Bible Review: MEV (Modern English Version)

Bible translation remains a popular topic. Everyone wants to know which Bible translation is best.

Because Bible translation yields high profit for companies, new or updated entries continue to enter the market: ESV, NRSV, HCSB, NIV, and so on.

Welcome the newest entry: the MEV, or Modern English Version.

I use 3 steps to review Bible translations, because personal preference is not a valid way to pick a Bible — we must use consistent and systematic methods.

The MEV’s claim to fame being instead of the horribly corrupt Westcott-Hort text (also known as UBS or Nestle-Aland), it uses the superior text behind the King James: Textus-Receptus (or the received text), also known as the Majority text.

Sadly, I’ve made multiple requests for review copies and more information, but they have failed to respond in any way (even a refusal), so I can’t follow the normal three-step review process, I’m relying on their review page.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. (MEV)

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (NKJV)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (ESV)

Powerful in the NKJV is Strong’s 1756 having the flavor of energy, so powerful provides a reasonable translation.

Both the ESV and MEV miss by translating “active” instead. While not horrible, I can’t help but wonder if newer translations change words just to be different. After all, it’s a new translation, so it can’t read like older ones — even if they’re more accurate.

Philippians 4:12–13

I know both how to face humble circumstances and how to have abundance. Everywhere and in all things I have learned the secret, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me. (MEV)

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

These verses show the MEV taking NKJV words and changing them to those more commonly heard (abased -> humble, etc). No tragic mistake here, except for translating “because” instead of “through,” which Strong’s notes is a preposition.

Changing the translation not only weakens the text, it changes the grammar — “because” is a conjunction, not a preposition.

I had an English teacher a long time ago explain prepositions as having a relationship with a box — you can be near, to, above, below, at, through, or many other things spatially relating to a box.

You can’t be “because” a box — it’s not a preposition.

Leaving grammar aside, a large difference exists between doing something because of Christ, and through Christ. The first implies you can perform it on your own power, while the second does not.

Knowing what you know about your relationship with God and your ability and His, which do you think makes sense? You don’t need to be a Greek or textual scholar to choose.

Why they changed this is mysterious.

Can the MEV Replace the KJV, NKJV, ESV, Or NIV?

The MEV appears as a cross between the KJV textual foundation and the ESV style. If you like so-called modern translations style and vocabulary, but don’t like corrupt Westcott-Hort texts, it appears you’ll like the MEV.

If you’re used to the KJV, you won’t find anything to move you away from the venerated and still undisputed champ — King James and New King James.

I’ll hold off final review until (or if) they decide to provide the information I’ve requested from them.