English Bible Versions and Bible Translation Resources
The first English Bible translation was done by John Wycliffe and his
associates at Oxford University in 1382.
lived nearly 200 years before the Protestant Reformation, but his beliefs
and teachings closely matched those of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and
Many years later, during the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547), English translations of the Bible began to appear. Erasmus, who came to teach at Cambridge University from 1509 to 1514, stimulated interest in Bible translation and study. Later, during the reign of Mary Tudor, a number of gifted English Protestant scholars settled in Geneva, Switzerland and translated what became known as "The Geneva Bible," that they brought back to England in 1558 when Elizabeth I ascended the English throne. Elizabeth I, however, lent her support to the Bishop's Bible, translated by her appointee, Archbishop Parker.
After James I ascended the throne in 1603, he arranged for the English "Authorized Version" of the Bible to be translated by a group of Bible scholars. This "King James Translation" of the Bible was published in 1611 and has become widely used and appreciated during the last 400 years. J. N. Darby, a 19th century Bible commentator and translator, writes as to the King James translation of the Bible, "In the English Bible, there are no doubt defects, as in every human work. I have found passages that I think might be more exactly translated, and have taken pains to translate for myself the whole of the New Testament, save a few chapters. But I am sure of this, that the more intimately a person is acquainted with what the learned call usus loquendi (that is, the customary forms of speech) — the more he will see how thoroughly well acquainted the translators were with the language they were dealing with. I can confidently affirm this to be the case in the New Testament; and as far as I can pretend to be a judge of the Old, I can bear the same testimony: so that, on the whole, while admitting some human defects, the reader who knows neither Hebrew nor Greek may be assured he has the sense of the original. Taken as a whole, it is the most perfect translation of any book I have ever read. I am told the Dutch translation is very good: I cannot compare them, but of those which I can, the English Bible is by far the best. Forty-six or forty-eight of the most learned and capable men were long engaged in it — divided into classes of six, who did the part they were most competent for; and then it was passed to others, and revised by all, and compared with translations in other languages."
The King James translators primarily based their translation on the so-called "Textus Receptus" or "received text." Since their Bible translation was published, other manuscripts have been found that largely confirm the accuracy of the Textus Receptus. However, this text differs slightly from certain Alexandrian manuscripts whose text has been considered when preparing the Nestle/Aland text of the Greek New Testament.
Since the late 19th century, a number of English translations have appeared, some striving for literal accuracy and others emphasizing semantic relevancy. Important translations during this period include the Darby Translation, the New American Standard (NAS) Version, the Revised Standard (RS) Version, the New International (NI) Version, the New King James (NKJ) Version, and the Living Bible (LB). Some Bible scholars have valid concerns about the accuracy and inclusion or omission of various passages in these translations. The Darby Translation corrects some of the inaccuracies in the King James Version and uses more updated language but, as with all Bible translations, reflects the theological views of the translator to some degree. Various Greek and Hebrew interlinear texts can provide the Bible reader or translator with additional insight into the meaning of Scripture passages.
English Bible Translations
Bible Translations - Bible Translation