In search of a common Bible, part 2

Posted: 26th July 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized
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There’s been some great discussion around the question of whether a common Bible is possible for English-speaking Christians:

  • Doug Chaplin at Metacatholic followed up on my original post with “All for one and one for all”, in which he identifies canon, inclusive language and textual basis as three key issues that would have to be addressed to create a common Bible.
  • On Better Bibles, Peter Kirk took on Doug’s post with his own thoughts and experiences creating a common Bible for Protestant denominations in a former Soviet republic. He identified translation approach (dynamic vs. formal equivalence) and acceptability (the “not invented here” syndrome) as two further issues that would need to be addressed.
  • Doug then responded to Peter with another post, “Most for one and one for most”, with further comments on the equivalence and acceptability issues.

Through each of these posts, there has been some excellent comments as well, including Iyov’s (among others) conclusion that the NRSV is probably as close as we’ve ever had to a common English Bible, but that the increasing proliferation and profitability of electronic texts will likely result in even more translations becoming available as individual groups and denominations are able to publish Bibles that best fit their social, theological, and/or political agendas.

That thought was echoed in an anonymous note in the protothread of this topic that United Methodist Publishing House was preparing their own translation of the Bible, perhaps leaving the NRSV that has been their unofficial text.

In response to one of my rants comments in the same thread, Peter gently reminded me that:

“Indeed we ought to be living in one Kingdom. And certainly the different denominations should not be at war with one another. But that doesn’t mean that we have to tear down all internal boundaries. Just as the USA is made up of different states with separate state governments and different traditions but (more or less) united in purpose on important matters, so the Kingdom of God has room for different groups with separate structures and different traditions, even different Bible translations, as long as all are united in the basic purposes of spreading the gospel and glorifying God. So, I think we should look not so much for visible unity as for working together with mutual acceptance of our diversity.”

Excellent words to close this post on. Thank you, Peter.

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