The defining characteristic of the Common English Bible translation is its willingness to revisit and re-render traditional translations of well known biblical passages. While this is often a strength, it seems to be driven by a desire among those who commissioned the translation to distance themselves from conservative evangelicalism, and in many places this results in replacing good (albeit traditional) translations with highly questionable ones for no apparent scholarly reason.
Question: AH! I just discovered that some Christian groups have more/fewer books in their Bible, and now I’m afraid I can’t believe anything anymore! What do I do? Short Answer: DON’T PANIC! We all agree about the New Testament. In the Old Testament … it’s complicated, but the positions are all reasonable.
Luke 2:14 has well known variant readings (is “good will” nominative or genitive?), and despite scholarship preferring one over the other, the choice between these readings is not clear. How do variant readings and translations affect our understanding of the inspiration of the Bible? What if ambiguities weren’t something God intended to work around but something he intended to work within.
Because virtually all Bible translations strategically use the word-for-word and thought-for-thought methods where necessary based upon a threshold of difficulty unique to that translation, we shouldn’t fall into the error of thinking that there are “word-for-word” translations over here and “thought-for-thought” translations over there, and one category is automatically better than the other. It just doesn’t work that way.
Even someone as awesome as William Tyndale can make a mistake. And even as revered a translation as the King James Version can unthinkingly perpetuate it.