Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Kingdom New Testament--A Great Resource But Not Perfect

Starting in January, I decided to read through N.T. Wright's translation for my New Testament portion of Bible reading. As far as a contemporary translation goes, The Kingdom New Testament (TKNT) won't be for everyone (even if it is derived from the translation sections of Wright's commentary series "For Everyone").

I don't think this translation will ever become mainstream in the US. There are some turns of phrase that will just ring awkwardly in contemporary American ears, perhaps like Jesus telling the disciples "off you go." However, as somewhat of an Anglo-phile, British turns of speech do not bother me in the least. I find them quaint. Personally, I found this translation insightful and refreshing.

Wright has his loyal followers who tend to love his foci, and then there are his detractors who do not agree with his New Pauline Perspective. For this latter group, I would venture that they will not be making use of this translation, which would be a shame because it could help them engage Wright's reading of Scripture all the better. When I chose to read through it, though, I was also reading it with an eye to better understanding Wright's take on the NT. I have read 9 or 10 of his books at this point, and I've listened to hours of his lectures and sermons, but I was still unclear at several points what he made of certain passages in light of his theology. This translation was a window into that world, and I found it helpful to that purpose as well. In particular he highlights the message of the Kingdom and Jesus as King. Also, his translation of the Pauline material was quite helpful for piecing together his understanding of justification.

My particular copy is on Kindle and at numerous points, especially in the Gospels, the headings would get off by a section and continue off-track for several chapters. That was annoying and something a careful editor should have caught, but overall it didn't ruin my enjoyment of reading the text. I recommend this translation as a helpful tool to anyone.

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