Typically you review a book only if you have read the entire book, however a Bible review is a bit different. While I have read the entire Bible a few times, I have not read the entire NET Bible – but I regularly use it for study. While the NET Bible may be thought of as an on-line Bible, it is available tangibly. I got my tangible copy through CBD, but I no longer see it available there for sale. And this is what I find on amazon for the edition I have – however, I only paid about $40!! Not $3,200. Umm?? Mine looks identical, and has the full translation notes. Searching more, it looks like it went out of print and will be available again in January 2018. Phew, the price will be $70. CBD will likely have it for less.
But since the NET Bible is mostly considered an on-line Bible (available free), the tangible aspect is less of a concern – except for people like me who strongly prefer tangible books!
Maybe you have never heard of the NET Bible? It stands for New English Translation. What is unique about it? Well, one thing I already touched on: “The NET Bible project was commissioned to create a faithful Bible translation that could be placed on the Internet, downloaded for free, and used around the world for ministry.” – This is another reason NET was chosen, as in the internet.
Another thing is the extensive translation notes. About 25 Bible scholars worked on this new translation, and there are almost 61,000 translation notes! It is like you are looking over the shoulder of the translation team, and can read the notes about why they decided to translate different words/phrases/verses in a certain way.
Some (many?) Bible readers may not be aware that a translation team must make interpretive decisions for the reader, and at least with the NET Bible you are more aware of this fact and can see the reasoning behind certain translation choices.
What type of translation is it? Some Bible versions attempt more of a word-for-word translation, called formal equivalence. While others follow more of a phrase-by-phrase method, called dynamic equivalence. The NET Bible, with its notes, attempts to blend both of these. The notes provide formal equivalence, while the translation itself is dynamic equivalence.
When I am doing Bible study, the translation notes often give me helpful insight or understanding. I am not sure I am always a fan of the translation itself though. Sometimes a verse is translated in a such a “new” way that I just prefer the “old” way better – I like NKJV and NIV.
The Net Bible does have a few study notes as well, but the majority are translation notes.
Something else unique about the NET Bible: “The NET Bible is the first Bible ever to be beta-tested on the Internet. In this beta-testing process all working drafts of the NET Bible were posted on http://www.bible.org for public review and comment. The significance of this is that the NET Bible team, from day one, has been listening to its readers. The purpose of the public review and comment was not to achieve a consensus translation, but to be accountable, to be transparent, and to request that millions of people provide feedback on the faithfulness and clarity of the translation as well as on the translators’ notes.”
Read more about the NET Bible here: Preface To The NET Bible.
Read the NET Bible here: Matthew 1.
In summary, I have doubts that I will ever use the NET Bible as my reading Bible. However, it is a great aid to Bible study. I’ve already found it helpful, and I’m sure that I will continue to utilize it.
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