Thursday, February 19, 2009

A New and Different New Testament Translation

I'd like to take a sidebar here to introduce you to a new-to-the-web translation of the New Testament. The Pioneers' New Testament is a wholly original translation from the Greek by my Mom, who studied Greek in college and had planned to work for Wycliffe before a variety of life's circumstances changed the trajectory.

Mom's translation has appealed to some people who aren't familiar with "Christianese" precisely because she's avoided some of the common buzzwords that "everybody knows" who's grown up in the church. At times I find the language a little more folksy than I would have chosen myself, but the value there may be that it forces you to think of the original writers as real people instead of exalted demigods as they are sometimes perceived.

The translation particularly excels at highlighting a few concepts that are not visible in most English translations due to limitations on our language and usage. Among other things:
  • It highlights the difference between singular and plural "you," a concept that matters a great deal if you realize Christianity was always intended to be a team sport rather than a lone-ranger business;
  • It breaks apart the two different Greek words we usually translate as "sin," "hamartia" (which Mom renders as "shortcomings"), and "paraptoma" (which she translates as "deliberate transgression")
  • It designates in capitals the places in the gospels where Jesus used the Greek "ego emi"--equivalent to the "I AM" of the burning bush--to help us understand Jesus' nonstandard usage and what it may mean Christologically.
Anyway, I encourage you to check it out at


RJ said...

Dan, thanks for another valuable resource for studying the Word. Wow, I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (in a good sense). I will be studying this new resource in the coming weeks.

Yes, some might think that your mom's translation is folksy but in my opinion that is what is tragically missing today. Many if not most theologians, who are the primary book writers about Christianity, seem to lack the skill of using ordinary words. They seem to be more concerned with impressing other theologians with their "theologian speak" than they are to take the Gospel to the masses.

Today we often wonder why the fringe Christians such as those espousing the prosperity gospel have such a strong following. In my opinion one reason is because they use words that everyone can understand. And of course for this group human greed helps too. I know I got flamed recently for daring to say that I could not understand the 100 word reply that N.T. Wright gave to Trevin Wax in a recent blog interview. I was told to do a lot more studying to understand all his words! To me that is just backwards.

So, give your mother my congratulations on trying to bring God's word to the masses in language that they can understand.

Kurt Willems said...

I am very interested to see you mom's translation. I plan to check it out. I am especially excited to hear that your mom chose to differentiate between you, and "ya'll"! This has been one of the biggest theolgical roadblocks in our translations in such an individualistic culutre!!!

Tremonti said...

Wow! another new translation of the NT but this time it's free!Thanks for this link to your mom's blog! I'll be doing some reading on this soon. I'm reading and studying through James and this would be a helpful addition!