The Miraculous Story of a Bible Translation

(Sean Roberts)

Not every company combines business and ministry like we do at Charisma Media. I'm blessed to work at a place where our mission statement—"Inspiring people to radically change their world"—is fleshed out as we impact lives and advance God's kingdom through everyday decisions we make as a media company. Yet sometimes those seemingly small decisions take on a life of their own as the Holy Spirit blesses our work and breathes His life into it.

Such was the case with our involvement with the Modern English Version (MEV).

As you've read in the pages of this issue, Passio, one of Charisma Media's book imprints, is publishing the MEV, the most modern translation of the King James Version in more than 30 years. This is a significant event for the church in a unique time, as this translation has been carried forward into the present era with the goal of helping people understand Scripture in a fresh, new way.

But while this special issue of Charisma magazine answers many of the questions dealing with why a new Bible translation is so critical at this time in our culture and how Bible translations come to be, I want to share with you the equally inspiring story of how we became the publishers of the MEV.

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Miracle in the Making

The process of a new Bible translation generally commences when a publisher commissions the work. In the case of the MEV, the Lord had something else planned, something supernatural.

A few years ago I was involved in selling and promoting the military edition of Peggy Ruth Joyce's best-selling Psalm 91, a book project that required us to venture into new markets. During that time, Joyce introduced me to the chief editor of the MEV, Dr. James Linzey.

A retired U.S. Army National Guard chaplain and graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Linzey had worked with several fellow military chaplains who expressed a similar desire for a Bible translation that was more accessible to military personnel on the frontlines. Simply put, they wanted something that could be understood more easily than the King James Version, something written in the language of today that wasn't loaded with translation mistakes and theological or cultural biases.

Out of this desire, Linzey began leading a group of 47 of the foremost scholars from across the church spectrum in 2005. Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Lutheran, nondenominational, Assemblies of God, Church of God, Foursquare and others would unite to become one in this effort. The scholars represented schools such as Yale, Harvard, Gordon-Conwell, Regent, ORU, Westminster, Southwestern Baptist, Midwestern Baptist, Fuller and others. With ecumenical unity they worked until June 2013 to complete what many are calling a translation perfectly fit for today.

When I was introduced to Linzey, he had yet to find someone to publish the new translation. "This is too good to be true," we immediately thought upon hearing this. We consulted with some of the church's leading scholars and pastors to evaluate the work, and the overwhelming conclusion was that we had a real treasure in our hands.

The decision was made: If Linzey had the vision and leadership to develop this translation, we knew we could use our God-given platform and distribution access to impact the world.

Divine Blessing, Divine Purpose

What I didn't realize at the time was that Joyce was holding on to a promise from the Lord. She believed that whoever published her book would also receive a special gift from Him. We made a publishing decision to publish her book because we believed that, regardless of sales, it was God's plan for us and that the book would impact somebody's life.

In addition, Joyce had multiple confirmations and had exhorted executives in our company to "assign just one person to work on this book, because the Lord was going to do something."

I was that person. The "something" was the Modern English Version.

We know it is God's mandate on Charisma Media to be the publishers of the MEV. We're humbled and honored to publish the holy, inspired Word of God.

When I first met Dr. Linzey, I thought the purpose was to network and do my job of selling a particular book. God had other plans. We have learned what Psalm 118:23 says: "This is what the Lord has done; it is marvelous in our eyes" (MEV).

We are not publishing the MEV to become a bigger publisher. We are publishing it because we believe we are called to this. Our job is to steward what He gave us. We hope you will join us in this mandate and that you will spread the news of the MEV. We are eager to see how God will use this translation to impact lives, and we want you to be a part of this as the Lord continues to spread His divine Word.

Jason McMullen is publishing director of the MEV and the director of ministry services for Charisma Media.

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