminary.

    Another great story about manuscripts comes from the life of Constantin von Tischendorf. He discovered the Codex Sinaiticus in a Syrian monastery in the mid 19th c. This is one of the most significant finds EVER because it is a 4th c. codex that contained the entire NT, and it was not available when the KJV was translated. One of the stories goes that on one of a few trips he took there he found a monk burning old manuscripts to heat the monastery. He rescued some from the basket near the fire (Read Bruce Metzger on this stuff). When the Tischendorf translations began to come out it caused some controversy and, as I recall, was when the first inklings of the “KJV only” thing began.

    The point about Cave 4 at Qumaran was that those manuscripts that seem to best agree with the much later Masoritic texts of the 10th c. were not found in jars. This may mean that they were set aside to be destroyed, either because they had gone into disuse or perhaps were not favorable versions. The ones found in jars are thought to be the more precious and favored versions, and they agree less with the current Hebrew bible. Go figure.

    It was common practice for hundreds of years to destroy older manuscripts simply because the materials had decayed or the text had become illegible. When a new copy became available, the old ones were destroyed, sometimes by burning them (just like the monks in the 19th c.). The development of the Greek NT, for instance (I know more about that) continues as new papyri and vellum manuscripts become available for research. I’m not opposed to new translations, though I do think there can and are certain cultural agendas in the works, especially these days, as well as marketing strategies at play. All that to say it pays to be involved in serious study, which includes learning about how and why we have these books we call bibles.

    In that regard, I was thinking about when Jesus said “take my yoke upon yourselves and learn from me.” Mat 11:29. “Disciple” means “pupil.” Learning more is not to be feared and is even encouraged. We are commanded here to learn.

    It’s pretty fascinating. For me, it simply tells me that God truly is in the details of human existence, at work in, with and under what we do to bring us his Word. Initially, when I learned Greek and began studying the NT it was disorienting. But then the upshot is that such a challenge to my intellect and reason threw me back on faith alone in Christ alone. What is it, after all, that we are meant to receive in the Holy Scriptures? Is it proof? If it were, we would have no need for faith.

    “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe .” We can never put our “hand into the side” or “see the nail prints” of the Scriptures so to speak with the kind of certainty we associate with something like mathematics. There is not a formula for a perfect translation either. But if one is baptized and receives Christ in the Supper they have what the scriptures ultimately promise. Faith comes by hearing. The next time you want to know what the bible “really” says, dip your hand in the font on your way up to Holy Communion. Listen and remember you were baptized.

  • WebMonk

    I’ll have to get that book. The title certainly sounds about right, but the copy I was using was hardback, and I don’t see this book as available in hardcover. (at least not through Amazon) However, it looks like an excellent book even if it’s not the same one.

    I tend to go through books in phases, typically based upon the author – I suspect I’m about to go through a Westerman phase! I remember his name from classes, and might have even read some of his books.

    Back then I didn’t appreciate Bible studies as I should have. Maybe it was because I had to do it for grades, and the classes were all competing for time. I had quite a few 18+ credit semesters, and it wasn’t until well after college that I began to appreciate some of the things I had in those classes.

  • WebMonk

    I’ll have to get that book. The title certainly sounds about right, but the copy I was using was hardback, and I don’t see this book as available in hardcover. (at least not through Amazon) However, it looks like an excellent book even if it’s not the same one.

    I tend to go through books in phases, typically based upon the author – I suspect I’m about to go through a Westerman phase! I remember his name from classes, and might have even read some of his books.

    Back then I didn’t appreciate Bible studies as I should have. Maybe it was because I had to do it for grades, and the classes were all competing for time. I had quite a few 18+ credit semesters, and it wasn’t until well after college that I began to appreciate some of the things I had in those classes.

  • Stephen

    I know what you mean – if I had only paid attention in class when I was chasing girls!

    Walter Breuggemann is good, though he’s pretty liberal politically (I noticed his book on that amazon page). He’s still around. He is of the “higher criticism” set, but that doesn’t always mean completely useless as some conservative/confessional Lutherans have been lead to believe (and I consider myself a Confessional Lutheran). That’s my opinion, and in general does not agree with my synod. But you’re obviously smart enough to know what is useful and what isn’t.

  • Stephen

    I know what you mean – if I had only paid attention in class when I was chasing girls!

    Walter Breuggemann is good, though he’s pretty liberal politically (I noticed his book on that amazon page). He’s still around. He is of the “higher criticism” set, but that doesn’t always mean completely useless as some conservative/confessional Lutherans have been lead to believe (and I consider myself a Confessional Lutheran). That’s my opinion, and in general does not agree with my synod. But you’re obviously smart enough to know what is useful and what isn’t.

  • fws

    Stephen and webmonk.

    dang. I bow down to both of you. Awesome .

  • fws

    Stephen and webmonk.

    dang. I bow down to both of you. Awesome .

  • Stephen

    Webmonk

    I reread this:

    “College OT classes thoroughly disabused me of any idea that there is a single, completely correct version of the OT texts – they are all hand-copied with plenty of minor variations and even purposeful changes according to copyist preference. As a whole they align in concept and message quite well, but in detailed word-by-word comparison, it is hard to find a modern chapter of the OT that doesn’t have at least three or four variations in our collections of the original texts.”

    And the NT is even more fragmented and it IS all about getting a “feel” for the text. Being a science geek, you would probably love perusing a Nestle Aland Novum Testamentum Graece. All the variants are on each page and it comes with information about each manuscript with all the diacritical marks that show which texts were consulted for each verse. If you buy it new, it will have an insert with a chart of all the available NT fragments. There’s also so much new software available that you could probably pick up some translation skills in no time.

    For what it’s worth.

  • Stephen

    Webmonk

    I reread this:

    “College OT classes thoroughly disabused me of any idea that there is a single, completely correct version of the OT texts – they are all hand-copied with plenty of minor variations and even purposeful changes according to copyist preference. As a whole they align in concept and message quite well, but in detailed word-by-word comparison, it is hard to find a modern chapter of the OT that doesn’t have at least three or four variations in our collections of the original texts.”

    And the NT is even more fragmented and it IS all about getting a “feel” for the text. Being a science geek, you would probably love perusing a Nestle Aland Novum Testamentum Graece. All the variants are on each page and it comes with information about each manuscript with all the diacritical marks that show which texts were consulted for each verse. If you buy it new, it will have an insert with a chart of all the available NT fragments. There’s also so much new software available that you could probably pick up some translation skills in no time.

    For what it’s worth.

  • Stephen
  • Stephen
  • Joe

    Not sure if you all are familiar with Dr. Nathan Jastram but he was among those who worked on the project of getting the Scrolls ready to be published for the world to examine them. Currently, he is the head of the theology department at Concordia University – Wisconsin.

    Here is what he has to say about the scrolls (from an interview on Issues Etc.):

    QUESTION: In what ways have the scrolls been most useful?

    JASTRAM: In my opinion the most important conclusion that can be drawn from the scrolls is that the Bible has been copied with amazing faithfulness for thousands of years. The biblical texts discovered at Qumran are so close to the Hebrew texts produced a thousand years later that very small fragments of the scrolls can be properly identified, even when they contain only portions of a few words. It is hard to beat the feeling of elation that comes when these identifications are made. My family always knew when another fragment had been identified by the excited yells that came from the study where I worked. Finally, after two thousand years, an ancient scroll of the Bible was being pieced together again, and it showed that texts from the time of Jesus and before were substantially the same as texts from the medieval age! Sure, there are some minor variations in how the words are spelled, or how many times the word “and” occurs in lists, or whether an occasional explanatory word is original (for instance, is the original text “Jeremiah the prophet,” or just “Jeremiah”?), etc., but the variations are almost always inconsequential for the meaning of the passage. Scholars who still insist that the Bible cannot be trusted, because scribes must have introduced many significant changes as they copied the text for hundreds or thousands of years, are fighting against the actual evidence that the scrolls now provide.

    http://www.mtio.com/articles/aissar76.htm

  • Joe

    Not sure if you all are familiar with Dr. Nathan Jastram but he was among those who worked on the project of getting the Scrolls ready to be published for the world to examine them. Currently, he is the head of the theology department at Concordia University – Wisconsin.

    Here is what he has to say about the scrolls (from an interview on Issues Etc.):

    QUESTION: In what ways have the scrolls been most useful?

    JASTRAM: In my opinion the most important conclusion that can be drawn from the scrolls is that the Bible has been copied with amazing faithfulness for thousands of years. The biblical texts discovered at Qumran are so close to the Hebrew texts produced a thousand years later that very small fragments of the scrolls can be properly identified, even when they contain only portions of a few words. It is hard to beat the feeling of elation that comes when these identifications are made. My family always knew when another fragment had been identified by the excited yells that came from the study where I worked. Finally, after two thousand years, an ancient scroll of the Bible was being pieced together again, and it showed that texts from the time of Jesus and before were substantially the same as texts from the medieval age! Sure, there are some minor variations in how the words are spelled, or how many times the word “and” occurs in lists, or whether an occasional explanatory word is original (for instance, is the original text “Jeremiah the prophet,” or just “Jeremiah”?), etc., but the variations are almost always inconsequential for the meaning of the passage. Scholars who still insist that the Bible cannot be trusted, because scribes must have introduced many significant changes as they copied the text for hundreds or thousands of years, are fighting against the actual evidence that the scrolls now provide.

    http://www.mtio.com/articles/aissar76.htm

  • Joe

    Here is Dr. Jastram’s presentation that he gave at the Milwaukee Public Museum when the scrolls were on display. It is worth the watch. I was lucky enough to see it live:

    http://martin.cuw.edu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=8a56a8eb-d309-43d3-87bd-3dbdbc248741

  • Joe

    Here is Dr. Jastram’s presentation that he gave at the Milwaukee Public Museum when the scrolls were on display. It is worth the watch. I was lucky enough to see it live:

    http://martin.cuw.edu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=8a56a8eb-d309-43d3-87bd-3dbdbc248741

  • WebMonk

    Hey, did we ever get an answer to whether Dr. Veith knows something about the CEV and CEB being connected, or if he had just used CEV for Common English Bible as a mis-type?

  • WebMonk

    Hey, did we ever get an answer to whether Dr. Veith knows something about the CEV and CEB being connected, or if he had just used CEV for Common English Bible as a mis-type?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@78), I’m going with a pretty certain: mis-type.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@78), I’m going with a pretty certain: mis-type.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Right, Webmonk & tODD. My mistake. I fixed it in the post. Sorry.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Right, Webmonk & tODD. My mistake. I fixed it in the post. Sorry.

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the link Joe. I thought this was interesting:

    JASTRAM: That depends on what you consider dangerous. The scrolls have made it possible to practice textual criticism in the Old Testament, much like it has been practiced in the New Testament for many years. Some within the Church believe that the doctrine of inspiration is endangered if scholars attempt to weed out textual errors that copyists have introduced. But the doctrine of inspiration is actually distorted if it is used to insist that copyists never made mistakes. As Francis Pieper says in his Christian Dogmatics, “We have never held that the copyists of the holy writings were inspired” (vol. 1, p. 237). The proper doctrine of inspiration is that the original author was inspired; therefore his original text is the authoritative text. Textual criticism is the art of using the best available copies to get us closer to the original text. And now we have copies that come from a thousand years closer to the original texts! In a few cases, they may preserve readings that are closer to the original texts than are the readings from later copies.

    The historical-critical method for determining the authentic text has been criticized and regarded as tampering with the bible. As I understand it, this was one of the issues during Seminex in the 70s. Interesting that here he seems to be touting its value, and he even quotes Pieper!

    I hope no one has taken what I’ve written as insisting that there is no correlation between ancient manuscripts and what we have today. It is much more complex, and why I think it behooves Christians who seek fidelity to the scriptures to use every tool at hand. But if we expect what is on the page to be the thing itself, we remove the Holy Spirit from the mix and make it all about our mind’s perceptions.

    What the article affirms is that the texts we do have are reliable, but he doesn’t go so far as to say the text agree in every aspect, as if we have some photocopies of the originals (THEY MATCHED! as someone said). There a variants. Sometimes they are puzzling and sometimes not as much. And the research continues. New manuscripts and especially ones which have not been examined thoroughly are waiting to be examined. It’s a process, and takes time, people and money. But just like when Tischendorf came along with the Codex Sinaiticus, the whole bible didn’t fall apart and faith didn’t evaporate because scholars found variants in the text. That is because there has and always will until Jesus returns the Church itself, the communion of saints, that “contains” the inspired Word (there’s that word again!).

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the link Joe. I thought this was interesting:

    JASTRAM: That depends on what you consider dangerous. The scrolls have made it possible to practice textual criticism in the Old Testament, much like it has been practiced in the New Testament for many years. Some within the Church believe that the doctrine of inspiration is endangered if scholars attempt to weed out textual errors that copyists have introduced. But the doctrine of inspiration is actually distorted if it is used to insist that copyists never made mistakes. As Francis Pieper says in his Christian Dogmatics, “We have never held that the copyists of the holy writings were inspired” (vol. 1, p. 237). The proper doctrine of inspiration is that the original author was inspired; therefore his original text is the authoritative text. Textual criticism is the art of using the best available copies to get us closer to the original text. And now we have copies that come from a thousand years closer to the original texts! In a few cases, they may preserve readings that are closer to the original texts than are the readings from later copies.

    The historical-critical method for determining the authentic text has been criticized and regarded as tampering with the bible. As I understand it, this was one of the issues during Seminex in the 70s. Interesting that here he seems to be touting its value, and he even quotes Pieper!

    I hope no one has taken what I’ve written as insisting that there is no correlation between ancient manuscripts and what we have today. It is much more complex, and why I think it behooves Christians who seek fidelity to the scriptures to use every tool at hand. But if we expect what is on the page to be the thing itself, we remove the Holy Spirit from the mix and make it all about our mind’s perceptions.

    What the article affirms is that the texts we do have are reliable, but he doesn’t go so far as to say the text agree in every aspect, as if we have some photocopies of the originals (THEY MATCHED! as someone said). There a variants. Sometimes they are puzzling and sometimes not as much. And the research continues. New manuscripts and especially ones which have not been examined thoroughly are waiting to be examined. It’s a process, and takes time, people and money. But just like when Tischendorf came along with the Codex Sinaiticus, the whole bible didn’t fall apart and faith didn’t evaporate because scholars found variants in the text. That is because there has and always will until Jesus returns the Church itself, the communion of saints, that “contains” the inspired Word (there’s that word again!).

  • Mark

    Those who wish to throw stones as Dynamic Equivalent Translations really are missing the positives which are probably better attuned to today’s reader.

    Here is the biggest. Started out with the ESV for the confirmation class. Now most of this class was like most of American Christianity – basically biblically illiterate. Corollary fact was that I could only be sure that what was read and covered in class got read. Using the ESV, that meant not much. The vocab and sentence structure are just tough. Switched the the NLT. Yes, the poetry is atrocious aesthetically. Yes, some sacramental passages get leveled and other Calvinistic passages amplified. But we could read 3x the amount in one night with better comprehension and retention. And these were students that needed to hear the basic salvation story. If they believe that, I’ve got a chance to make them Lutherans in the long term.

    Now Veith’s question about agendas is worth while. If I compared the translation committee of the NLT to the CEB or other Dynamic Equivalent – I trust the NLT. The NIV is trying to straddle DE and word for word styles. The middle is a tough place to be, although it is the version in my head along with probably anyone 20 – 45 years old.

  • Mark

    Those who wish to throw stones as Dynamic Equivalent Translations really are missing the positives which are probably better attuned to today’s reader.

    Here is the biggest. Started out with the ESV for the confirmation class. Now most of this class was like most of American Christianity – basically biblically illiterate. Corollary fact was that I could only be sure that what was read and covered in class got read. Using the ESV, that meant not much. The vocab and sentence structure are just tough. Switched the the NLT. Yes, the poetry is atrocious aesthetically. Yes, some sacramental passages get leveled and other Calvinistic passages amplified. But we could read 3x the amount in one night with better comprehension and retention. And these were students that needed to hear the basic salvation story. If they believe that, I’ve got a chance to make them Lutherans in the long term.

    Now Veith’s question about agendas is worth while. If I compared the translation committee of the NLT to the CEB or other Dynamic Equivalent – I trust the NLT. The NIV is trying to straddle DE and word for word styles. The middle is a tough place to be, although it is the version in my head along with probably anyone 20 – 45 years old.

  • John

    I’ve just read all these posts. I’ve never read more vacuous bullshit in my life!


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