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Revised Version

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Title: Revised Version  
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Subject: Modern English Bible translations, American Standard Version, John Burgon, Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, The Woman's Bible
Collection: 1885 Books, Bible Translations Into English
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Revised Version

Revised Version
Outside cover of Revised Version of Bible, bound in leather with a full yapp, Published by Oxford in 1885
Full name English Revised Version
Abbreviation RV (ERV)
Translation type literal
Copyright Public domain

The Revised Version or English Revised Version of the Bible is a late 19th-century British revision of the Authorised Version, also known as King James Version, of 1611. It was the first and remains the only officially authorised and recognised revision of the King James Bible. The work was entrusted to over 50 scholars from various denominations in Britain. American scholars were invited to co-operate, by correspondence.[1] The New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1894.[1] The best known of the translation committee members were Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort; their fiercest critic of that period was John William Burgon.


  • Features 1
  • New version 2
  • See also 3
  • Sources 4
  • Further reading 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7


The New Testament revision company was commissioned in 1870 by the convocation of Canterbury.[2] Their stated aim was "to adapt King James' version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary," and "to adapt it to the present standard of Biblical scholarship." To those ends, the Greek text that was used to translate the New Testament was believed by most to be of higher reliability than the Textus Receptus used for the KJV. The readings used were compiled from a different text of the Greek Testament by Edwin Palmer.[3]

While the text of the translation itself is widely regarded as excessively literal and flat, the Revised Version is significant in the history of English Bible translation for many reasons. At the time of the RV's publication, the nearly 300-year-old King James Version was still the only viable English Bible in Victorian England. The RV, therefore, is regarded as the forerunner of the entire modern translation tradition. And it was considered more accurate than the King James Version in a number of verses.[4]

New version

The Revised Version of the New Testament translators, 1881.

The revisers were charged with introducing alterations only if they were deemed necessary to be more accurate and faithful to the Original Greek and Hebrew texts. In the New Testament alone more than 30,000 changes were made, over 5,000 on the basis of what were considered better Greek manuscripts. The work was begun in 1879, with the entire work completed in 1885. (The RV Apocrypha came out in 1895.)[1]

The Revised Version of 1885 was the first post-King James Version modern English Bible at the time to gain popular acceptance;[5] and it was used and quoted favorably by ministers, authors, and theologians in the late 1800s and early 1900s, such as Andrew Murray and Clarence Larkin, in their works. Other important enhancements introduced in the RV include arrangement of the text into paragraphs, printing Old Testament poetry in indented poetic lines (rather than as prose), and the inclusion of marginal notes to alert the reader to variations in wording in ancient manuscripts. In its Apocrypha, the Revised Version became the first printed edition in English to offer the complete text of Second Esdras, inasmuch as damage to one 9th-century manuscript had caused 70 verses to be omitted from previous editions and printed versions, including the King James Version.

In the United States, the Revised Version was adapted and revised as the "Revised Version, Standard American Edition" (better known as the American Standard Version) in 1901. The American Standard Version is largely identical to the Revised Version of 1885, with minor variations in wording considered to be slightly more accurate. One noticeable difference is the much more frequent use of the form "Jehovah" in the Old Testament of the American Standard Version, rather than "the LORD" that is used more so in the Revised Version of 1885, to represent the Divine Name, the Tetragrammaton.

The Revised Version (both the 1885 and the American Revision of 1901) are some of the Bible versions that are authorized to be used in services of the Episcopal Church and also of the Church of England.[6][7]

See also


  • Marlowe, Michael D. "English Revised Version (1881-1895)". Retrieved March 22, 2004.
  • Hall, Isaac H. (ed.) "History of the English Revised Version (1881)". Retrieved March 22, 2004.
  • Palmer, Edwin Palmer, ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ. The Greek Testament with the Readings Adopted by the Revisers of the Authorised Version. London: Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007. ISBN 1-84356-023-2
  • Ryken, Leland (2002). The Word of God in English. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. ISBN 1-58134-464-3
  • Burgon, John William (1883). The Revision Revised.[8]
  • Bible: Apocrypha, Revised Version. The Apocrypha, Translated out of the Greek and Latin Tongues, Being the Version Set forth A.D. 1611 Compared with the Most Ancient Authorities and Revised A.D. 1894, [as] Printed for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Cambridge: At the University Press, 1896. ix, 175 p.

Further reading

  • Wegner, Paul D. Journey from Texts to Translations, The: The Origin and Development of the Bible, Baker Academic (August 1, 2004), ISBN 978-0-8010-2799-4 – The Revised Version is described in pages 314ff.


  1. ^ a b c Revised Version - CAMBRIDGE - At the University Press - London: Cambridge University Press, 200 Euston Road, N.W., Synopsis
  2. ^ Mark D. Chapman'Which used the ALEXANDRIAN Greek from the Vatican rather than the Alexandrian Greek of the King James Bible. New Testament revision company (act. 1870–1881), ODNB
  3. ^ Palmer, Edwin, ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ. The Greek Testament] with the Readings Adopted by the Revisers of the Authorised Version. London: Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007. ISBN 1-84356-023-2
  4. ^ "The Development of Bible Translations". HyperHistory. 2008-11-11. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  5. ^ GREATSITE - English Bible History This English Bible History Article & Timeline is ©2002 by author & editor: John L. Jeffcoat
  6. ^ The Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church: Canon 2: Of Translations of the Bible
  7. ^ Versions of Scripture The Church of England - A Note by the House of Bishops - While the Church of England authorises the Lectionary - what passages are to be read on which occasion - it does not authorize particular translations of the Bible. Nevertheless, among the criteria by which versions of Scripture are judged suitable for reading in church during the course of public worship are the following: 3 Versions of Scripture which are translations and appear to satisfy at least four of the criteria set out in paragraph 1 above include: The Authorized Version or King James Bible (AV), published in 1611, of which a Revised Version was published in 1881-5. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  8. ^ Google Books: Revision Revised. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 

External links

  • The text of the RV online
  • The text of the RV with Apocrypha online
  • Prefaces to the English Revised Version (1881-85)
  • The New Testament, in the revised version of 1881, with fuller references (1910) – Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.
    Editors: Moulton, W. F. (William Fiddian), 1835-1898; Moulton, James Hope, 1863-1917; Greenup, A. W. (Albert William), 1866-1952; Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose, 1813-1891.
  • The interlinear Bible : the Authorised version and the Revised version ; together with the marginal notes of both versions and central references (1907) – Cambridge University Press
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