Loving the Bible, Part One: Fresh Expressions

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?

4 Responses to “Loving the Bible, Part One: Fresh Expressions”

  1. 1 Frank Spencer September 27, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    “The Message” has capitivated me for some time, and that is saying alot for someone who has been an avid Bible stident for the last 20 years, studying anything and everything I could get my hands on in order to understand original languages and meaning, context, tenses, chronology, apologetics, etc. I realize the arguments against this version, and I’m not saying it’s great for study purposes, but there’s something that I can’t quite put my finger on that draws me into its style and rendering.

    Gee, writing this is making me miss Scriptural teaching again… oh well, walking a different path these days!

  2. 2 Muqeem December 18, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    A Big Mistake
    It is unfortunate that some people mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than Jews and Christians, and that “Allah” is just the “god of the Arabs”. While word Allah is also used by Arabs Cristian . Last words of Jesus waere ” Ilahi Ilahi Lima sabaqtani” It means O my God O My God why left me”. Word Ilah is rood word of Allah. This myth, which has been propagated by the enemies of Islam, is completely false since the word “Allah” is simply the Arabic name for Almighty God. It is the same word for God which is used by Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians. However, it should be clarified that even though Muslims worship the same God as Jews and Christian, their concept of Him differs somewhat from the beliefs of other religions – mainly because it is based completely on Divine Revelation from God. For example, Muslims reject the Christian belief that God is a Trinity, not only because the Quran rejects it, but also because if this was God’s true nature, He would have clearly revealed it to Abraham, Noah, Jesus and all of the other prophets. Islam was religion of Abraham, Jackob, Isaq, Ishmael. (Peace and blessings of God upon all of them). Because Islam literally means path of submission to God Almighty only worthy to be worshiped and only worthy to be begged.

    for more http://islam100.wordpress.com

    “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission to the will of God”. This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word “salam”, which means “peace”. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law. The most important truth that God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, thus all human beings should submit to Him.

  3. 3 Phillip Woeckener February 14, 2010 at 1:39 am

    With regards to The Voice, I’ll just say that replacing Christ with “Liberating King” alone is pure blasphemy. But then we lost “Baptist” for 100 different translations of that word, which is not what the original manuscripts had in mind. And since when do we decide that Angel should be replaced with “Messenger”. I mean, for crying out loud, none of these changes makes this “translation” any easier to read then any of the 10 other traditional translations I have sitting on my bookshelf.

    So please don’t insult my intelligence by calling “The Voice” a Bible or a “Translation”. It is neither. This is Seay’s idea of personal propaganda for the Emergent Church. I mean, they are already cussing their way through sermons; why stop with that when you can completely rewrite scripture to suit your own selfish desires, and then you can use it to wipe your rear end after you defecate, because frankly that’s all this book is good for.

    In the immortal words of Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society” when describing the words of J. Evans Pritchart… “EXCREMENT!!!”

    Rip it out!!! Go on, RIP IT!!!

  4. 4 zoecarnate February 14, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Wow, somebody’s angry. Tell me, what causes someone to get so worked up about a two-and-a-half-year-old blog post?

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