An Historical Bible Translation – The Bible Stars on Broadway, A Remarkable Reading of a New Edition

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Around-the-clock, 90-hour, cover-to-cover, public reading of a new translation of the Bible, the Contemporary English Version (Old and New Testaments), took place on an elaborate set design depicting a biblical scene on Broadway in NYC on the plaza in front of the American Bible Society.

A total of 360 readers participated, including political leaders, Broadway and film actors, media personalities, New York schoolchildren, religious leaders and congregants from a broad range of churches and denominations.

The occasion celebrated the American Bible Society’s ten-year translation project of a Contemporary English Version of the Complete Bible.

Reviewers from virtually all walks of life are calling this new edition a major achievement in making the world’s best-selling book more accessible and easy to understand for everyone.

Translated directly from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic languages of the Scriptures, the Contemporary English Version faithfully communicates the meaning of the biblical text in a lucid and lyrical style, appropriate for both private and public reading.

Worldwide, more than one hundred people – translators, consultants and reviewers – were actively involved for more than ten years in the process of translating the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. The translation team was led by Dr. Barclay M. Newman, the American Bible Society’s senior translations officer.

The translation team focused first on the meaning of the ancient manuscripts and then worked to express that meaning in language easily understood by today’s reader.

The drafts in their earliest stages were sent for review and comment to a number of biblical scholars, theologians and educators representing a wide variety of church traditions. In addition, drafts were sent for review and comment to all English-speaking Bible Societies and to more than forty United Bible Societies translation consultants around the world. Final approval of the text was given by the American Bible Society Board of Trustees on the recommendation of its Translations Subcommittee.

 

Dr. Eugene B. Habecker

President, American Bible Society

The following are examples of the Contemporary English Version compared to the King James Version

Gospel

King James English Version

Contemporary English Version

Matthew 23:34

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men and scribes and some of them shall kill and crucify and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city.

I will send prophets and wise people and experts in the Law of Moses to you. But you will kill them or nail them to a cross or beat them in your meeting places or chase them from town to town.

John 5:18

Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

Now the leaders wanted to kill Jesus for two reasons. First, he had broken the law of the Sabbath. But even worse, he had said that God was his Father, which made him equal with God.

John 7:1

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill him.

Jesus decided to leave Judea and to start going through Galilee because the leaders of the people wanted to kill him.

John 7:13

Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

But the people were afraid of the leaders and none of them talked in public about him.

John 19:7

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

The crowd replied, “He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Law says that he must be put to death.”

Acts 26:7

Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king A-grip’-pa, I am accused of the Jews.

Day and night our twelve tribes have earnestly served God, waiting for his promised blessings. King Agrippa, because of this hope, some of their leaders have brought charges against me.

II Corinthians 11:24

Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one.

Five times my own people gave me thirty-nine lashes with a whip.

Random Samplings

The following are examples of the Contemporary English Version compared to the King James Version selected at random by our managing editor, Dana Lang

Gospel

King James English Version

Contemporary English Version

Matthew 10:17

But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues

Watch out for people who will take you to court and have you beaten in their meeting places

Matthew 23:34

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men and scribes and some of them shall kill and crucify and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city

I will send prophets and wise people and experts in the Law of Moses to you. But you will kill them or nail them to a cross or beat them in your meeting places or chase them from town to town

John 7:1

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill him

Jesus decided to leave Judea and to start going through Galilee because the leaders of the people wanted to kill him

John 7:13

Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews

But the people were afraid of the leaders and none of them talked in public about him

John 9:22

These words spake his parents because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue

The man’s parents said this because they were afraid of their leaders. The leaders had already agreed that no one was to have anything to do with anyone who said Jesus was the Messiah

John 10:33

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not

They answered, “We are not stoning you because of any good thing you did

Acts 26:2

I think myself happy king A-grip’-pa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews

King Agrippa, I am glad for this chance to defind myself before you today on all these charges that my own people have brought against me

Acts 26:7

Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king A-grip’-pa, I am accused of the Jews

Day and night our twelve tribes have earnestly served God, waiting for his promised blessings. King Agrippa, because of this hope, some of their leaders have brought charges against me

II Corinthians 11:24

Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one

Five times my own people gave me thirty-nine lashes with a whip

I Thessalonians 2:14

For ye brethren became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews

My friends, you did just like God’s churches in Judea and like the other followers of Christ Jesus there. And so, you were mistreated by your own people, in the same way they were mistreated by their people ■

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