I have now completed reading through the Matthew sampler of the CEB, and there are a few more odd renderings I would like to mention.
Matthew 26:53 “Or do you think that I’m not able to ask my Father and he’ll send to me more than twelve battle groups of angels right away?”
Comment: Battle groups? I suppose it’s fresh, but battle groups? Whatever.
Matthew 26:65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He’s insulting God!…”
Comment: Well, who even understands what blaspheming is nowadays, anyway? Maybe this will be more understandable. But in my mind I can’t help but think, “Can’t God take a little insult? What’s so bad about that?” Maybe insult just isn’t strong enough.
Matthew 27:28 “They stripped him and put a red military coat on him.”
Comment: It seems a bit odd – I think it’s traditionally translated as a robe – but perhaps this is more accurate, and will make it easier to understand exactly what this garment was that they put on Jesus.
Matthew 27:29 “Then they bowed down in front of him and mocked him, saying, “Greetings, King of the Jews.””
Comment: Greetings just doesn’t cut it for me. They’re not saying “Hi there.” They’re mocking him, saying “HAIL, KING OF THE JEWS!”
Matthew 27:51 and throughout “Look” traditionally translated as “Behold!”
Comment: Nearly every instance of this in Matthew is simply not the way people talk. If they can’t handle using the expression “behold”, maybe they just shouldn’t translate it at all.
The translators of the CEB appear to have come up with a very fine, smooth-reading Bible, with many “fresh” renderings, if Matthew is any indication. The real question I have is whether or not even mainliners will find it acceptable. Much of it will be enough to jar people’s traditionalist sensibilities. But I think it’s going to be seen as a very easy-reading translation that will make it easier for people to actually understand what they’re reading.
But will it be enough to make them give up their NIV/TNIV/ESV/NRSV/NKJV/KJV or what have you? I remain unconvinced.