In time for the beginning of the centuries-old tradition of Lent on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22), churches, bloggers, and others can now share the season’s official and coordinated Bible readings in a free PowerPoint® presentation consisting of vivid color photography of nature scenes combined with Scripture verses from the new bestselling Bible translation Common English Bible (http://CommonEnglishBible.com).
The presentation (http://CommonEnglishBible.com/CEB/LentDownloads and http://slideshare.com/CommonEnglishBible) is comprised of nine Bible readings to observe Ash Wednesday, each Sunday of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. It’s flexible enough to display only portions from it or all the slides, and to present them prior to or during church services, embed in blogs and other websites, or email to friends. Verses are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).
“On the church liturgical calendar, Lent is the Christian season of preparation 40 days before Easter,” says Paul Franklin, PhD, associate publisher of the Common English Bible (Twitter @CommonEngBible – http://twitter.com/CommonEngBible). “This presentation beautifully helps church leaders and others guide viewers into scripture verses they can quickly comprehend in 21st century English so they can enjoy a time of personal reflection, prayer, and a change of heart and life.”
An example is from the readings for Ash Wednesday: “Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and celebration again; let the bones you crushed rejoice once more. Hide your face from my sins; wipe away all my guilty deeds! Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!” Psalm 51:7-10 (CEB).
In addition to the PowerPoint presentation, a Lenten blog tour is being planned and a Lenten Bible reading marathon is being coordinated with churches, schools, and civic organizations (to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Along with embedding the presentation, bloggers can also embed a new 60-second video (http://vimeo.com/CommonEnglishBible), showing how the Common English Bible is an uncommon translation that clearly communicates in today’s terms God’s message of love to everyone, no matter what age, gender, station in life, or other personal outlook.
The Common English Bible’s popularity has soared since it was first released last September. It’s a bestseller in Christian retail stores; people are printing its verses in calligraphy when they LIKE the Facebook page http://facebook.com/LiveTheBible; and churches are using it to read through the Bible in a year (e.g. http://www.fourthchurch.org/bibleyear.html).
The Common English Bible text, including the Apocrypha, is available to search for free online at Bible Gateway (http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Common-English-Bible-CEB/), YouVersion.com, and the translation’s website.
The Common English Bible is a collaboration of 120 Bible scholars and editors, 77 reading group leaders, and more than 500 average readers from around the world. The translators – from 24 denominations in American, African, Asian, European, and Latino communities – represent such academic institutions as Asbury Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, Bethel Seminary, Denver Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University, Wheaton College, Yale University, and many others.
The Common English Bible is written in contemporary idiom at the same reading level as the newspaper USA TODAY—using language that’s comfortable and accessible for today’s English readers. More than half-a-million copies of the Bible are already in print, including an edition with the Apocrypha. The Common English Bible is available for purchase online and in 20 digital formats. A Reference Bible edition and a Daily Companion devotional edition are now also available. Additionally, in the coming year, Church/Pew Bibles, Gift and Award Bibles, Large Print Bibles, and Children’s Bible editions will be in stores, joining the existing Thinline Bibles, Compact Thin Bibles, and Pocket-Size Bibles, bringing the total variety of Common English Bible stock-keeping units (SKUs) to more than 40.
Visit CommonEnglishBible.com to see comparison translations, learn about the translators, get free downloads, and more.
The Common English Bible is sponsored by the Common English Bible Committee, an alliance of five publishers that serve the general market, as well as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Chalice Press), Presbyterian Church (USA) (Westminster John Knox Press), Episcopal Church (Church Publishing, Inc.), United Church of Christ (The Pilgrim Press), and The United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press).