It’s abominable how many English translations there are – we really have no need for them, especially when so many people don’t have even a Gospel. We have: NIV, KJV (a.k.a. AV), NASB, RSV, NRSV, TEV (the Good News Version), NEB … and these are just the most well-known of the contemporary acronyms – er, translations.

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SEGWAY

There’s even a parallel Bible with EIGHT different translations, four each on facing pages. Aside from hours of reiterative and relatively inconsequential torment for masochists, there is another use to be made of this publication. Using it, we would have no need for separate arms of the judiciary – police, lawyers, judges – we can unite them all into one office, akin to Judge Dredd. We don’t have to equip them with Kevlar vests and batons; arm them with an eight-translation parallel Bible instead. It could stop bullets: we no longer have faith alone for a shield. It could stop criminals: after all, the word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword. A Judge wielding eight such swords … imagine how General Grievous would appear to Clarence the cross-eyed lion. Such an apparition would be prompty obeyed.

This eight-translation Bible would simplify procedures like the arraignment: Judges could, literally, throw the book at criminals. They could read both the riot act and the book of Acts.

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But a choice of mere translations isn’t enough to glut the market, apparently: anyone can buy an proto-Arminian, Spirit filled, prelapsarian, non-instrumental reference Bible. Marketers have a saying: You sell the sizzle, not the sausage. So, visiting our local Christian supermarket, I started to count the types of hard-copy sizzle there were – not including the different covers, paperbacks and hardbacks. After a short time, I stopped: there are devotional Bibles for men and women and teens and marrieds; for sportspeople, for backpackers (really!), for those who want to be seen as cool – the name Holy Bible makes you as a citizen of Geek City, so it’s titled Level 27. There are study Bibles with the words of Christ in red – because they’re more inspired – with cross-references and study notes.

Heavens to Wyclif. Without this godless proliferation of Christianised trinkets, how many more languages would know the words, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not die but have eternal life”?

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