The Clear Word

The Clear Word
The Clear Word
Full name: The Clear Word
Language: English
Complete Bible published: 1994
Author(s): Jack Blanco
Translation type: 100% paraphrase rate, Contemporary
Reading level:  ?
Version revised: 1996
Publisher: Review and Herald Publishing Association
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The Clear Word, originally published in March 1994 as the Clear Word Bible, is an English-language "devotional paraphrase of the Bible expanded for clarity".[1] It is an interpretive text of the Bible written as a personal devotional exercise by Jack Blanco, former dean of the School of Religion at Southern Adventist University, to be an additional study tool and devotional alongside the Bible. It is printed in chapter-and-verse format, two columns to a page.

The paraphrase was initially published by the Southern College Press of Southern Adventist University. Although The Clear Word is not officially endorsed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it is now being published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Church, and is sold in Church-owned Adventist Book Centers.


History and reception

Blanco originally wrote The Clear Word as a devotional exercise for himself. After friends and family saw what he did, they encouraged him to publish it. The New Testament was first published and readers widely received and encouraged him to do the whole Bible.

It has been reported that The Clear Word has gained a wider use within some Adventist circles since its New Testament-only printing. It was endorsed by a former President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Robert S. Folkenberg. It was also advertised on more than one occasion in the flagship Adventist magazine, Adventist Review.[2]

Blanco states in the preface of the book, "Those who are better qualified have given readers of the Holy Scriptures excellent translations for such purposes and undoubtedly will continue to do so as additional manuscripts come to light."

Controversy and criticism

David Newman, editor of Ministry magazine wrote a letter expressing concerns about The Clear Word (June 28, 1994), stating that "A cursory examination of the Clear Word Bible reveals the prolific addition of many ideas not found in Scripture."[3]

In response to criticism, the South Pacific Division of the church released the following statement:

The Clear Word Bible is not produced, nor endorsed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but is the private enterprise of an individual. The Adventist Church does not use the Clear Word edition, which includes passages from Ellen G. White’s writings, for its worship services and Bible studies around the world, but quotes from well known and well accepted Bible translations in the various languages. In the English language for example, the church uses the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New American Bible, the New International Version, and others

Australasian Conference Association Limited[4]

Others within the church, such as Phil Ward, have expressed criticism in two areas. One that the current publisher does not have a large enough footprint to get The Clear Word out to mainstream Christian book centers, and that the paraphrase has too much extra material in it.[5]

Blanco however indicates just that in the preface that this was done.

Chapters 11 and 12 of Daniel were a challenge. Here more interpretative freedom in the light of historical studies and related prophecies (such as found in Revelation) had to be exercised in order to make the chapters more readable and understandable. In the New Testament, I attempted to harmonize in the four gospels what at first appears to be contradictory. The more difficult passages were made clearer by allowing each gospel to inform the other three and elaborating on certain points or scenes revealed in the other gospels. Certain passages from the book of Acts, a historical narrative, were slightly expanded with insights gleaned from commentaries. The epistles of Paul were the most difficult to paraphrase.[6]

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