GOOD NEWS

BIBLE

TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION

ABS

AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY

NEW YORK

Quotation Rights For Today's English Version Bible

The American Bible Society is glad to grant authors and publishers the right to use up to one thousand (1,000) verses from the Today's English Version text in church, religious and other publications without the need to seek and receive written permission. However, the extent of quotation must not comprise a complete book nor should it amount to more than 50% of the work. The proper copyright notice must appear on the title or copyright page.

When quotations from TEV are used in non-saleable media, such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, transparencies or similar media, a complete copyright notice is not required, but the initials (TEV) must appear at the end of each quotation.

Requests for quotations in excess of one thousand (1,000) verses in any publication must be directed to, and written approval received from, the American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023.

Foreword

The Good News Bible in Today's English Version is a new translation which seeks to state clearly and accurately the meaning of the original texts in words and forms that are widely accepted by people who use English as a means of communication. This translation does not follow the traditional vocabulary and style found in the historic English Bible versions. Rather it attempts in this century to set forth the biblical content and message in the standard, everyday, natural form of English.

The aim of this Bible is to give today's reader maximum understanding of the content of the original texts. The preface explains the nature of special aids for readers which are included in the volume. It also sets forth the basic principles which translators followed in their work.

The Bible in Today's English Version was translated and published by the United Bible Societies for use throughout the world. The Bible Societies trust that the reading and study of this translation will result in a better understanding of the meaning of the Bible. We also earnestly pray that readers will discover the message of saving faith and hope for all people which the Bible contains.

Preface

In September 1966 the American Bible Society published The New Testament in Today's English Version, a translation intended for people everywhere for whom English is either their mother tongue or an acquired language. Shortly thereafter the United Bible Societies requested the American Bible Society to undertake on its behalf a translation of the Old Testament following the same principles. Accordingly the American Bible Society appointed a group of translators to prepare the translation. In 1971 this group added a British consultant recommended by the British and Foreign Bible Society. The translation of the Old Testament, which was completed in 1976, was joined to the fourth edition New Testament, thus completing the first edition of the Good News Bible.

The basic text for the Old Testament is the Masoretic Text made available through printed editions, published by the UBS, and since 1977 under the title of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. In some instances the words of the printed consonantal text have been divided differently or have been read with a different set of vowels; at times a variant reading in the margin of the Hebrew text (qere) has been followed instead of the reading in the text (kethiv); and in other instances a variant reading supported by one or more Hebrew manuscripts has been adopted. Where no Hebrew source yields a satisfactory meaning in the context, the translation has either followed one or more of the ancient versions (e.g. Greek, Syriac, Latin) or has adopted a reconstructed text (technically referred to as a conjectural emendation) based on scholarly consensus; such departures from the Hebrew are indicated in footnotes.

The basic text for the translation of the New Testament is The Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies (3rd edition. 1975), but in a few instances the translation is based on a variant reading supported by one or more Greek manuscripts.

Drafts of the translation in its early stages were sent for comments and suggestions to a Review Panel consisting of prominent theologians and Biblical scholars appointed by the American Bible Society Board of Managers in its capacity as trustee for the translation. In addition, drafts were sent to major English-speaking Bible Societies throughout the world. Final approval of the translation on behalf of the United Bible Societies was given by the American Bible Society's Board of Managers upon recommendation of its Translations Committee.

The primary concern of the translators has been to provide a faithful translation of the meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Their first task was to understand correctly the meaning of the original. At times the original meaning cannot be precisely known, not only because the meaning of some words and phrases cannot be determined with a great degree of assurance, but also because the underlying cultural and historical context is sometimes beyond recovery. All aids available were used in this task, including the ancient versions and the modern translations in English and other languages. After ascertaining as accurately as possible the meaning of the original, the translators' next task was to express that meaning in a manner and form easily understood by the readers. Since this translation is intended for all who use English as a means of communication, the translators have tried to avoid words and forms not in current or widespread use; but no artificial limit has been set to the range of the vocabulary employed. Every effort has been made to use language that is natural, clear, simple, and unambiguous. Consequently there has been no attempt to reproduce in English the parts of speech, sentence structure, word order and grammatical devices of the original languages. Faithfulness in translation also includes a faithful representation of the cultural and historical features of the original. Certain features, however, such as the hours of the day and the measures of weight, capacity, distance, and area, are given their modern equivalents, since the information in those terms conveys more meaning to the reader than the Biblical form of those terms.

In cases where a person or place is called by two or more different names in the original, this translation has normally used only the more familiar name in all places; e.g. King Jehoiachin of Judah (Jeremiah 52:31), also called Jeconiah (Jeremiah 24:1) and Coniah (Jeremiah 37:1). Where a proper name is spelled two or more different ways in the original text, this translation has used only one spelling; e.g. Nebuchadnezzar, also spelled Nebuchadrezzar (compare Jeremiah 29:3 and 29:21), and Priscilla, also spelled Prisca (compare Acts 18:26 and Romans 16:3).

In view of the differences in vocabulary and form which exist between the American and the British use of the English language, a British edition has been published, which incorporates changes that are in keeping with British usage.

Following an ancient tradition, begun by the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) and followed by the vast majority of English translations, the distinctive Hebrew name for God (usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh) is in this translation represented by "LORD." When Adona, normally translated "Lord," is followed by Yahweh, the combination is rendered by the phrase "Sovereign LORD."

Since the appearance of the full Bible in Today's English Version in 1976, some minor editorial changes and corrections of printing errors have been introduced into the text in connection with various printings. The New Testament was already in its fourth edition at the time the full Bible appeared, but for the Old Testament and the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha there has been no revised edition. The preparation and publication of this second edition of the full TEV Bible in two formats, with and without the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha, is the result of a broad international process of careful review and evaluation of the TEV translation by many scholars and experts over a period of several years.

In December 1986, acting in response to a mounting perception of a need for TEV revisions, the ABS Board of Managers approved the undertaking of a revision of the TEV translation. The revision is restricted to two main areas of concern that have been raised and discussed over the years since the first appearance of Today's English Version: (1) passages in which the English style has been unnecessarily exclusive and inattentive to gender concerns, and (2) passages in which the translation has been seen as problematic or insensitive from either a stylistic or an exegetical viewpoint.

The process followed in preparing this revised edition was one of first inviting and collecting proposals for needed revisions from all English-language Bible Societies and English-speaking UBS translations consultants around the world, as well as numerous scholarly consultants in the USA and representatives of various American churches. The proposals received were then assembled for review and evaluation by the same broad array of experts whose specializations included translation, linguistics, English usage, literary and poetic style, biblical studies, and theology. In a series of four stages, consensus was sought on which proposals were necessary and valid, and at each of these review stages the number of proposals under consideration was reduced until widespread agreement was reached. On the recommendation of the program committee of the ABS Board of Trustees, and its Translations subcommittee, the ABS Board acted to approve the revisions for the TEV Second Edition in September, 1990. These revisions have also been adapted for use in British usage editions of the TEV.

In the decade and a half since publication of the full TEV Bible, many Bible readers have become sensitive to the negative effects of exclusive language; that is, to the ways in which the built-in linguistic biases of the ancient languages and the English language toward the masculine gender has led some Bible readers to feel excluded from being addressed by the scriptural Word. This concern has led to the revision of most major English translations during the 1980s, and, increasingly, TEV readers have written to request that the Bible Society take this concern into consideration in preparing any revision. In practical terms what this means is that, where references in particular passages are to both men and women, the revision aims at language that is not exclusively masculine-oriented. At the same time, however, great care was taken not to distort the historical situation of the ancient patriarchal culture of Bible times.

The numbering of chapters and verses in this translation follows the traditional system of major English translations of the Bible. In some instances, however, where the order of thought or events in two or more verses is more clearly represented by a rearrangement of the material, two or more verse numbers are joined (e.g. Exodus 2:15–16; Acts 1:21–22).

No one knows better than the translators how difficult has been their task. But they have performed it gladly, conscious always of the presence of the Holy Spirit and of the tremendous debt which they owe to the dedication and scholarship of those who have preceded them. The Bible is not simply great literature to be admired and revered; it is Good News for all people everywhere—a message both to be understood and to be applied in daily life. It is with the prayer that the Lord of the Scriptures will be pleased to use this translation for his sovereign purpose that the United Bible Societies has published the Bible in Today's English Version. And to Christ be the glory forever and ever!

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