The Modern English Version — First Thoughts

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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.

What is the Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles?

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Leviticus 23:41-43 New King James Version (NKJV)

41 You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’”

I’ve often wondered  what could be the meaning of this Jewish feast. We know that the feasts all picture a particular truth that God wanted the Israelites to see; we also know that they all have a second, deeper, spiritual meaning and will be finally fulfilled in the Second Coming of Christ. So the meaning of this feast has to be something more than just a reminder to the Jewish people that when God brought them up out of Egypt they lived in booths.

I was reminded of this a few days ago when I was reading an article that made the statement that the Feast of Tabernacles would be the only one of the feasts still celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom. Is that the truth? I don’t know, and that’s not what I wish to explore in this post. But first we need to look at just what is meant by this word “booths” or “tabernacles”.

The Hebrew word is transliterated “cukkah” and pronounced sük·kä’.  Strong’s number H5521 if you would care to look it up. Most Bible versions I checked translate this as “booths”. In the King James Version it occurs 31 times and is translated 12 times as “tabernacle”, 11 times as “booth”, 5 times as “pavilion”, 1 time as “cottage”, 1 time as “covert”, and 1 time as “tents”. The actual meaning of the word is “a rude or temporary shelter.” (Blue Letter Bible)

So what are these booths? For all intensive purposes I think we could say these are probably tents of one form or another. At any rate, we know they are temporary shelters.

So how could this be related to anything that our Lord Jesus did? Well, let’s take a look at a few scriptures. First let’s look at John 1:14:

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)

OK, so Jesus (the Word) became flesh and lived among us – made his dwelling among us. There’s our word, but in Greek this time, transliterated skēnoō. It means to live in a tabernacle, or tent. (Blue Letter Bible) Jesus became flesh (became a human being, took on a human body) and pitched his tent among us. But more than just pitching a tent, God the second person (Jesus) put on a temporary shelter (his human body) and lived on earth among us. You get that? John, through the Holy Spirit, is saying that God became a man and lived here on earth!

Let’s look at another short passage, this time from 1 John:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (NIV)

Here John is testifying to the same truth we read in the previous verses, that God came to earth and became a man, and this time he adds that we (the Apostles and others alive at the time) have seen Him, we have heard Him speak, we have even touched Him. We testify that He is real, and that He is the eternal God.

John is saying that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God. And that is what the Feast of Tabernacles is looking forward to — the incarnation — the coming to earth of the living God, putting on a temporary shelter, and dwelling among us, and doing for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

While the Jews may deny this, and claim that the only purpose of the feast is to remind them that God made them dwell in temporary shelters, or tents, during the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness after coming out of Egypt, I think this may be the real meaning of the feast.

Not good…

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As I am researching this translation called “The Voice”, I am running across a few disturbing reviews:
http://www.extremetheology.com/2008/11/review-of-the-voice-new-testament—part-one.html

http://www.extremetheology.com/2008/12/review-of-the-voice-new-testament-part-two.html

Stay tuned for further developments.