So, what is the Shovelation?
First off, understand that I am not trying to pass the Shovelation off as a translation. Oh, I know a smattering of Greek, but I don't possess the Biblical language skills to even begin such a project as to create a new translation. But then with the number of English translations available today do we really need one more? Aside from a few discrepancies (some important, some not) and/or easier readability, most versions confirm that another translation will end up saying pretty much the same thing. And that's a good thing, as it should assure us that scholars the world over have agreed that most versions have done a good job translating the available Greek manuscripts into decent English equivalents.
Of course, many insist upon a perfect translation, or even THE perfect translation. Some think they already have it, others still strive to achieve it. Either way, do you really think a perfect translation could give perfect understanding? Before you answer, consider that the Pharisees not only understood but were fluent in Greek and Hebrew, and it didn't do them much good. Understanding words and/or studying original manuscripts (which, by the way, we no longer have) was never the end-all to a true understanding of God. The religious scholars and leaders who lived during the time of Jesus assumed they understood truth because they studied and quoted from the authoritative writings of Moses. Jesus told them:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life ... For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? John 5:39,40,46,47 NASB
You see, even if we had THE perfect translation, true life would not be found within the confines of that written document. No doubt it would testify TO the life or ABOUT the life, but it could just as easily give the religious Scripture-bound mind a way to reject the life while appearing to be an authority on the life. Beware of those who bark the loudest about their qualifications and/or authority to dispense truth. If there is any secret to understanding the Bible it would be found not in its difficulty but in its simplicity.
So, I repeat, the Shovelation is not a translation. Instead, it is based upon an examination of numerous already-established translations, as well as some double-checking of the Greek where there may be a question in my mind.
So then, if the Shovelation is not a translation is it a paraphrase? I suppose you could call it that, but I don't think the designation accurately describes it. For to paraphrase is to rephrase or reword text, and that only describes part of what I'm doing with these New Testament letters.
Consider the following words that might help to describe the Shovelation:
Revise: to make a new, amended, improved, or up-to-date version of.
Amend: to put right; especially : to make emendations in (as a text).
Resolve: find a solution to; solve; dispel doubt; firmness of purpose; make clearly visible; take away doubt, fear concerning problem, difficulty; to clear up.
Clarify: to free from uncertainty; make easier to understand or comprehensible.
Adapt: harmonize; reconcile; coordinate; unify; explain; make clear; clarify; resolve; unravel; untangle.
If Paul, Peter, James or John were to write their letters today we wouldn't recognize them. They would be too relevant and easy to understand -- like real letters! We try so hard to figure out what the Bible might be saying to US, but do we think it was originally this difficult? Look for a special meaning and you will lose the real meaning; get an idea of what it meant to THEM and you will understand what it means to YOU. This is why I am writing the Shovelation.