Some Other Historically Significant and Specialty Bibles
The Bibles mentioned here include examples of some that played an important historical role or that were developed to serve a particular or focused function.
You can use the following list to jump to information about a specific translation or you can scroll through them all. They are listed in alphabetical order.
- American Standard Version (ASV), 1901
- Bishop's Bible, 1568
- Coverdale Bible, 1535
- Complete Jewish Bible, 1998
- Darby Translation, 1890
- Douay-Rheims Bible, 1582–1610
- Eastern/Greek Orthodox New Testament, 2011
- Geneva Bible, 1560
- Great Bible, 1539
- Interlinear Bibles (various dates)
- Lexham English Bible, 2010–11
- New English Translation of the Septuagint, 2007
- Orthodox Jewish Bible, 2002
- Revised Standard Version (RSV), 1952
- Tyndale Bible, 1536 (New Testament)
- Vulgate, Fourth Century
- World English Bible (WEB), 2012
- Wycliffe Bible, 1395
- YouVersion, 2007
- Young's Literal Translation (YLT), 1863
During the latter decades of the nineteenth century, separate committees undertook the task of revising the King James Version for readers in England and readers in America. The British committee published the English Revised Version of the New Testament in 1881 and the Old Testament in 1885. The American committee (American Revision Committee) did not finish until 1901, and by then another group had already published an unauthorized version titled the American Revised Version. For this reason, the American committee's work was published—and copyrighted to prevent further unauthorized changes—as the American Standard Version. The ASV relied primarily on the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament and a version of Westcott and Hort's New Testament in the Original Greek. ASV became the basis for other subsequent updates and versions, including the Revised Standard Version (RSV), 1952, New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the Amplified Bible (AMP). Its text also served as the basis for Kenneth N. Taylor's paraphrase, The Living Bible, which was published in 1971.
The Geneva Bible, which became a popular English version after its publication in 1560, was disliked by Queen Elizabeth I and clergy in England (Church of England) because of the Calvinist tone of its notes. The task of producing a translation devoid of the sectarian notes was undertaken by Matthew Parker, who was serving as the archbishop of Canterbury. He was joined in the work by others, many of whom were also bishops. As a result, the work was dubbed the "Bishop's Bible."
Although the Bishop's Bible was distributed to churches, it was never officially sanctioned. Furthermore, it failed to supplant the popularity of the Geneva Bible among the common people. Nevertheless, it played an important historic role and was later used as a guide when the King James Version was produced in the early seventeenth century.
Following in the footsteps of William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale produced a translation of the Bible (relying on German and Latin texts) into English. He was politically connected and received encouragement from Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's queen. Although Coverdale hoped his translation would receive official authorization, Henry's changing allegiances led to problems. Miles Coverdale fled England during a time of religious persecution. Nevertheless, he produced the first complete Bible to be mass printed in the English language.
This translation of the Old Testament (Tanakh) and New Testament (B'rit Hadashah) was created by David H. Stern and published in 1998. It maintains a Jewish style and restores the Jewish nature of Christianity with a focus on Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.
During his lifetime, John Nelson Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren, translated the scriptures into German and French. He also produced a very literal translation of the New Testament in English. After his death in 1882, his followers produced a complete Bible relying on his works.
The Douay-Rheims Bible is a Roman Catholic edition produced during the era following the Protestant Reformation. As a result of religious turmoil in England, Catholic translators left the then-Protestant England, for Flanders (on the European continent). Because English translations of the Bible that were available during that time were not acceptable to the Roman Catholic Church, ecclesiastical authorities undertook the task of producing a new translation. The Douay-Rheims Bible was the first Roman Catholic translation of the scriptures produced in the English language. Its text is based on the Latin Vulgate. The New Testament was published in 1582; the Old Testament was published in parts in 1609 and 1610. An updated version, produced in 1749, was used as the standard Roman Catholic Bible for English speakers until the 1900s.
Eastern/Greek Orthodox New Testament was edited by the Rev. Laurent Cleenewerck and was published in 2011. It contains a translation of a text known as the Patriarchal Text of 1904, which is a form of the Byzantine Text. Work on a companion Old Testament to complete the entire Greek/Eastern Orthodox Bible with commentary regarding textual differences among the Septuagint, the Masoretic Text, and the Dead Sea Scrolls is ongoing. For more information and updates regarding the project's status, visit http://www.orthodox-church.info/eob.
The persecution of Protestants in England by the Catholic monarch, Queen Mary, caused many to flee to Geneva, Switzerland. While there, the collaborative efforts of many led to the production of a Bible translation in the English language. When Mary's successor, Queen Elizabeth I, ascended to the throne in 1558, the change in leadership brought with it a change in religious affiliation. This led to the opportunity for exiles to return and bring the Geneva Bible with them. The first actual printing of this version of the Bible to be done in England was in 1575. It was the most commonly used English translation until it was supplanted by the King James Version.
The Great Bible, called "Great" because of its physical size (15" x 10"), was produced under the direction of Thomas Cromwell who served as Vicar General under Henry VIII. Cromwell advocated for a translation into English that would be devoid of the controversies that marked earlier translation efforts. Although not technically authorized by the church, the Great Bible was the first Bible in English to be promoted for public use. Cromwell issued an order that a copy should be placed in every parish church in the country. Subsequent political changes in England led to an order that it be removed and then later again that it be replaced.
An interlinear Bible is one that presents the original language text in lines along with an adjacent literal translation of the words. Several versions are available in print and online. One online version is available from BibleStudyTools.com at http://www.biblestudytools.com/interlinear-bible.
The Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament takes a different approach. It presents an English translation with the Greek words shown adjacent to their English counterparts. It can be accessed via http://BibleGateway.com.
The Lexham English Bible was developed from the Lexham Hebrew and Greek interlinear publications. It is a literal, word-for-word translation intended to be used in conjunction with a copy of the biblical text in its original languages. Although it follows standard English word order, its goal is to match modern words to their ancient counterparts. The Old Testament text is based on Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, and the New Testament text is based on The Greek New Testament: Society of Biblical Literature Edition edited by Michael W. Holmes. Additional information is available online from Lexham English Bible (http://lexhamenglishbible.com).
The Septuagint is an ancient Greek version of the Jewish Scriptures. Work on an updated English translation was sponsored by the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies. The full title of this work, which was originally published by Oxford University Press in 2007, is A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included Under that Title. An updated version was produced in 2009. A print version is available, and an electronic version can be accessed online at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition.
The Orthodox Jewish Bible, translated by Phillip Gobel, was first published in 2002 by Artists for Israel International. The translation was completed following a literal philosophy, and the text features elements of Yiddish and Hasidic cultural expressions. Additional information is available from Artists for Israel International, and the text can be accessed via http://BibleGateway.com.
During the 1880s a committee of biblical scholars began work on an update of the King James Version of the Bible. Their work culminated in the American Standard Version, which was published in 1901. In 1928, the Standard Bible Committee was established, and it determined that another updated version should be produced. Work on that new version was delayed as a result of the Great Depression and then by World War II. Finally, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) was published in 1952. This edition embraced a literal philosophy of translation and its New Testament was based on the 17th edition of Nestle and Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece text. After a version that included the Apocrypha was published, the RSV was approved by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox officials.
During the early 1500s William Tyndale began work translating the Bible into English from Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). Because of political turmoil and religious persecution in England, he fled to the European continent to complete his task. Tyndale's New Testament became the first English translation to be mass-produced using the newly developed art of printing. Tyndale's work met with opposition from ecclesiastical and political authorities, and many copies were intercepted and burned. Tyndale himself was kidnapped, imprisoned, and executed before he finished translating the Old Testament. Despite the attempted suppression, Tyndale's work achieved popular support and served as an influence on subsequent translations.
Although Greek was the primary language in the region around the Mediterranean during the time of Christ, it began to fade and scriptures were translated into other languages, including Syriac, Coptic, and Latin. In western Europe, the existence of a variety of competing translations created confusion, and in the late fourth century, Pope Damasus I commissioned Jerome to revise existing Latin texts. The work was completed in the fifth century. Unlike earlier works that used the Greek Septuagint as a basis for the Old Testament, the Vulgate Bible relied on the Hebrew Tanakh. The word Vulgate is from the Latin word that means "common" so it means "Common Bible."
The World English Bible is an update of the American Standard Version, created by volunteers specifically to make the Bible available without copyright restrictions. In early 2013 the New Testament was essentially complete, and the Old Testament was nearly done with the exception of four books. Plans also included updating the text of the Apocrypha. Additional information about the World English Bible is available at http://www.ebible.org/bible/web.
John Wycliffe felt it was important for people to be able to read the Bible in their own language rather than rely on church authorities for information about what the text said. The Wycliffe Bible, the first English translation of the scriptures, was created before the introduction of printing technology. Its text was based on the Latin Vulgate.
Although Wycliffe was the principle person behind the work, scholars today are not certain how much of the translation was done by Wycliffe himself and how much was done by his associates and supporters. Wycliffe may have had a hand in the early translation work, which included much of the New Testament, but he died in 1384 before the entire work was complete. Wycliffe's followers continued the work, and the Bible commonly known by his name was published in 1395. Although the church authorities in England opposed the production of a Bible in the English vernacular, Wycliffe's work laid the foundation for translators who would follow in his footsteps.
For people who want to read the Bible on a mobile device, the YouVersion Bible App provides access to more than 30 different English versions and translations in many other different languages. It was launched in September 2007 by LifeChurch.tv, a multi-site Christian church with a reputation for the innovative use of technology. In addition to providing access to the scriptures, other features include Bible reading plans and the ability to make notes. The YouVersion Bible App can be downloaded for free from major app stores and at http://www.bible.com/app.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT) was originally completed by Robert Young in Edinburgh (Scotland) in 1862 and revised in 1887 and 1898. It is a strictly literal rendering of Textus Receptus with specific emphasis on retaining the meaning of the original verb tenses. The text is available online through several portals, including http://BibleGateway.com, http://BibleStudyTools.com, and the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (http://www.ccel.org).