“Music and worship practices have shifted significantly in the previous 15 years, with more emphasis on image and metaphor. A new translation must attend to evocative language that is more engaging emotionally than precise, systematic syntax. Further, due to globalization, technology, and the internet, enormous changes have occurred in the English language since the major translations were prepared a generation or two in the past. It is time for a new translation that responds to the more recent needs and idioms of Bible readers.”


Well, we knew that! Here on these blogs they’ve been saying it for years – the language is changing rapidly! Our new translations need to reflect that change.

But why the Common English Bible? Look at all the translations that have come down the pike in just this decade! Don’t we have Bibles that reflect the change? Don’t we have Bibles that are good for the laypeople, but also are good for use in teaching, worship, and liturgy? What is so different about the CEB?

Well, the big sticking point I can see is the fact that the CEB is being made from the start as an “ecumenical” Bible. That is, it will include the Apocrypha. I don’t know if it will be standard that way, or if people will be able to buy it with or without the Apocrypha, as they can with the NRSV.

But is that all? Is it just the Apocrypha they want? We never use the Apocrypha in the UMC where I’m a member, nor in any other UMC I’ve ever attended. Our NRSVs don’t have it. So what’s to keep us from using the TNIV or the NLT as our church’s Bible?

I think I know what it is, do you? I’m going to say it, too. Here it is: The liberals in power in the UMC and other mainline churches have rejected evangelical scholarship outright. They won’t even consider an “evangelical” translation as any kind of “official” translation for our churches.

That’s sad. That’s tragic. Not only that, it’s a travesty.

We have Bible translations on the market right now that speak the English language clearly to the English speakers of today – the TNIV, the NLT, and more. But those of us who dare to use them will always be looked down upon by the mainline intelligentsia, because they’re “evangelical” and do not meet their criteria as “ecumenical”. Besides, those translations were put out by “those” people, not “our” people.

I hope the new CEB turns out to be an outstanding translation and quells my criticism. But don’t hold your breath.

It’s sad.