Monday, October 24, 2011

My New Favorite Bible Translation @CommonEngBible @TBBMediaGroup @audrajennings

Ever since I got the Mosaic Bible two years ago, I have been a big fan of the NLT. However, the recently released Common English Bible has made me betray my beloved NLT and use the CEB primarily.

A lot has been written about the benefits of the CEB (and its downsides). Much of this has been written by scholars with much more education on the topic of translation than I have, so I'll direct toward those. However, what I can say is that it is quite useful. What I loved about the NLT was that it was easy to read while maintaining what I considered appropriate fidelity to the original texts. The CEB takes this a step further, really making the language accessible to people. While it is easy to read, it is also quite easy to listen to. It has been the primary translation used in our church for the last few months, and it has been quite appropriate for lectionary readings both as a group or individually.

Besides its pragmatic benefits, I like a lot of the philosophy behind the CEB. The fact that it was first released digitally (and free through YouVersion) shows that the publishers are really trying to interact with modern culture and also are not necessarily as focused on making a profit.

I like how it was developed interdenominationally and with laity through reading focus groups of people who approached it not only theologically but practically. Those who follow translations know that a very literally accurate translation may be quite unreadable to the modern English speaker...

The aspect of the CEB I appreciate the most is its break with using particular words all the time. As has been discussed elsewhere in the blogosphere and academia, language can lose meaning over time as we become numb to the power of particular words, especially religious words. Sometimes changing the word makes us pay attention to the passage and the meaning again. The CEB does this, not without controversy. However, I have found it to be helpful to re-engage the text and really explore what the Scriptures actually mean rather than what I assume them to mean based on preconceived notions of certain language.

If you haven't explored the CEB yet, I highly recommend you do. The physical Bibles themselves are pretty cheap, although again, it can be found for free digitally in some markets.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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