Tuesday, July 28, 2009

E-X-P-A-N-D Your Bible Study

From http://waynehastings.blogs.com/offtheshelf/2009/04/new-expanded-bible-coming-soon.html:
On August 11, 2009, Thomas Nelson will release a new product especially designed for our customer. Developed by a trusted team of Bible scholars The Expanded Bible New Testament, like the three titles I mentioned above, gives the reader help to reach their goal of hearing God’s message to them directly from the Scriptures.

Why is it different?
  • It meets the needs of the contemporary student of the Bible by combining devotional reading and in-depth study in a completely new way. Users can now study the Bible while they read with study aids and resources placed in-line with the text of the Bible.
  • It joins Bible text with traditional wordings, explanatory comments, additional wordings, literal meanings and expanded word definitions, all integrated within the text of the Scripture.
  • It offers readers a unique Bible study experience by making them a part of the process and decisions made by scholars while developing a translation
The end result is a Bible that is highly readable for devotions or study purposes that includes a richer in-text explanation of the Scripture. The experience will help customers grasp all that God is saying and give them a complete meaning of words and their alternative wordings. It’s like having a robust Bible reference library at your fingertips without having to flip a page or grab another book.

You can try this exceptional new product now. Simply go to this site and download a free PDF file and enjoy the experience first-hand.

Here's what it looks like (from the above link to the PDF file copy). The base text (in bold) is a modified version of the New Century Version. See the Introduction of The Expanded Bible for an explanation of the symbols and formatting (·, L, T, C, brackets, etc.):

1·In the beginning [Gen. 1:1] ·there was the Word [the Word already existed; Cthe Word refers to Christ, God’s revelation of himself]. The Word was ·with [in the presence of; in intimate relationship with] God [Cthe Father], and the Word was [fully] God. 2He was ·with [in the presence of; in intimate relationship with] God in the beginning. 3All things ·were made [were created; came to be] ·by [through] him, and nothing ·was made [came to be] without him [Prov. 8:22–31]. 4·In him there was life [or What was made through him was life], and that life was the light of all people. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not ·overpowered [defeated; or understood; comprehended] it.

6There was a man named John
[Cthe Baptist; Matt. 3; Luke 3] who was sent by God. 7He came to ·tell people the truth [testify; bear witness] about the Light so that ·through him all people could hear about the Light and believe [Leveryone might believe through him]. 8John was not the Light, but he came to ·tell people the truth [testify; bear witness] about the Light. 9The true Light that ·gives light to [shines on; illuminates; enlightens] all [people] was coming into the world! [or 9The true Light gives light to all who have come into the world.]

10·The Word [LHe] was in the world, and the world ·was made [was created; came into being] ·by [through] him, but the world did not ·know [recognize] him. 11He came to ·the world that was his own [or his own country; Lthat which was his own], but his own people did not ·accept [receive] him. 12But to all who did ·accept [receive] him and believe ·in him [Lin his name; Cthe name indicating the character of the person] he gave the ·right [power; authority] to become children of God. 13They did not become his children ·in any human way [by natural descent; by physical birth; Lby blood]—by ·any human parents [human passion/decision; Ldesire/will of the flesh] or ·human desire [a husband’s decision; Ldesire/will of a man/husband]. They were born of God.
My thoughts from a quick look at it:
  • You'll have to decide if having all the translation notes and comments in the text is better than having them in footnotes or sidenotes, and if this in-the-text format hinders or helps one's ability to read and study the text.
  • If you are at least somewhat proficient in Koinê Greek, you'll be able to judge if the expansions and alternate translations or clarifications are beneficial to the non-Greek reader, or can be confusing or a matter of TMI ("Too Much Information").
  • An interesting experiment for those who can read the original Greek is see how The Expanded Bible translates and expands Ephesians 1:3-14 (which is a single sentence in the Greek, though Nestle-Aland 27 punctuates it so each Εν ω starts a new sentence - i.e., 1:7, 1:11, and 1:13):
    3·Praise be to [or Blessed is] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly ·world [realms; places]. 4·That is [or Just as; or For; Because], in Christ, he chose us before the ·world was made [Lfoundation of the world] so that we would be his holy people—people ·without blame [or unblemished; Cas are sacrificial animals] before him. 5Because of his love [Cthis phrase may go with the previous sentence], God ·had already decided to make us his own children [Lpredestined us for adoption] through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, 6and it brings praise to God because of his ·wonderful [glorious] grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in ·Christ, the One he loves [Lthe Beloved]. 7In ·Christ [Lhim] we ·are set free [have been redeemed/purchased] by ·the blood of his death [Lhis blood; Cblood signifies his sacrificial death], and so we have forgiveness of sins. ·How rich is [or This redemption reveals the wealth of; L...according to the riches of] God’s grace, 8which he has ·given to us so fully and freely [lavished on us]. With ·full [all] wisdom and understanding [Cthis phrase may go with the previous sentence], 9God let us know ·his secret purpose [or the mystery of his will; Ca “mystery” in Scripture is something God had not previously disclosed]. This was what ·God wanted [pleased him], and he ·planned to do it [or set it forth;publicly revealed it] through Christ. 10His goal was to carry out his plan, ·when the right time came [or at the time of fulfillment; Lin the fullness of the times], that all things in heaven and on earth would be ·joined together [unified; or summed up; or renewed] in Christ as the head.

    11In Christ we ·were chosen to be God’s people
    [have received/were given our part of an inheritance], ·because from the very beginning God had decided this [Lhaving been predestined] in keeping with his plan. And he is the One who ·makes everything agree [or accomplishes everything in accord] with what he decides and wants. 12We are the first people who hoped in ·Christ [the Messiah], and we were chosen so that we would bring praise to God’s glory. 13So it is with you. When you heard the ·true teaching [message/word of truth]—the ·Good News about [Gospel of] your salvation—you believed in Christ. ·And in Christ, God put his special mark of ownership on you by giving you [L...having been sealed with] the Holy Spirit that he had promised. 14That Holy Spirit is the ·guarantee [down payment; deposit] ·that we will receive what God promised for his people [Lof our inheritance] until ·God gives full freedom to those who are his [or we acquire possession of it; Lthe redemption of the possession; v. 7]—to bring praise to God’s glory.
    Doing this might help you evaluate if The Expanded Bible is a translation you would use or recommend to non-Greek readers as an aid to better understanding the original text.

I made the following comment to the publisher via the blogsite:
Just a quick comment, as I just found out about this forthcoming translation today.

I looked at a passage I was reading, Luke 1:34, and The Expanded Translation reads:
34 Mary said to the angel, “How •will [can] this happen since I •am a virgin [L have known (sexually) no man]?”
The Introduction says about [L]:
L LITERAL: A more literal rendering of the original language, allowing the reader to see why translations make varying choices. These are signaled by a superscript L within a bracket: [L ].
The Expanded Translation says the "more literal rendering" is:
[L have known (sexually) no man].
However, the "literal" Greek is "a-man not I-know" ανδρα ου γινωσκω (andra ou ginôskô).

Why does The Expanded Translation suggest that the "literal" Greek has a perfect tense verb ("have known"), rather than a present tense verb?

Also, why does the "literal" rendering suggest that ου (ou) modifies "man" as an adjective (i.e., "no man"), rather than that it modifies "know" as an adverb (i.e., "I do not know")?

IIRC, The New International Greek Testament Commentary (I. Howard Marshall) notes this use of the present tense when discussing the possible meanings of the verse (a verse often used to support the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox belief in Mary's perpetual virginity).
I received the following informative response:
We appreciate your comment on Wayne Hastings’ blog, which has been referred to me for response.

First, you will be seeing many “literal” renderings in The Expanded Bible that are not as literal as they can possibly be, but are relatively literal while still being worded in natural English so as to be understandable. This is one of those.

With regard to the tense, this is a present tense verb being used to communicate the perfective sense of the action. (In fact, Daniel B. Wallace uses this very passage as an example in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 533, under “special uses of the present tense, perfective present.”)

The negation bears the same sense either way it is applied.

We appreciate your interest in The Expanded Bible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Scripture taken from The Expanded Bible. Copyright © 2009 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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