The new “Methodist Bible”?

Posted: 21st February 2008 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized

I find it interesting that, in all the breaking hullabaloo† about the recently announced new Bible translation project, no one has picked up on the angle that this projectis sponsored by the Christian Resources Development Corp, a subsidiary funded by the United Methodist Publishing House for ecumenical partnerships in curriculum, music, and Bibles.

That’s right, we have another entry into the denomination-specific Bible translation market. Hopefully we will have all learned our lesson from the HCSB and Lifeway/SBC relationship and not immediately call this the “Methodist Bible”, though that will be an easy name to use until a non-squiggle name is revealed (one hopes that the designation, “Our New Bible”, is not the actual translation title!).

It certainly is indicative of something that here is another major denominational publishing house producing its own translation, presumably in order to control licensing costs, just as the HCSB was produced, in part, to reduce the licensing fees paid for the NIV. The marketing certainly seems intended to position this new Bible as a general replacement for the NRSV. One wonders just how much longer the National Council of Churches can continue if their revenues from licensing fees continue to dry up.

† For a sampling of posts on this announcement, see the following blogs:

  1. Andrew says:

    Isn’t the National Council of Churches themselves ever going to have a revision of the NRSV? (The TRSV? Hope not!)

  2. I’m not sure what they could do to the NRSV to warrant another update. It’s actually a pretty clean text within its tradition. And it’s only been just short of 20 years since it came out (1989). Same issue for the NASB — it’s a solid text for what it is. Any further revision would probably eliminate any distinctiveness from other translations and make it “just another Bible”.

  3. Andrew says:

    True, that. You could probably argue the same about the TNIV, though.

    It occurs to me as well that because so many churches use the NRSV as lectern/pew bibles, they likely would prefer something that they can continue to use and replace with the same version in the long term. This would presumably prevent them from making small adjustments to the text, as the ESV and NLT have in recent years.