Contemporary English Version - History
Published by the American Bible Society, the Contemporary English Version has the goal of uncompromising simplicity. Also known as the Bible for Today’s Family, the CEV is written at a fourth grade reading level, making it appropriate for children and adults with limited English skills. In 1991, the 175th anniversary of the American Bible Society, the CEV New Testament was released. The CEV Old Testament was released in 1995. In 1999, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books were published. An Anglicized version was produced by the British and Foreign Bible Society, which includes metric measurements for the Commonwealth market.
Contemporary English Version - Translation Method
The Contemporary English Version translators used the dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought as opposed to word-for-word) translation method. The CEV uses gender-sensitive language for humanity but not for the Godhead. The translators also attempted to simplify certain archaic-sounding words into more modern parlance. For example, Exodus 20:14 renders “Do not commit adultery” to “Be faithful in marriage.” The Contemporary English Version is not, as some have assumed, a revision of the Good News Bible, which is also published by the American Bible Society. Rather, it is a fresh translation with a lower reading level, making it more accessible to more people around the world.
Contemporary English Version - Pros and Cons
The Contemporary English Version is easy-to-read and easy-to-understand. It is written in quality and contemporary English. However, when it goes more toward dynamic equivalence and less toward formal equivalence, the CEV sometimes goes astray, interpreting rather than translating. Some view the Contemporary English Version as more of a paraphrase than a translation, but that is likely inaccurate, as the CEV is far more literal to the text than the true paraphrases, the Living Bible and the Message.
Contemporary English Version - Sample verses
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.”
John 3:16 – “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.”
John 8:58 – “Jesus answered, "I tell you for certain that even before Abraham was, I was, and I am."
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.”
Titus 2:13 – “We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”