It’s written especially for people who don’t read the Bible.
“Folks who don’t read the Bible need a Bible they can read” isn’t just a cute tag line. It guides the translation away from churchy and scholarly words that are familiar and endearing to longtime Christians but make no sense to Bible newcomers.
The difference between Bible versions is sometimes barely noticeable. Other times the comparison is barely recognizable. The original meaning in Greek or Hebrew is sometimes that clear and sometimes that fuzzed up.
TCEB’s typical approach to a fuzzy passage is to make an educated guess and then add a footnote that essentially says, “Folks, this is a guess. Here are other possible interpretations.”
Humans do the work of Bible translation and paraphrase, but they’re only human.
They’re trying to catch a river and nail it to a book. That’s what language is: liquid.
It’s constantly changing.
What’s current today, is downstream tomorrow, carried away by the current.
Words that are kind during one generation can become nasty buzzwords to the next. Finesse, for example. It doesn’t just mean “improve.” To Gen Z it means “manipulate,” “trick.”
Someone should always be working on the next Bible translation or paraphrase. Finessing it—but not in a Gen Z way.
If we want to keep the Bible relevant to every culture in every language in every generation and subset of a generation (go Boomers), Christians will always be working on the next Bible version—whether it’s a paraphrase for Bible newcomers or a literal translation that’s one verb and two nouns above an interlinear.
How many Bible versions is enough?
There’s never enough. Not as long as there are people who have no idea who Jesus is.
If you want to check out a lot of different Bible translations, the Bible Gateway has dozens in English and in many other languages.