SENT published

Dear SENT Users,

I’m excited to announce that my four-year translation project and labor of love, the Spoken English New Testament, has how arrived from the printer. I’m reaching out to ask those of you who have not already done so to purchase copies, for two reasons:

1. This is probably the most engaging, readable, accurate, and clear translation you will ever read. I am confident that it is going to revitalize your enjoyment and understanding of the scriptures of the New Testament.

2. I have produced and printed this book at my own expense, and I need to recover my print costs! I decided to self-publish the Spoken English New Testament (SENT) because I set out to break the mold for what Bible translations are expected to be–i.e. either archaic, over-literal and wooden, or loose, inaccurate and riddled with sectarian bias–or all of the above. I wanted to make an accurate, scholarly, annotated version that was at the same time ideal for reading aloud and so simple that sixth- to seventh-grade readers would find it easy to read. By self-publishing, I held on to the right to have as many footnotes as I thought my readers deserved, and I also held onto the right to price it at a price that no publisher would consider: $12.99. That’s half of what other recent New Testament translations and similarly-sized non-fiction books sell for in bookstores.

You’re invited to preview the final version of SENT and learn all about it by visiting

Will you order one or more copies of SENT right now? It will ship out to you within 48 hours.

Cover Price: $12.99

CA sales tax: $1.14 (8.75%)

Shipping: $2.76 (media mail)

Handling: $1.00 (order fulfilled by a low-income high school student saving for college)

Total including tax, shipping and handling: $17.89 in CA; $16.75 elsewhere in the USA; $22.55 to Canada; $26.30 to the UK.

For two copies the totals are $32.71, $30.44 elsewhere in the USA; please enquire about international shipping options. Please give me your current shipping address in the following form:

Jane Jones

1234 Smith St Apt 3

Oakland CA 94610

You can make out a check and send it payable to:

SENT Press

2501 Harrison Street

Oakland, CA 94612-3811

Or, if you have a PayPal account, you can send me the payment at

All the Best,

Webb Mealy


(from Wayne: It is a beautiful book with extensive footnotes)

(from Mike: If you have questions, Webb Mealy can be reached at

11 thoughts on “SENT published

  1. David Ker says:

    Wayne, can you do a review?

    “the most engaging, readable, accurate, and clear translation you will ever read”

    I’ve heard that somewhere before…

    And if it’s “Spoken” why isn’t it available in audio format? That would eliminate print costs.

    “Lots of people have already worked at putting together an account of the events that have happened among us—just as the original eyewitnesses and caretakers of the message have
    handed it down to us.” (From Acts 1:1, SENT)

    Not a bad rendering of a really difficult verse to translate. 🙂

  2. Webb Mealy says:

    Dear folks,

    The announcement of SENT above was supposed to invite people to reply to me by email, so I give you my email here:

    Please use that for any orders you wish to make. The purchasing mechanism of the website is not up and running yet.

    Thank you,

    Webb Mealy

  3. Mike Sangrey says:

    Webb, I’ve added your email to the blog posting so people don’t have to read the comments to get it. 🙂

  4. Webb Mealy says:

    David wrote,

    And if it’s “Spoken” why isn’t it available in audio format? That would eliminate print costs.

    I’ll take the second sentence as a joke…

    As for the first sentence, I’m in discussion right now with a producer and hope to have a number of NT books available in 2009. (One thing at a time–whew!) Of course it ought absolutely to be available in audio format. But this version is for reading aloud, not just hearing aloud. Among other things, it’s designed to be read weekly in church services.

    Which brings up a general principle from which I worked in translating. To the extent possible, everything in the main text had to be immediately understandable on one hearing–because one of my main goals was to translate the Bible for those who had never read it before–or who had never read it in anything but an obscure, off-putting form of language. I’m translating, in a word, for non-Christians. When you have an spiritually inexperienced person visiting a church, they may well not get the chance to study the text. So if you want them to receive the goods of the text, the real-time reading has to convey as much as possible of what the author is saying, all in “one pass”, so to speak. SENT employs special (non-intrusive) formatting for words supplied for meaning or English style, and it has lots of footnotes that offer traditional or more “literal” renderings. These features give much useful information to the person who has the leisure and the curiosity to study the text. But I’m not willing to have the text “fly over the head” of anyone who stumbles into a church and hears it for the very first time.

    For that matter, in the dozen or more focus groups that I convened in order to test SENT out, I met many a person who seemed to think that the literalistic translation they had been taught to revere was SUPPOSED to be obscure and hard to understand–that way, they would have to apply themselves and dig for the meaning. One simple soul actually said she wouldn’t have to study the Bible if she had my translation–and to her this was a reason to reject it! Imagine what tangled ideas such a person must form, puzzling over every word in a frequently convoluted and opaque text.


  5. Webb Mealy says:

    Reply to David Ker,

    “And if it’s “Spoken” why isn’t it available in audio format? That would eliminate print costs.”

    Well, of course an audio version must be produced. I’m in discussions with a potential producer and you may well see audio versions of many NT books this year.

    As for the idea that a print version might be superfluous in the case of a translation cast in spoken English–

    There are a number of points in favor of a printed New Testament (or Bible) translation that employs a “spoken” style. First of all, most people exchange far more information by speaking and hearing people speak than by writing and hearing people write. That leads to the following principle: the mode and style in which most people will most easily process communication will be that mode and style in which they do and receive the majority of their communication. A spoken English translation will tend to be more quickly, easily, and completely understood, all other things being equal.

    Beyond that, there are reasons favoring a spoken English style of writing that stem from the very modes in which the biblical documents themselves were originally composed and “read.” For example, most people do not know that it was the standard ancient practice to read books aloud, not silently and “without moving your lips.” Books were composed with that in mind—that is, they were made to be read aloud. A book like a gospel was composed so that it could be read aloud to groups of hearers. Nearly all of our NT, in fact, was written to be read aloud in Christian communities, not simply to be read or studied privately by individuals. (In the days of hand-copying, having a book to yourself was an elite phenomenon.) For example, much of the NT consists of letters written to specific Christian communities (i.e. churches), with the intention that they be read aloud to the believers when received. Not only that, but Paul dictated most of his letters to a person who put his words down on paper. So most of Paul’s letters—perhaps all of them—are records of what Paul said with his voice, not what he wrote with a pen. In addition, a number of the NT letters appear to be made up of material from sermons. All of these are good reasons to welcome and enjoy a translation of the NT into spoken English–not to mention the fact that portions of the New Testament are read aloud in churches very single week!

    Webb Mealy
    [Some of this is taken from the Preface of SENT.]

  6. EricW says:

    Looks good.

    FYI – You’ve accidentally omitted a word in Galatians 2:16b:

    16 But we know that a person is not found innocent by doing what the Law requires except through faith in Jesus Christ. And we’ve in Christ Jesus so that we’ll be found innocent by our faith in Christ, not by doing what the Law requires. Because

    No human being is going to be found innocent by doing what the Law requires.

    I suspect you meant to write “And we’ve believed in Christ Jesus….”

  7. Webb Mealy says:

    To EricW,

    Thanks for the catch. Please let me know the source of the material from Galatians that has the error. That error, wherever it comes from, is not present in the printed edition, thankfully.

    If you’re the sort of person that automatically proofreads things and notices tiny errors, I may have a proposition for you. Contact me off-list if you’re interested.


  8. Brent says:

    I just received my SENT New Testament in the mail today. It looks really nice. Nice formatting choices also. I love the single column format and font choice. It looks very readable. I look forward to reading it right away and perhaps making some comments on it here or on my site. Thanks for your work.

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