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Note to publishers: Cease and desist on the new English Bible translations and study Bibles

Harper One has just published The C.S. Lewis Bible (an article on the Bible is here). Bibles are big business for publishers and with the publishing industry changing faster than you can power up your Kindle, it is understandable that publishers would want to capitalize on a money-maker.

But to Christian publishers and denominations (my own UMC was behind the Common English Bible) I say enough is enough. We do not need another English version, translation, or paraphrase. Moreover, as much as I love C.S. Lewis (I am teaching a seminar on Lewis starting this next week) we do not need a study Bible with certain portions of his writing lined up with passages of Scripture. Lewis' writings are already available. Those who desire are able to access his work quite easily.

In a western culture of excess, the plethora of English translations and study Bibles present just one more example of such excess... and all in the name of Jesus! Anyone who speaks English not only can read the Bible, they now have to wade through exactly which Bible they want to read. If indeed one is confused over which English Bible to read, perhaps that already reveals the problem.

I have an idea. Instead of publishers and denominations getting behind yet another English translation, why don't they put their energy and money and marketing plans into publishing Bibles in other languages. They can then have a program where those of us who have more Bibles on our shelves and tables than we can count can actually purchase Bibles for poor Christians in other countries. The publishers can still make a profit (which is certainly OK with me) and those of us who are blessed with an abundance of Bibles and enough money, can bring the written Word to those who have limited access to God's Word or do not have access to it at all.

A little over fifteen years ago, I took a mission trip to Puerto Rico. Before we left on the trip we purchased a Study Bible for the pastor who was going to host us. As our trip neared its end, we presented him with the gift one night at dinner. He thanked us with tears in his eyes, as all he and his family had was one Bible that was falling apart from use.

When it comes to the Bible and Study Bible publishing industry, we can do better. Publishing Bibles as a mission... that's something I would support, not only with my voice, but with my dollars as well.

Update: Dave Black, my friend and co-editor of the Areopagus Critical Christian Issues Series disagrees with me on this. You can read his perspective on his blog, which has no feed. You will have to scroll down until you find his reference to my post.
Read what he says and ponder the issue.

Originally posted at Allan R. Bevere's blog.

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the overly translated

I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, it was the subject of a blog of mine this week. I think that these multiplying translations confront all of us as to what is the Word of God: and blogs like yours is very necessary for us to hear the Good News.
Bob Collie

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