Cotton Patch


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Cotton Patch Bible

A very interesting modern version is a translation by Clarence Jordan published as the Cotton Patch Version in 1968-1973. The Cotton Patch Version is a local dialect version for the southern United States, particularly the area around Atlanta, Georgia.

To say that the Cotton Patch Version translates the Bible freely would be an understatement. Local place names are substituted for Biblical ones and modern day equivalents of ideas, names, and classes of people are used in place of the actual text.

    After they had checked out, the Lord's messenger made connection with Joseph in a dream and said, "Get moving, and take your wife and baby and highball it to Mexico." -- Matthew 2:13

    This guy John was dressed in blue jeans and a leather jacket, and he was living on corn bread and collard greens. Folks were coming to him from Atlanta and all over north Georgia and the backwater of the Chattahoochee. And as they owned up to their crooked ways, he dipped them in the Chattahoochee. -- Matthew 3:4-6

Obviously a translation of this sort has the advantage of making it very personal and pertinent to the people who live in this particular area. In the Cotton Patch Version, Jesus is born in Gainesville, Georgia, grows up in Valdosta, is baptized in the Chattachoochee, and walks beside Lake Lanier. Everything is brought close to home. Analogous modern ideas make the Bible come alive.

    Nor do people put new tubes in old, bald tires. If they do the tires will blow out, and the tubes will be ruined and the tires will be torn up. But they put new tubes in new tires and both give good mileage. -- Matthew 9:17

This approach, although it may seem silly, helps the reader have the same sense of participation that the early Christians must have had. Because it speaks so directly to one group of people, however, it has limited practical appeal anywhere else.

If you’d like to view a larger sample of Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch version, the entire Gospel of Matthew can be viewed by clicking the link below:

Cotton Patch Version: Gospel of Matthew


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