The NRSV Bible, a favorite of mainline and progressive Christians as well as English-language seminarians and Bible scholars, has received a much-anticipated update. As Baptist Global New reports, the update — dubbed NRSVue for ‘Updated Edition’ — considers sensitive translation matters related to gender and sexuality, as well as updates to Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) texts, taking into account the archeological revolution of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Here’s how the NRSVue renders Exodus 24:1-11, one of my favorite, strange Biblical stories — adjacent to Elohim giving Moses the Decalogue (‘Ten Commandments’) on Mount Sinai:
The Blood of the Covenant
Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”
Moses went and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances, and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the Israelites, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “Here is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
On the Mountain with God
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. God did not lay his hand on the chief men of the Israelites; they beheld God, and they ate and drank.
Now that would be a meal to remember!
There’s a cool new edition of this translation update, the NRSVue Holy Bible with Apocrypha by Zondervan. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection; if you’re reading this, there might still be limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.
This edition of the NRSVue Holy Bible with Apocrypha, Personal Size invites you to explore the depth and beauty of Scripture. It’s durable design makes it an ideal Bible to carry around with you. Skillfully crafted for the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition (NRSVue) text, Zondervan’s exclusive Comfort Print® typeface provides a smooth reading experience that complements the foremost Bible translation vetted by Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Jewish scholars. Continuing the legacy of the NRSV, the NRSVue aims to faithfully serve the church in personal spiritual formation, in the liturgy, and in the academy. With revisions based on new textual evidence, historical insights, and linguistic precision, this updated edition delivers a translation of Scripture based on meticulous care for accuracy and readability.
The Apocrypha is placed between Old and New Testaments, a nearly four-hundred-year-old tradition originating with the 1534 German Luther Bible. This practice separates the Apocrypha from the 66-book canon while allowing readers to benefit from its spiritual wisdom, exemplary piety, and historical insight.
- The text of the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition, vetted by an ecumenical group of Christian scholars
- Apocrypha placed between Old and New Testaments
- Elegant two-color page design in a double-column format
- Presentation page
- Two satin ribbon markers
- Exquisite and durable Leathersoft cover
- Smyth-sewn binding lies flat when open
- Exclusive Zondervan NRSVue Comfort Print typeface
- Print Size: 8.5-point
Praise for the NRSV
“I view the NRSV translation to be the finest English Bible we have today. Its scholarship is impeccable. The English is accurate, approachable, and readable. It is excellent for both public and private use. I recommend it highly.”
— Richard J. Foster, author Celebration of Discipline
“A good translation of the Bible is one that doesn’t sound like something printed in double columns on India paper but like this morning’s edition of the New York Times. Surprisingly often that is how the NRSV sounds to me.”
— Frederick Buechner, author of Secrets in the Dark
“The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is my first choice, both for my college classes and for my own study and devotion. The careful scholarship of the translation, the generosity of the pronouns, and the invaluable textual notations make this translation my most trusted friend in preaching, teaching, worship and prayer.”
—Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Leaving Church
“Ever since it was first published, I have recommended it to students as the most reliable English translation for study purposes, and as the best for public reading in church.”
— Marcus Borg, author of The Heart of Christianity
“The best contemporary translation of the Bible, beautifully presented, superbly footnoted, and an obvious must for every Catholic household.”
— James Martin, S. J., author of My Life with the Saints
“I’m glad to have a variety of translations available for Bible reading—but when I want to do serious Bible study, I always consult the NRSV. It avoids the theological prejudice I sense in some translations, drawing from a broadly ecumenical group of top-notch scholars.”
— Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian
“The NRSV is indispensable for serious study of the Bible. Over and over again, it powerfully illuminates the more difficult passages in the beautiful King James and the Douay-Rheims Versions. A joy to read.”
— Anne Rice, author of Christ the Lord
“When I need a citation from the New Testament that will be readable and reliable, I always turn to the NRSV.”
— Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“The Bible I use on the ‘stump’ is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). It’s literally my favorite translation, both for study and for preaching. I am a Bible thumper and the Bible I thump is the NRSV.”
— Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong, and the Left Doesn’t Get It
“The NRSV is invaluable to me in both my private study and my professional work because, more than any other English translation, it allows me to capture the ancient nuances of scripture in the rhythms and context of present time.”
— Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours
“The best, simply the best.”
— John Dominic Crossan, author of The Historical Jesus
“My very first Bible that I received as a child was the RSV. Now, the NRSV is the Bible that I use every day for study and devotional reading. The NRSV is completely trustworthy in all its translation. It is not only exactingly correct but also beautifully stated. Here is God’s word made fresh and accessible for our age.”
— William H. Willimon, Bishop, the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church and Visiting Professor, Duke Divinity School
“A wider circulation of this very helpful translation can only serve to improve our Biblical literacy. This is an enterprise worthy of support.”
— Peter J. Gomes, author of The Good Book
“The NRSV is my favorite translation of the Bible—it is sensitive in theory, reliable in translation, and practicable for the Church.”
— Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University
Praise for NRSVue Holy Bible with Apocrypha
“I like the easy-to-read print and the sensible choice of words that provide fidelity to the original and idiomatic expression in English. I ordered the personal size and am very happy with it. It will remain my go-to bible for a long time, I’m sure.”
“Beautiful layout with gilded pages and two ribbons. The Leathersoft is quite supple and lays flat as promised. Easy to read type and the Apocrypha has 16 parts. The maps at the back are full color and on slightly thicker paper. Overall a good purchase.”
Mike, I’ve been thinking about this in terms of the Volcano theory of Israel’s Mt. Sinai experience. Certainly “Elohim” often refers to God’s representatives in physical form (angels) and when “God” speaks it’s often an angel. More than that, God’s memorial name Yahweh is commonly applied to his angelic representatives. I just read Judges 6 where Gideon interacted with an entity that was indestinguishable from a man but who is named Yahweh.
As for the pavement of Sapphire…putting on my rational hat, I thought – what if that pavement was a lava flow? That didn’t make much sense as lava is red, but in some cases (Api Beru) it is blue, but only when seen at night, due to the burning of sulphur. It really is as blue as the sky itself!
This is, of course, impossible to support with any evidence as we don’t even know where the real Mt. Sinai is, but it’s a fun thought experiment!