Therefore if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

*   *   *

How can we possibly speak about our spiritual experiences? There are ultimately no words to adequately describe our epiphanies, no matter how much we want to guide others to similar encounters.

Yes, all things become new; at the end of the hour of worship, all around me has a new glow and softness. Curiously, I find it accompanied by a sense of timelessness and antiquity, too: this is what’s true forever.

*   *   *

In our own time we’ve been blessed with a range of fresh translations of Scripture, each giving us some new way of describing this spiritual heritage. In this daybook, we’ve been sampling a range of their efforts. It can be both instructive and fun to compare versions, side by side.

Still, it helps to be aware of any biases the translators may hold; the New Jerusalem, while one of the most accurate translations, arises in a Roman Catholic focus. The Living Bible maintains an American Protestant holiness theology. I find the New English translation to be tin-earred, and both the Revised Standard and New Revised Standard to be unnecessarily dry. The New International, one of my favorites, unintentionally maintains some of the sexist mistranslation of the traditional English, a factor that has been addressed in the updated reworking.

Historically, Quakers were aware of the importance of translation; English Friend Anthony Purver’s translation of the Bible was published in the mid-1700s, in large part through the efforts of co-religionist John Fothergill. I wonder what happened to that version?

*   *   *

In their Behalf I answer, They do own the Scriptures to be a Rule, and they direct unto him (to wit, Christ) who is the Object of our Faith, and Lord of Light and Life. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

 

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