Common English Bible, New Testament, 2010

I received a paperback copy of the New Testament (2010) in the new translation, Common English Bible, courtesy of friends at Abingdon Press and Augsburg Fortress Canada.  Thank you for this preview copy.  The entire bible is still yet to be published in 2011.

It is a more dynamic easy-to-understand translation, and so I suspect it is meant to gain a younger audience and those at a more primary reading level. On its website, it stated it as being a hybrid of verbal equivalence with dynamic balance and common language so I think it may be at the same reading level as the NIV and HCSB.  It is likely not as dynamic as the NLT.

From my limited reading of it, the first thing I noticed was that it renders “Son of Man” as “the Human One” (e.g., Matt. 24:39, 44).  This is a very different from the traditional rendering and it’s very gutsy but I think it’s still accurate and, I think, less elusive than “Son of Man”.  I think “the Human One” will take some time for readers to get use to it.

Another thing that is untraditional is to translate “hell” as “hades” or “grave”.

In the story of the birth of Christ, the magi (wise men), Matthew 2:11 says: “Falling to their knees, they honored him.”  Other translations use the traditional “worship him.”  This is another gutsy move.

The CEB renders Torah as “instruction” rather than “Law”. In the past, “Law” has been taken to mean statutes rather than instruction.  This will help the reader avoid a wrong understanding of what Torah really is.

I will examine the CEB more in some of my future posts.

Like the NRSV, it is an ecumenical translation done by 115 scholars from 22 denominations.  It is a translation sponsored by an alliance of denominational publishers, including Presbyterian (USA), Episcopalian, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, and United Church of Christ.  This translation will also make the Apocrypha available, which will make it more accessible to churches that use it, e.g., Orthodox, Catholic.

I wish to thank Abingdon Press and Augsburg Fortress Canada for sending me this copy.

6 thoughts on “Common English Bible, New Testament, 2010

  1. TC, I’m also beginning to read it during my sermon prep more and more, maybe just out of curiosity. It does have a unique take on certain passages doesn’t it?


  2. Kevin,

    The CEB has a certain freshness to it. These days I find myself checking it out quite a lot. But I have to get use to it in Paul. 😉


  3. You may be interested in the Advent Blog Tour this month: – 25 bloggers each taking a day and passage from the Common English Bible and writing a reflection on it. A lot of diversity in background, voice and thinking. Will be interesting to see if the blogger with Matthew 2:11 picks up on the “honored” vs. “worship.”


  4. You’re right Tim. Everyone is so use to “Son of Man” that addressing Christ as “Human One” almost sounds like a downgrade. I don’t know if this will be a trojan horse that could pull down the acceptance of the CEB.


  5. Kevin,

    I do appreciate what the CEB is trying to do, and I am grateful that it is an ecumenical effort. However, the “Son of Man” vs “Human One” is tough one. While I agree that the CEB’s rendering is unique and also a great way to consistently translate that important term in both the OT and NT, I wonder if it will work since “Son of Man” is so important to Christian theology. How does one change a major Christological title like that and not bring about greater confusion ultimately?


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