Bible Review 9:4, August 1993

The Gospels that Didn’t Make the Cut

By Robert J. Miller

A few years ago, I was part of a team of scholars who set out to produce a new translation of the gospels. We were all teachers frustrated with the various New Testament translations in our college and seminary courses. While most of the major translations are quite good, they are designed primarily for use in worship and Bible study, not for the college classroom. The Greek of the New Testament was the Greek of the marketplace. Translations designed for use in worship tend to elevate the tone and style of the language. Also, because almost all New Testament translations are intended for use in explicitly Christian contexts, they reflect Christian theology and the interests of different churches.

The purpose of our new translation, The Complete Gospels, Annotated Scholars Version (Polebridge Press, 1992), is educational: Our goal was to put the gospels into the English actually spoken in America, whether or not it would sound good in church or would reinforce Christian beliefs. We wanted our students to be able to hear the gospels as they might have sounded to first-century audiences, before the terms and concepts of the gospels were overlaid with the interpretations of Christian orthodoxy.

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