- External – historical or scientific inaccuracies
- Internal – too many textual variants or obvious interpolations and other later edits
- Internal – logical inconsistencies
In this last category falls the serious objection known as “Jesus’ failed prophecies,” which is discussed in one of the most challenging books on leaving faith that I have read, former Wycliffe missionary Kenneth Daniels’ Why I Believed.
There’s a ton out there, and Aaron, please feel free to add to this list. Here are my favorites so far:
- biblegateway.com – this site I use quite a lot because you can search a passage across many translations at ONCE, and view the differences (try Passage Lookup in the left nav) – includes translations into other languages
- blueletterbible.org – all in one study tool to find commentaries and word definitions, etc. Totally cross-linked and cross-referenced.
- netbible.org – this one is interesting bc it is the first ‘open source’ bible, meaning that there are no copyright restrictions like with ALL other English bible translations. Also, they offer copious interpreters notes to go along w/ each verse, including alternate readings and why they made certain interpretive decisions. You can mouse over footnotes to see them below. You can also buy this translation, with all the notes, as a regular Bible. However, I did not do that because it is not my favorite English translation – there are others (copyrighted ;) that I like more, as far as readability are concerned (probably roughly equal in translation quality).
History and Background
- ccel.org – Christian Classics Etherial Library has lots of good secondary docs, including stuff by the Church Fathers
- searchgodsword.org – lists commentaries next to search results
This comes from an admittedly biased news source, but all the basic facts seem to check out. A Michigan man is suing two publishers of Bibles for violating his constitutional rights and contributing to his physical and emotional distress because they publish versions of the Bible which proclaim homosexual acts as sinful.
Should he be able to sue the publishers? If so, what does that say about religious freedom guaranteed under the Constitution or does his desire for freedom from persecution trump their rights of the publishers and editors, not to mention the readers, of the Bibles?
Teh ayngles wented to seez Ceiling Cat, and Saitin wented two. Ceiling Cat axt Saitin, "Wher wuz u?" Saitin saied "Oh, hai. I’z wuz in ur earth, wawking up and down uponz it." Teh Ceiling Cat sayd "Has u seen mai servnt Job? He can has cheezburger cuz he laiks me."
"No wai!" sed Saitin. "U just plyin favrits. If u take his cheezburgers, oar his bukkit, he no laiks u no moar."
Then teh Ceiling Cat sed "Okai, u can take his bukkit, but no hurtzing Job hissef." And then Saitin went awai.
Unfortunately as Christianity becomes politicized with the religious right and the religious left, issues are lumped on to one side, discouraging the other side from supporting that cause. Just as many on the religious left have ignored the evils of abortion, too many on the right shy away from issues of social justice.
In Part I, we examined the TSNT translation of NT passages that deal with homosexuality. We discussed why this supposedly "gay-friendly" translation doesn’t seem that friendly, and why it may be a translation based on a hermeneutic of common Greek usage, while not considering the theological culture and history of the writer (the Apostle Paul). Today, we look at the infamous passage in Romans 1 (previously discussed here).
I just reported on the Study New Testament for Lesbians, Gays, Bi, and Transgender, but this bible doesn't seem to destigmatize homosexuality in its translation of the NT – except that it doesn't use the term "homosexual." And I must say, its interpretation of the passages, supposedly using the most up to date understanding of ancient Greek, seems to interpret a lot more than it translates.
Books such as Daniel A. Helminiak‘s What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality have promoted a pro-gay interpretation of both the OT and NT passages that deal with homosexuality. In general, they take an approach that says (a) that only homosexual (temple) prostitution, and rape are condemned, but not homosexuality proper, (b) that homosexual orientation was not understood or addressed, and (c) that the gospels do not record Jesus ever condemning homosexuality. Of course, there are many credible responses to these claims.
However, one NT scholar, Ann Nyland, has taken this more liberal hermeneutic to heart, and has produced a "gay-friendly, woman-friendly" NT translation called The Source New Testament (TSNT). You can purchase it at the publisher (out of print until end of July) or purchase in PDF at gayandlesbianbible.com, and you can read an interview with Nyland at Better Bibles Blog, as well as an interview at gayandlesbianbible.com.
A project called The Books of the Bible Project is about to release a new layout for the bible that encourages reading of the books as literature. Endorsed by a few heavy hitters like Gordon Fee, this Bible makes some interesting and thoughtful changes to increase comprehension. But the most interesting and radical change made is that they are re-ordering the books of both testaments – wow!
- Bible Translation: The Better Bibles Blog is a nice place to read about and discuss the strengths and shortcomings of the many English translations of the bible.
- Bible Translation: The newly released Holman Bible (HCSB) has a really interesting take on their translation philosophy. Rather than being a formal equivalent (word-for-word, like NASB, NKJV, ESV), or dynamic equivalent (thought-for-thought, like NIV, TLB), they combine these two excellent methods, using what they call an optimal equivalence method.
- 2006 Book Awards: Check out the ECPA Christian Book Awards. I note that my new favorite English Bible Translation, the ESV, was a finalist. So was the HCSB. The abysmal Message translation won. Go figure. Note the differences between The Message and other translations of 1 Timothy 1:9-10 and you’ll see what I mean.
I can’t help it – I love the English Standard Version (ESV) bible. But not just because it is a great "formal equivalence" translation (probably the best available now, maybe the NASB needs to step aside), but the guys there are really trying to innovate. I mean, check out the list of cool things they have announced recently on their blog, including Bible Places on Google Maps, ESV Web Services (which enables such cool sites as the community tagged bible at xpound.org), and the Journal Format bible (the print is too small for me, but it’s a cool idea).
But their latest innovative thing is the Reverse Interlinear NT. Check out the post about why it is great for those who want to dabble in the Greek, and how it is superior to traditional interlinear bibles. And if you really want to geek out, you can download and print the entire preface to this bible and read it on you lunch hour (like I did today).
The Chicago Sun Times has a good article on modern bible translations, called One Faith, Many Bibles. Nothing controversial, but nice list of resources. Me, I prefer the NASB, ESB, and LB translations, and stay away from the NIV, TNIV, TLIB, and the Message translations. I used to read NKJ, but now prefer the NASB and ESB for more literal translation.
A few weeks ago I received a sample in the mail of a new Bible called the Outdoor Bible. When I first heard about this I was admittedly skeptical given the recent efforts to repackage the Bible and market it to different audiences (this and this are some of the more extreme examples of this practice). However, when I actually got my hands on the Outdoor Bible I was pleasantly surprised.
The Outdoor Bible was the brainchild of two friends who loved the outdoors but couldn’t figure out how to carry a Bible with them that wouldn’t get wet or ruined by weather. Eventually they came up with this product which is very durable and folds compactly and is easy to carry in a backpack.
This is one of the few instances where I can say a "repackaging" of the Bible makes sense as this is a very handy way for hikers and other outdoor lovers to carry the Bible with them wherever they go.
Next to the NKJV/NRSV translations, the Living Bible is one of my favorite paraphrase translations (it leaves botch jobs like The Message in the dust – in the translator’s defense, however, you can read an interview at CT). The Living Bible is easy to read and faithful to the intended meaning of the texts, a great companion for study.
I particularly like the early 70′s illustrated version (cover shown) that includes lots of pics from the Jesus Movemement, probably one of the last big revival movements in the U.S.
Anyway, the original translator has died, leaving quite a legacy. He started Tyndale Publishing because no one would print his paraphrase. Read more at CT:
- Ken Taylor, Translator of The Living Bible, Dies at 88
Founder of Tyndale House Publishers, Christian Booksellers Association, was driven by passion for Bible.
- Ken Taylor: God’s Voice in the Vernacular
Although his work has made him famous, he remained a retiring and modest figure.
- The Living Bible’s Modern Hero
Ken Taylor’s autobiography shows a man who makes nothing of an extraordinary life.
- The Living Bible Reborn
From the Living Bible to the New Living Translation.