Recently, I received a (free) review copy of the Common English Bible New Testament. (The link is to the exact version of the book that I received. Here is a link to the Common English Bible website.) Over the next few days, I’m going to offer my review of this new English translation. In this post, I’m going to discuss the appearance, text, and readability.
To begin with, I will only be reviewing the New Testament translation, because the version that I received only included the New Testament.
First, I was very surprised when I opened the box. I was expecting a cheap, paperback copy of the Common English Bible. Instead, the copy that I received has a very nice two-tone binding.
Similarly, I was also pleasantly surprised at the print and the paper. The paper seems thicker than that used on most Bibles. Also, the font size was larger. Together, this made for an easy-to-read Bible.
The translation is also easy-to-read. I found the use of conjunctions and short sentences to be refreshing and conversational.
The Common English Bible (New Testament) is based on the twenty-seventh edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek text. This is standard for most English translations these days. (It will be interesting to see what happens now that the SBL Greek text has been released.)
According to the notes, 115 scholars from 22 different faith traditions worked on this new translation. I was happy to see a broad range of traditions and backgrounds represented among these translators. Apparently, the new Bible translations was also read and critiqued by many, many more people from various denominations and educational backgrounds.
So, do I agree with all of the translation and interpretation decisions made by the translation committee? Well, no, of course not. But, I bet if you polled each of the translation committee members, you’ll find that none of them agree with all of the translation decisions either.
There is one general translation decision that some people may struggle with – I did at first. The translation notes read: “When ho huios tou anthropou (Greek) is used as a title for Jesus, the CEB refers to Jesus as ‘the Human One.'”
In the next two posts, I’m going to compare passages from the Common English Bible to the same passages in the ESV. Since I’m interested in studying the church, I will choose passages that are important for ecclesiology.