HISTORY OF SCRIPTURE
First of all, I would like to list the readability index for some of the
different translations. It might be handy if a person begins working with
different age groups or possibly people with diminished mental capacity.
King James Version 14.0 years of education
American Standard Version 11.6 years of education
New American Standard Bible 11.3 years of education
Revised Standard Version 10.4 years of education
Jerusalem Bible 10.1 years of education
Phillips translation 9.6 years of education
New King James Version 9.1 years of education
New English Bible 8.5 years of education
Living Bible 8.3 years of education
New International Version 7.8 years of education
Today's English Version 7.3 years of education
International Children's Version 3.9 years of education
(Adapted from "WHICH BIBLE TRANSLATION IS BEST FOR ME?"; Kohlenberger,
John, III; Moody Monthly, May 1987)
The following information is gleaned from three sources. Rather than footnote
each quotation, I have adapted the information. The three sources are listed
at the end of the information.
This is some information on some of the more prominent works of translation
and paraphrase through the years since the Bible was originally written.
Date: Work started 250 B.C.
Author/translator: Seventy Alexandrian Jews
This was the first translation of the Old Testament into Greek. Most of
the Jewish people of the time spoke Greek, and they wanted to read the Old
Testament in their own language.
Date: Completed 405 A.D.
This translation was done from the original languages. I would like to
quote from the introduction of a Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition,
"In the Old Testament it has not been thought necessary to make any changes
in the text. There is however the very important difference in the number
of books. Catholic Bibles include seven extra books and parts of two others.
These are known to Catholics as 'deuterocanonical' and are regarded as an
integral part of the Canon of the Old Testament. They are here printed in
the order in which they appear in the Latin Vulgate, with the exception of
the extra parts of the Book of Esther."
We see that the Latin Vulgate contained the apocrypha.
Date: 382 A.D.
This was the first complete English Bible. Wycliffe worked from the Latin
Date: 1456 A.D.
This was the first Bible to be printed on a printing press, rather than
being copied by hand. It was done from the Latin Vulgate also.
Date: New Testament 1525 A.D.
Old Testament 1535 A.D.
This Bible was the first to be translated from the original languages into
THE GREAT BIBLE
Date: 1539 A.D.
Author/translator: Cranmer and Coverdale
This was a revision of the Tyndale Bible.
This was the first printed in English.
Date: 1550 A.D.
Date: 1560 A.D.
Author/translator: Whittingham, et. al.
This Bible was the first to use verse divisions.
Date: New Testament 1582 A.D.
Old Testament 1610 A.D.
This was the first authorized English version for Roman Catholics. The
work was done by two committees from the Vulgate.
KING JAMES VERSION
Date: 1611 A.D.
Author/translator: fifty four protestant scholars
This is also called the Authorized Version at times. I would like to list
a quotation for your interest from Dr. Miller's notes. ". . .formally a revision
of the 1602 edition of the Bishop's Bible. This translation was done in 1611
and established itself as the English Bible. Present day translations, however,
have several changes. The spelling has been modernized, and other alterations
have been introduced. One obvious misprint has persisted in most editions
since the first one of 1611 in Matthew 23:24 where 'strain at a gnat' should
be 'strain out a gnat.' Many of the earlier translations were carelessly
printed. Thus the 'Wicked Bible' of 1641 left out the word 'not' in the seventh
commandment. As to the Greek text, the Authorized Version is in considerable
agreement with the Textus receptus."
ROBERT AITKEN BIBLE
Date: 1782 A.D.
This was the King James Version, however it was the first King James printed
WESTCOTT HORT GREEK TEXT
Date: 1881 A.D.
Author/translator: Westcott and Hort
This was a Greek text which most of the modern translations are based on.
The other text being the Textus Receptus, upon which the King James Version
Date: 1885 A.D.
This was a revision of the King James Version.
AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION
Date: 1901 A.D.
Author/translator: A committee of American scholars
This was a revision of the Revised Version. It was partially based on the
modern principles of textual criticism. The Old Testament is based on the
Massoretic text. It is felt by most readers to be very stiff, however it
is usually held as one of the more accurate translations.
NEW TRANSLATION IN MODERN SPEECH (Weymouth Translation)
Date: 1903 A.D.
This was done from the Greek and gives particular attention to the verb
tenses. The author attempted to give the proper idea of the tenses as he set
the information into English.
NESTLE GREEK TEXT
This was based on Tishendorf, Westcott and Hort and the United Bible Society
A NEW TRANSLATION (Moffatt)
Date: New Testament 1913
Old Testament 1924
This is a paraphrase. He was of liberal doctrine and was not against making
changes from time to time. John 1:1 for example mentions that the "logos
was divine." Christ was not divine, He was deity.
AN AMERICAN TRANSLATION
Author: E.J. Godspeed
This work reportedly shows the eunuch of Acts 8 sitting in his car.
NEW TESTAMENT IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE
Author: C.B. Williams
This work also did some good work in bringing the tenses over into the
REVISED STANDARD VERSION
Date: New Testament 1946
Old Testament 1952
Authors: Done by 32 protestants and Catholics.
This was a liberal revision of the 1901 version. The Catholic Edition of
the R.S.V. mentions, "The Revised Standard Version itself needs no lengthy
introduction, being already well known and widely read. It is, as its preface
states, 'an authorized revision of the American Standard Version, Published
in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611.'"
Many have rejected the RSV due to its translation of Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore
the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive
and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." The translation of the
Hebrew term, young woman rather than virgin is the problem. This term is a
vague term and always refers to a young woman, but not always to a virgin.
When the RSV translates Matthew 1:23, a quote from the Isaiah text, it uses
the term virgin, because the Greek term clearly speaks to the virginity of
NEW TESTAMENT IN PLAIN ENGLISH
Author: C.K. Williams
Williams uses large words and some modern terms such as "police" and "handcuffs."
NEW TESTAMENT IN MODERN ENGLISH
This is a paraphrase and was revised in 1966. He was a liberal in theology
and reportedly did not believe in verbal inspiration.
Date: New Testament 1945
Old Testament 1959
Author: Edited by Gerrit Verkuyl of Berkeley, CA
This is an evangelical work and many feel that it is a good work.
EXPANDED TRANSLATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Author: Wuest, an instructor in Greek at Moody Bible Institute.
This is a technically accurate work. The accuracy took presidence over
NEW ENGLISH BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT
This is normally accepted as a good work by conservatives.
Date: Completed 1964
Author: Mrs. Siewert, et. al.
THE NEW TESTAMENT: REVISED STANDARD VERSION CATHOLIC EDITION
This was done as an ecumenical Bible and is accepted by the Roman Catholic
GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MAN
This was done by a man that reportedly denied the deity of Christ and rejected
This is a Roman Catholic work which includes the Apocrypha.
NEW SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE
This was a revision of Scofield's original notes of 1909. The revising
was done by John Walvoord, Charles Feinberg, Allan MacRae, E. Schyler English,
Frank Gaebelein, Alva McClain, Clarence Mason, William Culbertson, Wilbur
Smith, and Wilber Ruggles.
This work was based on the Westcott and Hort text.
NEW AMERICAN BIBLE
Author: Done by fifty Catholic and five Protestant scholars.
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
Author: Fifty four conservative Protestants. Lockman Foundation.
The work is technically good. The Greek tenses were translated so that
the English reader could determine the tenses.
Date: Completed in 1971
Author: Kenneth N. Taylor
The work has some accuracy problems and tends toward personal interpretation
rather than translation. It is a paraphrase. It was a work from the ASV.
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Date: Completed 1978
Author: One hundred fifteen evangelical scholars.
It is a work from the critical Greek texts, which is fairly accurate. I
personally have noticed however that in many cases it disagrees in content
when compared to the King James and the New American Standard.
TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION/GOOD NEWS BIBLE
Author: Robert G. Bratcher and six other scholars.
NEW KING JAMES VERSION
Author: Done by one hundred nineteen scholars.
NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE
This is a redo of the 1966 Jerusalem Bible.
THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION
This was done by the Jehovah Witnesses. I have been told that Greek scholars
took this translation to secular, unsaved, Greek scholars for evaluation.
They reported that it was one of the poorest attempts at translation they
had seen. It shows Christ as a god in John 1:1.
THE NEW TESTAMENT IN THE LANGUAGE OF TODAY
Author: William F. Beck
Beck was a Lutheran, and his version is well received for its accuracy.
THE COTTON PATCH VERSION
Author: Clarence Jordan
Jordan has a Ph.D. in New Testament Greek from the Southern Baptist Theological
He sets the New Testament in the modern day south. The Jews and Gentiles
are viewed as black and whites. Acts is entitled the Happening, while the
book of Romans becomes Washington.
There are many other works that have appeared. I have only listed some
of the more prominent ones.
The following charts are hopefully accurate. I have gleaned information
from many sources over the years to set these charts to paper.
Miller, Dr. David; Theology Class notes, Western Baptist College; Salem,
Kohlenberger, John III; "WHICH BIBLE TRANSLATION IS BEST FOR ME?"; Article
in Moody Monthly, May 1987
Till, George A.; Class handout, Western Baptist College; Salem, OR.