If All The Bible Translations Had A Dinner Party

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English Standard Version (ESV): Hey everybody, can I have your attention? Great, thanks. Look, I’m so glad that you’re all here for this reunion of sorts. It sure is great to have all of us translations together in one…

New International Version (NIV): Since when did you become the big cheese who gets to tell us what to do? Look, I know you’re the new kid on the block, and that a bunch of pastors are all like, “Rah, rah, ESV, our study Bible can beat up your study Bible.” But just because you’re new and polished doesn’t mean you’re better. Some of us have been around for a long time and have seen a lot of things.

King James Version (KJV): Hear, hear! Thou young Bibles have no sense of tradition or languages. Thou goest hither and yon, getting makeovers every three years.  NIV, in the last ten years thou hast gotten plastic surgery and thou hast begun dressing like a metrosexual. Thou hast lost thy manhood! I haven’t changed one jot or tittle in over 400 years! [Takes small sip of merlot from a goblet marked “Ebenezer”].

NIV: I am not dressing like a metrosexual! These are skinny jeans. They’re supposed to look…skinny. And in terms of my manhood, let me make something…

The Message (MSG): Dudes, why does Old Man James always talk like that? [Slurps on Redbull]. I mean, like, what’s the difference between “Thee” and “Thou”? And what are jots and tittles? Are they like “Mike & Ike’s”? Honestly, I feel like I’m talking to someone who speaks Mexican. Whatev’s. I totes don’t get it.

ESV: Okay, okay, listen. Yes, I have been getting a lot of attention lately, and I did have a snazzy marketing campaign, but that doesn’t mean I’m bet…

MSG: Dude, can you talk a little quieter. My son, The Message Remix, is competing in the X-Games, and I’m trying to watch on my phone. He’s totes shredding the half-pipe.

Amplified Bible (AMP) [nervously rubbing hands together, perspiration forming on mustache]: I just want to say that I’m really grateful, excited, thrilled, jazzed, stoked to be here. I talk a lot, say a lot of words, run my mouth when I get nervous, anxious, stressed, worried, so please ignore, deny, pay no attention to me. Did I say too much?

KJV [speaking very loudly]: Translations these days have no sense of history, no sense of tradition. I wast commissioned by King James himself. I am practically royalty. Back in my day, there was no New Living Message Voice Remix. There were no glow in the dark covers or Bible XTremes. There was only the king’s English, and we liked it that way. Message, who doth commissioned you? Was it a President or Prime Minister?

MSG: Uhh, a guy name Eugene. He’s from Montana, I think. Wears Birkenstocks. Totes awesome dude.

Scofield Reference Bible (SRB): Guys, I know that, technically, I’m not a translation, so I really appreciate you letting me be here. Gosh, it’s so exciting to be here with all of you. I don’t often get the chance to speak. I’ve prepared a detailed presentation I’d like to share with all of you.

ESV [muttering]: Oh boy. Here we go.

SRB: Anyway, I’ve got a lot of really neat charts and tables that I’d like to show you guys. I think that by the time this dinner is over, we can predict the return of Christ to within 24 hours.

NIV: Look, not to be a jerk, but I think all of us contain a verse in which Jesus says we can’t know the time or the hour.

ESV [snickering]: Are you sure you still have that verse?

NIV: Oh, is that how it’s going to be? Don’t even get me started. Old Man James over there has more errors than Derek Jeter, and The Message is practically having a rave. Then there’s Amp, who can’t stop talking, and Mr. Scofield who has managed to connect Israel, Michael Gorbachev, and Michael W. Smith. I’m the only sane one of the bunch!

AMP: I think you’re overreacting, being hyperbolic, exaggerating. Yes perhaps I do speak, pontificate, ramble on a bit, but it’s all for good. I think if you would just let me speak, talk, hold forth a bit more, you would see that I have wonderful, extravagant, delightful ideas.

NIV: And ESV, don’t get me started on your whole family. You’re brother, Study Bible, has a serious weight problem. I mean, he needs to go on Atkins or something. Your grandma, Mrs. Heirloom, likes to wrap herself in calfskin. Calfskin! Does she sleep on a bed of veal? And your little sister, Glo Bible, looks like she’s ready to hit the rave scene.

ESV [standing up]: You stay away from my family! We’re working on our problems. At least I didn’t have a vasectomy!

MSG: Woah…this just got intense. [cracks open another Red Bull]. What’s a vasectomy?

NIV: How dare you?!? Let’s make this clear. I was neutered. There is a big difference. It’s kind of like being a eunuch, but different.

[Awkward silence]

SRB: So like I was saying, I have these really neat color-coded charts that clearly show how the fall of the Berlin Wall was predicted in…

KJV: Oh just shut up, dear boy. Thou rants and rants when thou knowest nothing! I long for the good old days when a man protected his family with both the broadsword and the Bible.

SRB: Well then. I’ll be leaving.

Catholic Edition Revised Standard Version (CRSV): Guys, I know I haven’t said anything yet, but I really think I can solve this problem.

ESV: No, no. I know how you work. You think that because you have extra books, that somehow makes you special. Well it doesn’t!

MSG: Dudes! Dudes. It’s in these times that I like to quote that verse in Proverbs which says, “Can’t we all just get along?”

3 Comments

  • Tim Nelson says:

    “The Message (MSG): Dudes, why does Old Man James always talk like that? [Slurps on Redbull]. I mean, like, what’s the difference between “Thee” and “Thou”? And what are jots and tittles? Are they like “Mike & Ike’s”? Honestly, I feel like I’m talking to someone who speaks Mexican. Whatev’s. I totes don’t get it”.

    Glad you asked. To start with, in Early Modern English (the language of the King James), thou/thee/thy is singular (refers to only one person) whereas ye/you/your refers only to more than one person. Moving on from there, ‘thee’ is to ‘thou’ as ‘me’ is to ‘I’ (or if you prefer the technical definition, thou and I are in the nominative or subjective case, and thee and me are in the objective case). There’s also a difference between ‘ye’ and ‘you’. ‘you’ is to ‘ye’ as ‘me’ is to ‘I’.

    As for the jot and the tittle, that’s the dot on an i and the cross on the t, which are some of the smallest penstrokes in English. A bit of creative license on the the part of the original translators. I also don’t believe that the KJV would ever speak like that; it’s both grammatically incorrect and factually incorrect. I’ve taken the liberty of supplying corrected versions below (corrected for grammar, facts, and KJV style).

    Authorised Version (AV): Hear, hear! Ye young Bibles have no sense of tradition or languages. Going hither and yon, ye undergo makeovers every three years. NIV, in the last ten years thou hast undergone plastic surgery, and thou hast begun to dress like a metrosexual. Thou hast lost thy manhood! I have undergone only one makeover in the last 400 years, in 1769 to be precise, and that was simply a matter of updating the spelling, and eliminating the printing errors which had crept in over my many reprintings; cosmetic only, no material difference. However, an thou wishst, I speak right well þe English of 1611. [Takes small sip of merlot from a goblet marked “Ebenezer”].

    AV [speaking very loudly]: Translations these days have no sense of history, no sense of tradition. Back in my day, there was no New Living Message Voice Remix. There were no glow in the dark covers or Bible XTremes. They chased not after the new, for the knew “The old is better”. Moreover, I was made from the best of the existing translations of the day; not completely new, and good in parts, but taking the best of the old, and improving it. Someday I should introduce you to my respectable friend the Wycliffe Bible; verily, a translation amongst translations was he. But as for me, I was commissioned by King James himself. I am practically royalty. O Message, by whom wast thou commissioned? Was it a President or Prime Minister?

    KJV: I rebuke thee, my son; keepst thou silent. Thou rantst and ravest, but thou knowest nothing! I long for the days of my youth, when a each man protected his family with both Bible and broadsword.

  • ilo says:

    Hebrew OT & Aramaic NT twins: When you decide you are hungry enough, we’ve got the Bread of Life and the Living Water.

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