Member Reviews

I usually don't review a book unless I've read the whole text, but in the case of this Bible translation, I find I'm having a hard time reading straight through. I've only made it through Matthew so far.

What makes it hard to read? McKnight is trying to be true to the actual syntax of the original language - a useful way to help those of us reading in translation remember that the Bible was NOT written in English! However, it makes for a choppier reading experience.

Why do I still recommend it? Because I think it's good to be caught off guard sometimes with passages that have become too familiar, to have to stop and think. This will be a good translation to have as a comparison to other versions.

Was this review helpful?

I preface this review with the fact that I’m not a Bible scholar — I do however read Koine Greek thanks to a Masters in Church History — but this new translation that retains the idiosyncrasies of the original Greek absolutely fascinated me.

It reminded me of a personal project that just grew big enough that the author/translator was like “hey, maybe I’ll just make this into it’s own book.” I don’t say that to mean it’s not well done — I say it because it felt like they stumbled across a very useful tool for a majority of preachers and Bible readers to have a text that more easily explains the “in the original Greek there’s this stylistic word play that doesn’t translate well to the English” saying that so often pops up. The translator fully acknowledges that some of the text is clunky — and that’s on purpose, because that’s how it is in the Greek.

I absolutely love this. It allows English-readers to fully understand the stylistic differences between the Gospel writers and how Paul’s tone changes from letter to letter. While I definitely wouldn’t make this one’s sole translation, it’s an insightful look into how words work together to shape one’s faith.

I feel weird giving this a star writing, but it’s definitely worth having on the Bible study rotation.

Was this review helpful?

This Bible translation is quite similar to the CJB (complete Jewish translation) in how it uses the original Jewish names rather than the westernized version of the names.

It feels more book like format with numbering of the verses rather than in a poetic manner.

Something seen in reading the intro is: God governed Israel in the OT yet the church in the NT. As much as we would immediately accept this statement, I question it a bit because Jesus doesn’t establish the church in the NT. He simply criticized the status quo and established his place in the hierarchy with God yet I do not think He intended to establish a whole other religion distinctly different from the Judaism He grew up with and that was established by His Father.

Was this review helpful?

I am absolutely loving this translation. The sometimes clunky and unvarnished wording has its own poetic lilt and is shaking me out of the over-familiarity with which I'm wont to approach the New Testament texts.

I just finished two semesters of koine Greek and found the faithfulness to the grammatical and structural integrity of the texts delightful—especially when it resulted in verses like, "...and the voice that I heard as of kithatists kitharing on their kitharas, (Revelations 14:2)". I enjoyed McKnight's effort at maintaining a limited vocabulary as well as preserving the original Greek/Hebrew names to help the reader create connections we might otherwise miss.

I received this ebook free from Netgalley, but will definitely invest in a hardcopy, as it's an invaluable resource for my shelf!

Was this review helpful?

There are a lot of “New Testament” translations available, even ones that purport to be “literal renderings” of the original Greek (as this version does); however, there are still choices to be made by the translator as common words in any language often have multiple meanings. I have not the skill nor the training to critique these choices by the author, so I will presume all choices conform to at least one of the common meanings from the Greek and I can make a general attempt to select to best meaning or definition of the English word selected through context. The author does make clear that he is intentionally avoiding common theological language, so in that regard, this translation is a helpful new point of view to those of us that can’t do the translations on our own. The author also doesn’t try to simplify the Greek vocabulary, so if a rare Greek term was used in the source, he generally keeps the more obscure English term over more common one. he example used in the Introduction is the term using propitious instead of mercy (which provides a slightly different nuance to the phrase “be propitious/merciful to me." Over all I would say that there is not a significant difference when reading the complete text holistically and that actually gives me more confidence in the translation over all … because it provides a context that I would not otherwise see …

Additionally the author will provide an inline gloss on some of the more obscure terms that the reader may not be able to correctly associate on their own. For example:

“See many of the Observant [Pharisees] and Elites [Sadducess] coming to his dipping, he said to the, ‘Knot of vipers! Who exhibited to you to flee from the anger about to come?”

This is especially helpful with transliterated names: Yōannēs [John], Kaphar-Naoum [Capernaum], Ēsaïas [Isaiah] et al. Although sparse, there are also a few translation comments that are very help in understanding language usage/tone .. such in the First Letter to Corinth where before 4:7 we see [Sarcastic use of opponents’ language] before the bolded text of the pericope. All of this, along with a brief translators introduction to each NT book make this work an excellent companion to any NT Bible study that helps the reader/student break out of some of the familiar translation ruts we often find ourselves in. I think it is also important to point out the tremendous undertaking translating all the NT books is and the great respect that I have for the finished product that justifies rounding up to 5 stars.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheSecondTestment #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

Firstly, I am woefully inadequate to offer an opinion on the expertise of the (earthly) author of this new translation. Unlike the Message, this is a translation of the original Greek text. However, it is interesting to read alongside my favourite translations of the bible. The language is often clunky, but that is Ancient Greek for you. It doesn't always neatly translate in to words that we are familiar with. The names are given those that appear in the original Greek, so Jesus become Yesous Christ, Paul is Paul's and John the Baptist is referred to as Yoannes the Dipper in Mark's retelling of the story of Johns execution. It adds another layer to you appreciation of scripture. The disciples are called Apprentices and the healing of a leper is a man with scaley skin. Whilst I wouldn't use this exclusively, it is a very useful tool to help understand the bible.
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC, all views expressed are my own honest opinions.

Was this review helpful?

Over the years, we have a wealth of English translations of the Bible. Whether it is a literal translation, a paraphrase, or the popular dynamic equivalence type, they have all been helpful for those of us unfamiliar with the original languages. For all the competent scholarship and attempts to update the transalations, there is a nagging concern about context. Sometimes, the translations can be so good that English speakers might have mistakenly thought that the Bible was written for the English-speaking world! What if modern readers who do not know the original languages can in some way perceive what the original hearers were hearing? What if we can get closer to Greek ears and still maintain the English text? This is precisely what author and professor, Scot McKnight is trying to do. Understanding the meaning is one thing. Locating the meaning within the original contexts is often another. Moreover, there are certain words in Greek that are hard to translate. Often, this forces translators to choose between literal and contextual. Even in the translation of meaning, too many words might muddle the interpretation. This is McKnight's attempt to help us understand the words within the Greek context. This is what I call a more contextual translation of the New Testament. He begins with a brief introduction to each book, which not only gives us an overview but also unique themes that we can connect with the rest of the Bible. For example, in the introduction to the synoptic gospels, we see clear connections to the other gospels to help us prepare for the road ahead. The same applies to the epistles of Paul. The maps also enable readers to get a feel of the geographical contexts as described in the text. Called "The Second Testament," this new translation of the New Testament complements the "First Testament" which uses similar translation principles for the Old Testament.

My Thoughts
I will offer some of my thoughts as I describe McKnight's approach. McKnight's task here is three-fold. First, start afresh with a new translation directly from the Greek manuscripts. I do not see any technical information about the Greek manuscripts used. I can only assume that it is from the most well-accepted Greek SBL critical editions. For most readers, this should not matter as much so I would not be too concerned. That said, rather than see this version as a new edition, perhaps it might be better to see this as a supplementary edition to our conventional Bibles. One reason why I say "supplement" is because this translation is essentially the work of a single author. I have a bias more in favour of translation committees rather than single authors. The ecumenical flavour appeals more due to the communal nature of the Bible and the translation efforts. Of course, there are also merits to single-author translations, the chief being a more coherent flow.

Second, instead of trying to bring the Greek down to the English level, take our English understanding up to the original Greek audience. The Greek version does not usually operate the way of English. Some words simply do not have an English equivalent. So translators have to make a choice between a clunky (but literally accurate) or a smoother (but contextually compromised) reading. Sometimes, Bible readers commit the error of "familiarity breeds contempt." Not that they despise the work, but they tend to be too comfortable with what they think they already know. Being reminded that our nice bounded Bibles today are not what the original hearers have should remind us not to be complacent with our English readings. Reading Matthew 1 already gives an energetic feel. Instead of begat (KJV) or "father of" (NAS), McKnight's version says "gave a life" which oozes out the added dynamism as per the original Greek text. Other familiar texts like John 3:16 gives us new words to study and ponder about. Words like "Era" instead of "Eternal," and "Kosmos" instead of "World." The famous 1 Corinthians 13 is indeed a more dynamic feel to the active nature of love.

Third, McKnight's translation tries to give us a fresh understanding of the New Testament in a snappy and direct manner. What Eugene Peterson had done from a paraphrase angle, Scot McKnight does this translation from a literal Greek angle. Meant as a supplement to the many translations we have today, this translation is a great wake-up tool that breathes new life into our understanding. Like coffee that perks us up, this version makes us re-examine and re-read the text for the purpose of deepening our insights. It is not meant to replace but to supplement our understanding. That is why I believe that this version should be read alongside other versions. In fact, read this version only after we have become familiar with the other more established versions.

Scot McKnight (PhD, University of Nottingham) is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois. He is the author of many books, including Reading Romans Backwards, Pastor Paul, The King Jesus Gospel, and commentaries on James, Galatians, and Colossians. He is also a general editor of the IVP Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, second edition.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book has been provided courtesy of IVP Academic via NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Was this review helpful?

Scot McKnight's "The Second Testament: A New Translation" is a captivating and audacious rendition of the New Testament that invites readers to engage with the ancient text in a fresh and thought-provoking manner. Unlike conventional translations that prioritize accessibility by employing modern language, McKnight's translation dares to preserve the inherent distance between the biblical text and contemporary readers. In doing so, it allows Scripture to speak as an ancient voice to the modern world.

One of the remarkable qualities of this translation is its clever and ingenious expression. McKnight skillfully navigates the complexities of the original Greek text, presenting the reader with a rendition that is not only faithful but also strikingly bold. This audacity infuses the verses with a renewed power, challenging readers to encounter God's Word in a way that transcends the boundaries of traditional translations.

For instance, in Matthew 5:3-6, McKnight's translation evokes a sense of divine blessing upon the marginalized and overlooked. The beggars in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. The grievers find solace in the promise of consolation. The meek, far from being overlooked, are assured of inheriting the land. Furthermore, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness can anticipate a satisfying fulfillment. These verses, among others, epitomize McKnight's ability to capture the essence of the original text while imbuing it with a renewed and poignant relevance.

"The Second Testament" also offers a range of helpful features to enrich the reading experience. Each book is accompanied by brief introductions, providing contextual information that aids readers in understanding the background and purpose of the text. Maps of key locations and events further enhance comprehension, enabling readers to visualize the geographical settings of biblical narratives. Additionally, a glossary of key terms used in the translation facilitates a deeper grasp of the text's nuances.

The physical presentation of the book is deserving of praise as well. The full-cloth hardcover, embellished with elegant foil stamping, exudes a sense of durability and elegance. It is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail that went into producing this volume.

In conclusion, Scot McKnight's "The Second Testament: A New Translation" is a daring and captivating work that challenges readers to experience the New Testament afresh. With its clever and audacious expression, this translation breathes new life into ancient texts, bridging the gap between the past and the present. By offering a range of features and an aesthetically pleasing presentation, this book is a valuable addition to any reader's collection. It is sure to inspire and engage those seeking a deeper understanding of God's Word.

Was this review helpful?

I love what was said in the introduction to this translation: that it's time to call people to rise to the level of the original authors' meaning instead of simplifying a translation to be accessible to all.

That means some words will be difficult to pronounce. Some will need to be researched. Good. Following Jesus is an upward call and if you are ready and able to take your understanding to another level, this translation can help.

I believe it's the book of Deuteronomy where God is quoted as saying that His ways are higher than our ways as the sky is from the earth.

So understand Him more deeply is going to take time and effort.

I'm not being elitist. There are many translations available: I grew up with the NIV, my wife the King James and now she loves the Amplified. Every one does a job for different needs.

But the Second testament has a gritty, dare I say, authentic feel to it. I've read some of the CLNT, the Etymological New Testament, some of the Analytical Old Testament. This flows better.

Yet, in places, it's roughly hewn stone. That's okay. So were the writers.

It provides new insights constantly and I marvel at terms like 'heaven's empire' (which is a spiritual-political challenge to the Roman Empire); that Bethlehem is Beth (house) lehem (of bread or 'fighters)-I had to look that up btw.

Jesus was a Jew. His name was Jewish
, his people and their culture were not Western.

A few weeks ago I stood at the pool of Siloam. A few months before that I walked up the Second Temple steps. It was as close on earth as I had been to where Jesus walked.

I encourage you to visit Israel. But if you can't, the Second Testament so far evokes an atmosphere that makes you feel closer to there in Spirit.

Was this review helpful?

I listen to Scot McKnight's podcast Kingdom Roots and have heard him talk about his translation of the New Testament, but thought it was already available for purchase. When I saw it on Netgalley available for early access I squealed in delight and promptly reorganized my reading plans, The Second Testament is something I knew I wanted to read immediately.

What a fun, challenging, and inspiring read. Scot sets out to make an English translation that is literal to the original text. This leads to some fun translations, like Yōannēs the Dipper (John the Baptist).

I absolutely love reading this. I find while I am reading the verses, my head reads the new translation and searches for the common translation I'm most familiar with (NIV, ESV). This made the reading very enganging and fun. I gained a new perspective by reading these choppy, sometime clunky verses because it makes me slow down, think about what I am reading, and seek to understand it.

Was this review helpful?