Introduction to the Seventh Day Adventist Clear Word Bible

by Matt Slick

The Clear Word Bible, published by Review and Herald® Publishing Association and authored by Jack J. Blanco, is a paraphrase, not a translation.  For the purposes of its examination I have used the 2003 edition that I purchased in the Pacific Press Publishing Association bookstore in Nampa, Idaho.  The Pacific Press website (pacificpress.org) says...

"The Pacific Press® Publishing Association, established in 1874, is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its sole purpose is to uplift Jesus Christ in communicating biblical teachings, health principles, and family values—in many languages—through various types of printed materials, video products, and recordings of Christian music.  The Pacific Press® perceives itself primarily as a spiritual enterprise. This perception governs the selection of personnel as well as of all materials published, including advertisements."1

Since the intent is to communicate biblical teachings, is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and sells the Clear Word Bible, I can only conclude that the SDA church approves of the CWB.

The CWB is a very loose paraphrase

A paraphrase is an expanded adaptation of the biblical text designed to help clarify what the original says.  The proper intention of any biblical paraphrase should be to remain faithful to the text and to expand on it, not alter it, and certainly not to contradict the original meaning.  The preface to the Clear Word Bible says, "The Clear Word is not a translation, but a devotional paraphrase of Scripture expanded for clarity...It should not be considered a study Bible."  The same preface mentions paraphrases such as "Phillips’ New Testament in Modern English, Taylor’s The Living Bible, and Peterson’s The Message." "Each translation or paraphrase has proved beneficial in its own way to bring readers a clearer understanding of God’s magnificent gift to a fallen race...A writer’s own understanding of a biblical text will surface in a paraphrase, but it also occurs in translations written by a group of scholars. However, every attempt has been made to allow the Bible to interpret itself."  [emphasis added]

This is interesting and problematic since in many places the CWB does not allow the Bible to interpret itself, but in fact drastically alters the original verses when they don't fit SDA theology.  Is it a good paraphrase?  I would say no.

The following links show the prejudicial treatment the biblical text is given in favor of Seventh Day Adventist theology.

Please note that I have underlined words and phrases in the analysis for easier comparison.  I have used the NASB (New American Standard Bible) as a comparison text since it is intended to be as literal a translation as possible from the Hebrew and Greek.

Finally, I have a question.  If the SDA theology is so biblical, then why does the CWB drastically alter so many of the biblical texts?

 

 

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See Also

  • 1. http://www.pacificpress.com/index.php?pgName=splMission,  underline added

 

 

 

 
 
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