First thoughts? My first thought when I saw the MEV on Bible Gateway was, “Hoo boy, what do we need another Bible translation for? It’s probably not even a very good one.”
Well, then I started looking at it, including it in a few translation comparisons in my personal Bible study, and it was quickly obvious that the MEV was not a “new” translation. I mean, it’s new, but it’s not really new. Let me try to explain.
Over the years, I have realized that what I have been looking for in a Bible translation, for better or for worse, is a Bible that sounds just like the Bible I used to hear read in the church of my youth. I loved the beauty and majesty of that old Bible translation. I loved the phrasing and rhythm of that old Bible. The problem was, I found that old Bible hard to understand once I got beyond just hearing the stories read. Bible study became a bit of a chore. So much of it was taken up simply by defining English terms, to say nothing of the original languages and idioms. I often became really bogged down in concepts that I couldn’t quite get a handle on, simply because the language being used was not the English of today.
So I moved on in my late-teens in seeking an easy-to-understand Bible. And over the years I found a few. I got so I was pretty good, I thought, at determining which ones were the very best, and I bought and used them for years and years. But there was a problem.
The easy-to-understand Bibles were easy to understand, but it was hard to find the beautiful phrasing and rhythm I wanted. And the less easy to understand versions were usually not a whole lot better in the area of beauty of phrasing and rhythm, and on top of that they were usually much harder to understand.
Well, to be honest, I gave up. I thought the state of Bible translation was just that — easy to understand vs. hard to understand — and I’d just have to live with that.
Then I started to take note of the Modern English Version.
If I have any complaint at this point, it’s the name. It sounds like just another new translation. It’s not going to grab anybody. I don’t think very many people will look at the myriad of translations available and say the one they want is the MEV. I think very few churches are going to switch their pew Bibles over to the MEV. I doubt that many pastors will switch their own study and sermon preparation over to the MEV.
But get past the name…try really hard to get past the name.
What I found in the MEV was just what it claims to be. It is the King James Version in modern English. That’s where the name comes from. It uses the same manuscripts as the old KJV, but there’s not a “thee” or a “thou” in sight. Yet it’s so familiar, so smooth, so right! Right from the start I had the feeling I was reading the Bible I grew up with, but without the archaic English. It seems to be a very good translation for an old geezer like me. It was like putting on a pair of good shoes that fit perfectly, and feel so good, even though you have never put them on before. And so far, I have found nothing wrong with it.
Now, I got a paper copy of this Bible for Christmas, which is the way I like to do most of my Bible reading and study. I have the large-print personal-size with a soft leather-like cover in cherry brown with rose-gold edge gilding, and Smyth-sewn binding. It’s a beautiful Bible and feels good in my hands. I did notice when I first took it out of the box that the rose-gold edging seemed to stick quite a bit and took a lot of careful separating work before it was comfortable to use.
Like I said though, these are just my first thoughts on this Bible. But I am very impressed. We’ll see how things go over the next few years. But I can tell you, if you’re looking for a Bible that gives you the KJV, but in modern English, I think you should definitely give the MEV a try.