Theology: The Scriptures (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.

 

SEPTUAGINT (LXX)

 

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. Author/translator: Jerome

LATIN VULGATE

 

 

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.

WYCLIFFE BIBLE

 

 

Author/translator: Wycliffe

 

This was the first complete English Bible. Wycliffe worked from the Latin Vulgate.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1456 A.D.

GUTENBERG BIBLE

 

 

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.

 

TYNDALE BIBLE

 

Date: New Testament 1525 A.D. Old Testament 1535 A.D.

 

 

Author/translator: Tyndale

 

This Bible was the first to be translated from the original languages into English.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1539 A.D.

THE GREAT BIBLE

 

 

Author/translator: Cranmer and Coverdale This was a revision of the Tyndale Bible.

 

 

 

 

Date: 1535

COVERDALE BIBLE

 

Author/translator: Coverdale

 

This was the first printed in English.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1550 A.D.

STEPHANUS TEXT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1560 A.D.

GENEVA BIBLE

 

 

Author/translator: Whittingham, et. al.

 

This Bible was the first to use verse divisions.

 

RHEIMS-DOUAY

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1611 A.D.

KING JAMES VERSION

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1782 A.D.

ROBERT AITKEN BIBLE

 

 

This was the King James Version, however it was the first King James printed in America.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1881 A.D.

WESTCOTT HORT GREEK TEXT

 

 

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 is based.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1885 A.D.

REVISED VERSION

 

 

This was a revision of the King James Version.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1901 A.D.

AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION

 

 

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.

Author/translator: Weymouth

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1904

NESTLE GREEK TEXT

 

 

This was based on Tishendorf, Westcott and Hort and the United Bible Society texts.

 

A NEW TRANSLATION (MOFFATT)

 

Date: New Testament 1913 Old Testament 1924 Author: Moffatt

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1923

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

 

Date: 1937

 

Author: C.B. Williams

 

This work also did some good work in bringing the tenses over into the English.

 

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 the woman.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1952

NEW TESTAMENT IN PLAIN ENGLISH

 

 

Author: C.K. Williams

 

Williams uses large words and some modern terms such as “police” and “handcuffs.”

 

 

 

 

Date: 1957

 

NEW TESTAMENT IN MODERN ENGLISH

 

 

Author: Phillips

 

This is a paraphrase and was revised in 1966. He was a liberal in theology and reportedly did not believe in verbal inspiration.

 

BERKELEY VERSION

 

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

 

Date: 1960

 

Author: Wuest, an instructor in Greek at Moody Bible Institute.

 

This is a technically accurate work. The accuracy took presidence over style.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1961

NEW ENGLISH BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT

 

 

This is normally accepted as a good work by conservatives.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Completed 1964

AMPLIFIED BIBLE

 

 

Author: Mrs. Siewert, et. al.

 

THE NEW TESTAMENT REVISED STANDARD VERSION CATHOLIC EDITION

 

Date: 1965

 

 

This was done as an ecumenical Bible and is accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1966

GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MAN

 

 

This was done by a man that reportedly denied the deity of Christ and rejected verbal inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1966

JERUSALEM BIBLE

 

 

This is a Roman Catholic work which includes the Apocrypha.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1967 Author: Scofield

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.

 

WILLIAMS TRANSLATION

 

This work was based on the Westcott and Hort text.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1970

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE

 

 

Author: Done by fifty Catholic and five Protestant scholars.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1971

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

LIVING BIBLE

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1982

NEW KING JAMES VERSION

 

 

Author: Done by one hundred nineteen scholars.

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1985

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 Seminary.

 

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.

 

SOURCES

 

Miller, Dr. David; Theology Class notes, Western Baptist College; Salem, OR.

 

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.[1]

 


[1] by Stanley L. Derickson. DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

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