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In 1994 the Review and Herald Publishing company, official publishing house of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, brought out the first edition of what was titled The Clear Word Bible by Adventist author Jack J. Blanco. Blanco's goal was to provide a contemporary paraphrased Bible version which would express the ideas of the scriptures in particularly modern vernacular. The Bible quickly became popular in Adventist circles, sold in the denomination's Adventist Bible Center (ABC) bookstores. The Adventist Voice of Prophecy broadcast has used it a number of times on programs to "clarify" points that the speaker wished to make.






A simplified paraphrase of The Clear World Bible, titled The Clear Word for Kids, was published in 2005, aimed at youth ages 9-12.



Although The Clear Word Bible was admitted by those in the denomination to not be a "scholarly" translation, and thus not recommended for in-depth Bible study, it has been definitely touted as a useful Bible version for daily reading and inspiration. Here are a few clips from the endorsements on the dust jacket of the first edition.


   "This paraphrase has captured the essence of the biblical thoughts in fresh, contemporary English. Passages that have almost become cliches through familiarity leap from the page with new life, luster, clarity, and relevance." Richard M. Davidson, chair, Old Testament Department, Theological Seminary, Andrews University. [major SDA university]


   "I use it often. I recommend it from the pulpit to every believer who hungers for a clearer understanding of God's Word." --Wesley M. Hall, pastor.


   "In the past, when youth workers opened up the Bible with young people, we could expect to hear a confused 'Huh?' or 'Whazzat mean?' With The Clear Word Bible, we'll have to get used to hearing, 'Oh, I get it!'" --Randy Fishell, associate editor, Guide magazine.



But almost as quickly as some began to enthusiastically promote it, others both inside and outside the denomination began voicing serious concerns that the author had gone far beyond the conventional approach of translators. He didn't just try to express the Greek and the Hebrew words and phrases in contemporary language. In a number of instances he deliberately inserted, right within the passages, what amounts to "commentary" or "clarification" on the material, ideas and words that do not show up at all in the Hebrew and Greek, and are not forced by the immediate context.


And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine the source of that extra-biblical material. Blanco has clearly merged certain distinctive SDA doctrinal understandings--based on the "revelations" of Ellen G. White--into the text of his "translation."


Reacting to criticism of this unscholarly approach, the Review and Herald tweaked the title of the book for the next printing. It is no longer The Clear Word Bible. Now it is just The Clear Word. It is highly unlikely, though, that this name change is going to make clear to the average reader that this "paraphrase" is really a vehicle of indoctrination into SDA beliefs. One small example:


Job 1:6-7


"In heaven the representatives of other planets in God’s created universe came together regularly to meet with Him. One day Satan also came with them and presented himself for admittance. He came to accuse God of being partial to Job." "God said to Satan, ‘On what basis do you want to attend this meeting?’ The Accuser answered, ‘I represent the planet Earth and have been in charge there for a long time.’"


There is, of course, nothing in the Hebrew originals of this passage that speaks of "representatives of the other planets in God's created universe." This sort of absolutely blatant addition to the Scriptures should cause any serious Bible student extreme discomfort.


The following excerpts are from a review of The Clear Word Bible which was originally posted on the "Jack Mark Ministries website" at www.pastornet.net.au/jmm/abfr/abfr0044.htm


(This and other extended quotations on this website, in addition to being indented to indicate quoted material, may have "(EOQ)" at the end to clearly delineate where the cited author ends (“end of quote”) and the Field Guide commentary resumes.)


   I could be wrong, but there seems to be something seriously sacrilegious about a new Seventh Day Adventist translation of the Bible: 'The Clear Word Bible' by Jack J. Blanco (published 1994, printed and distributed by Review and Herald Publishing Association, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown MD 21740. ISBN 0-8280-0858-2).


   ['Sacrilege' - n., an intentional injury to something sacred].


   Perhaps our SDA friends will say this is an 'unofficial' translation, but note these credentials: Blanco is Chair of the Religion Department of Southern College (an institution of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church) near Chatanooga, Tennessee. The dustjacket includes testimonials from Robert S. Folkenberg, president, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and from Malcolm D. Gordon, president, Southern Union of Seventh-day Adventists.


   Embedded within the text are ideas from books written by Ellen G White (SG3 - Spiritual Gifts, vol 3, 1864. PP - Patriarchs and Prophets, 1913. AA - Acts of the Apostles, 1911).


   A few random examples are cited. Those of you who know anything of the SDAs' favorite themes will note some interesting 'twists' to these Scriptures:


(Genesis 2:25) Adam and the woman, whom he called Eve, wore no clothes in those days, yet they were unashamed because they were clothed with light.


(SG3 34) This sinless pair wore no artificial garments. They were clothed with a covering of light, such as angels wear.



… (Genesis 3:2) Eve was startled but instead of fleeing to Adam's side... (SG 40) Eve's curiosity was aroused. Instead of fleeing from the spot, she listened to hear a serpent talk. That strange voice should have driven her to her husband's side...


(PP 54) Eve was surprised and startled... Instead of fleeing from the spot...



… (Genesis 6:4) In those days people were giants, twice as large as people today.


(SG3) Those who lived before the flood, come forth with their giant-like stature, more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth.




(Genesis 6:7) ...I will have to destroy the very creatures I made - people, animals and birds, including the large creatures which have come about by crossbreeding. I cannot let...


(SG3 64) But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere.


(SG3 75) Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men. (EOQ)



More details on this Bible "paraphrase" can be seen on the Adventist sdanet.org website.





Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website

is © 2001-2011 by Pam Dewey.


Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.


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The Clear Word Bible:

Useful translation or

Seventh-day Adventist denominational fudge?