November 18, 2014

Reading The Jerusalem Bible


When the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) stimulated a spiritual awakening that crossed all sorts of denominational lines and stirred a charismatic renewal, Bible study groups became a highly active part of Christian fellowship. By 1966, The Jerusalem Bible (JB) gave us a translation of the original languages in an accurate contemporary text, first in French then English with both approved by the Catholic Church and used by Christians from a variety of backgrounds.

That same year, the American Bible Society published the New Testament in the Today’s English Version (TEV) better known as the Good News Bible (GNB), which I used in the Bible study group that met each week in my home. So, I didn’t even hear of the JB until 1985 when the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) came out, and I readily embraced its dynamic tone, conversational style, and thought-provoking footnotes.

In the 1990’s, a Catholic edition of GNB came out with the full biblical texts including the deuterocanonical books aka Apocrypha. Indeed, from the second half of the 20th century to the present day, Christian scholars and publishers produced such a wealth of English translations and updated versions that the JB went out of print for a decade.

When I finally tracked down the availability of The Jerusalem Bible, I asked for a review copy, and Doubleday kindly gave me the “First Doubleday Reader’s Edition” printed in this century with notes and introductions shortened “to the minimum which are necessary for understanding the primary, literal meaning of the text; to explain terms, places, people and customs; to specify dates, and to identify the sources of quotations. In short, the brief Introductions and Notes are here only to help the ordinary reader to understand what he is reading….”

For example, the “Introduction to Tobit, Judith and Esther” says: “Although these three books have the literary form of historical stories, the events of which they tell are not attested from other sources and the books are found to treat the facts of history and geography with a good deal of freedom. Plainly they were written” as historical novels and devotionals might be today “to teach lessons of another kinds, and some of the early Greek Bibles include them with the wisdom writings.”

The Introduction goes on to say that “Tobit, the story of a dutiful son who is given miraculous help by an angel, was written among the Jews of the dispersion… though the setting of the story is some two hundred years earlier. The book was not accepted into the Hebrew Bible and was recognized by the Church only after a certain hesitancy in the patristic period. In the new translations of the Bible made at the Reformation, it was put in the Apocrypha.” The same is true for the book of Judith while the book of Esther has variations in Greek that do not appear in the original Hebrew versions. Therefore, “the Greek passages are ‘deuterocanonical,’ their history being the same as that of Tobit and Judith.”

Other introductions provide equally helpful information that ground us in the circumstances and history of each book. For example, the ”Introduction to The Psalms” informs readers that “The Psalter, or Book of Psalms, is a collection of hymns used in the liturgical worship of the Temple.” Arranged in five parts, “the 150 psalms represent the work of several centuries.” Although some psalms shock readers today, “in their own time there was nothing improper about violent curses against enemies…” Most of the Psalms, however, can be categorized as hymns of praise, thanksgiving, prayer, or lament.

One lament sometimes voiced about the JB has been its use of the sacred name “YHWH” rendered as “Yahweh” – the Name Which was once anglicized as “Jehovah.” Since the Hebrew alphabet does not contain all of those letters, newer versions of the Bible often translate the sacred name as "the LORD" in capital letters or small caps.

In its aim for accuracy and clarity, the JB clearly demonstrates its own goals, for example, by translating the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm in this way:

Yahweh is my shepherd.
I lack nothing.


As another example of clarity, the “Introduction to The Minor Prophets” offers brief explanatory notes “in what is most probably their true historical order.” This chronology places Amos first with Joel and Jonah last in the introduction but their typical positions retained in the actual text, ending the minor prophets with Malachi.

Finally, the “Introduction to The Book of Revelation” informs us that “The framework of a Revelation is always a vision of hidden supernatural events; the language in which the vision is described is richly symbolic and so allusive that the message can be interpreted in more ways than one.” Therefore, “the Book of Revelation is not to be accepted simply as an allegory which can be directly translated into other terms. It contains the author’s vision of heaven and of the vindication of the Christian martyrs in the world to come, but it must be understood first and foremost as a tract for the times, written to increase the hope and determination of the Church on earth in a period of disturbance and bitter persecution…,” such as we might be facing again.

Praise God, though, for this and other excellent translations of the Bible that let us know how this book and The Book end.

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the traditionally published author of 27 books in all genres, including the Bible-based poetry book Outside Eden.


The Jerusalem Bible, reader edition



November 10, 2014

The Message, Catholic/ Ecumenical Edition

If you want to see your friends and family who have fallen away from the church, non-readers of the Bible, and/or unchurched people get the message, The Message Catholic/Ecumenical Edition gets God’s Word across in an up-to-date, heaven-sent, down-to-earth style.

Not merely a paraphrase, as I’d thought, The Message renders the original languages of the Bible into a contemporary translation by pastor-poet-writer and Bible scholar Eugene H. Peterson. A team of Bible scholars, representing most of the mainline churches, then proofed the text and “ensured that it is accurate as well as faithful to the original languages.”

When I learned that Acta Publications now publishes an edition that includes the deuterocanonical books (aka Apocrypha) translated by Catholic scholar-writer-translator William Griffin, I requested a review copy, which they kindly sent.

Interestingly, my copy arrived right when my discussion group began a study of Revelation – a book that most people, including those of us who are lifelong lovers of the Bible, find difficult. Often, however, the difficulty comes in the approach.

In its Introduction to Revelation, The Message emphasizes the poetic vision John received as he worshiped God on the Lord’s day, giving us this to consider:

“The Bible ends with a flourish: vision and song, doom and deliverance, terror and triumph. The rush of color and sound, image and energy, leaves us reeling. But if we persist through the initial confusion and read on, we begin to pick up the rhythms, realize the connections, and find ourselves enlisted as participants in a multidimensional act of Christian worship.”

As letters to a group of mainland churches on John’s pastoral circuit, “Revelation is not easy reading. Besides being a pastor, John is a poet, fond of metaphor and symbol, image and allusion, passionate in his desire to bring us into the presence of Jesus believing and adoring. But the demands he makes on our intelligence and imagination are well rewarded, for in keeping company with John, our worship of God will almost certainly deepen in urgency and joy.”

Presumably, this Introduction can be found in every edition of The Message since New Testament books are the same, regardless of church affiliation. In every edition of the Bible (Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish), the Torah also remains the same with each of those first five books or Pentateuch including Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. However, the books of history, wisdom, and prophecy vary.

For example, the Catholic/ Ecumenical Edition includes such deuterocanonical books as Sirach among the other wisdom books of the Bible, offering such wise sayings as: “Child, look closely at your soul. Examine your life. If you come across something obnoxious, stop doing it,” 37:30.

And, speaking of wisdom, Sirach 38:25 also says, “Wisdom in the life of a scribe comes from quiet time. Writers who down-size their workload upsize their wisdom output.”

In the writings of the prophets, we find the deuterocanonical book of Baruch, placed after Jeremiah and Lamentations since the author might have been Jeremiah's scribe -- or not. Regardless, chapter 5 prophesied the return of the exiles, saying: "Jerusalem, get rid of the dull clothes of grief and put on your best dress, the clothes of glory meant for you from all eternity. Wrap yourself in a lovely layered cloak; pick one from the justice collection. On your head put a crown in honor of the Eternal One." Then, "At the command of God, forests and fragrant woods will spring up to provide shade for the returning pilgrims. God will lead Israel home with joy, lighting the way with the majesty, mercy, and justice only he can command."

In the historical writings, we discover a variety of histories from the deuterocanonical books. For example, The Message Catholic/ Ecumenical Edition includes 1 and 2 Maccabees in the books of history, giving us texts about what went on during the time between testaments.

As the Introduction to 1 Maccabees tells us, somewhere around 167 B.C., “one of the Gentiles who’d won a previous battle against Israel approached a Jewish priest named Mattathias and politely demanded that he sacrifice to Zeus right there on the street in front of everyone. In a calm but firm way, the king’s agent explained the options: Sacrifice to Zeus or die. Overhearing the conversation and judging where the power currently resided, one Jew walked right in front of everyone and began to worship Zeus. Without a second thought but energized by a lifetime of fidelity to God’s word, Mattathias drew his sword and whacked both the gentlemanly agent and the idolatrous Jew to death.” As you might imagine, the story doesn't end there but continues throughout both books of the Maccabees.

From Genesis to Revelation, however, the whole biblical adventure continues in exciting, everyday language that clearly shows the Bible as it's meant to be known: THE message of our ongoing adventure with God.


©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the traditionally published author of 27 books in all genres, including the Bible-based poetry book Outside Eden.


The Message, Catholic/ Ecumenical Edition, paperback



October 31, 2014

NKJV Adventure Bible for children


The flyer that came with the copy of the Adventure Bible the publisher kindly sent me to review calls this “The #1 Bible For Kids,” and I can easily see why!

Zondervan published this particular edition of the NKJV (New King James Version) with 8 to 10-year-old's in mind, but the sturdy hardback cover, colorful illustrations, and kid-friendly features make this a keeper for children in almost every age group.

Written by Lawrence O. Richards, those features include:

• Life in Bible Times
• People in Bible Times
• Did You Know?
• Let’s Live it!
• Words to Treasure

Most of those special features are self-explanatory, but to give you an idea of what to expect in “Did You Know?” an example relating to Exodus 30:7 says, “Incense is similar to perfume, but it is a powder that is burned rather than a liquid that is put on a person’s body. Incense and perfume both smell sweet.”

As an example of “Let’s Live It!” one of these special sidebars appears with a list of the Ten Commandments, giving the meaning for each and also “How I obey it,” which translates each command into everyday acts that are doable. For instance, the fourth commandment to “Keep the Sabbath holy,” means “Rest and think about God,” with an example of “How I Obey It” given as “Pay attention in church.”

An example of “Let’s Live It!” in the New Testament discusses “How to Love Enemies” as mentioned in Luke 6:27-36, explaining “Love is not just a feeling. Christian love means caring about other people and doing nice things for them.” Suggestions then include “Smile. Be friendly. Pray for her. Help him with schoolwork. Say nice things about her. Choose her for your team.”

Other highly appropriate study aids for children include Bible verses in “Word to Treasure” – and maybe even memorize! Also, each book of the Bible has an introduction addressing such questions as:

Who wrote this book?
Why was this book written?
For whom was this book written?
What happens in this book?
When did this happen?


The “Where” of a book often matters, too, so the edition includes several pages of clear, colored maps as well as a concordance to help readers look up key words or topics in the back of the book.

Scattered throughout this edition, however, slick, sturdy page inserts carry along the adventure motif, colorfully illustrating that being a Christian is an ongoing adventure with the Bible as our companion and travel guide.


©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She highly recommends this excellent edition from Zondervan as an ideal gift for children at Christmas time and throughout the year.

NKJV Adventure Bible, hardback




October 22, 2014

New Jerusalem Bible, reader edition


The first time I read The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), I had a study edition with footnotes that were hard to see because of the small font but were so interesting, I got sidetracked from the Bible text! Recently, however, Image Books kindly sent me a review copy of their NJB reader edition, which rarely adds any footnotes, but has a nice, clear font and bonded leather cover.

The main additions in this edition are a brief but important-to-read “General Editor’s Foreword” by Henry Wansbrough in the front of the book and, in the back, black and white maps showing Palestine in Old and New Testament Times. Being somewhat geographically challenged, I wish a modern-day map had been included, too. Nevertheless, those of us who customarily lug around plump study editions will find this regular book-sized Bible highly refreshing.

Most importantly, the NJB translation itself is refreshing.

Instead of telling you about this, I’ll try to show you some examples of well-known passages in favored forms followed by the fresh, sometimes startling way NJB has of getting us to see, hear, and think about things we’re apt to glide by without realizing it.

Isaiah 60:1-3

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (King James Version, KJV)

"Arise, shine out, for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you. Look! though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples, on you Yahweh is rising and over you his glory can be seen. The nations will come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"For this is how God loved the world:
he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in
him may not perish
but may have eternal life."
(New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

Romans 8:28

"We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." (Revised Standard Version, RSV)

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

Romans 12:2

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (New International Version, NIV)

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (King James Version, KJV)

"Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and mature." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

Romans 12:4-5

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (King James Version, KJV)

"For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"Just as each of us has various parts in one body, and the parts do not all have the same functions: in the same way, all of us, though there are many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts we are all joined to one another." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

I Corinthians 12:4-6

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." (KJV)

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." (NIV)

"There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit; there are many different ways of serving, but it is always the same Lord. There are many different forms of activity, but in everybody it is the same God who is at work in them all." (NJB)

I Corinthians 13:4-7

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." (KJV)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (NIV)

"Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited; it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes." (NJB)

Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV)

"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen." (NABRE)

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (NRSV)

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV)

"Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of realities that are unseen." (NJB)


[Note: The Bible verses chosen as examples can be found on Bible Gateway along with Holy Scriptures from many other translations and other languages too.]


©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the traditionally published author of 27 books in all genres, including the Bible-based poetry book Outside Eden.


The New Jerusalem Bible, Standard Edition, bonded leather



October 16, 2014

ESV Single Column Heritage Bible


Adapted from the beloved RSV (Revised Standard Version) of the Bible, which remains a perennial favorite in countless Protestant and Catholic Churches, the English Standard Version (ESV) also aims to provide an “essentially literal” and accurate translation.

The quality of language and poetic flow make this such a highly readable and recognizable version that Crossway publishes the ESV in a variety of formats to appeal to a broad readership. As discussed in previous posts, for example, you can find ESV in the Today’s Light Devotional Bible, Global Study Bible, Spanish-English Parallel, ESV Children’s Bible, and Women’s Devotional Bible.

Or, if you want a study Bible with extensive footnotes, in-depth articles, and other study aids, your ESV choices range from The Lutheran Study Bible, published by Concordia, to a variety of evangelically oriented editions published by Crossway such as The MacArthur Study Bible, Gospel Transformation Bible, Global Study Bible, and the ESV Study Bible.

For well over two years now, I’ve received review copies of all but one of the above – the highly impressive ESV Study Bible, which my husband bought for me, covered in the finest grade of leather. So, why would anyone who has all of these editions and many more be interested in the ESV Single Column Heritage Bible?

There comes a time when Bible lovers just want to read the Bible!

Instead of lingering over footnotes or reading articles about the Bible or getting distracted by lots of very, very helpful information, sometimes I just want to read the Bible, cover to cover, as I would any good book.

The ESV Single Column Heritage Bible encourages you to read.

Besides providing a highly accessible translation, my review copy had a quality cover of cloth over board outside and a reader-friendly layout inside with single columns such as you find in novels and nonfiction books of all types. And, speaking of types, a 9-point font eases your reading too.

If you want to look up a biblical locale, you can do so with the clear maps at the back of the book, but otherwise, only the presentation pages and brief introductory front matter take up space. The rest is devoted to the actual Bible text, which, in this edition, is no more than the size of a typical library book you might read within a week or two. And, why not?

Reading the Bible straight through gives a sweeping view of God’s love and merciful interactions with us since the beginning of time. If you haven’t done this before, I highly encourage the practice and recommend this edition as one to practice on – and on and on.


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of the Bible and traditionally published author of 27 books, including her book of Bible-based poems Outside Eden.


You can order the ESV Single Column Heritage Bible from Crossway or Amazon.


ESV Single Column Heritage Bible, cloth-covered hardback




October 3, 2014

The Modern English Version of KJV


To understand the contribution of the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Bible, we first need to look at the KJV, which, according to the preface of the MEV, provides the base manuscript for a new translation that also relies on earlier texts in Greek and Hebrew.

For over 400 years, people have loved the Authorized Version of the Bible, better known as the King James Version. The first edition came into being in the early 1600’s during the reign of King James I, who commissioned 47 scholars to provide an up-to-date English translation based on several versions in use at the time.

The King instructed representatives of the clergy in the Church of England and Puritan ministers to use ecclesiastical words such as “church,” rather than “congregation,” but in general James aimed to bring peace and harmony to these groups of Christians.

Drawing on the Bishop’s Bible, Coverdale Bible, Geneva Bible, and others, about 80% of the New Testament in the Authorized Version relied on the Tyndale Bible, which William Tyndale had translated from the Greek, now known as the Textus Receptus. According to the MEV preface, the "King James Version Old Testament is based on the Jacob en Hayyim edition of the Masoretic Text," (1525) but some scholars believe a slightly earlier version of the Hebrew text was used. Regardless, the Authorized Version soon became known for the graceful rhythms found in English poetry and its then-contemporary vernacular fit for the king -- and the King of Kings.

Being fairly new at the time, English spellings and word usages were even more liquid than they are today, so in the 18th century, Oxford updated the KJV, contributing once again to standards of grammar and punctuation we might take for granted. Changes still occur, though, as words and phrases go in and out of favor or find new usages, for instance, as teens call something “Cool!” or say, “That’s hot!” with no thought of the actual temperature setting!

Because of the fluidity of our language, Bible publishers in the last few decades have sought to bring biblical texts into contemporary English, resulting in an influx of translations not seen in previous eras. Some have gone back to the oldest manuscripts to be found in the original languages to freshen phrases with equivalent ways we might say the same thing today, while others have tried to recover the 3 to 4-beat rhythms of Hebrew poetry or translate passages as close to a word-for-word rendering of the originals as possible.

Despite the wealth of choices, which we’ve been discussing on this blog for over two and a half years, most Christians love the majestic language of the KJV. Therefore, many of us welcomed the New King James Version (NKJV), as I have, since it’s more accessible with clearer language that encourages us to read straight through before going back again!

That said, those of us who grew up with the KJV will notice phrasing in the NKJV that, on the one hand, makes a passage easier to understand, but on the other, alerts our ears to subtle differences throughout the text. Some readers won’t notice. And some won’t care one way or the other as these variances don’t alter spiritual truths but, instead, might change a detail or a familiar phrase we like to hear as memorized without anyone messing with it!

From what I’ve seen and understand, the Modern English Version (MEV) aims to remedy these concerns. To give you an example, here is a familiar phrase as translated in the KJV, NKJV, and MEV.

In the KJV, St. Luke 3:16 records a conversation between the people and John the Baptist like this:

“John answered, saying until them all, I indeed baptize you with water, but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”

Since most of us don’t use the word “latchet,” here’s how NKJV translates that same verse:

“John answered, saying to all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’.”

Now, if I had been asked, I probably would have kept the word “unloose” or, better, used “unloosen.” Otherwise, I like how the NKJV modernized the punctuation, capitalized references to Jesus, used the current vernacular of “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost,” and clarified the word “latchet.” Or did it?

If we look up troublesome words in a dictionary, which I just did, we’ll find that “latchet” in Middle English meant “shoestring.” So when we read “sandal strap,” we’re apt to picture the wide strips of leather or other materials that hold the sole of a shoe in place today as they did some types of sandals in Jesus' time. According to Webster or his heirs, however, a “latchet” is more like “a narrow leather strap, thong, or lace that fastens a shoe or sandal on the foot,” similar in appearance, say, to a leather shoelace.

As you will notice, each translation shows the ultimate worthiness of Jesus. So we’re not talking here about anything of theological significance or a faith breaker! We're talking about foot attire! So, for what it’s worth to you and me as readers, the MEV helps us to picture what was worn in Jesus’ time by saying:

“John answered them all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water. But One mightier than I is coming, the strings of whose shoes I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’.”


Although those "strings" can be envisioned more readily than a "latchet," we no longer have a sandal here, but a pair of shoes. Wondering about this, I looked up an entry for sandals/ shoes in a Bible dictionary where I learned that, yes, by the Roman era, soldiers might wear something akin to boots while well-to-do people often wore shoes with leather that came up higher on the ankle or foot and, therefore, offered more protection than sandals. In any case, the lowest slave would untie the footwear his master wore, so John the Baptist was saying he wasn't even worthy enough to do that for Jesus.

Since I’m getting rather precise (or, maybe, picky!), I decided to compare these 3 translation above with the many found on Bible Gateway. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) says “thong,” the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) says “thongs,” the English Standard Version (ESV) and Common English Bible (CEB) say “strap,” and the New International Version (NIV) says “straps.”

In order to be clear, rather than precise, the New Living Translation (NLT) brings a thought-for-thought rendering by adding words, not in the original:

“John answered their questions by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’.”

And the Good News Translation (GNT) circumvents the problem, by saying, “I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.”

This may seem to be digressing from my purpose in requesting a review copy of the MEV, which Charisma kindly sent, as I've not followed my typical way of reviewing a new edition of the Bible. But in this unique instance with this unique translation, a comparison with its source is the best way I know to show you what to expect. Then you can review the MEV and consider what’s important to you.

Having now done that for myself, my recommendation is this: If you love the KJV and want a word-for-word translation to stay as close to it as possible and yet be easier to comprehend, you will most likely want a copy of the Modern English Version, which you'll highly recommend to others – as I surely do.


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of the Bible (beginning with KJV and RSV then GNT) and is also a traditionally published author of 27 books, including the Bible-based book of poems Outside Eden.


Modern English Version, hardback




Lovers of the KJV might also prefer this edition.

KJV/ MEV Parallel Bible: King James Version / Modern English Version, hardback



September 5, 2014

Women’s Devotional Bible


The review copy of the Women’s Devotional Bible I received from Crossway came in a nice Trutone® cover as shown below, but it comes in hardback too (also shown.) I mention this early on in case you recall that I’m not particularly fond of imitation leather! This one, however, has a nice feel and attractive birch design.

The important part, of course, comes inside any cover, which, here, would be the full text of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible, widely acclaimed for its accuracy and generally preferred by evangelical and conservative Christians and other readers who also tend to study the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and/or the New International Version (NIV.)

In addition to the ESV, this edition provides 365 devotionals relating to the adjacent text and 16 articles created for this edition, which will especially appeal to young women or women of all ages who are new to the Bible and/or new to Christ and the church.

Throughout the text, for example, readers will find brief, but info-packed sidebars with profiles of such outstanding Bible characters as Adam, Eve, Abraham, Hagar, Sarah, Miriam, Ruth, and others in the Old Testament and Mary, Elizabeth, Martha, Lydia, and others in the New Testament with more than half of the Bible people featured being women.

This edition does not aim for the in-depth study you can have, by yourself or in a group, with the extensive information and impressive aids provided by the ESV Study Bible, also published by Crossway, so you will find few footnotes at the bottom of the pages. However, the back matter contains the new articles I mentioned earlier and recommend for the range of subjects - from getting the most out of your Bible study to praying with Psalms to considering “The Church and Women At Risk.”


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer and lifelong Bible lover, is a traditionally published poet and author of 26 books in all genres, many of which can be found on Amazon.


Women’s Devotional Bible, Trutone® imitation leather



Women’s Devotional Bible, hardback