Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coming Soon from Thomas Nelson - The [expanded] Bible New Testament

Thomas Nelson is proudly releasing a new Bible translation this August. Well, it’s not quite new. The new Bible is an expanded edition based on a "modified version" of the New Century Version. Similar to what the Amplified Bible does this new edition expands the text in a variety of ways. The expansions will function in a number of ways: 1) It may offer “other possible ways of translating a word, phrase, clause, or sentence.” 2) It may suggest “a different translation possibility that takes the meaning of the original language in a different direction that the base text does.” 3) It may offer “a more literal rendering of the original language.” 4) It may “provide familiar terms and well-known renderings from past translations, especially those in the King James tradition.” 5) It may “briefly provide historical, cultural, theological, or other explanatory information to help readers better understand a verse or passage.” I’ve never been a big fan of the Amplified Bible because it lead too many readers into thinking the words meant everything that was in the parentheses every where they occur. When I first heard about this edition I was somewhat leery but from what I’ve seen so far I think Nelson has done a good job. In my opinion it is the Amplified Bible done right. The same potential exists for misunderstanding the notes that I’ve observed with users of the Amplified but hopefully we won't see much of that. A note in the Introduction of The [expanded] Bible is helpful: "The goal of this approach is not to suggest that a text can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean (it cannot), but to show that the Bible in its original languages is rich, multi-layered, and profound." At the end of the day this is a problem with the user rather than the version itself. Some will complain that the format itself lends to this sort of problem but while there is some truth to this some responsibility rests with the reader. The more notes are embedded into the actual text, however, the harder it is for the reader to separate note from text. All of this is to say care must be used with this Bible as with any study Bible.
The scholars involved with the project are Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College, Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary San Diego, and Daniel Taylor, professor of literature and writing at Bethel University.

Wayne Hastings, Senior Vice President and Group Publisher of the Bible Division for Thomas Nelson Publishers, is offering a free PDF version of the New Testament on his blog Off the Shelf.

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