Friday, June 29, 2007

Good As New

Apparently there is a new bible version out there. It is called, "Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures." (Amazon link) It was written by John Henson. I am not against paraphrases of the Bible, per se, but I think that this one goes too far. I don't mind so much that he changes the names of some of characters, "Rocky" instead of "Peter," "John the Dipper" instead of "John the Baptist, " etc. Most notable are the things he leaves out. Take the following excerpt as an example:

Matthew 16:13-23

Jesus and his friends went on to the villages near Philiptown-Caesar. On the way he asked his friends, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “John the Dipper, Elijah, or one of God’s speakers from the old days.” Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say I am”? Rocky answered, “You’re God’s Chosen.” Jesus gave them strict instructions to keep it quiet. At this point Jesus started to teach that the Complete Person would have to go through great suffering, be rejected by the various religious groups, and be killed, then come back to life after three days. Jesus was quite clear. Rocky took Jesus to one side and contradicted him crossly. Jesus turned round to face his other friends, saying to Rocky. “Get away from me! You’re a bad influence. Your get your ideas from people, not from God!”

Now compare that with the NASB version:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

He has removed all references to Jesus being the Son of God, instead it refers to Jesus as being the "Complete Person." What ever that is. He has also removed the references to Satan and to heaven. I have read in other places that he has removed 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. In their stead he added the Gospel of Thomas. He also desired to make his version less homophobic than other versions. For example, he translates Romans 1:26-27 as follows:

God let them go on to pursue their selfish desires. Women use their charms to further their own ends. Men, instead of being friends, ruthlessly exploit one another.
instead of
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Sounds like a bunch of politically correct hogwash to me.


angie said...

hey, u left a comment on my blog and i thought your name sounded really familiar. i realised i stumbled upon your blog a really really long time ago and was very encouraged by how your blog was a true reflection of Christ's glory. =) it's really something i strive to do! keep at it! and keep living for Him.

just wanted to let you know cos i thought it was really amazing that somehow God just sent you to my blog =)

Judah Himango said...

I agree, Gary, this translation is not Scripture, but a politically correct version of one-man's bible that removes the parts he doesn't like.

I don't care so much that he changed the names a bit, especially since the names we read are the Greek-to-Latin-to-English translations of their real names (otherwise Jesus would be Yeshua, Peter would be Kefa, Matthew would be Mattiyahu, John the Baptist would be Yochanon Michvah, and so on, given these men were Jews with Hebrew names, not Greeks with Greek/English names).

However, changing the canon, removing books you don't like, and rewriting pieces of Scripture that don't fit the politically correct version of God humans have recently invented is wrong.

I wonder what he did with the Tenakh/Old Testament? If you're John Henson, there's lots of editing to be done there! My guess is he probably omitted the whole thing.

Gary Kirkham said...

Hi Judah,

Glad to see you're back from vacation. Hope you had a nice relaxing time. Things are kind of hectic here. We are busy preparing for my daughter's wedding next Saturday.

Yeah, this "bible" is a bit much. Unfortunately there is a long history of people dismissing parts of the bible they don't agree with or doesn't fit their version of who God ought to be. I remember from my childhood hearing feminists dismissing most of Paul's writings because they labeled him a chauvinist. Then there was Thomas Jefferson, who omitted every reference to the deity of Christ and to His miracles.

I think it is human nature to dismiss anything we don't understand. I have chosen, by the grace of God, to defer passages I don't understand until such times as the Holy Spirit chooses to reveal their meaning to His time, His way.

In Christ,

Judah Himango said...

Congrats on your daughter's wedding, Gary. It must both hectic and happy for you. :-)

Take care,