How the Bible Came to Us
Recent Translations of the English
Text Types for Different English
Latin – 150 AD
West Med
Syriac – c. 150 AD
Coptic – 200 AD
Douai (1610)
KJV (1611)
NKJV (1982)
ERV (1885)
ASV (1901)
RSV (1952)
NASB (1971)
ESV (2001)
NIV (1978)
NET (2005)
Introductory Remarks
• We looked in an earlier lesson at
successors of the KJV:
– ERV (1885)
– ASV (1901)
– RSV (1952)
– NASB (1971)
– NKJV (1982)
• In this lesson we want to look at other
English translations since 1950. (See
Wegner for a more complete listing).
The Living Bible (1971)
• History
– Kenneth Taylor first realized the need for a new translation as a
speaker for InterVarsity in America and Canada.
– He later had 10 children of his own and saw firsthand their difficulty
in understanding the KJV.
– The translation was so well received that he started Tyndale House
to promote and publish his work.
• Policies of the Translator
– Taylor’s goal was to paraphrase, in his own words, the ASV of
1901. He did not work from the original languages.
– A revision was done in 1996 (New Living Translation) which was
based directly on the original languages, and employed dynamic
equivalence translation rather than paraphrase.
• Translation
– Its strength is clear and easy to understand language. Yet it often
goes way beyond the actual text with explanatory comment.
• Evaluation
– While this paraphrase has aroused broad interest in reading the
Bible, it frequently sacrifices accuracy in the process of making the
Bible understandable.
Good News Bible (1976)
• History
– By 1976 the NT edition of this translation had already sold
fifty-two million copies.
• Policies of the Translator
– The goal was to achieve an accurate, understandable
translation of the original texts.
– Not a paraphrase, but uses dynamic equivalence rather than
a more literal method of translation.
– Generally an elementary-school reading level.
• Translation
– Goal: “to give today’s readers maximum understanding from
the content of the original texts.”
– Produced with great care and with fewer mistakes than TLB.
• Evaluation
– Attempts to simplify translation from the original texts without
adding additional words like TLB.
New International Version (1978)
• History
– Arose from dissatisfaction among evangelicals with existing
– Backed by the Christian Reformed Church and the National
Association of Evangelicals.
– Produced by more than 110 evangelical translators from many
English-speaking countries and about thirty-four denominations;
used English that is internationally recognized.
• Policies of the Translator
– Attempted to bridge the gap between word-for-word and dynamicequivalence translations.
– Sought accuracy and clarity as well as a degree of formality.
• Translation
– Removes many Hebrew idioms such as “and it came to pass.”
– Does not use archaic forms of second person pronouns because
they are no longer contemporary English.
– Contains more than 3350 footnotes with textual variations, other
translations, cross-references, and explanatory notes.
• Evaluation
– It has been well received and acclaimed as the top-selling Bible
version in 1999. One of the most popular versions today.
The Message (2002)
• History
– Attempts for the 1990s what the Living Bible did for the
1970s; it is a fresh rendering from the original languages.
– While serving as a pastor for 29 years in Maryland, Peterson
began translating the Scripture into the idiom of today’s
• Policies of the Translator
– A paraphrase translation whose aim is “to convert the tone,
the rhythm, the events, the ideas, into the way we actually
think and speak.”
• Translation
– The argument is made that just as the NT was written in the
common, informal Greek of the day, so should an English
translation be.
• Evaluation
– Though it was ranked sixth among best-selling Bible
versions of 1999, this version should not be depended upon
for serious Bible study.
The English Standard Version
• History
– A revision of the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard
Version. About 6-7% of the text was changed from the RSV.
– Underwent a minor revision in 2007, which the publisher
chose not to identify as a revision.
• Policies of the Translator
– Based on the original languages and the latest editions of
BHS (OT) and UBS and Nestle/Aland (NT).
• Translation
– Employs formal equivalence (more literal) rather than
dynamic equivalence, though there are exceptions in some
• Evaluation
– A good, mostly literal translation, and preferred by many as
more literary and readable in style.
The New English Translation aka
The NET Bible (2005)
• History
– A completely new translation, not an update of an earlier
– Produced by twenty biblical scholars working from the
original languages.
• Policies of the Translator
– “commissioned to create a faithful Bible translation that could
be placed on the Internet, downloaded for free, and used
around the world for ministry.”
– Since it is not limited by a print edition, it includes an
immense number of study notes...16,025 in the NT alone.
• Translation
– The text is dynamically equivalent for readability, with the
notes often providing a more literal rendering.
– The NET Bible is also available in Chinese.
• Evaluation
– An innovative approach that takes advantage of the power of
the internet and employs extensive, scholarly study notes.
Reading Ability Scale
• This scale gives an idea of the reading
level necessary for different
– NLT – 6.3
– KJV – 12.0
– NASB – 10.0
– TLB – 8.3
– NIV – 7.3
Next Time:
How to Choose a Bible Version

Lesson 14 - Recent Translation of the English Bible