Continuing Talk About the Bible (Literally!)

So, you're reading the beginning of another way for us to be connected at reGeneration.  From this point forward, at least once a week I'm going to be using this blog to share background info on the Sunday message, share my thoughts and insights on stuff that may be going on in the news, etc., or give more info about upcoming serving opportunities and events.  It's going to be another "touch" for us to BE the church and "make life interesting."

Yesterday I continued the series "Q & A" and talked about the Bible.  We looked at what it says about itself and answered the question of what translation should you use.  If you didn't get the chance to see the message, here's the video on Facebook.  I had mentioned in the message that I would post the info about the history of Bible translations that I found.  It is from the eBook How the Bible Came to Be, edited by J. Daniel Hays & J. Scott Duvall.  If you would like to get that eBook, it's pretty inexpensive at $1.99.  Here's the link on Amazon.

Here's the excerpt from the message,

"In the ebook, How the Bible Came to Be,I found a little history of the English translation of the Bible.  John Wycliffe produced the first complete translation of the Bible into English in the 1380s. He translated the New Testament from Latin into English and was persecuted for his willingness to put the Bible into the language of ordinary people. John Purvey produced a revision of the Wycliffe Bible (1388), and this translation dominated until the time of William Tyndale. With the invention of the printing press in the mid-1400s, English Bible translation rapidly moved forward. William Tyndale produced the first English New Testament (1526) based on the Greek text rather than the Latin. Tyndale was executed and his body burned in 1536 for his courageous commitment to Bible translation. In 1535, Miles Coverdale produced a translation of the entire Bible into English (Coverdale Bible). The Matthew Bible was completed two years later (1537) by John Rogers, an associate of Tyndale. Rogers also suffered martyrdom for his work as a translator. In 1539, Coverdale revised the Matthew Bible, a revision better known as the Great Bible because of its larger-than-normal pages. The Great Bible was very popular with the people and was the first English translation authorized to be read in the Church of England. From Geneva, Switzerland, Oxford scholar William Whittingham and others produced a revision known as the Geneva Bible (1560), which featured Calvinistic marginal notes. This Bible became extremely popular among groups such as the Puritans, but was not permitted to be read in English churches. The Bishops’ Bible, a revision of the Great Bible, was completed in 1568 for this purpose. The Roman Catholic Church also needed an English translation with marginal notes in support of its doctrine, and in 1593 it produced the Douai-Rheims Bible.  In 1604, King James I authorized a new translation of the whole Bible for use in the churches of England. The leading university scholars in England produced the Authorized Version of 1611, commonly known as the King James Version (KJV). The King James Version of 1611 also included the Apocrypha, a group of Jewish books recognized as canonical by Catholics but not by Protestants. The goal of the KJV translators was to produce an English translation from the original languages that ordinary people could understand and that would be worthy of public reading in the churches. In spite of early criticisms, the KJV became one of the most widely used English translations. The KJV has been revised numerous times since 1611. It’s a revision of the 1769 edition that is prominent today—an edition that differs significantly from the 1611 edition. For example, the original KJV contained the Old Testament Apocrypha, books traditionally accepted by Catholics and rejected by Protestants. In spite of the popularity of the KJV, translators have been motivated to continue producing new Bible translations for two reasons.  

First, the translators of the KJV used only about a half dozen, very late Greek manuscripts to translate the New Testament.  Since that time, many older manuscripts have been discovered and most scholars contend that these are more likely to reflect the original text. Today, New Testament scholars are able to translate from a Greek text that draws on almost six thousand Greek manuscripts, some dating back to the second century. Sometimes the differences between the KJV and contemporary translations are due to differences in the underlying Greek text.  

Second, the KJV’s use of archaic English words and phrases such as “aforetime,” “must needs,” “howbeit,” “holden,” “peradventure,” and “whereto” confuses contemporary readers.  The KJV was a good translation for its day, but has been eclipsed by numerous contemporary translations.  The English Revised Version (ERV; 1881–1885) was the first major revision of the KJV, and the first English translation to make use of the modern discipline of textual criticism.  American scholars produced their own revision of the ERV in 1901: the American Standard Version (ASV).  Toward the middle of the twentieth century (1946–1952), the Revised Standard Version (RSV) appeared, still based on the KJV but with the goal of representing the best scholarship in language designed for public and private worship.  The New American Standard Bible (1971) claimed to be a revision of the ASV, but should really be considered a new translation. The New King James Version (1979–1982) made an effort to update the language of the KJV while retaining the same underlying Greek text.  The New Revised Standard Version, a thorough revision of the RSV, was completed in 1989 with the goal of being as literal as possible but as free as necessary (in order to accurately communicate the meaning). There have been many other contemporary translations in recent years that are not tied to the KJV.  The New American Bible (1941–1970) and the Jerusalem Bible (1966) are major Catholic translations of the Scriptures.  The New Jerusalem Bible, a revision of the Jerusalem Bible, appeared in 1985.  Both the New English Bible (1961–1970) and its revision, the Revised English Bible (1989), are translations into contemporary British idiom.  The American Bible Society completed the Good News Bible in 1976 (also called Today’s English Version) with the goal of expressing the meaning of the original text in conversational English.  The New International Version (NIV; 1973–1978, 1984) sought to produce a translation in international English offering a middle ground between a word-for-word approach and a thought-for-thought approach.  Today’s New International Version (TNIV; 2001) is an attempt to revise the NIV using the best of contemporary biblical scholarship and changes in the English language, especially as it relates to the issue of gender and language.  The NIV was thoroughly revised in 2010.  As a result, the NIV (1984) and the TNIV will eventually be discontinued. The issue of gender-inclusive language was brought to the fore by the publication of the TNIV. Bible translators will continually be challenged as to how best to translate the meaning of the biblical text into contemporary English in light of language changes such as those in the area of gender. The New Century Version (1987) and the Contemporary English Version (1991–1995) are recent thought-for-thought translations.  The New Living Translation (1996) is a fresh, thought-for-thought translation based on the popular paraphrase, the Living Bible (1967–1971).  The New International Reader’s Version (1996) was created to enable early readers to understand God’s Word. Eugene Peterson’s The Message (1993–2002) is an attempt to render the message of the Bible in the language of today’s generation. The New English Translation, commonly referred to as the NET Bible (1998–2005), offers an electronic version of a modern translation for distribution over the Internet (complete with over sixty thousand explanatory notes by the translators). The English Standard Version (2001) is a word-for-word translation that uses the RSV as its starting point. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (1999–2004) also promotes a word-for-word approach unless clarity and readability demand a more idiomatic translation."

I know this is a lot of info, but hopefully, this helps provide some more insight as you continue to seek out God's Word and how to apply it.  Remember, we need to find a version that we can truly understand so we can best know how to follow Jesus.  Don't forget,

By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.            Psalm 119:105 (The Message)

If you have any questions, please let me know.  You can email me at

Love you guys!