The NT in English for Pulpit and Pew
Down through the years I have repeatedly found myself longing for an English version of the Bible that brings together all the qualities I cherish in a good translation: accuracy, beauty, warmth, stateliness, and memorability. Having been unable to find one that seems fully to integrate these virtues—a version that would satisfy the scholarly demands of those who fill the pulpit, as well as the aesthetic demands of those who occupy the pews–I finally decided to try my hand at creating one myself!
Since I am waxing gray, I judged it best to begin at the end: with the NT. And since, over the last couple of years, I have discovered just how exacting and time-consuming this kind of work can be, I now realize, with a bitter-sweet feeling, that I will have to be content with completing the New Testament alone.
Before sending you into this particular vineyard, I would like to acknowledge my deep indebtedness to the people who have made this work possible.
First comes the Lord. It was he, I believe, who kindled a longstanding interest in this project, and who brought me to the point of embarking on it. I can’t imagine having come this far without his help. That said, I am also keenly aware that my work certainly contains flaws. So then: For all that is true, good, and beautiful in the pages to ahead, to God be the glory; as for the flaws, I take full responsibility for them—part of which is to ask you, my interested reader, to contact me and point them out if you should happen upon one or more. Thank you in advance!
Next comes the folks who prepared the online version of the NET Bible. What a treasure they have given us, supplying not only the Greek text of the NT, but also a wealth of grammatical, lexical, historical, and theological notes, together with their own thought-provoking translation into contemporary English.
I have also repeatedly sought assistance in the standard, evangelical word-for-word translations: The New King James Version, the New American Standard Version, and the English Standard Version. For a chaste, suggestive, and lively paraphrase, I also frequently dipped into the 1984 edition of the New International Version.
Along the way I have regularly consulted the outstanding New Testament Commentary, written by William Hendriksen and Simon Kistemaker, and also sent up occasional cries of distress via email to my son-in-law, Chris Azure, who holds a Ph. D. in NT studies.
Finally, I want specially to acknowledge my good friends Susan Roush and Costas Cleater, who served as my proof-readers. Susan’s eagle eye enabled me to spot any number of literary errors and infelicities, and her wise counsel also helped choose a format and a look that I trust will appeal to my readers. Costas, who lives across the pond, kindly volunteered to back up Susan and me (thanks to him I now use words like “howler” and “clanger”). No translator could be more grateful for such capable and cheerful colleagues!
I should mention here that our work will soon be available in hard copy at Redemption Press. First will come the annotated version (it’s gonna be long!), after which, Lord willing, there will be a reader’s version (sans annotations). If you are interested in acquiring either, please keep on eye on the publications section of my website.
Have the lonely labors of a retired pastor and bush-league scholar borne some good fruit? That will be for you to decide. I can affirm, however, that the entire process has been a delightful way for me to draw near to the Word of God, and to contemplate more closely than ever the precious nuances of our great love letter from the Lord!
I sincerely hope that my enthusiasm for this project shows, and that The New Testament in English for Pulpit and Pew will be a great blessing to you and yours.