Yesterday I received my free copy of the Common English Bible (CEB) New Testament. The tag line for the CEB is as follows: A fresh translation to touch the heart and mind.
The CEB is a result of 115 leading biblical scholars from 22 denominations, field tested by 77 reading specialists in 13 denominations.
Here’s the grind: for the next several weeks, I’ll be posting my First Impressions of the CEB from Paul’s Letters, beginning with Galatians, with the ESV as a match up, from time to time:
—from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:
1:6— “another gospel” and 1:7—“another gospel.” The CEB takes the Greek adjectives heteros and allo, respectively, as synonyms. However, the ESV doesn’t: “different gospel” and “another,” respectively.
2:9— “shook hands… as equals” vs “the right hand of fellowship” (ESV). I’m feeling that English idiom.
2:16— “by faith in Jesus Christ” for the Greek διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. I was actually expecting “through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ” here. Perhaps that would be the case in Romans 3:22.
2:20—interestingly the CEB doesn’t translate Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι, “I’ve been crucified with Christ.” And there’s no footnote to explain this omission.
3:1— “You irrational Galatians!” vs “O foolish Galatians!” (ESV) I really like “irrational” better in light of the questions that follow (vv. 2-5).
4:5—the Greek υἱοθεσίαν is rendered simply as “adopted” vs “the adoption of sons” (ESV) or “adoption of children” (NRSV).
4:23, 29— “conceived the normal way” vs “born according to the flesh” (ESV). Given Paul’s use of sarx, “flesh,” in Galatians, which is often portrayed as an antagonist, the CEB’s “normal way” misses the point.
4:21-5:1 marks a section vs 4:21-31 and then 5:1 in the ESV. Given the Greek text and even the flow of thought, I go with the CEB here.
5:13-19— “selfish impulses,” “selfish desires,” “selfish motives” for sarx vs “flesh” in the ESV. I say keep it simple with “flesh.”
6:14— “God forbid” for that Pauline negative μὴ γένοιτο, “far be it” (ESV). Interestingly, even the NLT has “God forbid” here. Why not? It still rocks!
All in all, the CEB does have that freshness to it. I find it a smooth read as well.
Next, I shall consider Romans.