The New AGSV Bible Translation

Exciting news, friends!

I’ve been given an advance copy of a new Bible translation, hitting the market soon. The translation is called the “American Government Standard Version.” (AGSV for short…)

The AGSV is a new and carefully sourced translation from the original Hebrew and Greek texts, with one incredibly helpful addition. The texts are also redacted to fit the most current United States Federal immigration and migrant status policies.

Friends, this is a monumental task. As you know, those very laws appear to change daily. So, keeping up with the constantly changing regulations has been an incredible feat for the team of 40 scholars. (I’m sure they’ll be more revisions before the text goes to press!)

As you might imagine, the entire text is far too long to cite. But I thought I’d pull out some of the new AGSV highlights…some key passages of interest that refer to migrants and immigrants that are now much cleaner, in ways that remove their former, pesky, moral ambiguity.

See samples below…

(Genesis, Chapter 12)
5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “This is not your land, and you have no asylum claim, therefore your offspring will have no legal status in this land. Abram returned to Haran.”

(Genesis, Chapter 45)
5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Unfortunately, Pharaoh has strict laws against chain migration. Therefore, I say unto you, return to your land. But, please give our father my warmest regards.”

(Exodus, Chapter 2)
5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “No.” This child should be immediately taken to a detention center, and classified as an unaccompanied minor. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take the child there now. I would send money with you, but the center is not accepting donations of in-kind supplies.”

(Ruth, Chapter 1)
15 So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said,

“Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

18 When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said “It’s really out of my hands, my daughter. I appreciate that you want to come with me, but my country has a ‘Remain in Moab’ policy.’ Therefore, I must insist you stay…”

Exodus 12:49
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron:
49 there shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you. 50 Except for laws regarding immigration. That’s obviously totally different, and you should definitely have two laws then.”

(Matthew 2)
13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and headed toward Egypt, 15 but when they arrived at the border, they were turned back by Egypt’s ‘Remain in Israel’ policy. 16 And so it was that Herod slaughtered Jesus, along with the other young children of Bethlehem. 17 Thus endeth the Gospel.

(Matthew 25)
34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger —who had completed the appropriate visas and asylum process— and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

(Luke, Chapter 4)
25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26 so Elijah ministered to them. 27 There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and he healed them all.” 28 When they heard this, spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 But the innkeeper, realizing who the Samaritan was, called ICE and reported him to the authorities, whereby the Samaritan was taken into custody. 36 Which of these, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The Innkeeper who followed the law.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

(John, Chapter 4)
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “Oh, you are a Samaritan?” 11 The woman said to him, “Yes, I just said that…” 12 Whereupon Jesus contacted ICE and turned her in for deportation.

Galatians 3: 28 “There is always Jew and Greek, there is always slave or free, there is always male and female; for all of you are quite different in Christ Jesus.”

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

One thought on “The New AGSV Bible Translation

  1. I couldn’t find where to comment. I wish I could enjoy the humor and satire in this piece. But it’s just too damn sad. Our current administration, led by 45, has forgotten the command “to love your neighbor as yourself “. I pray almost daily that he is removed from office. Larry

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