I feel the New Testament Recovery Version is a good one.
Let me give some examples.
It seems that this translation is one of the few Fundamentalist works (or only) that seems to see Galatians 2:12 as having "certain men" actually reflecting the views of James.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Other Study Bibles and fundi commentaries say these are folks who don't represent James.
But the NTRV is different.
Here are the notes from 2:12 and it is honest on multiple levels.
“i.e. from the church in Jerusalem. This is another indication that at that time James, not Peter, was the first among the apostles in Jerusalem.”
“This was contrary to the customary practice of the Jews in their keeping of the observances of the law.”
“This proves that at that time Peter was very weak in the pure Christian faith. In Acts 10 he had received an exceedingly clear vision from the heavens concerning fellowship with the gentiles, and he took the lead to practice it. What weakness and backsliding to shrink from eating with gentile believers out of fear of those of the circumcision! It is no wonder that he lost the leadership among the apostles.”
More on the issue of these views representing James later. (it will become clear later)
This translation seems to see the issue in Galatians not as an issue of which meats (if any) one can eat, but an issue of simply eating with gentiles period.
The Acts 10 commentary is actually pretty accurate (based on the notes I took years ago).
This was where uncircumcised gentiles were allowed to become Christians without circumcision.
Before an Italian could become a Christian, Peter saw a vision of all sorts of unclean animals, and the Acts text had God telling Peter to slaughter the animals and eat. It meant that gentiles (uncircumcised) were not foreigners and could partake of the Passover meal(which Jesus was seen as a replacement for) which Exodus 12 said was not allowed. Early Christians described themselves as a living sacrifice.
It had nothing to do with eating meat.
But fundamentalists say it does.
Here are some notes from the New Testament Recovery Version.
Only note 14 gets things wrong, but the rest is accurate.
Then animals were symbolic of men (gentiles were commonly called pigs and dogs)
11 The vessel that was like a great sheet symbolizes the gospel spreading to the four corners of the inhabited earth to collect all kinds of unclean (sinful) people (Luke 13:29).
12 Symbolizing men of all kinds (v.v. 15, 28, and notes).
13 In this sign, to eat is to associate with people (v 28).
14 As taught in Lev. 11. Circumcision, Sabbath kepping, and a particular diet are the three strongest ordinances according to the law of Moses that made the Jews distinct and separate from the gentiles, whom the Jews considered unclean. All these scriptural ordinances of the Old Testament dispensation became an obstacle to the spreading of the gospel to the Gentiles according to God’s New Testament dispensation (15:1; Col. 2:16).
15 Referring to people whom God has cleansed through the redeeming blood of Christ (Rev 1:5) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Acts 15:9).
28 This indicates that eventually Peter understood the significance of the vision he had seen in the trance (vv. 11, 17, 19), that is, that the animals in the great sheet represented men.
This is rare but accurate!
Now to the issue of James.
Most fundamentalists ignore the fact that James requires (at a minimum) that the old dietary restrictions be observed by both Jewish Christians and gentiles. So they twist the meaning of Acts 15.
Not the New Testament Recovery Version!
See note to Acts 15:21
21 This indicates that the concluding word given by James was still under the influence of the Mosaic law because of James’s heavy Judaic background (see notes 26 in James 1 and 10 in James 2). The influence of this background remained, even at the time Paul paid his last visit to Jerusalem (21:20-26).
Here are NTRV notes in the Epistle of James
10 The word in vv. 8-11 indicates that the Jewish believers at James’s time were still practicing the keeping of the Old Testament law. This corresponds with the word in Acts 21:20 spoken to Paul by James and the elders in Jerusalem. James, the elders in Jerusalem, and many thousands of Jewish believers were still in a mixture of the Christian faith and the Mosaic law. They even advised Paul to practice a semi-Judaic mixture (Acts 21:17-26). They were unaware that the dispensation of law was altogether over…
12 Based on vv. 8-11, which refer to the keeping of the law of letters, the law of freedom here and in 1:25 refers to the same law, the law of Moses. According to the context the royal law (v. 8), the Mosaic law, and the law of freedom are the same law. Thus, James taught the Jewish believers to keep the law of the Old Testament (4:11; cf. Acts 15:21; 21:20-25).
Note that "They were unaware" refers to James in note 10.
Based on the written words of the Bibles we have today, there is a consistency in James' actions and words.
I don't deny that the authors of this Study Bible have a theology just as screwed up as other Christians (today), because James actually was right on. Jewish Christians had to follow the law to the extent that the current Biblical text demands. There is no contradiction between James and the Biblical text in Acts.
Gentile Christians had to follow certain laws too (though there was perhaps a semantic debate over whether it actually counted as the "Old Law" or some "newer" Christian moral commandment which allowed one to say "Gentiles don't follow the law anymore")
Gentiles Christians had to follow even stricter food rules than the written law (Torah) as there are even more restrictive Oral Law restrictions in the Apostolic Council.
This work at least speaks accurately concerning James' strong demand for Jewish Christians to follow the law. The problem is the New Testament Recovery Version fails completely to describe the fact that Jewish Christianity was LARGE in the first century and that it was supposed to go on forever, and not get killed off. Plus gentiles were very much supposed to join the Jewish Christian movement even though there was compromise on it came to the more Pauline Christian denominations.
But I still appreciate the accurate scriptural readings (as represented in the notes) that can come when one tries to see past the prejudices of our day.
The fact is simply this: dietary restrictions are too much for modern European Christians (and the whole world follows European Christian denominations) to handle. This fact will always prevent a truly honest reading of scripture, so this Study Bible will stop short of interpreting any scripture - even text with VERY CLEAR demands leading to any sort of self control among the faithful - in a way that bans eating of meat among today's (especially today's) Christians.
But there was a way this Study Bible could allow for more straightforward & accurate readings if it was able to make these honest readings without having to demand change in moral behavior of its readers. There was an ability to be more scripturally honest without having to make demands among personal conduct among the faithful.
The cost of a more accurate reading was to admit that Jesus' brother James disagreed with what they claimed (falsely) were the teachings of Jesus.
That is not something that fundamentalists will do (until now it seems?)
It also forced this commentary to take something of a "Satanic Verses" interpretation of Acts 15 and James 2. Simply declare it outdated scripture that was a bad compromise (like The Prophet of Islam did with a few of his pre-Koranic writings).
Most (like 99.9%) fundamentalists won't like that.
quote: 1) You have a style of asking and answering your own questions all in one post. This basically overwhelms any response. Others may disagree with my assessment.
People can respond to any part they want. It doesn't have to be everything I said.
People can give their own reasons for whatever part they feel like discussing.
quote: 2) Why must a simple question and statement become so convoluted and lengthy?
There is a requirement to explain views that are considered taboo and/or unheard of.
quote: 3) Finally...what do we define as honest?
I just noticed I screwed up a paragraph.
Here is the correction (messed up paragraph remains)
quote: The fact is simply this: dietary restrictions are too much for modern European Christians (and the whole world follows European Christian denominations) to handle. This fact will always prevent a truly honest reading of scripture, so this Study Bible will stop short of interpreting any scripture - even text with VERY CLEAR demands - in a way leading to any sort of self control among the faithful, specifically in a way that bans eating of meat among today's (especially today's) Christians.
I have the advantage of knowing the views of the earliest (Jewish and Gentile) Christian communities available outside the Biblical record (I am sorry to say that it is not until the 2nd century that we have anything, and maybe not even till a fair while after the 2nd Christian century started), so that might bias my reading of the first century documents.
The first century documents are the Bible books and the Bible books alone.
People will read the views of the 2nd century (or later) churches and Christian groups they find to represent the 1st century (Biblical) documents INTO THE FIRST CENTURY DOCUMENTS (The Bible).
The question is then, "Just how much of what somebody finds, among 2nd-4th century Christian schools & doctrines & churches, to be consistent with 1st century documents (The Bible), it based on circular reasoning?".
I might feel that certain numbers of critically-important 2nd century movements, having consistent commonalities of doctrine, will - in their cumulative weight - support a likely starting point in the first century (meaning they will perhaps be the views of certain prominent Christian leaders in 50 AD), BUT I must make an HONEST look at just what the Biblical text says.
I can't just read over parts I disagree with.
I have to look and see what is actually said.
Everybody will gloss over certain things, but is any glossing over difficult and inconvenient testimony permissible?
I am sorry to say that there SEEMS TO BE a handful of ENTIRE CHAPTERS that today's Christians would literally prefer to deface and erase if they ever did have to face a genuine reckoning with the text (which they don't in today's world we all live in and the situation will probably never change) and I mean there aren't enough people (like me) who bring up the inconvenient and nasty questions.