What is your favorite version of the Bible and why?
I recently made a switch. For the past couple of years I’ve been very happy with “today’s new international version” because of several factors (and its new form in the NIV 2011).
First, I always look for a gender inclusive translation as this is more faithful to the intention of the Greek. For a great discussion of this check out the relevant chapter in “How to Read the Bible for all its Worth” by Fee.
Second, I always look for a translation that is readable yet gets at the heart of the intention of the Greek. I like a “thought for thought” translation more than a “word for word” approach because the power of the Bible is not in the words but in the concepts/ideas that it conveys. I could say more about this part of the debate, but I would encourage you to do some reading on the difference styles of translation. All of them have their value, but the TNIV does a good job of being faithful to the “words” while also rendering excellent thought for thought translation.
Those two above categories are just a few of the reasons why the TNIV has been my favorite for the last few years. I also enjoy how the TNIV translated some of my favorite verses. One of these, is 2 Corinthians 5.17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” whereas most other translations rendered this passage to focus on an individual person, this translation rightly asserted that this passage about new creation is cosmic in scale!
So… Why did I make a change? Into which Bible have I change to?
A couple of months ago I received a review copy of the “Common English Bible.” this Bible represents a translation project of numerous denominations and theological background. One of the lead editors of this Bible is Joel Green, a theologian that I have much respect for. Having done my devotions in this Bible for the last months I can honestly say that I am impressed.
Not only does it contain the qualities that I listed above about that TNIV, but the language is smoother and the word choices are more theologically in tune to what I look for when reading Scripture. For instance, the Greek word that is often rendered “righteousness” equally can be rendered “justice.” What I have noticed in this Bible is that they make very careful word choices and often render the Greek word as justice which I think is a good move.
And remember that Corinthians passage above? Check out how the CEB translates: “So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 CEB). I love how this translation makes clear that when a person accepts Jesus, they become part of God’s new creation project, that was inaugurated in resurrection and will be consummated at the return of Christ!
There are several other reasons why I’ve made the switch to the “Common English Bible” but I will let you discover those for yourself. I have a feeling, if we share a similar theological and ministry framework, that you will be impressed as you compare your favorite passages with how the CEB translates.
So I ask you again: What is your favorite translation of the English Bible and why? What do you look for?