There exist numerous versions of the Bible published in English. Each of which target a different goal (simplicity of text (Basic English/Word English, conformity to original Hebrew and Greek text (King James), update of language (New King James). Please see the descriptions below and our partner website AB-Lausanne Renens which has the English versions available online.
Darby Bible History
Darby published a translation of the New Testament in 1867, with revised editions in 1872 and 1884. After his death, some of his students produced an Old Testament translation based on Darby’s French and German translations (see below). The complete Darby Bible, including Darby’s 3rd edition New Testament and his students’ Old Testament, was first published in 1890. Darby’s purpose was, as he states in the preface to his English NT, to make a modern translation for the unlearned who have neither access to manuscript texts nor training and knowledge of ancient languages of the Scriptures. He was the principal scholar for a number of translations – and not the sole translator of any one of the various translations that bear his name. He worked with various brethren who had academic and spiritual qualifications. He also acknowledges dependence on the critical work of Samuel Prideaux Tregelles and various other scholars. Darby’s translation work was not intended to be read aloud. His work was for study and private use. In his own oral ministry he generally used the English King James Version. Please read the Darby (Old Testament) or Darby (New Testament) available on the AB-Lausanne website.
Basic English Bible (Bible in Basic English /BBE) history
The Bible In Basic English (also known as BBE) is a translation of the Bible into Basic English. The BBE was translated by Professor S. H. Hooke using the standard 850 Basic English words. 100 words that were helpful to understand poetry were added along with 50 “Bible” words for a total of 1,000 words. This version is effective in communicating the Bible to those with limited education or where English is a second language. The New Testament was released in 1941 and the Old Testament was released in 1949. The Bible In Basic English was printed in 1965 by Cambridge Press in England. Published without any copyright notice and distributed in America, this work fell immediatly and irretrievably into the Public Domain in the United States according to the UCC convention of that time. A call to Cambridge prior to placing this work in electronic text resulted in an admission of this fact. Please read the Basic English (Old Testament) or Basic English (New Testament) available on the AB-Lausanne website.
King James Version (KJV) Bible History
In 1604, King James I of England authorized that a new translation of the Bible into English be started. It was finished in 1611, just 85 years after the first translation of the New Testament into English appeared (Tyndale, 1526). The Authorized Version, or King James Version, quickly became the standard for English-speaking Protestants.
Emerging at a high point in the English Renaissance, the King James Bible held its own among some of the most celebrated literary works in the English language (think William Shakespeare). Its majestic cadences would inspire generations of artists, poets, musicians and political leaders, while many of its specific phrases worked their way into the fabric of the language itself. Even now, more than four centuries after its publication, the King James Bible remains the most famous Bible translation in history—and one of the most printed books ever. Please read the King James Version KJV (Old Testament) or King James Version KJV (New Testament) available on the AB-Lausanne website.
American Standard Version (ASV) history
The American Standard Version, which was also known as The American Revision of 1901, is rooted in the work begun in 1870 to revise the King James Bible of 1611. This project eventually produced the Revised Version (RV) in the UK. An invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the RV project. In 1871, thirty scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented on the American committee were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian. These scholars began work in 1872. Three of the editors, the youngest in years, became the editors of the American Standard Revised New Testament: Drs. Dwight, Thayer and Matthew B. Riddle. Suggestions from the American Revision Committee were accepted only if two-thirds of the British scholars agreed. This principle was supported by an agreement that if their suggestions were included in the appendix of the RV, the American Committee would not publish their version for 15 years. The appendix contained about three hundred suggestions. The Revised Version New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885. Please read the American Standard Version ASV (Old Testament) or American Standard Version ASV (New Testament) available on the AB-Lausanne website.