got ’em memorized?


Church, I’m curious as to how you’re coming along with our memory work for the month of January. There are four full weeks this month and our four memory verses from the Common English Bible have been:

  • “You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves.” (James 1:22 CEB)
  • “But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer.” (Luke 5:16 CEB)
  • “You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 CEB)
  • “Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” (Romans 12:11 CEB)

You still have a few days left in the month to commit these words to heart. It’s not hard to do so just go for it! Walk up to me and quote one of them. You’ll make my day!

the CEB and the KNT


The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading N.T. Wright’s rendering of the New Testament entitled The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation (KNT). As I read I’ve been comparing it with the Common English Bible (CEB), my go-to Bible. In short, I like what I see in both and encourage you to pick up copies of both. Following are some snippets from each for your comparison.

  • It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a divorce certificate.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife except for sexual unfaithfulness forces her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matt. 5:31-32 CEB)
  • It was also said, ‘If someone divorces his wife, he should give her a legal document to prove it.’ But I say to you: everyone who divorces his wife, unless it’s in connection with immorality, makes her commit adultery; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matt. 5:31-32 KNT)
  • This is why the Human One* is Lord even over the Sabbath. (Mark 2:28 CEB) [footnote reads “Or ‘Son of Man'”]
  • … so the son of man is master even of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:28 KNT)
  • Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is already among you. (Luke 17:21b CEB)
  • No: God’s kingdom is within your grasp.” (Luke 17:21b KNT)
  • When the centurion saw what happened, he praised God, saying, “It’s really true: this man was righteous.” (Luke 23:47 CEB)
  • The centurion saw what happened, and praised God. “This fellow,” he said, “really was in the right.” (Luke 23:47 KNT)
  • I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion,* who will be with you forever. (John 14:16 CEB) [footnote reads “Or ‘Advocate'”]
  • And I will ask the father, and he will give you another helper, to be with you forever. (John 14:16 KNT)
  • Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 CEB)
  • “Turn back!” replied Peter. “Be baptized – every single one of you – in the name of Jesus the Messiah, so that your sins can be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the holy spirit.” (Acts 2:38 KNT)
  • On the first day of the week, as we gathered together for a meal, Paul was holding a discussion with them. (Acts 20:7 CEB)
  • On the first day of the week we gathered to break bread. Paul was intending to leave the following morning. He was engaged in discussion with them, and he went on talking up to midnight. (Acts 20:7 KNT)
  • God’s righteousness is being revealed in the gospel, from faithfulness* for faith,* as it is written, “The righteous person will live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17 CEB) [first footnote reads “Or ‘faith’; second footnote reads “Or ‘faithfulness'”]
  • This is because God’s covenant justice is unveiled in it, from faithfulness to faithfulness. As it says in the Bible, “the just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17 KNT)
  • Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy is found by means of his blood. (Rom. 3:25a CEB)
  • God put Jesus forth as the place of mercy, through faithfulness, by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his covenant justice, because of the passing over (in divine forbearance) of sins committed beforehand. (Rom. 3:25 KNT)

  • So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. (Rom. 12:1-2 CEB)
  • So, my dear family, this is my appeal to you by the mercies of God: offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Worship like this brings your mind into line with God’s. What’s more, don’t let yourselves be squeezed into the shape dictated by the present age. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you can work out what God’s will is – what is good, acceptable, and complete. (Rom. 12:1-2 KNT)
  • I’m introducing our sister Phoebe to you, who is a deacon* of the church in Cenchreae. (Rom. 16:1 CEB) [footnote reads “Or ‘servant'”]
  • Let me introduce to you our sister Phoebe. She is a deacon in the church at Cenchrae. (Rom. 16:1 KNT)
  • Now, about what you wrote: “It’s good for a man not to have sex with a woman.” Each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband because of sexual immorality. (1 Cor. 7:1-2 CEB)
  • Let me now turn to the matters you wrote about. “It is good for a man to have no sexual contact with a woman.” Well, yes; but the temptation to immorality means that every man should maintain sexual relations with his own wife, and every woman with her own husband. (1 Cor. 7:1-2 KNT)
  • … but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. (1 Cor. 13:10 CEB)
  • … but, with perfection, The partial is abolished. (1 Cor. 13:10 KNT)
  • God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace. Like in all the churches of God’s people, the women should be quiet during the meeting. They are not allowed to talk. Instead, they need to get under control, just as the Law says. If they want to learn something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is disgraceful for a woman to talk during the meeting. (1 Cor. 14:33-35 CEB)
  • … since God is the God, not of chaos, but of peace. [new paragraph begins] As in all the assemblies of God’s people, the women should keep silence in the assemblies. They are not permitted to speak; they should remain in submission, just as the law declares. If they want to understand something more, they should ask their own husbands when they get home. It’s shameful, you see, for a woman to speak in the assembly. (1 Cor. 14:33-35 KNT)
  • I wish that the ones who are upsetting you would castrate themselves. (Gal. 5:12 CEB)
  • If only those who are making trouble for you would cut the whole lot off! (Gal. 5:12 KNT)

  • The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealousy,drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. (Gal. 5:19-21a CEB)
  • Now the works of the flesh are obvious. They are such things as fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, bursts of rage, selfish ambition, factiousness, divisions, moods of envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. (Gal. 5:19-21a KNT)
  • Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. (Eph. 2:10 CEB)
  • This is the explanation: God has made us what we are. God has created us in King Jesus for the good works he prepared, ahead of time, as the road we must travel. (Eph. 2:10 KNT)
  • Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead be filled with the Spirit in the following ways: speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ. (Eph. 5:18-21 CEB)
  • And don’t get drunk with wine; that way lies dissipation. Rather, be filled with the spirit! Speak to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and chanting in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. [new paragraph] Be subject to one another out of reverence for the Messiah. (Eph. 5:18-21 KNT)
  • He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross. When he disarmed the rulers and authorities, he exposed them to public disgrace by leading them in a triumphal parade. (Col. 2:14-15 CEB)
  • He blotted out the handwriting that was against us, opposing us with its legal demands. He took it right out of the way, by nailing it to the cross. He stripped the rulers and authorities of their armor, and displayed them contemptuously to public view, celebrating his triumph over them in him. (Col. 2:14-15 KNT)
  • … we could have thrown our weight around as Christ’s apostles. Instead, we were gentle with you like a nursing mother caring for her own children. (1 Thes. 2:7 CEB)
  • … though we could have imposed on you, as the Messiah’s emissaries. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her own children. (1 Thes. 2:7 KNT)
  • A wife* should learn quietly with complete submission. I don’t allow a wife* to teach or control her husband.* Instead, she should be a quiet listener. (1 Tim. 2:11-12 CEB) [first and second footnotes read “Or ‘a woman'”; third footnote reads “Or ‘a man'”]
  • They must study undisturbed, in full submission to God. I’m not saying that women should teach men, or try to dictate to them; rather, that they should be left undisturbed. (1 Tim. 2:11-12 KNT)
  • This saying is reliable: if anyone has a goal to be a supervisor* in the church, they want a good thing. So the church’s supervisor* must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or a bully. Instead they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. (1 Tim. 3:1-3 CEB) [footnote reads “Or ‘bishop,’ ‘overseer'”]
  • Here is a trustworthy saying: if someone is eager for the work of overseeing God’s people, the task they seek is a fine one. The bishop must be beyond reproach. He must not have more than one wife. He must be temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, a good teacher. He must not be a heavy drinker, or violent, but must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not in love with money. (1 Tim. 3:1-3 KNT)
  • In the same way, servants* in the church should be dignified, not two-faced, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money. (1 Tim. 3:8 CEB) [footnote reads “Or ‘deacons'”]
  • In the same way, deacons must be serious-minded, not the sort of people who say one thing today and another tomorrow, not heavy drinkers, not eager for shameful gain. (1 Tim. 3:8 KNT)
  • In the same way, women who are servants* in the church should be dignified and not gossip. They should be sober and faithful in everything they do. (1 Tim. 3:11 CEB) [footnote reads “Or ‘wives,’ omit ‘who are servants'”]
  • The womenfolk, too, should be serious-minded, not slanderers, but temperate, and faithful in all things. (1 Tim. 3:11 KNT)
  • Or do you suppose that scripture is meaningless? Doesn’t God long for our faithfulness in* the life he has given to us?* (James 4:5 CEB) [first footnote reads “Or ‘jealously longs for'”; second footnote reads “Or ‘Doesn’t the Spirit that God placed in us have jealous desires?'”]
  • Or do you suppose that when the Bible says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit he has made to dwell in us,” it doesn’t mean what it says? (James 4:5 KNT)
  • Baptism is like that. It saves you now – not because it removes dirt from your body but because it is the mark of a good conscience toward God. Your salvation comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ … (1 Pet. 3:21 CEB)
  • That functions as a signpost for you, pointing to baptism, which now rescues you – not by washing away fleshly pollution, but by the appeal to God of a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. (1 Pet. 3:21 KNT)
  • My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you don’t sin. But if you do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is God’s way of dealing with our sins, not only ours but the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 CEB)
  • My children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone does sin, we have one who pleads our cause before the father – namely, the Righteous One, Jesus the Messiah! He is the sacrifice which atones for our sins – and not ours only, either, but those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 KNT)
  • Favored is the one who reads the words of this prophecy out loud, and favored are those who listen to it being read, and keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Rev. 1:3 CEB)
  • God’s blessing on the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and on those who hear them and keep what is written in it. The time, you see, is near! (Rev. 1:3 KNT)

Incidentally, Scot McKnight has a fine post today on the KNT that you’ll want to be sure to read. His comments speak to the task of translation as a whole and include some renderings of note from the Sermon on the Mount in the KNT.

a review of the Daily Companion Bible (DCB) – part 3

This post is part three of a three-part review of the Daily Companion Bible (DCB), a devotional edition of the Common English Bible (CEB).

I have precious few quibbles with the DCB.

1. It has two sets of page numbers, one for the devotional section and one for the Biblical text.

2. The compact size means the print must be small (9 point). Still, the text is so clear, it’s as easy-to-read for me as some books printed in 10 point type.

3. Being rather thin necessitated the use of ultra-thin paper. That’s not a problem unless you want to make notes, in which case you’ll likely be limited to the use of a pencil or some specialized form of ink pen to avoid bleed-through. My go-to pen of choice is a felt-tip and that’s definitely not an option with this paper.

It’s actually difficult for me to imagine how to improve the DCB, but in the next edition I’d like to see several minor changes.

1. Include at least one ribbon marker, preferably two – one to hold your place in the devotional reading schedule and one for your own use.

2. Lightly gray the page edges of the devotional section, setting it off from the Biblical text, so as to enable quick access to the start of the Biblical text.

3. Ditch the two page numbering system in favor of a single set of page numbers from cover-to-cover.

4. Add page numbers to the Scripture references in the heading of each day’s devotional readings. This would be a real plus for those who aren’t very familiar with the Bible just yet.

5. Include a simple 1-2 introduction at the start of each of the Biblical books so as to give all readers a sense of the setting for each Biblical book.

6. Following the map section, add a concise concordance (perhaps 10-20 pages) of some of the best known or most frequently cited Biblical references.

7. Widen the page margins from 5/16″ to 3/4″ to enable note-taking.

8. Make an edition available in a larger font.

9. Consider replacing the existing double-column format for the Biblical text with a single-column format.

10. I wonder if there would be a way to include some connection to some online resources? Perhaps through the strategic placement of QR codes or some such? Just thinking out loud here.

Summation: I’m quite pleased with the Daily Companion Bible (DCB). On a 0-10 scale, it’s a 9+ in my book, easily being the finest devotional Bible I’ve ever owned. It’s precisely the sort of devotional Bible I’d encourage anyone and everyone to acquire. With the holiday season upon us and a new year about to roll in, the DCB would make a fine gift as well as a fine tool to use with what will surely be one of your New Year resolutions: to read the Bible through in 2012.

a review of the Daily Companion Bible (DCB) – part 2

This post is part two in a three-part review of the Daily Companion Bible (DCB), a devotional edition of the Common English Bible (CEB).

There are a great many things I enjoy about the DCB. Following are a dozen of those matters, appearing here in no particular order.

1. The Biblical text is that of the Common English Bible so neither accuracy or clarity is an issue.

2. The quality of the binding is quite good. I have the hardback edition in hand. This Bible won’t fall apart anytime soon.

3. The font is simple, crisp, and clear. Though I’m in my early 50’s and have worn bifocals for years, I can read the text easily.

4. The placement of the nearly 350 pages of reading guides and devotional helps at the front of this Bible means that not only is everything in one place, but that this Bible can be used as a “regular” Bible and not merely function as a devotional Bible geared to fit one reading plan.

5. The simplicity of the structure and scheme of the devotional layout on a single page is pleasant. The structure is identical each day: 1-4 Scripture references to texts of widely varying length, a 2-3 paragraph devotional, 3-4 questions, a 2-4 sentence prayer, and 2-5 blank lines for personal notes.

6. The 7 page easy-to-grasp description of 5 of the most common spiritual exercises – prayer (centering and breath), meditation and study (lectio divina, inductive, memorization), fasting, solitude, and worship – is greatly appreciated.

7. The addition of some simple aids (definitions of weights & measures, the Hebrew calendar [with Gregorian month equivalents], 8 high quality maps by National Geographic, etc.) is a touch not found in most devotional Bibles with which I’m familiar. Incidentally, the maps included are the equivalent of map #’s 2, 4, 6, 10, 15, 17, 20, and 21 in the Bible Map Guide.

8. The printing of letters of the Hebrew alphabet in the margin of some of the Psalms (9-10,25,34,37,111-112,119,145) and the book of Lamentations to show that they are acrostic in nature is a plus. However, oddly and inexplicably, Proverbs 31:10-31 doesn’t receive this treatment.

9. The inclusion of multiple reading schedules (1 month, 90 days, 1 year) doesn’t go unnoticed.

10. The three-way indexing of the topical readings by topic, week, and Biblical text is the way it ought to be in all devotional Bibles.

11. The publishers have clearly bent over backwards to make this devotional Bible very-user friendly. Page numbers are cited in the table of contents for the Biblical books. Page numbers are also included in the daily and topical indexes, not merely Scripture references. It even has an alphabetical table of contents, a very helpful feature for Bible newbies.

12. The compact size 5 1/2″ wide by 8 1/2″ tall by 1 5/16″ thick makes it easy to carry in your hand. Given its size you’re left without excuse if you don’t carry it in your backpack, luggage or briefcase.

One more note: though I’ve certainly not read the entire DCB yet, I’ve not come across a single typographical error of any kind in my reading thus far. This is no small accomplishment in itself for it is a rare book these days in which I don’t encounter a typo or two.

In tomorrow’s post I’ll note some matters I believe could have been done better, what I’d like to see in the next edition of the DCB, and my overall impression of this volume.