Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Your Bible" Series: Joshua's Good News Bible

My name is Joshua. I stumbled on Timothy's blog a few months back as I was researching a product. I have been a pretty loyal reader ever since. I'm Protestant (Southern Baptist for the most part). In the almost 20 years I have walked with Jesus, I have used many versions ranging from the colloquialism of The Living Bible to the traditional language of the KJV and RSV-2CE. Out of all these, one is really special.

I became acquainted with the Good News Bible* (GNB) 20 years ago. This occurred while on a trip to see relatives in Tennessee. While I was there, I saw a box of Bibles. I asked if I could read one during my stay. Reading it helped me see that the Bible was a special book and not just another thing to read. Before this, the only Bibles I had were the aforementioned KJV and Living Bible as well as the New International Version (NIV). After this, I started going to a Baptist church and got saved, giving my life to Christ. That Christmas, I got my own copy.

You might be asking yourself: Is there a need for the GNB when we have other versions such as the NABRE or NIV? I say yes and here’s why. It’s easy to understand. (I'm not saying it’s the easiest to understand. That title would go to the International Children's Bible. This is a Protestant translation written at a 3rd grade reading level.) This understandability helps clarify passages that can be difficult at times. On the down side, this isn’t a version suited for liturgical use or study. The second reason I like the GNB is the illustrations by Swiss artist Annie Vallotton. They are engrossing, drawing you into the text. For example, I’m reading through Ecclesiastes. At Ecclesiastes 1:14 there is a drawing that shows Solomon showing regret. This helps me to better understand what’s being said. The last reason I like the GNB is that it’s a version for everyone. It is available with the Protestant canon and in a Catholic edition. If you desire to get a copy, I would look for the 1979 edition. A 1992 revision added gender-inclusive language.

In short the GNB has been a blessing to me! I want to thank Timothy for allowing me to share my story and thoughts.

 *The Good News Bible is known as the Good News Translation (GNT) in the United States.

Thank you Joshua for sharing your story.  I am always looking for additional entries in the monthly  "Your Bible" Series, so please send an email to mccorm45(at)yahoo(dot)com if you are interested.  


Dante said...

As a Catholic and longtime catechist,I really like using this translation in religious education classes because of its ease and clarity. But I have had one main question about the GNB for which I have never found an answer.

Luke 1:28 is an important verse especially for Catholic & Orthodox Christians. The Scriptural roots for our basic marian theology rest in good measure upon this verse and it accompanying passage. It seems like the GNB is the only translation that ignores (mistranslates???) this verse from the typical "Hail" or "Rejoice" followed with "full of grace" or "highly favored". Instead it reads "Peace be with you..."

Does anyone know why this verse was stranslated this way or if it is even a (remotely) accurate translation? I find it hard to see how the USCCB gave it an imprimatur with such a drastically different translation for this verse.

Theo said...

Hi Joshua,

I've never even opened a GNB, but this review has actually made me think about getting a copy.

Do you know if the post-1979 Catholic edition also contains gender-inclusive language?

Thanks for the review.

(I'm enjoying this series, Tim)

Theophrastus said...

Catholic GNTs I've seen in the last few years (from ABS and St. Mary's Press) use the 1992 translation. (The ABS edition is especially attractive because it includes the Annie Vallotton illustrations.)

My understanding is that the position of the USCCB is that minor changes to a translation (e.g., RSV-CE -> RSV-2CE; or GNT 1st ed -> 2nd ed) do not require a new imprimatur.

Theophrastus said...

Actually, the St. Mary's Breakthrough Bible also contains the Annie Vallotton illustrations (albeit with a rather clutter graphical design). I was confusing it with the St. Mary's Catholic Children's Bible

hoshie said...


Post-1992 Catholic editions of the GNB have gender-inclusive language. The 1979 Good News Bible uses "man" and "him" in Psalm 8:4. The current 1992 GNB uses "them", "mortals", and "Human beings". If you wish to get a feel for the version, YouVersion has the 1992 Catholic edition. Look under "GNTD". In looking at the text you will note the books aren't in the standard Catholic order. The Protestant canon is first. The Deuterocanonicals then follow in their own section with 1/2 Esdras & the Prayer of Manasseh being listed under "some other books". The American Bible Society has a version of the 1992 GNB with the books in Catholic order. Look for ISBN 9781585166794.

God Bless!

Theo said...

Thank you Theophrastus and Hoshie, I'm very much obliged!

God Bless.

Theo said...


Just bought a 1979 leather copy in excellent condition for less than three dollars!

Annie said...

I've been looking for this Bible on-line for about 6 months, I finally found a 1976 copy on Amazon! In 2001, a U.S. Marine gave me a copy of this Bible. It was my first English bible. I fell in love with it, for the first time the Bible came alive to me! I read it non-stop, highlighted so many parts of it. About 6 months ago, I was at church and I left my bible on the pew, when I came back it was gone. I asked and searched but never found it. I was heart broken but then I thought, "Hmm maybe someone took it. I'm sure it will be a blessing to their life." Oh, I agree the illustrations are really helpful, they're not too big but really help the text. Thank you for this blog, I enjoy reading it.
God Bless,

Alejandro Sanchez said...

I know this post was written many many moons ago, but yesterday I was fortunate to come across this bible at a used bookstore. It was extremely inexpensive, and it came with the deuterocanonicals, so I bought it. Naturally I was curious to see if any one here had written about it.

I'm in complete agreement with Joshua's post. The text is very easy to understand and sheds light on some more difficult passages. This would be an excellent translation for younger people or just to have as another reference.

The pictures, as Joshua pointed out, are very simple yet there's something about them that draws on my imagination. I really like them and they are all over this bible!

I've got the 1979 edition so there's no inclusive language but I don't think I'd mind since this will not be my go-to bible.

There's also a short Word List or dictionary in the back, along with some 'New Testament Passages Quoted Or Paraphrased From The Septuagint'. This is something I've never seen written in a bible before that was not a study bible. It also comes with a Chronology of the bible, a few black and white maps and a subject index.

One of the best parts about buying used bibles and theology books are the inscriptions, notes or names written on the inside. This bible was given to a new graduate, (of what? i don't know) by a Priest from a small parish in a small town in West Texas. I always keep bookmarks were I find them (and used Catholic bibles are littered with bookmarks like prayer cards etc). I think I do it out of respect for the previous owner...

Just thought I'd share my thoughts and opinions in case anyone else might be considering buying a copy for themselves.