Thinking Out Loud

April 20, 2012

Bible Translation Leaves Out Jesus Christ

Filed under: bible — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:11 am

Part of the argument used by King James Only-ists against the modern versions is that the phrase, “Lord Jesus Christ” has been deliberately struck from the newer translations in order to diminish the deity of Jesus. Unfortunately, they are simply looking to pick a fight since (a) if that was the intention, they were only successful in one-third of all possible instances, and (b) it’s well established that it’s the KJV itself that’s in error, adopting what is called a “run on” inserted into the text by weary scribes and not supported by original manuscripts.

However, if the KJV advocates — they actually don’t use the ‘V’ in KJV, because it’s a tacit acknowledgement that other translations even exist — really want something to get excited about, they might consider backing off the various iterations of the NIV for a season, and focusing their ire on The Voice, a new Bible version just released by Thomas Nelson.

The Voice more resembles a screenplay — see sample text below — than the text you’re familiar with, and the water cooler topic of the week concerns the complete omission of the term Christ in association with Jesus. Many of the blog articles trace back to an article in The Tennesseean:

The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible from a Nashville publisher.

Nor do religious words like “angel” or “apostle.”

Instead, “angel” is rendered as “messenger,” and “apostle” as “emissary.” Jesus Christ is Jesus the Anointed One or “the liberating king.”

That’s a more accurate translation for modern American readers, said David Capes, lead scholar for The Voice, published by Thomas Nelson. Capes said that many people, even those who’ve gone to church for years, don’t realize that the word “Christ” is a title.

“They think that Jesus is his first name and Christ is his last name,” said Capes, who teaches New Testament at Houston Baptist College in Texas.

Seven years in the making, The Voice is the latest entry into the crowded field of English Bible translations. It’s aimed at people who haven’t read the Bible much before and aren’t familiar with church jargon.

Unlike the updated New International Version and the Common English Bible — both released last year — much of The Voice is formatted like a screenplay or novel. Translators cut out the “he said” and “they said” and focused on the dialogue.

So, in Matthew 15, when Jesus walks on the water, scaring his followers, their reaction is immediate:

Disciple: “It’s a ghost!”

Another Disciple: “A ghost? What will we do?”

Jesus: “Be still. It is I, you have nothing to fear.”

Capes said that when people read the Bible, they often focus on small chunks and don’t get the whole story.

So he and other scholars worked side by side with writers and poets to make the text more accessible.

There’s much more to the article, and you can continue reading here.

I had an opportunity to look over a copy earlier last week; and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a first Bible for a new Christian, it does make an ideal gift for that hard-to-buy-for Sunday School teacher or Bible College student.

Because it’s entirely written in a screenplay format, the dialog may appear choppy to some people. For those who prefer a more flowing text, another new edition, The Story based on the updated NIV from Zondervan might be a better choice.

Join discussions on the new Bible at Jesus Creed



  1. great post…God bless you!!!!

    Comment by Nitoy Gonzales — April 20, 2012 @ 6:41 am

  2. Just so everyone is clear, when I suggest that the KJO people focus their ire on this new translation, I am speaking somewhat tongue in cheek. I don’t personally believe that anything is lost using the form, “Jesus the Anointed One;” and it may work better for some people. ~Paul

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — April 20, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  3. Jesus is in fact the anointed one. Messiah is the Hebrew word meaning “anointed one” and Christ is the Greek word for same. Teaching that simple lesson connects the Old Testament to the New in a way that can’t be done if we completely translate everything into English. What we will gain by dumbing down the Bible is a generation of Christian even more inept at understanding the scriptures than we have now. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse…

    I would rather teach people that his name isn’t Jesus Christ than give up using the word Christ. IF WE GIVE UP CHRIST, WHAT DOES THAT MAKE CHRISTIANS?

    Comment by Clark Bunch — April 25, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    • I have mixed feelings about this one. I’ve mentioned before the influence that Bruxy Cavey has had on me concerning the “emotional bonding to certain words and phrases” that is common. His example is the woman who cornered him after a message on “the Kingship of Jesus” and was upset he never mentioned “the sovereignty of God.” So part of me likes the fresh approach; I think the issue here is that they did it EVERY TIME. Mixing it up a little might have been in everyone’s better interests.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — April 25, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  4. […] hoping at some point to get a copy so we can delve into it here in much more detail. (There’s a page sample from one month ago at this blog when the usual suspects got upset about a particular phrase […]

    Pingback by Wednesday Link List « Thinking Out Loud — May 16, 2012 @ 6:19 am

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