Wednesday, June 07, 2006

From King James Version to Cotton Patch Version

I collect Bible translations and versions. There are more of them than you can imagine.
Everybody has heard of the King James Version. But did you know there is a New King James Version? You may think that the King James is considered the standard, and for many people it is, but there's also the American Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Kind of confusing as to which is the standard, isn't it? There are Bibles from cities, like The Geneva Bible, and The Jerusalem Bible. There are Bibles that tell you their state of being, like The Living Bible. Apparently that last one died and was reborn, because we now have the New Living Translation. There is even a translation of the Gospel of Luke written in Gullah, Sea Island Creole.
I'm not making this up.
Some of these Bibles are paraphrases, not translations. The paraphrases can get quite creative. For example, The Message uses such contemporary expresssions that the psalmist in Psalm 73 asks "Is God out to lunch?" and in the gospels Jesus calls the Pharisees "blockheads."
One of the most unusual paraphrases is the Cotton Patch Version. Clarence Jordan, a Greek scholar who lived on a farm in Americus, Georgia, wondered what the Bible would sound like if it were written in the South. He has Jesus born in Gainesville and crucified in Atlanta. In the Cotton Patch Version, Annas and Caiaphas are co-presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Good Samaritan is a black man.
This plethora of Bible translations and paraphrases reflect a hunger that people have to get a message from God in a form they can understand. While some Bible versions go to strange extremes, they are all trying to tell the "De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ," as the Bible in Gullah calls it. So check with your pastor or a knowledgeable Bible student to find a Bible that is dependable and readable, and dig in. There are great treasures to be unearthed.



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5 comments:

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

That was a great post!!!

Brother Bob said...

Thanks. I have been asked, "Okay, pastor, which translation do you recommend?"
My answer is that it depends on where you are spiritually and what you are looking for.
If you are a mature Christian and you want a very accurate translation, I would recommend the New American Standard Bible or English Standard Version. If you are a new Christian or you are looking for a Bible that is easy to read, I would recommend the New International Version or, even easier to read but less accurate, the New Living Translation. If you are looking for a Bible that balances accuracy with readability, I would recommend the Holman Christian Standard Bible, or, less accurate but easier to read, the New International Version.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

Which one do you use? And....drum roll please....Brian has one of the early German translations somewhere. He called the name, but I've forgotten it.

Brother Bob said...

I make use of all kinds of translations, but I do most of my daily Bible reading in the Holman Christian Standard, and I preach from the New International Version. I often compare what the New American Standard and English Standard Version have to say for careful study, and I often look at the King James Version before preaching on a text, in case there are any parts of that translation that I need to explain. I sometimes quote more contemporary versions like The New Living Translation and The Message if the wording helps illustrate a passage more vividly.
But the bottom line is that the two translations I use the most are the Holman Christian Standard Bible and the New International Version. I find both of those to be a good balance of readability and accuracy, with the HCSB being more accurate and the NIV being more readable.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

I think the congregation of your church probably doesn't know how lucky it is to have employed such a smart man. :)