The Common English Bible really adds some shock value to the thought of living IN the power of the gospel!
Those born from God don’t practice sin because God’s DNA remains in them. They can’t sin because they are born from God. (1 John 3:9)
If I am in Christ, do I reflect the DNA of the Father?
When we don’t trust the unity that is in Christ, we default into manipulation. We manipulate through legalism or hyper-spirituality. We need to trust the One in whom all things hold together.
16 So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths. 17 These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ. 18 Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking. 19 They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God. (Col. 2:16-19)
Cokesbury had a huge sale last week and it included the Common English Study Bible. I was able to obtain this translation when it first came out through the generosity of the publisher, and I’ve found it to be a refreshing translation. It certainly has its “quirks,” but for common reading (and for me it’s so helpful in reading the Deuterocanonical books) it’s a nice translation. I have found myself using the CEB and NIV together the past year or so.
The Study Bible is a nice addition. I would compare it to the NIV Study Bible in purpose. It helps the reader read the Bible. I find the ESV Study Bible gets into some depth that stretches into study and theology. To this point (and it’s early for me) the CEB Study Bible has put together a tool to help the common believer simply read better.
I purchased the hardcover edition with the Apocrypha, so let me start out by saying this thing isn’t going into my briefcase! This picture has my first copy of the Common English Bible (with Apocrypha) on top of the CEB Study Bible. To put it bluntly… this thing is HUGE.
The type font is not too small. There is color everywhere. Pictures are not overwhelming, but useful.
The sidebars offer very helpful insights into definitions or cultural issues or textual issues of the particular passage.
The maps are beautiful.
Typically I am more of a fan of a plain text Bible, so I am grateful I have a black letter CEB with Apocrypha. But this study Bible, I think, is very helpful for those wanting just some basic insights into what is going on in the passage.
While this translation, like very translation these days, will fall victim to labeling (too “Reform,” too “Conservative,” too “liberal”) I think, as a “conservative” Christian, this translation is extremely helpful in reading the text well. I also think this study Bible will be helpful to open up passages a little more clearly, in the vein of the NIV Study Bible.
32 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 33 Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. 34 It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert.35 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!” (Mark 13:32-37)
The focus of the second coming is a part of Advent I love to dwell on as I learn more about the season. I want to have that anticipation stirred in me again.
The disciples got into this discussion because they were so taken with the Temple mount and all its beauty. Jesus said it wouldn’t last and THEN they wanted to talk about the end times.
I don’t want my life so caught up with the “stuff” of this life, the satisfaction I may have with what is going on in my life, that I get sleepy and miss anticipating his return. When I am about the Father’s business, that anticipation can remain high. I can be about his work and think, “If he comes for us now I can show him this! I want to show him this!”
But if I’m satisfied with all the nice things around me and reach a place of complacency (not contentment, because contentment is different), then I begin to go to sleep and my anticipation slips.
Lord, help me to be about your business today. Let me be in your activity today and as I am, let me think, “If you came right now for me, I would want to show you this!”
Longing to see my King…
Since the arrival of the Common English Bible, I have been intrigued by the simple approach to translation. It is designed to make the Bible clear.
For lifelong Christians, that isn’t easy. I have trouble still with calling Jesus “the Human One,” and calling the ark a box.
But where I see how the CEB excels is in the Apocrypha. I’m not familiar with the Apocrypha, so reading the CEB helps me flow in the text much easier than the NRSV. It’s actually a pleasure reading the Apocrypha with the CEB.
The CEB Study Bible is now out and I’ve had a copy of the Gospel of Mark for awhile. The sample CEB Study Bible reveals a simple study Bible. The notes are very simple. They do not try to push “doctrine.” They try to reveal clarity. There are sidebars in the main text that explore a subject a bit more deeply.
This isn’t the ESV Study Bible, to be sure. It’s not trying to overwhelm you with notes. It’s trying to get the reader a bit more engaged in the text.
The approach to Scripture is revealed in an intro article by Joel Green. It’s called “The Authority of Scripture,” and I thought it was well done.
Here is part of the last paragraph (using 2 Tim. 3:16-16 for the base):
This text is helpful for anyone thinking about scripture’s authority, for two reasons. First, it reminds us of the claim of our faith, that scripture has its origins in the aims and voice of God… Scripture beats witness to God because God enables speech about God and God’s activity in the world. Second, it reminds us of the purpose or direction of scripture’s authority. The role of scripture isn’t to teach us lessons about history, medicine, archaeology, architecture, science, geography, and so on… Instead, engagement with scripture should produce this: “that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.” We exhibit our best beliefs about the Bible not so much by what we say about the Bible but through scripture-shaped hearts and lives.
This is a Bible that might be considered as a good alternative to the NIV Study Bible.
I will still utilize the NIV far more, but the CEB continues to impress me with their aim in getting people INTO the Scriptures.
Meditate on Romans 8. Let it sink in. Pray through Romans 8, declaring the incredible victory of WHO YOU ARE in Christ!
37 But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. 38 I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord:not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. (Rom. 8:37-39, Common English Bible)
The increase in violence against Christians in Pakistan and Kenya are times to be reminded in my own life that I am the immigrant. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and that will call on allegiances the U.S. can never get from me. May my allegiance to the Kingdom of God grow stronger in these hard days for my brothers and sisters in Pakistan and Kenya.
11 Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. 12 Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds. (1 Peter 2:11-12, Common English Bible)
“Change your hearts and lives. Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” (Matt. 4:17, Common English Bible)
Get ready… the King has entered his realm and when he acts, there is a response called for. The best response? Change your hearts and lives.
The power of the Kingdom of God is unleashed. It is time to pay attention.