Berkeley Version

What is the Berkeley Version of the Bible?

The Berkeley Version of the English Bible was published by Zondervan in 1945. While the New Testament was published in 1945, the Old Testament was completed until 1959. At that time, the "Berkeley Version" became known ad "The Modern Language Bible" or "The Berkeley Version in Modern English." (Learn more about the Old Testament here and the New Testament here.)

The translation philosophy behind the Berkeley version, according to editor-in-chief Gerrit Verkuyl, was that God's Word should be communicated in everyday language. To Verkuyl, other popular English-langauge versions of the Bible like the King James Version and the American Standard Version contained verbage that was outdated and uncommon. (Learn more about the King James Version here and the American Standard Version here.)

The Berkeley Version of the Old Testament by design exhibits the same characteristics of faithful rendering of the original texts into lively modern English that mark his New Testament, according to its publisher. The aim of this version was to achieve plain, up-to-date expression that reflects as directly as possible the meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It is not intended to be a paraphrase. This revision was very extensive, while not being a retranslation. Explanatory notes were revised as well as added and topical headings were rephrased.


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