The ISV: A KJV for our times

I know there is already an over-saturization of Bible translations out there (although in a way that is a blessing…) to the point where the announcement of a new english version of the Bible is not exactly something that gets people’s toes all tingly, but, this is one translation I’ve had to make a big exception for.

I’ve been following the design of this Bible on it’s website ( over a good two or three years now, and now that it seems to be within a month or so of being completed and released in its full edition, I thought I’d make a thread and bring it to everyone else’s attention here too.

It’s rendering of the poetical books and handling of the more poetical verses in the New Testament alone make it a novel translation among its english brethren, but you combine that with its general majestic flow, and above all else, accurateness and faithfulness to the original texts (according to review after review) and that makes this a Bible to be reckoned with, and the Bible that I personally plan to make my primary source for both devotional reading and serious study in the years and months to come…

Anyway, the following blogger lays it out better than I could.

By WordPress Blogger “jzimmy

We’re all familiar with the King James Version of the Holy Bible, also known as the Authorized Version, aren’t we? It was first put into the hands of men back in 1611 AD, and with only some minor revision quickly became the standard English translation for nearly 400 years now. And in spite of the fact that it was written in Elizabethan, Shakespearian English, there are still quite a few people today who would have no other Bible but the KJV!

However, there is a problem. Languages change; they evolve. The English we speak today is simply not very much like the English that was spoken back in 1611. Many words are now obsolete; other words have changed meanings. So when we try to read the King James Version, most of us have difficulty understanding it. We just don’t talk that way any more.

And that is why we now have so very many different versions of the Bible, ranging from the more literal translations like the NASB, ESV, and NRSV, through the “middling” versions like the NIV and HCSB, on up to the paraphrases like the Living Bible and the Message. If you can’t find something in that bunch that you can understand, then maybe you don’t speak English!

But there’s something more to be considered in this than just making a Bible translation you can understand. We need to make a Bible translation that can be the standard for hundreds of years, like the King James Version has been. One Faith, and one Bible for believers to read and memorize. This is truly a worthy goal!

Is there any Bible that is available today that fits that bill?

Perhaps the closest we have had is the NIV, the New International Version. It was a groundbreaker when it was first introduced almost 30 years ago. It was adopted by many, many evangelical churches as “their” scriptures, and quite a few of us memorized a lot of verses from the NIV. It was then, and still is, an excellent translation. It’s also the best-selling Bible translation today, largely because it has been marketed so well by the International Bible Society and Zondervan. For many people, the NIV has been the standard of Bible translations for almost 30 years.

But 30 years is nowhere near 400 years. Is the NIV capable of being the standard for so long? I doubt it, especially since for most of us it is no longer the standard right now. It was good in its time, but it’s looking more and more like its time is past. Zondervan is hoping to replace the NIV with the TNIV, which is a little more accurate, and just as easy to read, but it’s been embroiled in controversy because of its change to “inclusive language” and will probably never be well accepted in most evangelical churches.

Some think the ESV could be the next KJV, but that’s really just a revised Revised Standard Version, which is already an old translation. And the NRSV, which claims to be the real successor to the RSV, is a muddy translation that is also unacceptable to most evangelicals because of it’s inclusive language agenda.

My current favorite, the NASB, is extremely accurate but people complain that it’s wooden. And the NET Bible’s greatest advantage is its 6000+ study and translators’ notes. It’s English isn’t that great, and it needs a better marketing plan.

I could go on and on and on about the different translations, but that’s not what this is about. The question is, is there any Bible available today that could be the successor to the KJV, that could be that special standard?

The only one I have read that gives me hope for this is a new one called the International Standard Version, the ISV. They’re not even done translating it as this is written, but they’re getting close. There are only a few portions of the Old Testament left to be translated. It is virtually as accurate as the NASB, yet as clear and easy to read as the NIV. It’s not weighed down with the inclusive language controversy either.

The philosophy of their translation is that they’re not going to change the Word to fit any political agenda. It will be accurate, easy-to-read, and written in good English. And it appears that they are seeking a publisher who will market it aggressively. So we could see the ISV on the bookstore shelves, possibly within a few months! We hope, anyway!

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