What is the most secularly acclaimed Bible translation?

by sabastious 86 Replies latest jw friends

  • MarcusScriptus

    Pardon for the slip on the keyboard. It is the UBS (United Bible Society), not the USB. Interconfessional translation work is only recognized when in cooperation with the UBS by a decision made by all the participating faiths in these ecumenical versions.

  • Wonderment

    Thanks MarcusScriptus for your answer. I appreciate that a lot.

    In answer to PSacramento: I stated that the NWT and KIT are some of my favorites. I stopped liking the WT system about 20 years ago, and I have rejected quite a bit if not most of their theological conclusions. However, I want to stay open and be fair as possible. My personal experience has been mostly positive with their bibles. I know they are anathema to the orthodox. But again I repeat: "The orthodox do not possess all the truth. We do well to test the spirits." (Lutheran, Professor of Chicago, Danker) This does not mean that I can´t see the faults within the NWT. I do. There are plenty of them. But its virtues outweigh its faults. And I enjoy so many other bibles as well.

    It would be a mistake to close our minds completely to this source of information just because we experienced hardship there. It would be a mistake to conclude that the non-JWs are right because they are not JWs, and that the majority rule must be right. It would be a mistake to conclude that everything they have taught must be false. And that everyone else is speaking truth. It is not as simple as that. Satan has made sure the world is confused. The whole world lies under power of the evil one. So I take truth from whatever source. Those teaching lies will have to stand before judgment in due time. I find falsehood within the Watchtower system as well as in other religions. I find rays of truth coming from different sources as well. Truth is not a franchise, like McDonalds, or Burger King, etc that only they can sell their unique products. Truth is different... it is in the Bible. Anyone, from any religion has access to the truth, including you and me. To the degree we adhere to Scripture , we mirror that truth. Bible versions ultimately may not be our savior by itself. Mark Twain was once asked: Are you not troubled by the many things you don´t understand in the Bible? Mark Twain answered: "Not at all, I am troubled by the things I understand." So it far more important to live what we understand than trying to destroy someone who hurt us.

  • Pistoff

    I like the New Revised Standard, and the JPS.

    As regards the divine name in the NT, it would have been better to keep the divine name in the footnotes where the NT quotes the OT. I don´t understand though, why all the fuss about whether we should use Yahweh instead of Jehovah because Y. is closer to the Hebrew. Could it be that we as X-JW´s we don´t want to sound supportive of the WT?
    Because really, while Jehovah may not be the closest ideal pronunciation of the divine name, to be consistent we would have to change the way we use names in our modern versions. Biblical names as a whole are no match to the originals, yet no one makes a fuss about it -- including Jesus´ name which is not really the way Hebrews or Greeks likely pronounced it. So in my case I conclude as Rotherham did in his last few years of life. He said that he realized that Jehovah is so well known that it communicates better with the modern reader instead of Yahweh which he preferred until then for most of his life. Also Byington came to the same conclusion. I side with their view. If someone decides to ADD the divine name to the NT, they should at least stick to OT quotes. It is possible, after all that the original Greek text did use it.

    I believe that using the term Jehovah in the OT and NT readings is to corrupt the readings, and here is why:

    The witnesses use the term constantly, in quoting scripture, in reference to god and most annoyingly, they put it into the words of characters in their drama.


    To use the term in scripture lends weight to WT theology that is illegitimate and unfounded. Never was god called jehovah by the israelites. The jews did not throw the name Jehovah around the way witnesses think of it, but witnesses hear the dramas and conclude that the ancients thought acted and talked just like they do.

    And more to the point, why was the personal name for god dropped? My belief is that it fell out of favor, just as other concepts of god fell out of favor and changed over centuries. The angry Yahweh was replaced with a god percieved to be more loving.

    I completely disagree with the notion that Jehovah should be used even if it is wrong, and that naming him is somehow important, or that it means anything at all about the people that use it, except that in the case of the witnesses, it is a charm for them, a good luck piece, and a part of their brand identity. They will never switch to Yahweh; they are called Jehovah's witnesses.

    They sacrifice clarity and accuracy for the sake of the brand, and call it good.

  • sabastious

    They sacrifice clarity and accuracy for the sake of the brand, and call it good.

    Anything that remotely makes sense and, more importantly, seperates them from the rest of Christianity and other World Religions they will attach to that Brand.


  • GLTirebiter
    Jerusalem Bible uses YAHWEH (not the NEW version)

    Actually, the New Jerusalem Bible does use Yahweh, as did the previous Jerusalem Bible. See the NJB text of Ezekial, for example.

    However, and this is what I don’t understand, it is not the official version read in Roman Catholic services in the USA. For some reason the New American Bible (which is not bad but leans toward something similar to the NASB—and therefore doesn’t lend itself to being poetic) is the only one allowed to be read in Mass for Catholics in our country

    The choice of NAB for use in Catholic mass in America is related to the (non) use of the Holy Name. In Old Testament times, the name was not pronounced out of reverence. When reading the OT texts at mass that same reverence is shown, honoring the Jewish roots of Christianity and also presenting the OT scripture in its historical context, as it was read in Jesus' time.

    Catholic apologist Jame Akin has an interesting article on Bible translations, "Choosing a Bible". He concludes with this thought:

    The bottom line: Which is the best version for you? A possibly apocryphal anecdote about Billy Graham has the answer. When asked which Bible version is the best, he replied, "The one you will read."

  • Wonderment


    I agree that misusing Jehovah´s name or Jesus name is not good. I disagree though that using it to represent The Name that appears nearly 7,000 is to corrupt the readings. If it is bad, why was it there in the first place? Do you believe the Bible to be God´s Word?

    I don´t see anyone here complaining that Jesus´ name in English is not even close to either the Hebrew or Greek. A double standard does not justify exclusion of the divine name. If someone said: Jehovah´s name should not be in the NT, I would accept that. But to say that using God´s name will corrupt scriptural readings, is not supported by scripture itself when it appears right there 7,000 times.

    Should we eliminate Jesus name because it annoys some people? Never may that happen! No one can read the Psalms in their original context and not walk away with a warm feeling of the grandeur of God´s name. Don´t let resentment cloud your judgment!

    We don´t have full details of a lot of things in scripture, even textually speaking. Should we drop bible reading because there has been some tampering by individuals who made some effort to tamper with the Inspired text to make Jesus the equal of God? Bruce Metzger of the UBS Greek text comments about Christological debates during the first few centuries and how most of the tampering was done by individuals attempting to make Christ appear as God. Metzger does not like JWs, but knows about the many attempts by those who favored making Jesus God. Now, should we stop using Jesus name because of that fact? Should we stop using Jesus name because some people don´t like it? Should we stop using Jesus name because, as we use it, it does not come close to the original pronunciation?

    Granted, we may be closer to knowing the pronunciation of Jesus name than of Jehovah´s name at this time. But by having that knowledge right now, are people moving in droves to change their habits of pronouncing Jesus name to conform to the originals? I don´t see any movement yet. I will keep using Jesus name, even if it was not the way Hebrews or Greeks called it. I will keep using Jehovah´s name as well, even if dislike the WT and is off the mark from the originals. To be consistent we would have to do big changes with just about all names in the Bible.

    And talking about annoyances, have you noticed the double standard in many translations with using red letters for Christ. If you think about it, we can see that it is odd. Not consistent. For ex., the Bible before me right now (KJV), has red letters at Joh 12:28 for Christ and black letters for the Father: Jesus says before a large crowd to his Father: "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

    Now, did not Jesus say that ´the Father was greater than him?´ If true, to be consistent, why not use a bold color when the Father speaks? At Joh 12:28, Jesus is asking the Father to glorify his name, and when the greater of the two speaks, the version has regular black letters for the Father, God. I find that not only annoying, but disrespectful to the Father whom Jesus was subject to. I find that as annoying as JWs using Jahs name as a lucky charm.

  • sabastious
    If it is bad, why was it there in the first place? Do you believe the Bible to be God´s Word?

    Why would God allow the pronunciation of his name to be lost? Leaving us to give it our "best guess."


  • sabastious

    If the Bible indeed is from God, than I think the absence of his name in the NT (which is added into the NWT) is God trying to tell us that it is NOT important.

    Think of it this way:

    There is only ONE God Allmighty. Only ONE creator of ALL things. ONE First Cause. A name, by definition, is there to differentiate between like entities... God has no like entities, he is unique, therefore his name is not nearly as important as human names are.


  • Wonderment

    Sab, That is a very good question. And I wish I had a concrete answer. Perhaps, the pronunciations is not the most important thing.

    After all, no one knows 100% how Jesus name was pronounced in those days. We have an idea, but no concrete answer.

  • MarcusScriptus

    Actually, and this I know directly from those associated with the Roman Catholic Church, the reason for the use of the New American Bible over the Jerusalem Bible is not due to absence of the Divine Name. The Divine Name is and has always been substituted at all times when the Jerusalem Bible is read at Mass in Great Britain where it has been the official translation for Mass reading for some 30 years.

    The reason for the use of the NAB in the USA is because the Holy See recently informed Episcopates that governed language groups to narrow the use of versions read at Mass to only one, so that there would be just one “official” version per language group and thus aid in memorization of texts. Right now there is a plethora of translations in English for Catholics, and while the Vatican by no means wishes to discourage the use of any version a Catholic will read, the complaints from the average Catholic is that no one can quote a text in anything besides Latin unless they wish to express themselves in a manner that can be a reason for disunity among fellow churchgoers (and believe me, there are “camps” and cliques in the Church in the United States regarding which version is “the best,” and at the least it is humorous to witness the debates between these groups, if not in reality a danger to Catholic unity).

    Because the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) granted the rights to the New American Bible as a gift to the USCCB, it was chosen as the “official” text … until just recently. The CBA went aggressively too far in employing the use of inclusive language to the point of obscuring Christological references in its recent rendition of the Psalter. Just last year the Bishops in the United States rejected the New American Bible Revised Edition Psalter and replaced it with The Revised Grail Psalter which is currently being prepared to replace all Psalters in all countries where English is spoken (The Grail Psalter is currently the most widely used, read, prayed, sung, and chanted version by Catholics, especially in their daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, thus this revision is quite welcome to both clergy and the public at large).

    While the NAB has a Revised Edition Old Testament prepared for publication, the Bishops also voted that it not be released until the CBA rework their version of the Psalms (a New Testament Revised Edition has existed and is the one used now for the past 10 years). But as Charlie mentioned, it seems something is stuck somewhere in this process.

    When the CBA gifted the NAB to the Catholic Bishops they apparently expected to see some revenue from the sales of the NAB. This was obviously not what the USCCB thought, being that it was a gift, and therefore the CBA has not been supported in this way. Since I last reported on this I got some new information that makes it seem as if the “money argument” is not the real issue. The CBA is not happy with the Holy See’s rejection of its Psalter and was somewhat insulted to learn that the USCCB had been instrumental in the revision of The Grail Psalter, knowing all good and well that the NAB Psalter, rejected by the Vatican, would never be able to compete should both be put up for “official text.” The Grail is to the English-speaking Catholic what the KJV is to the Protestant or what the NWT is to the JW.

    Recently the Holy See granted official recognitio to the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition as the official version for Mass and Liturgy in both Canada and now England, meaning the Jerusalem Bible is about to be replaced in that country. With the just-now-completed refined translation of the Mass in English ready to be employed in 2011 and with a clause in permission approved by both the Vatican and the USCCB regarding it, the NRSV CE can easily supplant the current NAB at a moment’s notice, especially since all the work has already been done to prepare the text for Lectionary reproduction in Canada and is currently in production in the UK. With the Revised Grail also ready to replace the current 1970 NAB Psalter still used in Mass, it isn’t official or dare uttered that a coup d’état of the NAB might occur (I don’t personally think so, but I wouldn’t be surprised), but thus is Charlie’s “unofficial” word on the situation.

    Because of the lead in ecumenism it has taken since the days of John Paul II and because the NRSV is the official translation for many Protestant denominations which, like the Catholic Church, follow the Revised Common Lectionary, it may be a logical choice for the US bishops to follow.

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