Most people do not read the Bible in its original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). No translation is ever completely successful, however, whether of the Bible or any other text. All translations fall short for a variety of reasons. The Expanded Bible allows the reader to see multiple possibilities for words, phrases, and interpretations. Rather than opting for one choice, it shows many. It can, for instance, show both an original metaphor and a more prosaic understanding of that metaphor. It can show a second or third way of understanding the meaning of a word, phrase, verse, or passage. It can provide comments that give the historical, cultural, linguistic, or theological background that an English-language reader may lack. When helpful, it provides the most literal renderings to show what a translator has to work with.
With so many English translations available, some may ask why we need another. In many ways this is not another translation. Instead, it offers additional information that allows readers to see how translation communicates meaning. Readers see, in a clear and concise format, much of what a translator sees while working to be as faithful to the text as possible. The goal of this approach is not to suggest that a text can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean (it cannot), but to show that the Bible in its original languages is rich, multi-layered, and profound. The Expanded Bible does not overcome all the limitations of translation, but it allows more of the features of the original text to come across into English than any ordinary translation can.
Both formal and functional equivalence translation approaches have benefits. The Expanded Bible represents the best of both approaches, offering idiomatic renderings to clearly convey the meaning of the text, and literal alternatives to show underlying structural features and allow the reader to assess the choices a more meaning-based translation has made. Ultimately, no translation serves the goals of clarity, accuracy, and readability better than The Expanded Bible. Three scholars, Tremper Longman III (Ph.D., Yale), Mark L. Strauss (Ph.D., Aberdeen) and Daniel Taylor (Ph.D., Emory) contribute to a better understanding of God’s Word. Without the need for additional commentaries, concordances or references, this Bible gives you the extras while reading the original books, poems, laws, prophecies and letters. The culture of biblical times is explained, scripture with scripture comparison made and space for own expansions, observations and note taking left, providing wide margins on every page.
The base text is a modified version of the New Century Version, a clear and accurate, meaning-based (functional-equivalent) Bible version. This base text appears in bold-faced type. Alternate interpretations of words, phrases, or idioms (and other information) are placed in brackets in lighter type. The easiest way to learn to use The Expanded Bible is simply to read it. Some examples to illustrate the approach and font typing:
Genesis 1: 1-5
1·In the beginning [or In the beginning when] God created [Cthis Hebrew verb is used only when God is the one creating] the ·sky [heavens] and the earth. 2·The [or…the] earth ·had no form and was empty [or was a formless void]. Darkness covered the ·ocean [deep], and ·God’s Spirit [or a mighty wind] was ·moving [hovering] over the water.
3Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, so he ·divided [separated] the light from the darkness. 5God ·named [called] the light “day” and the darkness “night.” ·Evening passed, and morning came [LThere was evening and there was morning; Cin the OT a day begins at nightfall]. This was the first day.
3. Later [In due course; LAt the end of the days], Cain brought some ·food [produce; fruit] from the ground as a ·gift [tribute; Lev. 2] to God. 4Abel brought the ·best parts [fat portions; Lev. 3:16] from some of the firstborn of his flock [Heb. 11:4]. The LORD ·accepted [looked with favor on] Abel and his ·gift [tribute], 5but he did not ·accept [look with favor on] Cain and his ·gift [tribute]. So Cain became very angry and ·felt rejected [or felt dejected; Lhis face/countenance fell].