LDS Church publishes new Spanish-language Bible

Translation praised for adding clarity and depth

Published: Monday, Sept. 14 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Work began a half-decade ago comparing King James and 1909 Reina-Valera passages, then updating terminology, then drafting a complete Genesis. By the time the new Spanish edition was complete, each updated verse had been compared with the King James Version and four other Spanish versions as well as the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

Word definitions and usages change over time, so the language of the 1909 Reina-Valera edition needed some tweaking. In some cases, archaic words had different, even offensive, meanings in a modern context.

Other changes provided greater depth. An example Resek cites — "caridad" being used for charity and Christ's love rather than the 1960 edition's "amor," a more general word for love.

"It was very beautiful," Resek said. "We were working on something very sacred and special."

To work with the 1909 Reina-Valera edition was especially meaningful for Resek. "My father was baptized before 1960, so we were always taught from that 1909 version," he said.

Resek asked his father if he could have that 1909 edition just prior to his father passing away two months ago. He now possesses a pair of treasured Bibles — the small, aging one that served as the family bible in Argentina for many decades and a new edition to bless Latin Latter-day Saints worldwide for generations to come.

"Inspirado" — Inspired

Omar Canals, an international producer in the Audio/Visual Department, served as one of five narrators for the church's first-ever Spanish recordings of the Bible, now available on CDs or as downloadable MP3 Internet files.

"For us who participated in this project, it was very close to our hearts," said the Uruguayan native who was joined by vocal talent from Honduras, Colombia and Argentina.

The five were charged to couple their readings with an appropriate blend of tone, inflection and emotion.

"I feel our function as narrators was not to inform, but to inspire, just as we were inspired," said Canals, who also used "inspired" to describe church leaders for pursuing and producing the new Bible.

Canals, whose work included Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah and Revelation, recalled an instance when he was reading in the New Testament's Four Gospels. He narrated scenes of the Savior healing, while being personally conscious of his own daughter's battle with bone cancer.

"I had to stop because it had touched me in a way like it had never done before — I stopped to apologize, and then realized everyone else (in the studio) was crying, too."

Canals offered to re-record what he feared was an emotion-choked reading. "Don't touch it," the others pled.

"It gave an added element of feeling that by just narrating you wouldn't get," said Canals, adding "my approach to the scriptures will never be the same — they came to life."

"Unificar y facilitar" — To unify and facilitate

When traveling throughout Latin America as first counselor in the church's Relief Society general presidency, Sister Silvia H. Allred encounters a common challenge when asking someone in a group to read aloud from the Bible.

"Somebody says, 'No, that's not what it says,' because everybody has a different Bible," said Sister Allred, noting Latin LDS converts often bring Bibles from their previous faiths. "I think this is so great to have a unified Bible."

She is among church leaders featured in a 30-minute video on the new Bible to be broadcast next month on the church's satellite system between General Conference sessions. The video also will be available online then.

Sister Allred said the new Bible will help facilitate comprehension, provide teachers and leaders with additional resources and give all members a new incentive.

"I think it will bring focus again to the importance of studying the Bible as a part of the restored gospel," said Sister Allred, who had never seen a Bible until joining the church as a teenager in El Salvador.

She has long since had her own Bible — including her advance copy of the new LDS edition this summer. "I could hardly wait to get home and start studying — I stayed up until two in the morning," she said.

"I had tears in my eyes because I had been waiting for it for so long."

e-mail: taylor@desnews.com

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