New things are scary. This isn’t headlining news — especially on this blog.
New things can also be exciting.
This week at McCormick, we had McCormick Days. This is an annual event that invites pastors, alums, church leaders, and other interested laity to join together to learn from and support one another in ministry. This year’s focus was on the new translation of the bible that was released this year: the Common English Bible. There were workshops, lectures, panels, and even an art class to learn about and how to use this version in different ministry settings.
There is big talk and excitement surrounding this version here at McCormick — several of the faculty have worked as translators and editors on this text. So being in the little bubble of seminary that I’m in — it was interesting for me to hear questions and comments that the group asked in the sessions after already hearing what my professors had to say about why they translated things the way they did.
There are several things in this version that are strikingly different. Things that show up in very familiar passages. For example:
KJV: In the beginning, God created… CEB: When God began to create…
KJV: Blessed are the poor in spirit… CEB: Happy are people who are hopeless…
These changes are scary. They make theological choices and changes. They might make us uncomfortable.
They’re also exciting; allowing us to view, with fresh eyes, the message of God and love. Encouraging us to examine what we haphazardly read during a morning devotion.
New language causes us to think critically.
To examine thoroughly.
To rejoice in the diversity God has created among us.
These editors have poured themselves out and prayerfully examined the original Hebrew and Greek texts in order to provide us with a version of the bible that has the ability to awaken us to new growth and enlightenment.
I charge you to go examine, my dear friends. Examine versions of the Living Word that you haven’t before. Breathe in the diversity of translation and allow yourself to be swept away in a story that has been going on since the beginning of time itself…