Recently I’ve been reading two new Bible translations:
- The Expanded Bible: Explore the Depths of the Scriptures While You Read. Translated by Tremper Longman III, Mark L. Strauss, and Daniel Taylor. Nashville: Nelson, 2011. 1910 pp. [Preview the front matter and the Gospel of John.]
- The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation of the New Testament. Translated by N. T. Wright. New York: HarperOne, 2011. 526 pp. [Preview it using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature.]
Neither translation is one that churches will adopt as their primary one for preaching, teaching, and memorizing. But it’s helpful to have resources like these when studying a passage, even when you disagree with the translation—just like it’s helpful to have commentaries and other books and essays, even when you disagree with their arguments and conclusions.
Both translations are commentary-like:
- The Expanded Bible frequently brackets off alternate, literal, or traditional renderings as well as commentary (brief historical, cultural, theological, or other explanatory information), cross-references, and textual variants. It compactly combines the features of a study Bible into the translation itself. (Again, preview the book to see what I mean.)
- The Kingdom New Testament is breezy and British. On the translation spectrum, it’s more functionally equivalent, similar to the NLT. If you’re familiar with N. T. Wright’s writings, you’ll pick up on all sorts of phrases that reflect his theology—some of it excellent, some of it not (e.g., NPP). (Again, preview the book to see what I mean.)
Update: Robert Gundry, “Tom’s Targum: N. T. Wright’s ‘Kingdom New Testament,’” Books & Culture.
- Mark Strauss interview: parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
- Mike Bird, “The New Testament for Everyone—N. T. Wright’s Translation”
- Louis McBride, “The Kingdom New Testament—First Impressions”
- “The Best All-Around Book on Bible Translation”
- “How to Disagree about Bible Translation Philosophy”
Update on 3/31/2017: In my latest attempt to explain how to interpret and apply the Bible, I include a chapter on Bible translation (pp. 50–81).