I’m Writing My Own Bible Version. Which Church In Fort McMurray Will Use It?

Hey all. Just wanted to give everyone an update on a project I’m working on.  I’ve started the process of creating my own Bible version of the New Testament. I’ve tentatively titled it the Dustin Germain Standard Bible, [or DGSB] and am about halfway through writing out the book of Collosians, which will be available as a free downloadable PDF in the near future.  The purposes for writing this has been multifaceted. For one thing, I decided that the Bibles I typically use, the ESV, the NASB and the NRSV aren’t dynamic or relevant enough. The language is a bit too exact and precise for my liking.  I thought of using the Message Bible, but to be honest I’m not entirely satisfied with the Message Bible. It was a good attempt, but I think my translation can serve as a better medium for finding that common ground between the two. For example, in Collosians 2:8-10, the “original Greek” says this :

βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν διὰ τῆς φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κοσμοῦ καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς, καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας.

The ESV, which is a formal equivalent literal translation,  renders it as:

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority”

Whereas the Message Bible, a pseudo-dynamic equivalent  translations reads:

“Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”

That’s a big difference in word count alone- the Message gets 110 and the ESV gets 57. My translation is not as flamboyant or creative as the Message Bible, but I think it does a good job in offering a readable, contemporary alternative which people might appreciate. The Dustin Germain Standard Bible reads:

“Take care to ensure that no one seizes you captive through empty deception and philosophies- which rely on human traditions and are according to the elemental spiritual forces of the world and don’t rely on Christ. For in Christ the entire fullness of deity lives bodily, and you have been filled up in Him, who is the head of all authority and rule”

My translation has only 64 words, and while similar word count alone does not mean its a good or accurate translation or Bible version, it does suggest less interpolations. Furthermore, while it may not have the addition of all the friendly little flourishes [or jots and tittles, as some might call them] that Eugene Peterson liberally peppered his text with, I think it still does a good job at conveying the thrust of the point.

For that reason I’ll also be looking for some Churches and pastors to partner with to help promote my translation. There are at least two Churches in the city who have made it a habit to utilize the Message Bible as one of their main translations, and have even had services where the preaches have exegeted it. I think those two are my best bet for furthering and developing this project. I’m not sure the exact timetable for when this will be launched, or if they are willing to commit to my project, but I hope they would. In fact, I  can’t think of a single good reasons why they might be adverse to using it.

Some well meaning friends have suggested that there might be a bit of push back. They have said that when people see the Bible verse on the powerpoint slide, replete with a mountain scene in the background and a “Dustin Germain Standard Bible” tacked on to the end, that after the congregants puzzlingly try to comprehend what a DGSB is,  they will grow upset and resentful. I’ve anticipated that critique and having given it some thought, am quite frankly not concerned at all. I don’t think anyone will voice those objections or think that. No one is going to care that they are reading my translation when I laud and promote it as a fresh new way to read the scriptures. They don’t do it to the Message Bible, so why on earth would they do it to mine?

So can I count on the pastors and preachers of Fort Murray to help me with this endeavor? Will you start using it from your pulpits? I will be contacting you all shortly to get your support and endorsements for this project. I  hope to see the DGSB quoted in your sermons very soon, and based on your already existing usage of the Message Bible, I am confident that I will receive it your hearty endorsements of my version with a “yea” and “amen”.

19 thoughts on “I’m Writing My Own Bible Version. Which Church In Fort McMurray Will Use It?

  1. I’m going to assume you’re not.

    But in case you are…

    There is a BIG BIG BIG difference between a “translation” and paraphrase. You are not translating (do you even have enough knowledge of Greek to do that?) you are paraphrasing. And a paraphrase should NEVER be used as a primary study tool.

    And I won’t even start on you for a host of other things until you clarify whether or not this is satire.

  2. I don’t read small print. ;)

    I was panicking for a moment and about to launch off on why you’re not equipped to even begin such a task, and how dare you to assume you know enough to do it alone!

  3. Liz: “And a paraphrase should NEVER be used as a primary study tool.”

    Tell that to the churches using The Message for all their preaching.
    Or, you know, just write a blog entry publicly mocking their lack of discernment instead of discussing the concerns with the pastors involved.

    Either way. ;)

  4. Dustin, didn’t you already write your own bible once?

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Germain’s, and the Word was Germains.”

    Please post this comment. It will lend to your scriblerian-esque credibility if people know that this is not your first time rewriting the Bible.

  5. anonymous, i have not said anything about lack of discernment. me mocking the use of the message bible would only be true if it were contingent on my idea being bad and somehow wrong, which i have not said it is. in fact, i have not said a single negative thing about the message bible here :)

    • No, you haven’t said it, but you have implied it with your “satire”. Why else would you offer the churches of Fort McMurray your version of the Bible in a humorous way if not to prove a point?

      Your readers are not stupid. You are not being all innocent with that cute yellow smiley. We can read between the lines here! -eye roll-

      • Anonymous, he is like a chess player, always looking several moves ahead. He counts on his readers being clever, just not as clever as he. You read into his motive, however, he anticipated this. His satirical ploy to push a real agenda is in fact not a real agenda, or at least not the real agenda. I’d tell you what the real agenda is, but I think it’s self-evident.
        Plus this is more entertaining.

      • lol, he’s a rude man with a clever snicker in his pocket. His intelligence could be used for much greater purposes than ridiculous blog posts, as funny as they may be.

  6. >>>…For in Christ the entire fullness of deity lives bodily,…

    Actually, that should read “the fullness of the divine matters reside in Cristus as a corpus”…

    It is not the *person* of God but rather the “theology” or “body of knowledge” that resides in him.

    >>>…according to the elemental spiritual forces of the world…

    In view is more “intellectual principles” than “spiritual forces”… (the whole concept of “spirit” is post-NT).

    It the topic interests you…


  7. To the Anonymous about the Message- The Message is a good paraphrase. But it is not a translation and it is only one guy’s interpretation of the words of the Bible. I think it’s useful to use to clarify, or even use side-by-side to the Biblical text.

    But if it’s all you’re reading, I really struggle with that. Sometimes it adds to the text, sometimes it doesn’t. Just… not a great primary study tool!

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