Good News for Everyone I
Taking a cue from Rick Mansfield's post on the TNIV, I will explain how I first started using the GNB. Like Rick, I was teaching high school - that seems to be a defining experience.
I have no sense myself of whether the language of any Bible translation is outdated. My father read a Bible passage from the KJV at the dinner table every night throughout my childhood, and an 8" dictionary sat on the side table beside his big chair in the living room. I don't believe my father missed a chapter or a geneology in all those years. And I don't believe I left many words uninvestigated.
In any case, I was teaching grade 11 English in the public school system and had just finished marking the test results from the MacBeth unit. I saw how the students really entered into the story but could make neither head nor tail of any particular line of text.
Next on the list of required reading was Who has seen the Wind by W. O. Mitchell. I realized the importance of teaching the classical and biblical allusions in order to help the students understand this story. I can still remember that I actually brought to school a copy of the New American Standard Bible. I opened it up before teaching the next day to choose the necessary text - and then I simply shut it again and left that part of the lesson untaught.
In that moment, as I imagined reading the text out loud to the class (I forget what text it was), I heard the language of the Bible through the ears of my students. I went out the next day and bought a Good News Bible, and used it in class throughout the rest of the year. Along with the Greek New Testament, it has been my study Bible ever since.
Before I begin picking my way through Nida's book on the GNB I will give an example of what I consider to be the trademark feature of this Bible. When I began composing this post I knew immediately that I would chose a passage from Ephesians 1 to demonstrate this feature. It is the unpacking of the Greek genitive construction.
Here is Ephesians 1:14 - 20 in the GNB, published in 1966.
- 14 The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
- 15 For this reason, ever since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people,
- 16 I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I remember you in my prayers and
- 17 ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him.
- 18 I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people,
- 19 and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength
- 20 which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world.
- 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.