Yet Another Bible Translation

I see that yet another Bible translation is coming down the pike. After watching the people on the video moan and groan because they can’t read any of the older translations (maybe it’s because they can’t read much at all), we are treated to a translation that gets things wrong right off the bat in Genesis 1:1. Their translation: “When God began to create the heavens and the earth—the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters—.” They treat verse 2 as a parenthesis, followed by verse 3 being the climax. This translation says something vastly different about physical matter than the more traditional interpretation does. The CEB assumes that matter was already existing when God began to do His creating work. Since time did not exist before creation, this translation assumes (or at the very least strongly suggests!) the eternality of matter. One wonders why in the world they opted for this translation when the vast majority of scholars and translations have examined it and rejected it. It smacks of trying to be edgy, and I despise that in Bible translation.

In terms of style and readibility, what does this translation offer that the New Living Translation doesn’t offer? Is the NLT now too archaic? Or let’s even talk about, say, the NIV. Why is the NIV now so incredibly unreadable? And these are only those which are on the dynamic equivalent side of things. Is the ESV, NKJV, or even RSV so very difficult? I would even argue that the KJV is not nearly as difficult as people think. Those poor people must not have searched very long if they couldn’t find a Bible they could understand. One has to make a little effort, or does the translating world now think that we have to dumb everything down to the lowest possible level? I admit to being harsh here. That is because I do not believe that the proliferation of translations out there is doing us any favors. Now we have a niche translation for every possible sector of society, and a resulting Babel of confusion when it comes to biblical literacy (I wonder whether that even exists anymore).

In terms of modern translations, my two favorites are the HCSB and the ESV. I especially like the translation philosophy of the HCSB, which the dynamic equivalent folks need to pay far more attention to. But as I am reading my KJV through this year, in honor of its 400th anniversary, I am finding that with a little perseverance, the KJV is not difficult.

Don’t we have enough English translations now? We have them on every possible spot on the translation philosophy spectrum, and we have them on every possible spot on the conservative/liberal spectrum. We have them on every possible spot on the spectrum of this supposed criterion of “readibility.” Scholars really need to find something else to do with their time.

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