I’m Writing My Own Bible Version: My Gift To All The Churches
Just wanted to give everyone an update on a project I’m working on. I’ve started the process of creating my own Bible version of the New Testament. I’ve tentatively titled it the Dustin Germain Awesome Bible, [or DGAB] and am about halfway through writing out the book of Colossians, which will be available as a free downloadable PDF in the near future. The purposes for writing this has been multifaceted. For one thing, I decided that the Bibles I typically use, the ESV, the NASB and the NRSV aren’t dynamic or relevant enough. The language is a bit too exact and precise for my liking. It too accurately conveys the original authorial intent, and we need something with more punch to it. I thought of using the Message Bible, but to be honest I’m not entirely satisfied with the Message Bible. It was a good attempt, but I think my translation can serve as a better medium for finding that common ground between the two. For example, in Collosians 2:8-10, the “original Greek” says this :
βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν διὰ τῆς φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κοσμοῦ καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς, καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας.
The ESV, which is a formal equivalent literal translation, renders it as:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority”
Whereas the Message Bible, a pseudo-dynamic equivalent paraphrase reads:
“Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”
That’s a big difference in word count alone- the Message gets 110 and the ESV gets 57. My translation is not as flamboyant or creative as the Message Bible, but I think it does a good job in offering a readable, contemporary alternative which people might appreciate. The Dustin Germain Awesome Bible reads:
“Take care to ensure that no one seizes you captive through empty deception and philosophies- which rely on human traditions and are according to the elemental spiritual forces of the world and don’t rely on Christ. For in Christ the entire fullness of deity lives bodily, and you have been filled up in Him, who is the head of all authority and rule”
My translation has only 64 words, and while similar word count alone does not mean its a good or accurate translation or Bible version, it does suggest less interpolations. Furthermore, while it may not have the addition of all the friendly little flourishes [or jots and tittles, as some might call them] that Eugene Peterson liberally peppered his text with, I think it still does a good job at conveying the thrust of the point.
For that reason I’ll also be looking for some Churches and pastors to partner with to help promote my translation. There are several major Churches within the SBC that have made it a habit to utilize the Message Bible as their main preaching Bible, and have even had services where the teachers have exegeted it. I think these regular Message-using Churches are my best bet for furthering and developing this project. I’m not sure the exact timetable for when this will be launched, or if they are willing to commit to my project, but I hope they would. In fact, I can’t think of a single good reasons why they might be adverse to using it.
Some well meaning friends have suggested that there might be a bit of push back. They have said that when people see the Bible verse on the powerpoint slide, replete with a mountain scene in the background and a “Dustin Germain Awesome Bible” tacked on to the end, that after the congregants puzzlingly try to comprehend what a DGAB is, they will grow upset and resentful. They believe the congregants won’t take kindly to one man’s opinion of what the scriptures say, in light of better and more exact and precise Bibles out there that reflect what the original manuscripts actually contained, and not some creative verbal wizardry that add things to the texts or leaves things out. I’ve anticipated that critique and having given it some thought, am quite frankly not concerned at all. I don’t think anyone will voice those objections or think that. No one is going to care that they are reading my translation when I laud and promote it as a fresh new way to read the scriptures. They don’t do it to the Message Bible, so why on earth would they do it to mine?
So can I count on the pastors and preachers of the SBC and general christendom to help me with this endeavor? Will you start using it from your pulpits? I will be contacting some of the major players shortly to get your support and endorsements for this project. I hope to see the DGAB quoted in your sermons very soon, and based on your already existing usage of the Message Bible, I am confident that I will receive it your hearty endorsements of my version with a “yea” and “amen”.
[Contributed by Dustin Germain]
[Because it unfortunately needs to be said- yes, this is a work of satire]