I have read the entire WEB New Testament and can assure you that it is a good translation. In some cases, it makes the meaning much clearer than the King James Version, and the archaic words are brought up to date. There are a couple notable cases where the meaning is made clearer:
I have always found it too bad that John 3:34 says in the KJV that God does not give the spirit by measure “to him” (Jesus), where “to him” does not appear in the original text. (You can tell this by the fact that these words are italicized in the KJV.) I believe that the WEB’s translation “for God gives the Spirit without measure” is a more faithful rendering that states something a little different from what the KJV would seem to say.
The WEB version correctly translates the different words for “love” in John chapter 21 in the conversation between Jesus and Peter. The fact that one word is better rendered “have affection for” shows shades of meaning in this passage that would impossible to see in the King James.
1 Corinthians 14:35 in the WEB version says that “it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the assembly”. While the word translated “chatter” here is translated “speak” all over the New Testament and in the King James and is not a refinement of the word’s translation, the use of this word here conveys a meaning obviously intended. After all, it would be rather hard for your “daughters to prophesy” as Joel foretold (and Philip the evangelist’s daughters did) if women literally could not “speak” at church for any reason!
The WEB version also has some good notes on the original language and handy cross-references built into the text. I learned some things reading it!
There are “mysterious” references to acronyms such as “TR” that refer to different ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. There are a few differences, and the WEB version is very good about pointing them out. By the way, there’s nothing that would change your Christian doctrine about anything regardless of which manuscript you go by; the differences are very minor.
The people who put the WEB version together did a lot of research. They are putting together an Old Testament as well, and I was pleased to see that in their version of Isaiah 53:4, they state that Jesus bore our sicknesses, not our “sorrows” as the King James says. “Sicknesses” is without question the correct translation of the Hebrew word, and it is in fact translated “sicknesses” all over the Old Testament even in the King James version. Anyone with a concordance can verify that for himself. It makes it much easier to just preach that Jesus bore our sicknesses rather than having your hearers refer to notes in the margins that indicate that the literal word was “sicknesses”. (If that was the literal word, why wasn’t it just used in the first place?)
They go a little overboard with their constant notes that a word used for “brothers” could also include “sisters”, etc., but hey, it’s a text document! If you don’t like the comments, you can also do a search-and-replace and get rid of them, since they’re the same over and over.
I think the New King James got it better than the King James or the WEB in Ephesians 4:12, which explains that one reason Christ set ministers in the church was “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry”. The other version could leave you with the impression that the ministers were given to do the work of the ministry, which I don’t believe is what Paul was saying here. In case you’re wondering how the different translations could result, the original Greek was not punctuated, so you could get either reading based on where you insert (or don’t insert) a comma!
On that note, I’m still waiting for someone to re-punctuate John 9:3, where it appears that a man was born blind just so that the works of God could be revealed in him, while the wording doesn’t quite seem to make grammatical sense even in English. This notion has given rise to some bad healing theology, as I discuss in my healing book. Moving the punctuation there, in my opinion, makes the section say something quite different and more sensible: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day, the night is coming when no one can work.” But I guess I’ll still have to wait on that one!
I hope you enjoy reading and using the WEB version as much as I have!
– Pastor Steve