The Politics of Bible TranslationsScot McKnight posted an interesting article on his website Jesus Creed today. Even though I’m Australian, and not American, this post resonates with me, and Scot’s observations are similar to my own.

Here’s an excerpt (with minor edits):

The Bible you carry is a political act. By “Bible” I mean the English translation of the Bible you carry. Because the Bible you carry is a political act the rhetoric about other translations is more about politics than it is about reality.

The reality is that the major Bible translations in use today are all good, and beyond good, translations. There is no longer a “best” English translation but instead a basket full of exceptional translations.

The world in which we live, however, has turned the Bible you carry into politics. So here goes my political overview of English Bible translations at the general, stereotypical level; and it goes without saying that there are exceptions for each:

The NIV 2011 is the Bible of conservative evangelicals.
The NLT is the Bible of conservative evangelicals.
The TNIV is the Bible of egalitarian evangelicals.
The ESV is the Bible of complementarian conservative evangelicals.
The NASB is the Bible of conservative evangelical serious Bible students.
The NRSV is the Bible of Protestant mainliners.
The RSV is the Bible of aged Protestant mainliners.
The CEB is the Bible of Protestant mainliners.
The KJV is the Bible of African Americans (in my experience at TEDS, NPU and Northern) and, of course, others.
The Message is the Bible of those who are tired of the politics (and like something fresh).

You can read the rest of Scot’s post, and the lively conversation that follows it, here.

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. Scot is the author, or editor, of fifty books, and is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. (Source)


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