CEV (Contemporary English Version)

CEV website
About the CEV Translation:
“…the Contemporary English Version (CEV) differs from all other English Bibles both past and present in that it takes into account the needs of the hearer, as well as those of the reader, who may not be familiar with traditional biblical language.”

Access U.S. CEV online
Access U.K. CEV online

CEV Learning Bible
CEV podcast

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63 thoughts on “CEV (Contemporary English Version)

  1. Wayne Leman says:

    Ps. 12:3 “Won’t you chop off all flattering tongues …?”

    To me, this wording does not accurately communicate the figurative meaning of the original Hebrew that refers to silencing those who speak in a flattering way. In contrast, the GNT (TEV), CEV’s predecessor does accurately communicate the figurative meaning with:

    “Silence those flattering tongues, O LORD!”

    The issue here is whether or not the figurative meaning of the original is accurately communicated if it is translated literally. We cannot know the answer until we field test those for whom a particular translation has been made. If the target users do understand the original figurative meaning from a literal translation, then that literal translation can be retained.

  2. Wayne Leman says:

    Eph. 5:21 “Honor Christ and put others first.”

    This seems to me not as accurate as it should be:

    1. I’m not convinced that “put others first” adequately captures the meaning of “submitting to one another” which many other versions have.

    2. There is the simple conjunction “and” between the two clauses of this sentence. I don’t think the “and” adequately states the relationship between the two clauses, which, as I understand it, is that we are to submit to each other because we have fear (or reverance) for Christ.

  3. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Hebrews 7:28 “The Law appoints priests who have weaknesses. But God’s promise, which came later than the Law, appoints his Son…”

    The personification of Law in appointing priests sounds strange, but the personification of a promise appointing someone sounds even stranger.

  4. George says:

    Hebrews 1:5 CEV omits translating the Greek word GAR, which shows us that the following statement, “God has never said to any of the angels. . .” explains how the Son had become much greater than the angels. This could be improved by starting verse 5 with the word
    “for” or by a phrase like: “to explain” or “by way of explanation.”

  5. Wayne Leman says:

    Acts 14:23 “Paul and Barnabas chose some leaders for each of the churches. Then they went without eating and prayed that the Lord would take good care of these leaders.”

    Inaccurate. The meaning of the Greek eis hon pepisteukeisan ‘in whom they had believed’ is missing in the CEV wording of this verse.

  6. Peter Kirk says:

    John 11:1-2 “A man by the name of Lazarus was sick in the village of Bethany. He had two sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the same Mary who later poured perfume on the Lord’s head and wiped his feet with her hair.”: CEV omits the information, which is clear in the original Greek, that Lazarus, Mary and Martha were all from the village of Bethany, i.e. this was their home. Instead it states that Bethany was the place where Lazarus was lying sick – which is presumably true (it was certainly the place where he was buried, vv.17-19) but is not stated in these verses.

  7. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Hebrews 9:8 “…no one could enter the most holy place while the tent was still the place of worship.”

    “No one” should be modified, since the high priest entered the most holy place while the tent was still the place of worship.

    Hebrews 9:11 “Christ came as the high priest of the good things…”

    “Good things” sounds inappropriate, since the high priest served people, not things.

    Hebrews 9:14 “…That’s why his blood is much more powerful and makes our consciences clear.”

    The personification of blood making our consciences clear sounds strange.

  8. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Hebrews 10:19 “. . . the blood of Jesus gives us courage . . .”

    The idea of blood giving us courage makes little sense to me.

    Hebrews 10:29 “But it is much worse to dishonor God’s Son and to disgrace the blood of the promise that made us holy.”

    I don’t understand the meaning of “the blood of the promise.”

  9. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Hebrews 11:1 “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for . . .”

    I don’t understand what this means.

    Hebrews 11:19 “This was just like getting Isaac back from death.”

    The phrase “getting Isaac back from death” sounds strange.

    Hebrews 11:24 “Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called the king’s grandson.”

    Hebrews 11:28 “His faith also made him celebrate Passover.”

    The personification of faith as an active agent in verses 24 and 28 sounds strange.

    Hebrews 11:27 “Moses had seen the invisible God . . .”

    If God is invisible, how could Moses have seen God?

    Hebrews 11:28 “His faith also made him celebrate Passover.”

    This sounds like the Passover was an established festival — before it had even occurred!

  10. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Hebrews 12:24 “Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God’s new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.”

    The personification of “sprinkled blood” makes little sense to me.

    Hebrews 12:25 “Make sure that you obey the one who speaks to you.”

    The referent of “the one who speaks to you” is unclear. It could be misunderstood to be the author of the letter.

  11. Wayne Leman says:

    Jer. 50:20 “I will rescue a few people
    from Israel and Judah.
    I will forgive them so completely
    that their sin and guilt
    will disappear,
    never to be found.”

    The Hebrew sets a time frame (“at that time”) for the rest of this verse. It is omitted from the CEV. I would consider this omission an inaccuracy.

  12. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 1:17 “Christ . . . sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power.”

    “Using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power” doesn’t make much sense to me.

    I Corinthians 1:18

    “The message about the cross doesn’t make any sense to lost people.”

    The reader may not understand that “lost people” is meant in a figurative sense.

    I Corinthians 1:25

    “Even when God is foolish . . . and even when God is weak . . .”

    This asserts that God is foolish and weak at times. I don’t think that was the author’s intended meaning here.

  13. Dan Sindlinger says:

    1 Corinthians 2:13 “Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom.”

    The personification of wisdom in “taught . . . not by human wisdom” does not sound normal or natural to me.

  14. Dan Sindlinger says:

    1 Corinthians 3:1,3 “. . . you are acting like the people of this world.”

    The expression “the people of this world” does not clearly convey the author’s intended meaning, since all people are inhabitants of this world.

  15. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 6:1 “When one of you has a complaint against another, do you take your complaint to a court of sinners? Or do you take it to God’s people?”

    The distinction between “sinners” and “God’s people” is not clear since all people are sinners.

    I Corinthians 6:9-10 “No one who . . . behaves like a homosexual will share in God’s kingdom.”

    The phrase “behaves like a homosexual” is not clear since it could leave the reader with the impression that all behavior of a homosexual is bad.

    I Corinthians 6:11 “But now the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of God’s Spirit have washed you and made you holy and acceptable to God.”

    The subjects of “washed and made you holy and acceptable” are “name” and “power”. It sounds very strange to personify “name” and “power”.

  16. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 7:2 “Having your own husband or wife should keep you from doing something immoral.”

    The phrase “something immoral” is too broad, since that could include lying, stealing, killing, etc.

    I Corinthians 7:4 “A wife belongs to her husband instead of to herself . . .”

    I’ve never heard anyone use the expression “a wife belongs to herself”, so the meaning is unclear.

    I Corinthians 7:7 “I wish that all of you were like me, but God has given different gifts to each of us.”

    The phrase “like me” is too broad, since it could refer to Paul’s gender, social status, spirituality, etc.

    I Corinthians 7:34 “Unmarried women and women who have never been married worry only about pleasing the Lord . . .”

    The distinction between “unmarried women” and “women who have never been married” is unclear, since “women who have never been married” are obviously “unmarried women”.

  17. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 11:4 “This means that any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head brings shame to his head.”

    The intended meaning of “prophesy” may not be conveyed. Also, it sounds strange to bring shame to someone’s head.

    I Corinthians 11:6 “It is a disgrace for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair.”

    “It is a disgrace for a woman to cut her hair” needs some qualification or clarification.

    I Corinthians 11:7 “This means that a man should not wear anything on his head.”

    “A man should not wear anything on his head” needs some qualification or clarification.

    I Corinthians 11:27 “If you eat the bread and drink the wine in a way that isn’t worthy of the Lord, you sin against his body and blood.”

    It sounds strange to sin against one’s body and blood. Also, what does that mean?

  18. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 12:26 “If one part of the body is honored, the whole body will be happy.”

    I’ve never heard anyone honor a body part. Also, we usually say “a person is happy”, not “a body is happy.”

  19. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 13:2 “What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge?”

    The phrase “understand knowledge” strikes me as a collocational clash.

    I Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is kind and patient …, love rejoices …”

    It sounds very strange to personify love.

    I Corinthians 13:6 “Love rejoices in the truth …”

    People usually “rejoice over” something, not “in” it.

    I Corinthians 13:8 “… unknown languages will no longer be spoken.”

    This makes no sense. If the languages were unknown, no one would have spoken them at all.

  20. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 14:5 “I am glad for you to speak unknown languages …”

    If the languages are unknown, how can anyone could speak them?

    I Corinthians 14:16 “Suppose some strangers are in your worship service, when you are praising God with your spirit.”

    The comma after “service” breaks the continuity of thought.

  21. Dan Sindlinger says:

    I Corinthians 16:1 “When you collect money for God’s people …”

    Who are “God’s people”? Does this include the wealthy?

    I Corinthians 16:3 “Choose some followers to take the money to Jerusalem.”

    Whose followers is this referring to?

    I Corinthians 16:22 “I pray that God will put a curse on everyone who doesn’t love the Lord.

    Is this really what Paul meant?

  22. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 1:15 “I was so sure of your pride in us that I had planned to visit you …”

    I’ve never heard the expression “your pride in us”.

  23. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 3:6 “He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement …”

    I’ve never heard the expression “servants of an agreement”.

    II Corinthians 3:7 “The Law of Moses brought only the promise of death …”

    The expression “brought a promise” sounds strange, as does the personification of the Law bringing something.

    II Corinthians 3:7 “Still the Law made Moses’ face shine so brightly …”

    Was it the Law that made Moses’ face shine?

    II Corinthians 3:7 “… even though it was a fading glory.”

    What is “a glory”?

    II Corinthians 3:11 “The Law was given with a glory that faded away.”

    Is “glory” a countable noun?

    II Corinthians 3:15 “… they have their minds covered over …”

    I’ve never heard the expression that people cover their minds.

  24. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 4:3 “… it is hidden to someone who is lost.”

    The reader may not understand the figurative meaning of “lost”.

    II Corinthians 4:4 “The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers.”

    I’ve never heard anyone use the expression “blind someone’s mind”.

    II Corinthians 4:6 “God commanded light to shine in the dark.”

    It sounds strange to command an inanimate object such as light.

    II Corinthians 4:6 “Now God is shining in our hearts …”

    I’ve never heard the expression “shine in someone’s heart”.

    II Corinthians 4:12 “This means that death is working in us …”

    What does “death is working in us” mean?

    II Corinthians 4:12 “… but life is working in you.”

    What does “life is working in you” mean?

    II Corinthians 4:13 “In the Scriptures it says, ‘I spoke …”

    The antecedent of “I” is the inanimate “it”. That’s confusing.

  25. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 5:14 “We are ruled by Christ’s love for us.”

    I’ve never heard the expression that someone is ruled by someone else’s love.

    II Corinthians 5:14 “We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died.”

    I wonder if readers realize that “died” in the phrase “all of us have died” is figurative, and if they understand what it means.

    II Corinthians 5:17 “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person.”

    What does “belong to Christ” mean?

  26. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 6:6 “But we have kept ourselves pure …”

    I wonder if the reader understands what it means to keep oneself pure.

    II Corinthians 6:10 “Although we are poor, we have made many people rich.”

    I wonder if the reader understands that “rich” is used figuratively here.

    II Corinthians 6:17 “Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what this statement means.

  27. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 7:5 “We were troubled by enemies and troubled by fears.”

    I’ve never heard the expression that someone is troubled by fears.

    II Corinthians 7:12 “I wrote, so that God would show you how much you do care for us.”

    This doesn’t make much sense. Didn’t the Corinthians know how much they cared for Paul?

  28. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 8:9 “… Christ was kind enough to give up all his riches and become poor, so that you could become rich.”

    The reader may misunderstand “rich” in the materialistic sense.

  29. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 9:6 “A few seeds make a small harvest …”

    I’ve never heard the expression that seeds make a harvest.

  30. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 10:5 “We capture people’s thoughts and make them obey Christ.”

    The immediate antecedent of “them” is “thoughts”. I’ve never heard the expression that thoughts obey someone.

    II Corinthians 10:12 “… they are foolish to compare themselves with themselves.”

    The expression “compare themselves with themselves” sounds strange to me.

  31. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 11:2 “You were like a virgin bride I had chosen only for Christ.”

    The reader may not realize that “virgin bride” is meant in a figurative sense.

    II Corinthians 11:8 “I robbed other churches …”

    The reader may not realize that “robbed” is meant in a figurative sense.

    II Corinthians 11:14 “… Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light.”

    The reader may not understand what “an angel of light” means.

    II Corinthians 11:28 “… I am burdened down, worrying about all the churches.”

    The reader may misunderstand “churches” to refer to buildings rather than people.

  32. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 12:10 “… when I am weak, I am strong.”

    This oxymoron needs to be clarified. It makes no more sense than the statements “when I am short, I am tall” or “when I am skinny, I am fat.”

    II Corinthians 12:18 “… I sent another follower with him.”

    It is unclear whose follower this is referring to.

  33. Dan Sindlinger says:

    II Corinthians 13:5 “… you will discover that Christ is living in you.”

    I wonder if readers understand what “living in you” means.

  34. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 3:6 “In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up …”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “in the name of” means here.

  35. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 4:8 “Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit …”

    I wonder if readers understand what “filled with the Holy Spirit” means.

    Acts 4:12 “His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.”

    I’ve never heard the expression that a name can save someone.

  36. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 5:15 “It was hoped that Peter would walk by …”

    The passive voice use of “hope” is not common.

    Acts 5:40 “… warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “speak in the name of Jesus” means.

  37. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 7:48 “But the Most High God doesn’t live in houses made by humans.”

    I can’t recall ever hearing anyone use the expression “Most High God”.

    Acts 7:56 “… the Son of Man standing at the right side of God.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “standing at the right side of” means.

  38. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 8:10 “This man is the power of God …”

    The use of “is” seems inappropriate here. I would suggest “has” instead.

  39. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 9:4 “Why are you so cruel to me?”

    I wonder if the reader understands that “me” refers to Jesus’ followers.

    Acts 9:16 “I will show him how much he must suffer for worshipping in my name.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “worshiping in my name” means.

    Acts 9:17 “He wants you to be able to see and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “filled with the Holy Spirit” means.

  40. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 10:32 “Now send to Joppa for Simon Peter.”

    It sounds awkward for the verb “send” not to have an object here.

    Acts 10:46 “Now they were hearing Gentiles speaking unknown languages …”

    The phrase “unknown language” sounds like an oxymoron. Every language must be known by at least two people, or it wouldn’t be a language.

  41. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 11:1 “The apostles and followers in Judea heard that Gentiles …”

    The reader may not understand whose followers these are.

    Acts 11:18 “… God has now let Gentiles turn to him, and he has given life to them.”

    The reader may not understand the figurative meaning of “life” here.

  42. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 12:3 “… he had Peter arrested during the Festival of Thin Bread.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “the Festival of Thin Bread” means.

    Acts 12:7 “… and light flashed around in the cell.”

    The expression “light flashed around” conveys the image of a strobe light or some other electric light source.

  43. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 13:10 “… ‘You son of the devil! You are a liar …’”

    I wonder if the reader understands the figurative meaning of “son of the devil”.

    Acts 13:20 “Then God gave our people judges until the time of …”

    I wonder if the reader understands that judges in that era differ from judges in our society.

    Acts 13: “… Do you think I am the Promised One?”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “the Promised One” means.

    Acts 13:35 “… God will never let the body of his Holy One decay.”

    I wonder if the reader understands to whom “his Holy One” refers.

    Acts 13:38 “… The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins.”

    I wonder if the reader understands to what “the Law of Moses” refers and the way it is personified.

  44. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 14:9 “The man was listening to Paul speak, when Paul saw that he had faith in Jesus and could be healed.”

    This sentence is grammatically awkward and confusing.

    Acts 14:17 “He gives food to you and makes your hearts glad.”

    The expression “make your hearts glad” is not commonly used.

  45. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 15:16 “… will return and rebuild David’s fallen house …”

    I wonder if the reader understands that “rebuild David’s fallen house” is meant in a figurative sense.

  46. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 18:13 “… to make our people worship God in a way that is against our Law.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “Law” is referring to.

    Acts 18:28 “He got into fierce arguments with the Jewish people.”

    The expression “fierce arguments” doesn’t sound very Christian.

  47. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 19:5 “… they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “in the name of” means here.

    Acts 19:6 “… they spoke unknown languages and prophesied.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “prophesied” means.

    Acts 19:8 “… talked bravely with the people about God’s kingdom.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “God’s kingdom” means.

    Acts 19:9 “… they said terrible things about God’s Way.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “Way” means.

    Acts 19:16 “They ran out of the house, naked and bruised.”

    The reader may misunderstand “naked” as nude.

  48. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 20:1 “… Paul sent for the followers and encouraged them …”

    It is unclear whose followers these are.

    Acts 20:6 “After the Festival of Thin Bread, we sailed from …”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “the Festival of Thin Bread” means.

  49. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 21:9 “… he had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “prophesied” means here.

    Acts 21:30 “… and the people turned into a mob.”

    I’ve never heard the expression that people “turn into” a mob.

  50. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 22:7 “I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking …”

    I’ve never heard anyone use the expression that they heard a voice asking someone something.

  51. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 26:14 “Then I heard a voice say to me …”

    I can’t recall hearing someone say that a voice spoke to them.

    Acts 26:18 “… they will become part of God’s holy people.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “holy” means here.

  52. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Acts 27:9 “… even the Great Day of Forgiveness was past.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “the Great Day of Forgiveness” refers to.

  53. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 1:1 “This is what God showed to Jesus Christ, so that he could tell his servants …”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “servants” means here.

    Revelation 1:17 “… I am the first, the last …”

    I wonder if the reader has any idea what this means.

  54. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 3:1 “Everyone may think you are alive, but you are dead.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “dead” means here.

  55. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 6:8 “Its rider was named Death, and Death’s Kingdom followed behind.”

    I’ve never heard the expression “Death’s Kingdom”.

  56. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 12:14 “… and be taken care of for a time, two times, and half a time.”

    I wonder if the reader has any idea what “a time, two times, and half a time” means.

  57. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 18:2 “It is the den of every filthy spirit and of all unclean birds …”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “unclean” means here.

    Revelation 18:13 “… spices, incense, myrrh …”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “myrrh” is.

  58. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 19:7 “So we will be glad and happy …”

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard “glad and happy” used together.

  59. Dan Sindlinger says:

    Revelation 21:9 “… the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb.”

    I wonder if the reader understands what “wife of the Lamb” means.

    Revelation 21:21 “The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal.”

    I’ve never heard anyone refer to gold as being clear.

  60. flute4jc says:

    “I’ve never heard anyone refer to gold as being clear.”

    Well my dad studies geology extensively and thinks that PURE gold has a sort of irredescent form, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this was true. Far more attractive than your standard shiny gold.

  61. Wayne Leman says:

    Deut. 4:19 “The LORD put them there for all the other nations to worship.”

    It seems to me that both the CEV and its predecessor, GNT, inappropriately add that the celestial bodies are given by God for people to worship.

  62. Becky says:

    I am deaf. I like CEV – more easy for me to understand. I understand some verses are inaccurated. I use ERV (Easy-to-Read Version) Bible. I also like NIVr, NCV, etc. I think CEV needs some change or correct and update. Thats up to translators.

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