In my last two posts, we looked at the history of the English Bible up to the King James Version. The King James Version was an excellent translation at the time it was completed. The translators used the best manuscripts and the best methods current in their time. The KJV is well-known and well-loved. It should be well-respected and appreciated.
However, two important factors helped drive the continuing work of translating the Bible into English. One is that the KJV is based on manuscripts that are not as close to the original manuscripts’ ages or contents as manuscripts discovered more recently. Second, the KJV’s translation contains phraseology and vocabulary that is no longer in common use today. Languages change over time, so that words no longer have meanings they once had or acquire new meanings or simply fall out of use and become archaic. New readers of the Bible inevitably have difficulty deciphering the lingo of four-hundred years ago. Therefore, translators of the Bible continued to work to produce readable and reliable versions of the English Bible.
The King James served as the beginning point for a number of more recent translations. The English Revised Version of 1885 was the first modern English translation to make use of modern principles of textual criticism. In 1901, the American Standard Version was produced as a revision of the ERV. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) was produced in the mid-twentieth century. The RSV translators used the best of modern scholarship, while also using language that would be appropriate for public and private worship. And then we have the New King James Version, which updates the language of the KJV.
That’s just a handful of the English Bibles since the KJV. Below is a longer list of those that are significant, but it is also quite short. A complete list of English Bibles (including full Bibles and portions) has over 200 entries.
A Short List of Other English Translations
- Young’s Literal Translation (1862)
- A New Translation (Moffatt – 1926)
- Amplified Bible (1965)
- NT in Modern English (Phillips – 1958)
- Jerusalem Bible (1966)
- Today’s English Version (1966)
- New American Bible (1970)
- New English Bible (1970)
- New American Standard Bible (1971; updated 1995))
- The Living Bible (1971)
- Good News Bible (1976)
- New International Version (1978)
- New Jerusalem Bible (1985)
- New Living Translation (1997)
- New Century Version (1987)
- New Revised Standard Version (1989)
- Contemporary English Version (1991)
- New King James Version
- New International Reader’s Version (1996)
- New English Translation (1998)
- The Message (1995)
- English Standard Version (2001)
- Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004)
- Today’s New International Bible (2005)