My Encounter with the Bible

I don’t remember what prompted me, but I had an impulse to look up the source of the phrase “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.” I soon learned that the phrase comes from a verse in The Gospel According to Saint Luke; I also learned how many Bibles there are — dozens, though I did’t count them. The most famous one may be the King James Bible, which is distinguished by the beauty of its prose. It renders the phrase that had come to my mind: “on earth peace, good will toward men.” If the authors had been as gender-sensitive as we are now, the phrase would probably have been rendered: “on earth peace, good will toward all.”

Next I looked at the New American Standard Bible, which sounds as if it’s more commonly used these days. It renders the phrase: “on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.” I noticed that a lot of other Bibles follow this line. It’s not beautiful prose, and it suggests that God doesn’t favor a lot of people and doesn’t care whether they have peace or not. I don’t like it. It’s not a sentiment that induces peace on earth, good will toward all.