Last Thursday, January 19, 2012, at the Witness Work Area Meeting it was decided to embark on a multi-faceted Bible project. There is a new translation of the Bible, called the Common English Bible (CEB). A Rethink Church edition of the New Testament is being made available for $5 by United Methodist Communications (UMCom), which is encouraging United Methodists to buy a copy for themselves and donate $5 so that a copy might be provided for someone else. Inspired by their example, it was decided that we would encourage members and friends of First to follow their lead. Copies of this edition, which includes brief introductions to both the Bible and the United Methodist Church will soon be available for $5. You’re also encouraged to donate $5 so that we can hand one out to someone in need.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why should I buy another New Testament. I’m perfectly happy to donate $5 to provide one for someone else, but why would I need one?” The answer is two-fold. First, we’re going to encourage members and friends of first to join us in reading through the New Testament in 90 days during the forty days of Lent and the Great Fifty Days of Easter (there is a handy guide in the UMCom edition which assists you in doing just that, but it will be made available elsewhere). Second, re-reading the Bible in an unfamiliar, yet accurate, translation helps us put ourselves in a place to hear the good news again for the very first time.
Additional Background Information: the CEB has been developed by several denominational publishers, including the United Methodist Publishing House. It’s translated at a seventh grade reading level, which will help make it accessible to anyone who receives one through the church’s various aid programs.