LTS professor helps translate Common English Bible

(From the Common English Bible newsroom)

NASHVILLE, TN (August 17, 2011) – Of the 200 biblical scholars and church leaders involved in creating the just released complete Common English Bible ( translation, six are Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) members, including Lexington Theological Seminary professor Dr. Jerry Sumney.

Nearly four years in the making, with a total of more than 700 people involved and a budget of $3.5 million, the complete Common English Bible (Twitter @CommonEngBible – is in its third printing after only one month in stores and is becoming known for being “built on common ground.”

“When we say ‘built on common ground,’ we mean that the Common English Bible is the result of collaboration between opposites: scholars working with average readers; conservatives working with liberals; teens working with retirees; men working with women; many denominations and many ethnicities coming together around the common goal of creating a vibrant and clear translation for 21st century readers, with the ultimate objective of mutually accomplishing God’s overall work in the world,” says Paul Franklyn, PhD, associate publisher for the Common English Bible.

“Helping create the Common English Bible has been one of the highlights of my professional life,” says David L. Petersen, senior Old Testament editor for the Common English Bible, convener of the Common English Bible editorial board, and academic dean at Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA. “It was a privilege to work collaboratively with over one hundred scholars who were dedicated to making the Bible accessible to twenty first century readers. The translators and consultants succeeded brilliantly, offering an accurate and fresh version of the Christian Bible.”

Twenty-four denominations are represented by the translators and readers. Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) members who helped build the Common English Bible are:
Translators and where they teach:

•  Jerry L. Sumney, PhD, Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, KY

•  Marti J. Steussy, MDiv, PhD, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN

Reading Group Leaders:

•   Molly Carlson, Pastor, Elk Bay, CA

•   Margaret Deans, Christian Education Pastor, Kingsport, TN

•   Jose Morales, Pastor, Hammond, IN

•   Christian Piatt, Pastor, Pueblo, CO

The complete Common English Bible debuted online and on 20 digital platforms in June, and in paperback format in mid-July. Now in its third printing, the Common English Bible totals 500,000 copies in print, including the New Testament-only editions released a year ago. Originally expected this fall, the entire Bible paperback edition already in stores is selling quickly. Six other editions, including one with the Apocrypha, are now releasing.

“Media coverage of the launch of the Common English Bible has been substantial,” says Franklyn. “It includes TIME magazine, USA TODAY, The Tennessean, Seattle Post Intelligencer, The Toronto Star, Florida Today, Orlando Sentinel, The Christian Post, and others, along with reviews by bloggers, our own website, Twitter stream, and Facebook page, and our video.”
Combining scholarly accuracy with vivid language, the Common English Bible is the work of 120 biblical scholars from 24 denominations in American, African, Asian, European, and Latino communities, representing such academic institutions as Asbury Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, Bethel Seminary, Denver Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University, Wheaton College, Yale University, and many others. They translated the Bible into English directly from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.

Additionally, more than 500 readers in 77 groups field-tested the translation. Every verse was read aloud in the reading groups, where potentially confusing passages were identified. The translators considered the groups’ responses and, where necessary, reworked those passages to clarify in modern English their meaning from the
original languages. In total, more than 700 people worked jointly to bring the Common English Bible to fruition; and because of the Internet and today’s technology it was completed in less than four years.

Visit to see comparison translations, learn about the translators, get free downloads, and more.

The Common English Bible is sponsored by the Common English Bible Committee, an alliance of five publishers that serve the general market, as well as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Chalice Press), Presbyterian Church (USA) (Westminster John Knox Press), Episcopal Church (Church Publishing, Inc.), United Church of Christ (The Pilgrim Press), and The United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press).