Frequently Asked Questions

The Anabaptist Community Bible is in English. Bible study groups were welcome to submit their Bible study notes in Spanish, French or Bahasa Indonesian.

Why the Common English Bible translation?

The Bible has sustained Anabaptist faith for 500 years and continues to convict, encourage, and transform us as Anabaptists. The Anabaptist Community Bible contains the full text of the Bible using the Common English Bible (CEB) translation and is paired with more than 7,200 marginal notes featuring commentary from Anabaptist scholars, historical notes from the tradition, and the insights of nearly 600 Bible study groups.

The following considerations went into selecting the Common English Bible translation for this initiative:

  • The CEB is a scholarly translation based on the work of over 120 scholars from 24 faith traditions in American, African, Asian, European, and Latino communities. Since its appearance in 2011, it has been widely praised for its accuracy and clarity.

  • The CEB is written in clear, simple language, making it easy to understand and to read in public. A key goal of the CEB translation project was to make the Bible accessible to a broad range of people, including those for whom English is not their first lan­guage. According to the publisher, the transla­tors’ goal was to produce a rendering of the Bible at a seventh-grade level—roughly the same reading level as the USA Today newspaper—while preserving the accuracy and poetry of the original texts.

  • The CEB’s identity as a “people’s Bible” is fully consistent with the qualities one might expect in an Anabaptist Bible. Central to the vision of the Anabaptist movement in the 16th century was a conviction that the Bible was intended to be read, interpreted, and engaged by ordinary people in the vernacular language of the day. The Froschauer trans­lation, for example, was especially appreciated by the Swiss Brethren because it retained a Swiss form of German that was missing from Martin Luther’s more famous translation. Early Anabaptists also believed that the meaning of Scripture was not hidden or mysterious; and they rejected the idea that the Bible should be accessible only to trained scholars. Since many of the annota­tions in the Anabaptist Community Bible are contributed by laypeople, we think that a translation intended for broad readability is consistent with the type of Bible we are producing.
  • The CEB is more accessible to young people. We know that there are lots of reasons why fewer young people are attending church or interested in the Bible. But at least some of this is because of a sense that the language of Scripture—and the language of church—is not relevant to their world or experience. Providing a translation that is designed for ease of reading will, we hope, make the Anabaptist Community Bible more attractive to young people (and more attractive as a gift for young people), and may encourage reading the text with renewed interest.

  • The CEB is more accessible to members of immigrant Anabaptist churches for whom English is not their first language. These groups represent the fastest growing segment of the Anabaptist-Mennonite church in North America. Using the CEB for the Anabaptist Community Bible signals a desire by the Anabaptism at 500 project to embrace immigrant and English-as-a-new-language churches and individuals as a crucial part of the Anabaptist-Mennonite fellowship.

  • A 2022 survey of MennoMedia constituents conducted by Credence & Co. suggested that there is strong support for the CEB, despite the CEB’s reduced visibility compared to other trans­lations. The survey offered a brief description of the CEB translation alongside the NRSV, followed by three comparative biblical passages. Over 40% of the 437 survey respondents selected the CEB as their top choice.

  • Because most people in MennoMedia’s primary markets likely already own an NRSV or NIV translation but may not yet have purchased a CEB translation, we think this translation adds to the sense of the Anabaptist Community Bible as something “special”—some­thing not yet represented for most people in the exist­ing bookshelf of Bibles. This feature helps set the Anabaptist Community Bible apart from other options, further enhancing its distinctive appeal.

We know that the Bible speaks to us in various ways: through the literal words in the text, through the insights of siblings in Christ who earnestly seek to discern God’s will, and through the mysterious movement of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of translation, we are confident that the Anabaptist Community Bible has the potential to inspire a fresh reading of the biblical text—and with it, a fresh movement of the Spirit.