the weblog of Alan Knox

Review of the Common English Bible NT – 2

Posted by on Nov 3, 2010 in books, scripture | 2 comments

Review of the Common English Bible NT – 2

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 compare NT passages about leadership between the CEB and the ESV.

Here is the first passage from Matthew:

Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that those who rule the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among your will be your servant. Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave – just as the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.” (Matthew 20:24-28 CEB)

And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:24-28 ESV)

Here is a passage from Acts:

Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers, to shepherd God’s church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son… I haven’t craved anyone’s silver, gold, or clothing. You yourselves know that I have provided for my own needs and for those of my companions with my own hands. In everything I have shown you that, by working hard, we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:28, 33-35 CEB)

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood… I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:28, 33-35 ESV)

Here is a passage from 1 Thessalonians:

Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you. Think of them highly with love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are disorderly. Comfort the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 CEB)

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 ESV)

Here is a passage from 1 Timothy:

Elders who lead well should be paid double, especially those who work with public speaking and teaching. The scripture says, You shouldn’t put a muzzle on an ox while it treads grain, and Workers deserve their pay. Don’t accept an accusation made against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. Discipline those who are sinning in front of everyone so that all the others will be afraid. (1 Timothy 5:17-20 CEB)

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. (1 Timothy 5:17-20 ESV)

Here is a passage from Titus:

The reason I left you behind in Crete was to organize whatever needs to be done and to appoint elders in each city, as I told you. Elders should be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, and have faithful children who can’t be accused of self-indulgence or rebelliousness. This is because overseers should be without fault as God’s managers: they shouldn’t be stubborn, irritable, addicted to alcohol, a bully, or greedy. Instead, they should show hospitality, love what is good, and be reasonable, ethical, godly, and self-controlled. They must pay attention to the reliable message as it has been taught to them so that they can encourage people with healthy instruction and refute those who speak against it. (Titus 1:6-9 CEB)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you – if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:5-9 ESV)

Here’s a passage from Hebrews:

Rely on your leaders and defer to them, because they watch over your whole being as people who are going to be held responsible for you. They need to be able to do this with pleasure and not with complaints about you, because that wouldn’t help you. (Hebrews 13:17 CEB)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17 ESV)

And, finally, here’s a passage from 1 Peter:

Therefore, I have a request for the elders among you. (I ask this as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and as one who shares in the glory that is about to be revealed.) I urge the elders: like shepherds, tend the flock of God among you. Watch over it. Don’t shepherd because you must, but do it voluntarily for God. Don’t shepherd greedily, but do it eagerly. Don’t shepherd by ruling over those entrusted to your care, but become examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 CEB)

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 ESV)

So, what do you think?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 11-3-2010

    I like gender neutrality in theory, but not when it results in ghastly phrases like “the Human One.” Hideous.

    In other places the CEB does overcome some stodginess that’s present in the ESV’s style (possibly a holdover from its predecessor the RSV). I like the simplification of “greedy for gain” to just “greedy” (who’s greedy for loss?). And “I have provided for my own needs… with my hands” is a clear stylistic winner over “these hands ministered to my necessities.”

    There does seem to be a bit of muddying on significant doctrinal points (“ransom”, “his own blood”), but I suspect you’ll have a lot on that in your review.

    Otherwise, my real question is “Do we actually need another English translation? And why should I buy this easy-to-read one rather than the NLT, CEV, GNB, GWT, NET, or even NIV?”

  2. 11-4-2010

    So “honor” = “take care of” for widows, but = “double honor” = “paid double” for elders?

    I also think “rule” is a better word for making judgments (rulings), discerning than “lead”.

    That’s also a big “if” that got deleted from Titus.

    The use of “brothers and sisters” is interesting. Hoo-boy, I took a look at their 1 Cor. 14 and that really makes it (more?)confusing.