Article 05 | Translation
Too often we see the Bible through whatever lens we get from our culture.
Is the translation literal?
Is the translation liberal or conservative?
We use and recommend the NRSV as our translation of choice and we recommend all literal translations and their users. We like the following as noteworthy examples:
We like the English Standard Version, because it maintains transparent and literal renderings of gender in addition to maintaining an extremely high reverence for the original text. The NIV provides a smooth andcontemporary reading, international translation team, along with great accessibility of the text to the reader. Lastly, the New King James translation has maintained a flavor of eloquence contained within the original King James, and it continues to be a very popular translation today.
Below is a listing of its strengths and why we prefer the NRSV as the text to form our community in the process of discipleship.
1. The NRSV is a literal translation.
2. The NRSV is a highly ecumenical translation. Meaning, it is accepted, i.e., recognized and importantly tolerated by all the major Christians groupings: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox.
3. Currently it is the number one translation utilized within academic scholarship and academic circles. Academic study Bibles currently using the NRSV as their primary translation include notable examples such as the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible, the Harper Collins Study Bible (Society of Biblical Literature), the Cambridge Study Bible, the Renovare’ Spiritual Formation Bible, and The New Interpreter’s Study Bible.
4. The NRSV is the most common translation of the Deutrocanonical books. Although these books aren’t inspired, they form a wonderful contextual body of literature leading up to the New Testament period and for that reason they are of great value. Moreover, they were included in the Septuagint, and are currently included in the Eastern Orthodox, Greek, Slavonic, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Bibles. Lastly, although not viewing them as inspired scripture, early Protestant Bibles such as Luther’s translation, the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, all contained the apocrypha.
5. The NRSV, while remaining literal in translation has iaddressed the lack of a common gender third person singular pronoun within the English language and in so doing, altered masculine biased language where it has been needed. The editors have accomplished this “inclusive broadening” without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of the ancient patriarchal culture, which existed at the time of Divine transmission and writing. The issue here being that because the English language (like all languages) contains inherent deficiencies (in this case its biased in favor of the masculine gender), a common gender third person singular pronoun has been needed to provide a more faithful picture of gender expressed throughout the bible. These alterations originate from the philosophical approach known as “Inclusivism”. The use of this approach as already stated, does many times alter the term in the original text, yet these changes frequently reflect the actual intention of the text.
6. Prominent scholars, writers, artists, and theologians that officially endorse the NRSV include: Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Thomas C. Oden, Will Willimon, Brian McLaren, Harvey Cox, John Ortberg, Jim Wallis, David A. deSilva, Anne Rice, Dominic Crossan, and Marcus Borg.
7. Lastly, although the NRSV is a new edition that contains gender modifications, it retains the stylistic strength and core text of the RSV (Revised Standard Version).
Recommended Reading: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard.