Language For The Common People

by Dr. Stanley L. Morris

In creating the International English™ Bible, it was very important to maintain good writing standards. However, simultaneously, our new translation needed to communicate effectively to a general audience in everyday language (being careful not to stoop to the use of slang). The IEB would need to feel comfortable to most people but not be too colloquial in its style. We desired to employ a popular vernacular that would reach several levels of society, whether the reader was a college professor or a high school drop-out. We had to avoid two principal extremes:

1. “Comic Strip” language, and

2. Highly technical language.

Using the first type of writing would mark our Bible as unworthy of serious consideration. An example of this would be Letters to Street Christians,1 a so-called “translation” in coarse language targeted at a lower level of “hip” college students. It was once regarded as trendy during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Employing the second type of language might only please a few erudite individuals who could actually comprehend it. The Concordant Literal Translation 2 is an example of this kind of “translation”.

1 Authored by Jack Sparks and Paul Raudenbush (“two brothers from Berkeley”), published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1971.

2 Edited by Ernst Knoch, published by The Concordant Publishing Company, revised in 1976.