Concerning the Revised English Bible (REB), this version does have some good, what I would consider to be “literary” (artistic–rhetorical–oral/aural oriented) renderings, but all too often it times it lets me down, as do most other versions in English. Of course, no translation is perfect. For devotional study then I like to compare several versions, to see which one seems to best capture the spirit of the text. If time allows I also like to consult Die Gute Nachricht, which has some nice “literary” renderings in German–I think (despite my name, I am certainly not a reliable critic of passages in this language!).

A suggestion: Perhaps some of our Bible translations, whether in English or any other language, would actually sound more artistic and attractive when pronounced (or proclaimed or performed) aloud if a proficient “literary translator” were somehow involved in the project along the way (as a drafter, stylist, reviewer)–and, the sooner the better.

About ewendland

I am currently an instructor at the Lutheran Seminary, Lusaka, ZAMBIA (since 1968). My academic training has been in biblical studies (BA, Northwestern College; MST, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary), Bible translation (several SIL courses), linguistics (MA, University of Wisconsin, Madison), and African languages (PhD, UWM). I am a “retired” translation consultant for the United Bible Societies (having worked with projects in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). I currently still serve as an external examiner in Zambian languages (University of Zambia) and as visiting professor in OT, NT, and Ancient Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, with an affiliation to the Centre for Bible Interpretation and Translation in Africa ( My research and writing interests focus on the literary (structural, poetic, rhetorical) analysis of biblical texts and their oratorical translation, especially in southeastern Bantu languages (
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