I’m going to blog about Scripture 2-3 times this week, and then by weekend hopefully write a bit more about my travels in Virginia last week and some exciting anti-slavery happenings in the Triangle area.
Ah, the Bible. 66-83 sacred texts (depending on your canon), comprising one volume, the most-owned and least-read piece of literature in the Western world. “Breathed” by God, written by people, transmitted in a variety of mediums throughout the ages–I love the Bible, and have grown to appreciate it (and wrestle with it) more and more the older I get, even as its significance and use in my life (and the life of my church community) has kaleidescoped as the years go on.
One way in which we, as the Christian family, continue to express our engagement with and delight for Scripture is through fresh translations and Bible publishing projects. There is a lot of debate over “formal” versus “dynamic” equivalence in translating Scripture into contemporary living languages–some say do it word-for-word and others, idea for idea. Most contemporary Bible-readers, though, utilize a variety of translations (and thus, translation schools), and for different reasons, ranging from scholarly to devotional. I like to think of dynamic equivalence renderings as contextualized, incarnational, in-the-moment responses of worship to God, made public for the benefit of a longing humanity. With this in mind two projects in process now are worth raving about…
1.) The Books of the Bible, a compilation of Scripture (TNIV translation) that removes chapter-and-verse numbers (which were added way later, if you didn’t know) and arranges the text in a narrative-chronological order, so it reads like the story it is intended to. Bravo, International Bible Society! (And I’m not just congratulating them because they’re my sometimes-employer.🙂 )
2.) The Voice Project from the Ecclesia Bible Society, spearheaded by my friend Chris Seay. Rather than go on about this one, I’ll quote myself (hee-hee) from a “blurb” I did about it in Relevant a year or so ago:
“The newly-formed Ecclesia Bible Society is releasing a full-orbed narrative and artistic retelling of the Bible, beginning with the recently-released The Last Eyewitness and Songs from the Voice, Volume One. The project includes work from notable authors, musicians, and visual artists. Project originator Chris Seay describes The Voice as a serious translation that allows the original biblical authors to speak in all their truth, beauty, and stylistic diversity.
The Ecclesia Bible Society feels like many traditional Bible translation committees have muted the original biblical authors’ unique voices. “The Chronicles of Narnia and Blue Like Jazz might sit as two bookends in my library,” said Seay. “They’re among my favorite books. But 100 years from now if a committee of translators tried to make CS Lewis’s and Don Miller’s voices sound the same on the page, you wouldn’t want to read either one.” Even so, they’re still being careful. “We have scholars on board as a vital part of The Voice project,” Seay said. “But they’re following the creative lead instead of vice-versa. They’re helping us navigate the linguistic roads, showing us the terrain so that we can avoid translational pot holes and ditches.”
Ultimately, Seay and The Voice contributors hope to resource the Christian community with “the full narrative force of Scripture, which for too long has been blunted by a ‘propositional’ grid.”
The Ecclesia Bible Society is not-for-profit, and all revenue generated will be dedicated to church planting and humanitarian initiatives. Their stated goal is to embody God’s kingdom in voice and deed.
“What we long to do is retell the stories of Scripture, not only in truth but in beauty. We hope that you fall in love with these stories anew.”
How about you? What are some ways in which you are loving/wrestling with Scripture? What are some of your favorite “incarnations” of the Bible?