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Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible Hardcover – October 12, 2007
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"This Bible is highly recommended for all Bible students and collectors, evangelical or not."--Bible Editions and Versions
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Top Customer Reviews
This Bible contains an useful introduction containing scholarly essays that give an introduction to this Bible the basics of Bible translation:
"Introduction to The Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible," John R. Kohlenberger III
"Understanding Bible Translation," Mark L. Strauss
"The Textual Basis of New Testament Translation," Daniel B. Wallace
"The Textual Basis of Old Testament Translation," John R. Kohlenberger III
I have read them and they are indeed useful. The introductions of each translation are also included.
The translations contained are mostly a good mix. The NKJV is nice in that it still has a feel for the original King James and it is based on the textus receptus as the KJV. The foot notes in the New Testament seem very extensive in giving info on alternate greek manuscripts. The ESV and the NLT are both based on the critical greek text (in the NT of course) and although The MESSAGE translated by Dr. Eugene Peterson does not say so in it's preface, the introduction to this book indicates it probably was based on the critical text. Of course the NKJV and the ESV are "word for word" translations while the NLT and The MESSAGE are more "thought for thought" so these four versions can work well together.
But actually translations may be divided into four categories in order from most "word for word" to most "thought for thought": Interlinear, formal equivalent, functional equivalent, and "paraphrase."
This Bible contains two formal equivalent translations (The NKJV and ESV, they seek to follow the same form as the original language), a functional equivalent translation (The NLT, which seeks to use english forms that perform the same function as the orignal forms) and a "paraphrase" (The MESSAGE). I put "paraphrase" in quotes because that is a more popular designation and it is inaccurate, as the introduction of this book points out. To paraphrase is to take something from one language and put it in different words in the SAME language. A translation from one language to another by definition, then, cannot be called a paraphrase. This book labels The MESSAGE as an Equivalent Response translation, meaning that it seeks to cause the same response in modern English readers as the original writings did to the original readers. It goes way beyond more common dynamic translations like the NIV and NLT. The MESSAGE goes so far as to use idioms and expressions in our language today. Psalm 58:1 inquires, "Is this any way to run a country? Is there an honest politician in the house?"
The point is this:
Had, say, the NKJV been omitted and an interlinear translation like Young's literal translation been put in its place this book would have had all four kinds of translations in it. Young's is much more raw from the original languages and is more literal than the other translations in this Bible and it is based on the same NT text as the NKJV. This Bible would then have the four different translation styles in it from most raw to most adapted. I would give 7 stars to this Bible if it had Young's Translation. However then this Bible would not be what it says it is, a quartet of modern translations where Evangelical scholars played a huge role. And you know what, you're probably not going to ever find the parallel bible with exactly the 4 versions you WANT in it!
Concerning The MESSAGE,
At times it honestly makes me want to laugh as I'm sure anyone who is acquainted with it will understand. It goes so far off the beaten path to supposedly reach the modern reader where he/she is that it is shocking to somebody like me whose spent his life reading versions like the King James. The expressions The MESSAGE uses are a little embarrassing to read sometimes! Lastly but most seriously, Dr. Peterson's tendency to interpret the Bible for you at times in this version is a downer. That is a weakness in all dynamic translations but it is strongest here. For those reasons I would rather it wasn't in this Bible and it was replaced by, for instance, the Holman Christian Standard Bible. That would be at the cost of the Equivalent Response translation style not being represented in this Book.
However to be fair there are a couple reasons to like The MESSAGE. One is that it is refreshing. The language is so easy reading it gives you a break from reading the other literal translations. That is what I believe Dr. Peterson was going for anyways. Another is that, being so dynamic and unique, it gives you just another sense of how a Scripture MIGHT be viewed. After all Proverbs 11:14 says that with many advisers there is victory. Lastly (and STRANGELY), there are times that The MESSAGE is more literally accurate than all of the other versions. I haven't read through it a lot yet but within a short time I found a few of these spots. For example in Revelation 10:6 the Angel proclaims that "time shall not be yet" according to Young's Literal translation. "Time" is the most literally accurate translation of the word. Its CHRONOS for crying out loud. The NKJV, the ESV, and the NLT have the word "delay" instead. The MESSAGE has the Angel saying "that time was up." There are instances in the OT where Peterson retained the original tense (according to Young) and all the other translations had something else. In Malachi 3:6 Young's says, "For I [am] Jehovah, I have not changed, And ye, the sons of Jacob, Ye have not been consumed." The NKJV, ESV, and NLT the present tense instead of past such as: "I do not change... you are not consumed." The MESSAGE has, "I am GOD, yes, I AM. I haven't changed. And because I haven't changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven't been destroyed." Peterson has the past tense that Young has. The MESSAGE, I tell you, is something else!
Concerning the New Living Translation,
Having picked up the old version of the NLT and read in Genesis 3 that the serpent "hissed" at the woman I knew what priority accuracy had in the minds of the translators. I am relieved that little "something" was fixed in the updated NLT contained in this Bible.
God bless you in your studies. Now lastly here is Proverbs 25:16 according to the (updated) Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible:
"Have you found honey?
Eat only as much as you need,
Lest you be filled with it and vomit." -NKJV
"If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
lest you have your fill of it and vomit it." -ESV
"Do you like honey?
Don't eat too much, or it will make you sick!" -NLT
"When you're given a box of candy, don't gulp it all down;
eat too much chocolate and you'll make yourself sick;" -The MESSAGE