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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Whirled English Bibles

I am a bit confused about two different versions of the English Bible:

Worldwide English (New Testament): Is available at Bible Gateway (text only, no audio). It is a translation produced by the late Canadian missionary Annie Cressman in Liberia because "she found that she was spending more time explaining the meaning of the English than she was teaching the Bible itself."

Sample:

Acts 2 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

1 On the day of Pentecost these people were all in one place.

2 Then, suddenly, a sound came from heaven. It was like a very strong wind blowing. It went all through the house where they were sitting.

3 And then they saw tongues like fire. These were divided and came on each one of the people there.

4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak the words of God in other languages as the Spirit spoke through them.

World English Bible: Is available at world-english.org (Old Testament) as text or audio mp3 and the whole Bible is available at Unbound Bible. Wayne mentioned this version briefly on this blog: WEB (World English Bible).

Sample:

World English Bible / Acts of the Apostles 2

1. Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2. Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them.

4. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.

I find both of these translations to be relatively intelligible and if, like the Worldwide English version, these are meant to be updates of the AV, I'd say that they have admirably updated the language while still retaining the flavor of the predecessor. That would make these very useful in a context where there is a strong tradition of use of the Authorized Version but there are many readers who are not accustomed to the archaisms yet still want to follow along during public reading.

Another thing that I think is really appealing about these translations is that they are freely downloadable and made available in a variety of non-print formats. I first was exposed to the World English Bible by a version on my cell phone which I downloaded here: MyMobible.

Speaking of "world English" I should mention that the CEV is probably the most widely available common language version in English. There are American, British and Global versions which are heavily promoted by the Bible Societies around the English-speaking world.

I just wanted to call to your attention to the possible confusion resulting from these two "World" versions and encourage anyone who would like to provide a fuller critique of these translations.

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7 Comments:

At Sun May 11, 06:42:00 AM, Blogger Nathan Stitt said...

I have a GNB which I plan on using with my daughter when she is old enough to read it. However I've been considering the CEV (and I think the NCV?) as alternatives. I guess I should check them out a bit more. I'll give these other two translations some time, but I don't generally read digital Bibles for very long.

 
At Sun May 11, 08:16:00 AM, Blogger David Ker said...

If our children had grown up in the US I would have been tempted to use the NLT. It has gained wide acceptance and is generally highly intelligible. CEV is kind of a "huh?" translation in the US. I catch quite a bit of heat for promoting it BTW.

I'm with you on electronic versions partly because I find it hard to focus on the Scriptures when there are blogs, Bible software and more all available on my computer.

 
At Mon May 12, 09:28:00 PM, Blogger Nathan Stitt said...

I'll have to use her as a guinea pig. I'm going to have to look up reading levels again, can't remember which one is supposed to be the easiest to read.

 
At Tue May 13, 03:37:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

3. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them.

Is this supposed to be easy to read? Easy to misread, more like. I have visions of waiters appearing with fire-coloured tongues, or slices of tongue, and distributing them to apostles. And since things don't usually sit on people, the last part seems to suggest that someone unspecified sat on the tongues.

 
At Tue May 13, 06:32:00 AM, Blogger David Ker said...

That is too funny.

 
At Wed May 14, 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Nathan Stitt said...

After my earlier post I ended up spending about an hour looking around before buying a copy of The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers. For a full translation it looks like the NIrV will be the lowest reading level.

 
At Fri May 16, 03:10:00 AM, Blogger David Ker said...

Nathan, NIrV is a good option especially if your church uses the NIV "franchise." John Hobbins does just that with his kids and church.

 

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