The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) first appeared in 1989, and has received wide acclaim and broad support from academics and church leaders as a Bible for all Christians.
The NRSV Bible Translation Committee consists of thirty men and women who are among the top scholars in America today. They come from Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic church, and the Greek Orthodox Church. The committee also includes a Jewish scholar.
Standing in the tradition of the RSV, which was the only major English translation that included both the standard Protestant canon and the books that are traditionally used by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians (the so-called “Apocryphal” or “Deuterocanonical” books), the NRSV is available in three formats: a standard edition with or without the Apocrypha, a Roman Catholic Edition, which has the so-called “Apocryphal” or “Deuterocanonical” books in the Roman Catholic canonical order, and The Common Bible, which includes all books that belong to the Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox canons.
The NRSV stands out among the many translations available today as the Bible translation that is the most widely “authorized” by the churches. It received the endorsement of thirty-three Protestant churches. It received the imprimatur of the American and Canadian Conferences of Catholic bishops. And it received the blessing of a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Rooted in the past, but updated for today’s Bible readers, the NRSV continues the tradition of William Tyndale, the King James Version, the American Standard Version, and the Revised Standard Version. Equally important, it sets a new standard for the 21st Century. The NRSV stands out among the many translations because it is “as literal as possible” in adhering to the ancient texts and only “as free as necessary” to make the meaning clear in graceful, understandable English. It draws on newly available sources that increase our understanding of many previously obscure biblical passages. These sources include new-found manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, other texts, inscriptions, and archaeological finds from the ancient Near East, and new understandings of Greek and Hebrew grammar.
Improvements over the RSV are of four different kinds: updating the language of the RSV, by replacing archaic forms of speech addressed to God (Thee, Thou, wast, dost, etc.), and by replacing words whose meaning has changed significantly since the RSV translation (for example, Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 11.25 that he was “stoned” once) making the translation more accurate, helping it to be more easily understood, especially when it is read out loud, and making it clear where the original texts intend to include all humans, male and female, and where they intend to refer only to the male or female gender.
Asterisk *: Other notes added at that time have been scrutinized and confirmation from Mr. Darby’s writings sought. Any notes which were judged to be of sufficient value to retain, but which could not be positively identified as being Mr. Darby’s (apart from those which are capable of easy verification by reference to a concordance) have been marked by an asterisk.
Italics Example: The transliteration of Hebrew and Greek letters in the notes has been retained as being more convenient to the English reader. Such words are printed in italics. The use of italics in the text indicates emphasis.
LXX: LXX in the footnotes refers to the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.
Keri (קרי): Keri signifies the marginal note of the Massorites, indicating their idea of how the text should be read.
Chetiv: Chetiv is the Hebrew text as it is written. Cf. stands for ‘compare’; Lit. for ‘Literally’.
Square brackets [ ] in the text indicate
(a) words added to complete the sense in English similar to those shown in italics in the Authorised Version; or
(b), words as to which there are variations in the original manuscripts.