June 24, 2004

New translation of Bible changes names, content

A new translation of the Bible, called Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures, from former Baptist preacher John Henson makes some significant changes in the Holy Scripture in the name of modernization.

Some names are changed (St. Peter becomes "Rocky," Mary Magdeline becomes "Maggie," Aaron becomes "Ron," Andronicus becomes "Andy" and Barabbas becomes "Barry"), as are Biblical concepts (to baptize becomes "to dip," salvation becomes "healing" or "completeness" and Heaven becomes "the world beyond time and space" and the Son of Man, as Jesus describes Himself in scripture, becomes "the Complete Person").

But what is more disturbing is the change in conceptual meaning that results from some of the wholesale changes.

Here, according to the London Times, are a few sample passages:

Mark 1:4

Authorized version: "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

New: "John, nicknamed 'The Dipper,' was 'The Voice.' He was in the desert, inviting people to be dipped, to show they were determined to change their ways and wanted to be forgiven."

Mark 1:10-11

Authorized version: "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from the heaven saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

New: "As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God's spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, 'That's my boy! You're doing fine!'"

Matthew 26:69-70

Authorized version: "Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, 'Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.' But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest."

New: "Meanwhile Rocky was still sitting in the courtyard. A woman came up to him and said: 'Haven't I seen you with Jesus, the hero from Galilee?" Rocky shook his head and said: 'I don't know what the hell you're talking about!'"

1 Corinthians 7:1-2

KJV: "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: [It is] good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

New: "Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from each other. That is more likely to lead to sexual offences. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner."

1 Corinthians 7:8-7

KJV: "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."

New: "If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated."

Now, I'm all for bringing the Word to the masses, and making the Word more understandable and accessable to the multitudes. There are certainly plenty of ways to bring more to the flock for the greater good of the Almighty.

But there's something inherently and fundamentally wrong with making these kinds of wholesale changes to the Bible.

All I could imagine when hearing of "Rocky" was Sylvester Stallone screaming "AAAAADRIENNEEEE!!!!!"

I'll stick with my New International Version, thank you very much...

Posted by mhking at June 24, 2004 10:53 PM

I was wondering who was "Bullwinkle."

Posted by: McGehee at June 25, 2004 08:45 AM

I'm more of a King James or a New Jerusalem Bible person.

Posted by: Fausta at June 25, 2004 09:05 AM

The only Bullwinkle I could think of was Samson (played by Sly Stallone of course).

Posted by: King of Fools at June 25, 2004 09:30 AM

And I'm more of a RSV, Apocrypha included, kind of person.

Posted by: Lola at June 25, 2004 11:13 AM

Michael, it seems you and I are on the same wavelength this morning. I blogged about this as well, although I missed the 'Rocky-Stallone' parallel.

Very smooth.:)

Posted by: Stacey at June 25, 2004 12:12 PM

Nothing is sacred anymore.

OT: Nice new banner, Mr King.

Posted by: Madfish Willie at June 25, 2004 12:56 PM

King James, red letter, black leather cover, zipper with the cross on the zipper.

Although I can stand the RSV.

Posted by: Cobb at June 25, 2004 01:14 PM

NIV, KJV, or NKJV. I preferred Red Letters.

But for more indepth study...the Amplified Bible is Hot.

Posted by: Ambra Nykol at June 25, 2004 02:26 PM

For me, NKJV or NIV. My favorite Bible with my notes scribbled in the margins is a MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV, hardbound. My NIV is for reference when I want to see another rendering of the text.

Posted by: La Shawn Barber at June 25, 2004 03:58 PM

I've got a NKJV that I carry and use to study with; She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed has a NIV Study Bible that I gave her a few years ago. At church, the scripture readings during the service are from either the RSV or NIV (I can never remember which - though I think it's the RSV).

My mom and dad gave Mitchell & Jasmine Bibles this spring when we started going back to church regularly; Jasmine's is Zondervan's Teen Bible, which (if memory serves) is a RSV, and Mitchell's is a "Bible for Boys," (complete with articles about all the "cool stuff" in the Bible, like "the grossest things people ate" [rolling eyes] -- I guess anything within reason to get younger kids interested in the Word) from Zondervan, and it's definitely an RSV edition.

I'd like to get my hands on a RSV study bible so that I don't have to glom onto Rachel's when I want to compare and contrast the texts.

Ah, well...a step at a time...

Posted by: mhking at June 25, 2004 04:28 PM

Those new verses are a parody or a joke, right? Hard to be sure these days.

Posted by: Amy Ridenour at June 25, 2004 11:14 PM

Ten to one the rewritten Annunciation reads, "Congratulations! It's a boy!"

Posted by: R.W. at June 26, 2004 02:33 PM
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