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Contemporary English

The Contemporary English Version began with Barclay Newman, who assisted in the translation of the Good News Bible. In the mid-1980s, Newman began to study popular forms of the English language found in books, magazines, newspapers, and television to see what kind of language people were speaking and hearing. He was particularly concerned with how people heard texts when they were read aloud.

In 1986, he published a text volume that was a collection of illustrated Scripture passages for children. The New Testament was completed in 1991, the entire Bible in 1995.

The public reading of the text was a primary concern of the CEV translators. It led them to adopt three guiding principles for their translation. First, an experienced reader should be able to read it aloud easily without stumbling. Since most readers usually pause at the end of a line, attention was paid to the line breaks in the text in order to minimize the possibility of confusion on the part of the hearer. Second, it should be understood by someone unfamiliar with Biblical language. Finally, it should be understood and enjoyed by English speakers regardless of their religious or educational background.

The Contemporary English Version makes a great effort at gender-inclusive language, except in the case of references to God. As in Today's English Version, the CEV replaces complex theological language with simple phrases that express the same theological truth but in a much clearer fashion.

For the most part, the CEV accomplishes its goal of offering a readable modern language translation of the Bible that is free of theological jargon. In a time of rising illiteracy, this is an important contribution.

    In the beginning God
    created the heavens
    and the earth. The earth was barren,
    with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean
    covered with darkness.
    But the Spirit of God was moving over the water. -- Genesis 1:1-2

    God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. -- John 3:16



Overview of Bible Study