A new Bible: The King’s Version

A new translation of the New Testament has just been announced, to be called the King’s Version. And the well respected translator is …

Read all about it at Gentle Wisdom!

22 thoughts on “A new Bible: The King’s Version

  1. EricW says:

    “The King’s Version” might fly in other countries, but it sounds really hokey to me, an American.

  2. EricW says:

    hokey [ˈhəʊkɪ]
    adj Slang chiefly US and Canadian
    1. corny; sentimental
    2. contrived; phoney

    Maybe I should have said “pompous” (or “dorky”) instead of “hokey.” 🙂

  3. Mike Sangrey says:

    I might be wrong, but N.T. Wright will be picky about various technical terms as well as follow his pastoral heart. So, it will tend to be strict with things like δικαιοσύνη (DIKAIOSUNH) which Wright understands as “faithfulness to a covenantal agreement.” And, yet, in other areas it will tend to meet people where they are at. He’s also an excellent communicator, and that comes through in his translation.

    Also, he’s stated publicly he believes a person who wants to do careful exegesis won’t be served well by the NIV and would be better served by the RSV.

    Here’s a quick comparison of four versions of Matthew 8:1-4 so you can compare his to the other three. I picked the passage totally at random.

    [NASB]
    When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.
    And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
    Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
    And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

    [NIV-2011]
    When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy[a] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
    Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

    [NLT]
    Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
    Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

    [NT Wright]
    When Jesus came down from the hillside, large crowds followed him. Suddenly a leper approached, and knelt down in front of him.
    ‘Master,’ he said, ‘if you want, you can make me clean!’
    Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.
    ‘I do want to,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’
    At once his leprosy was cured.
    ‘Take care’, Jesus said to him, ‘that you don’t say anything to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering which Moses commanded. That will be proof to them.’

  4. Mike Sangrey says:

    Here’s Matthew 12:25B:

    ‘Suppose a kingdom is split down the middle,’ he said to them. ‘It’ll go to rack and ruin! If a city or a household is split down the middle, it’s doomed!’

  5. J. K. Gayle says:

    “The King’s Version”?

    Well, N.T. Wright gave a lecture at King’s College, London, in October 1993; and he granted an interview at King’s College, New York City, in April 2010. Is it a nod, to the Brits and the Americans at these institutions?

    “‘Master,’ he said, ‘if you want, you can make me clean!’”?

    So, if this really is Wright’s translation, then his “Master” is a much, much better rendering of Matthew’s Greek “κυριε [kyrie]” (than the others’ “Lord”)! (Despite what Dannii suggested about only translating phrases — “I don’t believe in translating words…. Phrases people!” — good word translation really does make a difference.)

  6. Theophrastus says:

    I suspect that “King’s Version” was a name chosen by a publicist rather than Wright himself; in any case, it undoubtedly is a reference to the “King James” version anniversary as well as the Christian belief in “King Jesus.” (In case you have not noticed, the monarch of England, and thus the titular head of the Church of England, is not a king at all.)

    I suspect that this translation is directly taken from Wright’s For Everyone series, which will be complete with his Early Christian Letters and Revelation volumes to be published in October. What I don’t understand is why those volumes will have “N. T. Wright” on the cover rather than the “Tom Wright” of earlier volumes.

    One complaint I have heard is that this is “yet another” translation — and that we should somehow globally align our resources to producing Bible translations in rare and obscure languages. In fact, that’s a red-herring — from the introduction to Wright’s current volumes in this series, it seems that these books are not being subsidized by any religious or academic organization (other than, of course, Wright’s personal salary from his academic and religious jobs and his speaking engagements.) Further, it seems that there is considerable activity in translating Bibles in a variety of languages.

    Wright’s commentary is certainly interesting on its own (and I would be very happy to see hardcover bound version of his commentaries). We already have most of his translation in his existing For Everyone one volumes. I certainly welcome this volume, even if it does not rise to the heights of Iliterary translations such as Barnstone’s or Lattimore’s or the KJB; or academic translations such as the RSV and NRSV.

  7. Theophrastus says:

    I suspect that “King’s Version” was a name chosen by a publicist rather than Wright himself; in any case, it undoubtedly is a reference to the “King James” version anniversary as well as the Christian belief in “King Jesus.” (In case you have not noticed, the monarch of England, and thus the titular head of the Church of England, is not a king at all.)

    I suspect that this translation is directly taken from Wright’s For Everyone series, which will be complete with his Early Christian Letters and Revelation volumes to be published in October. What I don’t understand is why those volumes will have “N. T. Wright” on the cover rather than the “Tom Wright” of earlier volumes.

    One complaint I have heard is that this is “yet another” translation — and that we should somehow globally align our resources to producing Bible translations in rare and obscure languages. In fact, that’s a red-herring — from the introduction to Wright’s current volumes in this series, it seems that these books are not being subsidized by any religious or academic organization (other than, of course, Wright’s personal salary from his academic and religious jobs and his speaking engagements.) Further, it seems that there is considerable activity in translating Bibles in a variety of languages.

    Wright’s commentary is certainly interesting on its own (and I would be very happy to see hardcover bound version of his commentaries). We already have most of his translation in his existing For Everyone volumes. I certainly welcome this volume, even if it does not rise to the heights of literary translations such as Barnstone’s or Lattimore’s or the KJB; or academic translations such as the RSV and NRSV.

  8. Theophrastus says:

    Although, now that I think about it, I suspect that The King’s Version is actually a reference to the 1543 The King’s Book = The Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for Any Christian Man, a work attributed to Henry VIII. You will remember that The King’s Version, as a statement, was a direct ancestor of the 39 Articles.

    Further, since the The King’s Book was a revision of The Bishops’ Book (as edited by a committee headed by Thomas Cranmer), perhaps the title The King’s Version is intended to be understood as a revision of a committee version of the New Testament.

  9. Peter Kirk says:

    Theophrastus, it would take someone as erudite as you to spot that allusion to a 1543 work. The allusion to 1611 is more to the point.

    I think the objection to yet another Bible version is that Christians will be spending their money on another book, and on increasing the Murdoch empire’s profits (as do their NIV purchases, in North America), when they could have spent it on charitable or mission work including Bible translation for others.

    Against that, it should in fact be useful for many people to have Wright’s translation available in a convenient form. This version, from the extracts Mike posted, looks like a valuable addition to the range available, although doubtless it will have the weaknesses of all single translator versions. Also it is sad that this is New Testament only and will probably remain so.

  10. Theophrastus says:

    Peter, there is in fact a matching translation of parts of the Hebrew Bible being made by John Goldingay, who has published volumes in the For Everyone series to date (in less than a year) on Genesis (2 volumes), Exodus-Leviticus, Numbers-Deuteronomy, Joshua-Judges-Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, with 1-2 Kings on the way.

    However, I think it is fair to say that Goldingay’s work is less interesting than Wright’s. Among other issues, Goldingay is not a complete translation, but only a translation of what he considers to be interesting passages, with summaries of the passages that he does not translate. Without saying anything negative about Goldingay, I must add that it is hard to match Wright’s intelligence, creativity, writing skills, and ability to fuse his talents as a scholar and pastoral teacher.

    I know that practice varies among denominations, but I had thought it was a frequent Christian practice to tithe to religious organizations, with separate funds being reserved for family religious education. We have not yet seen The King’s Version so I’ll withhold judgment, but I can assert with some confidence that for a typical reader, time spent reading Wright’s For Everyone series would not be wasted (furthermore, the publishers of the series are WJK/PPC in the US and SPCK in the UK; and these non-profit publishers are perhaps less offensive to you than the News Corporation).

  11. Jordan Doty says:

    Because Wright has already finished most of this translation on his own, and because he has the popular and academic clout to get something published wherever, I wouldn’t imagine that “The King’s Version” would be the result of a publisher’s decision. Although the Hstorical and Literary English references seem at least semi-plausible, I would tend to agree with Theophrastus that Wright is probably referring to “King Jesus” for his translation title. Wright made a pretty big deal through parts of the For Everyone series that people think of the term Christ in “Christ Jesus” as more of a personal name than a title [announced one, messiah], so Wright would translate the term as “King Jesus.” His cosmic, big picture, Kingdom theology throughout the series concerning King Jesus seems to fit.

  12. Jordan Doty says:

    Meant to say Annointed One, though thanks to John the Baptist and the prophets and apostles and hopefully us today, I guess He is the “Announced One” as well!

  13. Peter Kirk says:

    Jordan, it is indeed a significant observation that Wright used “King Jesus” where other versions have “Christ Jesus”. That is a more likely background to the titles than Theophrastus’ obscure reference to King Henry VIII. Another interesting question is whether this is a justifiable translation decision.

  14. Theophrastus says:

    Jordan, it is indeed a significant observation that Wright used “King Jesus” where other versions have “Christ Jesus”. That is a more likely background to the titles than Theophrastus’ obscure reference to King Henry VIII.

    I thought that too, hence my original speculation. But as I considered it further, it seemed uncharacteristically presumptuous for Wright to allow the claim that his translation represents Jesus’ exact version.

    Or in the words of the famous saying popularly attributed to Texas Governor “Ma” Ferguson: “If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for the children of Texas!”

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