Friday, February 26, 2016

The Bible This Year

Jerome Studies Scripture
Art by Lowgan
At the start of each year for the last few of them my wife and I begin using new Bible translations for our daily studies. We do this in hopes that the unfamiliar words will perhaps shake us loose from an unexamined assumption now and then. I also use the translation here as much as possible for the same reason.

Last year we both tried The Voice, a very interesting Bible that uses out-of-the-ordinary wording and page design to force you to think about what you're reading. If you want a translation that's as far from the King James Version as possible, that's the one for you.

The year before that I used the little-known Easy to Read Version (ERV), which became one of my all time favorites.  It can be tricky to extract the meaning from the Bible's foreign languages (hebrew and greek) and put it accurately into english, especially simple, commonplace english. But the ERV translators have a knack for doing just that and are so good at it that I kept finding myself smiling at how well they rendered this or that verse.

For 2016 I wanted to use the New Jerusalem Bible, a translation near and dear to my heart. In fact I actually am using it for my personal studies, but unfortunately it's one of the few Bibles BibleGateway -- to which I link all this blog's scriptures -- doesn't have. In fact nobody online does, with the sole exception of Catholic.org, but theirs is homely, drowning in ads, and very awkward to use.

So this year I finally chose the venerable Good News Bible to be the 2nd translation on Authentic Light. I've used the GNB off and on for years and owned several copies (that fell apart), but I've never really been enthused about it. However it has this one irritating habit: whenever I read a scripture and think, "You know, a better way to translate that verse would be..."  the Good News Bible frequently has already translated it that way. You may have noticed that I quoted it a couple of times on my Wednesday post.

Translating "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil," (Matthew 5.17) as "I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true" is just exactly right.

Plus it's the script of my all-time favorite Jesus film, The Gospel of John. You can really see what an effective version it is in that movie, with people acting it out.

So for this year, the Good News Bible it is.  Always backed up, as usual, by my primary version, the NET Bible.



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