Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CEB Scripture Comparison: Romans 3:25

The Common English Bible New Testament was released last year. This ecumenical translation, which includes some Catholics, intends to provide a fresh rendering of the Scriptures which are "accurate, refreshing, and accessible." We have had a few discussions about some of the different renderings, most notably "the Human One" for "Son of Man", but that has been pretty much it. I recently received an email from the CEB site, listing a unique comparison from Romans, which I am going to present to you below for your thoughts:

Scripture Comparisons
Romans 3:25

Common English Bible (CEB)
25 Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy is found by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness in passing over sins that happened before,

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV)
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed;

King James Version (KJV)
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

New American Bible (NABRE)
25 Whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,


T. said...

In this example, they succeeded in their goal to be "accurate, refreshing, and accessible"! I prefer the speedy ideas that the CEB conveys in a single read-through -- even over and above my favorite NRSV whose sentence I had to practically diagram in order to see who did/does what.

It is exactly in these frustrating portions of Paul's (or his minions') writing that the CEB likely helps across the board... especially if you take into account the vast majority of sheep who don't do careful reading of their own and may only hear this once - read TO them.

Anonymous said...

As a lay person I find this translation very easy to read and understand. The web site also has posted Genesis and the Psalms to download in PDF. I was fortunate to get a free copy of the NT in the mail last year and have really enjoyed reading and studying from it. I also appreciate that they have posted a complete list of Editors and translators on their site.

Sharon in Waxahachie

Anonymous said...

I think the dia pistis phrase, literally "through faith", is important theologically and for true understanding of the argument. It is a tag line which pens this section to others and adds to the whole. The CEB is the only one of these translations which (mis)translates pistis as God's faithfulness rather than our faith while the NIV (over)translates it with an explanatory phrase.

Also, God's anoche - self-restraint / forbearance - is another important concept which is glossed over in the CEB. The others get this correct except the NAB which garbles it.


jogomu said...

"place of atonement" ... glad to see this meaning brought forward!

Stephen said...

Good to see you post this one..and also pleased/surprised that your you haven't been landblased (so far) for posting this on your site. I have to admit that I was kind of down on the translation when it first came out (haven't read it though)...so maybe haven't been fair. I prefer a more literal translation - yet have been considering giving this one to a relative who is just very non-receptive to anything to do to Christianity. Might be more receptive to this version because it may make better sense. I'd rather have people read a version like this than nothing at all. Might be a tool for evangelization of people who tend to walk away from The Word due to not taking the time to really try to understand it. Again, I've not read it, but I think a person gets the gist of the message the passage is attempting to convey. Also might help us to better verbally communicate what the Bible says to others when we are attempting to fulfill the Great Commission.

Timothy said...


Yes, I an like you in regards to the CEB. I am quite sure it will never be my primary Bible, but it might make a good secondary. I will be interested in reading some of the OT portions when it is released.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

I really appreciate you posting this as I was not aware of it. In fact, I am currently looking for a good, faithful dynamic, thought-for-thought translation to balance my dependence on the NABRE and NRSV. Recently, in taking a look at some charts comparing many of the available translations, I was somewhat surprised to find my preferred translations were pretty even in terms of balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought. Definitely a plus, but I am finding that a thought-for-thought Bible has its place in any library.

Keith said...

@T -- I agree with your point on the writings of Paul. As a lector there are some phrases in the NAB that are multiple parenthetical - parenthetical thoughts nested in other parenthetical thoughts that are impossible to follow orally and just as difficult when you are reading them. A translation like the CEB or even the Good News Bible allows me to understand that passage a bit better so I can read it more effectively.

Timothy said...


I cut off the NAB part too early, since the section missing regarding 'forebearance' is included in the next line.

Anonymous said...

Romans 3/25 The New American Bible Revised Edition uses 'expiation' rather than 'propitiation'. This usage reverses the intent of Paul's entire message. Old Testament wrath permeates the Pauline letters and leaves me cold. What kind of father sacrifices his son to appease his wrath? Either he did or he didn't, and whichever way a person interprets this determines the believer's outlook.