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published: 10/23/13

New Century Version

What is the New Century Version?

The New Century Version of the Bible is a revision of the International Children's Bible. The ICB was aimed at young readers and those with low reading skills/limited vocabulary in English. It is written at a 3rd grade level (from the introduction) and is both conservative and evangelical in tone.

The New Testament was first published in 1978 and the Old Testament followed in 1986. The ICB was revised somewhat to be a bit more sophisticated (reading level grade 5) and was dubbed the New Century Version, released in 1987. A gender-neutral edition was first published in 1991, supplanting the original.

Grudem and Poythress wrote, "The earliest complete translations of the Bible to adopt a gender-neutral translation policy were apparently the New Century Version (NCV) and the International Children's Bible (ICB), both published by Word Publishing Company. The ICB, a simplified edition of the NCV, appeared first, in 1986. The NCV has a copyright date in the following year (1987). (The latest edition, which we cite, has a copyright in 1991.)

The simplified ICB says nothing in its preface about its gender-neutral translation policy. But the NCV gives some explanation. The goal of the NCV was to make a Bible that was clear and easily understood, and the translators based their vocabulary choice on a list of words used by the editors of The World Book Encyclopedia to determine appropriate vocabulary ('Preface,' p. xiii).

Based on the concern for clarity and simplicity of expression, the NCV translates with considerable recourse to paraphrase. With regard to gender language, the NCV is strongly gender-neutral." The New Century Version text was paired with notes containing advice on teenage issues to form "The Youth Bible," and was updated in 2007. The NCV has been available as a stand-alone version since 1991. Also available as a New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs version known as "Clean: A Recovery Companion"

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