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Author of new informal English version of the New Testament hopes for powerful effect

11 September 2020

THE editor of a new English version of the New Testament, Martin Manser, hopes that having background information woven into the text will have a “powerful effect” on readers.

The project Word Come Alive is an ongoing translation of the New Testament into English that is meant to be “informal” and “idiomatic”, besides containing additional background material, inserted in italics within the text.

Mr Manser has so far completed the four Gospels and some of the epistles. He is currently editing Acts, and plans to tackle Revelation next, finishing with the rest of the epistles — though he thinks that the end is still a few years off.

Mr Manser said: “My aim is to produce a text that reads well in contemporary, natural English. I want this paraphrase to have a powerful effect on readers, with a fresh, incisive quality that will make readers sit up and think.”

The translation process involves having drafts of the text reviewed by a panel of New Testament Greek scholars, including the Revd Gervais Angel, a tutor at Trinity College, Bristol, as well as a team of native English-speakers.

The complete books are available as digital editions on Kindle and Google Play. St John’s Gospel is also available in print.

Mr Manser, an editor of 40 years’ standing, has previously worked on English-language dictionaries and thesauruses, as well as a range of Bible versions, including the New International Version, and the New Revised Standard Version. He has also compiled books on business skills such as project management and how to lead training courses.

The senior pastor from Aylesbury Vineyard Church, Dr Steve Burnhope, said: “I think this version of John’s Gospel is excellent. I’m very comfortable with the interpretative approach that’s been taken in the italics, which really enhances readers’ understanding.”

The first paragraph of John’s Gospel in Mr Manser’s version:


1 The Word of life

Jesus Christ fully expresses God’s mind

What I’m about to tell you is the most exciting story, the most dramatic event, in the whole of human history. We begin before time itself began, in eternity. I know it’s difficult to think of a time before the world was created, but we need to try to move beyond our own limited thinking back to a time before time itself began. We are not the centre of life; God is and he has revealed himself fully in Jesus Christ. We need to look beyond the physical dimension of what we can see and the deeper reality of God.

Job of the Week


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