NLT Study Bible Blog.
Contributor Interview: Henry M. Whitney
Henry M. Whitney served as a freelance content editor for the NLT Study Bible.

Tell us about your involvement in the NLT Study Bible.

My job description was to anticipate the questions of the “person in the pew” and see if the NLT and study notes answered them well.

What other work have you done as an editor?

My main editing work has been to copy edit term papers, theses, and dissertations written by nonnative-English-speaking students at graduate institutions, mostly Westminster Seminary.

Of all the parts of the NLT Study Bible that you worked on, which was the most interesting to you? Why?

There was the everyday experience of seeing writers connect scriptural dots in ways I wondered why I hadn’t thought of. Sometimes I’d agree, but sometimes not. For example, I’m still not sold on the interpretation of the psalter as an integrated, developed whole, but the notes posited the existence of threads that certainly looked plausible and that I wouldn’t have thought of.

Which part of your work was the hardest? Why?

I’m not much of a lateral thinker, so coming up with good “why this and not that?” questions was hard.

You worked for, what, 20 years in PNG as a translator? And you have a very precise mind for language, meaning, and theology. In light of all of that, how was it for you to work on the NLT Study Bible and with the NLT?

It was about 19 years. As I was working on the NLT Study Bible, I kept hearing the voice of my translation instructor from 1980 (!) insisting that the Living Bible was not a paraphrase but a good example of what a real translation into a minority language in a preliterate, pre-Christian culture could be. I think the NLT1 was a big improvement over the LB (as one would expect given the different objectives and available resources), and the NLT2 is even better. We have been reading the NLT1 in family devotions, but now that my copy of the NLT2 has arrived, of course we’ll make the change.

What other projects have you worked on recently?

My day job includes copy editing monographs by leftist professors (who accurately note that the house is on fire and describe the causes, then propose to douse the fire with kerosene) and by occasional little-known Christian writers. Lately I’ve spent considerable time converting the files of one of Tyndale’s competitors’ study Bible notes and theological works from the format used in typesetting hard copy to formats for reading on personal and handheld computers. My freelancing still involves copy editing academic papers.

Is one of them particularly meaningful to you? Why / In what ways?

I find most of the monographs interesting, even if I often see the same names in the bibliographies. While I’m frustrated that the church doesn’t seem to be dealing with the problems described therein, I’m heartened when biblical solutions come to mind, and my prayer is that believers who attend the institutions that put the books in their libraries will read them, apply Scripture to the problems, and so heal the sick and free the oppressed in Christ’s name. I don’t really interact with the content of the works I do code conversion on, so my primary growth there is in discovering ways to automate the tedium.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Just that I enjoyed working on the project and was sad to see it end.
posted by Sean Harrison at 8:00 AM
Anonymous term papers said...

Thanks for a great post.

January 18, 2009 12:53 PM  

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