Conservative Bible Project

Conservapedia has a Conservative Bible Project page.  It alleges that translations of the Bible betray a liberal bias.  Starting with the King James Version as a basis, a conservative translation of the Bible is being worked on.

According to Conservapedia, a fully conservative translation of the Bible would follow their ten guidelines.

The first guideline is a framework against liberal bias that allows them to provide a translation without liberal bias.  I have no problem with a new translation.  My problem is that they are not interested in an unbiased translation.  They are only interested in a translation that does not have a liberal bias.

The second guideline is to avoid using unisex or gender inclusive language because it emasculates Christianity.  I agree that a translation should preserve the exact meaning of the original languages.  However, I hardly think gender inclusive language emasculates Christianity.

The third guideline is that the reading level should not be dumbed down.  They complain that the NIV is written at the 7th grade level.  The translator’s job is to convey the meaning of the original languages.  If he can do so accurately at a 7th grade level then it makes sense to do so because it will allow more people to read the Bible.

The fourth guideline is to use powerful conservative terms.  I would prefer accurate terms.

The fifth guideline is to combat addictions by using modern terms such as “gamble” instead of “cast lots.”  The problem is that casting lots is not necessarily gambling.  For example, when replacing Judas Iscariot, the apostles cast lots to pick the new member of the Twelve (Acts 1:26).

The sixth guideline is to accept the logic of hell and neither deny nor downplay the existence of hell or the devil.  But the translator’s job is not to provide a commentary on the nature of hell or the devil.  It is to use those words in the translation when they are appropriate.  It is up to the reader to interpret the Bible’s statements about hell and the devil.

The seventh guideline is to explain the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning.  Jesus’ parables often include characters who make economic transactions or handle wealth, but the message of these parables concerns religion, not economics.  However, I can’t help but think of the economic meaning of some of the parables.  Are employers to pay employees a full day’s wage even if they don’t work a full day (Matthew 20:1-15)?  Are we to cancel debts when they can’t be paid (Luke 7:36-47)?

The eighth guideline is to exclude later-inserted liberal passages such as the the story of the adulteress.  Of course most modern translations note that John 7:53-8:11 is not in the earliest manuscripts.  I’m also not sure how this is a liberal passage.  Do conservatives feel the adulteress should have been stoned to death?  Do they believe sin cannot be forgiven?  Another example they bring up is Luke 23:34, where Jesus says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  This is probably an interpolation but Conservapedia forgot a similar statement by Stephen in Acts 7:60.  And it isn’t like Luke 23:34 is the only place where Jesus promotes forgiveness.

The ninth guideline is to credit the open-mindedness of the disciples.  I’m not sure how a translator, as opposed to a commentator, is supposed to do this.

The tenth guideline is to prefer conciseness over liberal wordiness.  I didn’t even know this was a problem, especially since much of the Bible’s narrative is concise.


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