SENT has many unique features, all of which are designed to make this the most
accurate and the most engaging and readable translation most people have ever
encountered. For example:
SENT is the first published English translation of the NT that is consistently
presented in a spoken, not a written or literary style. SENT is especially intended
for reading aloud—whether in church, or in one’s own private reading.
SENT aims to maintain two translation values that are usually regarded as
impossible to achieve at the same time: 1. to give the reader the closest possible rendering of the scriptural text, and 2. to render the text into English in a way
that is natural and easily understandable to contemporary hearers and readers.
In order to give reader the closest possible feel for the Greek text that it
translates, SENT prints in lighter type (like this) words that do not correspond
to any Greek word(s) in the original, but are supplied in English for sense or style.
For example, consider Mt. 19:3:
Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, and began testing him. They said, “Is it
allowed for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he chooses?”
The word “Some” in the first sentence is not translating the Greek word for
“some,” but has been supplied for style. The sentence means the pretty much
the same thing whether or not the word “Some” is added, but it doesn’t sound
quite right in English without it. So the word “Some” is added, and is printed in
lighter type. In the second sentence of Mt. 19:3 above, the words “he chooses”
are supplied for sense, not for style. They’re added because without them the
sentence can be misunderstood to be asking, “Is there any valid reason that a
man can give for divorcing his wife?” The words “he chooses” are printed in
lighter type to let the reader know that the Greek text of Matthew does not
contain any words that correspond to “he chooses.” To take another example,
have a look at Rom. 12:6-8:
And we all have gifts, according to God’s grace, which is given out in a different
way to each person. If it’s prophecy, the grace comes out in proportion to their
faith. If it’s service, it comes out in their service. If someone is a teacher, it comes
out in their teaching. If someone is gifted with encouraging people, it comes out
in their encouragement. The giver gives wholeheartedly, the leader leads
enthusiastically, the person who serves the needy does it joyfully.
This example demonstrates how SENT makes the text as easy to understand as
possible on a first reading or hearing. The Apostle Paul’s writing here is tightly
condensed—so condensed, in fact, that English speakers will find it very difficult
to make sense from a word-for-word translation. (To see what a word-for-
word translation might look like, read these verses and skip over the words
printed in lighter type.) Where possible, SENT clarifies the text or makes it
more understandable by adding words in lighter type, rather than by
completely rephrasing. In that way, SENT gives readers a readable English
text while retaining as much information as possible about the shape of the
original Greek text. Those who like to do in-depth study of the Bible in English
will find this feature useful over and over again. SENT supplies numerous
easy-to-understand explanations and (more) “literal” or alternative renderings
in footnotes. For example, here is the pronunciation help for the name
“Nicodemus”: nik-a-deem-us. The example shows that simplified phonetic
spellings are given in italics and divided into syllables, with the accented
(stressed) syllable formatted in bold.
SENT uses gender-inclusive or gender-neutral language in English when the
Greek text makes non-gender-specific references to people. It goes further
and uses the proper name “God” in preference to the pronoun “he” where
possible, in order to respect the sensibilities of people for whom the pronoun
“he” inevitably assumes the maleness of God. Theologically speaking, God is
not male,but rather stands as the image, source, and blueprint for humanity.
That is to say, the inner character of God is the ultimate source of both
maleness and femaleness.
SENT has been field tested. Many portions of the first version have been
read aloud in a series of “focus groups,” in order to test and refine the
naturalness of its spoken English. The groups recruited for participation in
the focus group process were intentionally very diverse from one another.
Some were made up of experienced Christians from various denominational
backgrounds, some were made up mostly of new Christians, and some were
made up mostly of non-Christians. Highly educated people, relatively
uneducated people, people with English as a second language, and people
from various ethnic groups
Although it is not a unique feature, SENT has a characteristic that many
readers will find welcome: highly accessible English. Sentences have been
kept as short as possible, and grammatical structures have been kept simple,
for the sake of maximum readability. Spoken English naturally expresses things
with less complex grammar than literary English, so the values of spoken
English style and accessibility are nicely compatible.