For the past few years, I had been strictly using the New Revised Standard Version for both my daily devotional time and scholarly writing. I enjoy the NRSV so much that I think I needed to take a break, but I wanted a translation that was generally gender-inclusive but still faithful translations. There are different ways of judging Bible translations: Optimistic Chad dedicated a whole series on “What Shall I Read?” after the “fall” of the TNIV. TC Robinson had an on-going series on the Common English Bible starting with Romans.
The way I pick a useful translation is I take my favorite story, Gideon in the book of Judges, chapter 6, and if the translation sits well with me, then I am fine with it. Has there ever been a translation that had a questionable iteration of Gideon’s story. YES! One example is that of Joel’s beloved New Living Translation, since it calls Gideon “a mighty hero,” which is really a bad value assessment given that chapter 9 shows how flawed Gideon is. It’s a perspective in black and white, that sugarcoats the narrative of Gideon and his family.
The past month or so, I feel edified by reading the CEB. Word choices such as “The Human One” rather than “Son of Man” haven’t really bothered me all that much. I originally downloaded on Amazon.com the CEB for free when it was made available, but I didn’t give it a second thought. I just wanted more Bibles for my Kindle. As I’m going through Psalms, verses such as “The LORD is intimately acquainted with the lives of the blameless; their heritage will last forever” (Psalm 37: 18 CEB) is so much more affirming of the relation God of the Hebrew Bible than “The LORD knows the days of the blameless and their heritage will abide forever” (NRSV).
So for the time being, at church and at home, I will use the CEB. For my studies and academic reading, I will stick with the NRSV. I guess I’m not so much an NRSV-onlyist afterall!