New English Bible - Another Disappointing Translation

Luther W. Martin
St. James, Missouri

In February, 1946, the "Revised Standard Version" of the New Testament was published in the U.S. This version was a sad disappointment to many students of the scripture, at least to those who were concerned about the literary accuracy of the version, rather than adapting it to conform with certain modern theological views. Apparently, a number of religious groups overseas were also disappointed with the effort of the American scholars, because it was in May of the same year (some three months later), that the initial suggestion was made that an English translation of the Bible be made in the language of the present day.

After several organizational meetings, translators from several. sectarian groups began meeting regularly in 1948, and finally, on March 11th, 1961, the "New English Bible" (N.T. only) came from the presses. Church groups having a part in its translation included: Church of England, Church of Scotland, Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian Church of England, the Society of Friends, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and others.

However, the New English New Testament, in our humble estimation, a very poor sample of scholarship. We give a few of our reasons herein.

English Words Used by Translators More Difficult to Understand

The very purpose for the existence of the Bible, is to convey a message to mankind. Therefore the more easily understood the wording, the more effective the Bible becomes. Philip the evangelist expected the Ethiopian to understand what he read, possibly not in completely identifying the fulfillment of prophecy, but certainly in the scriptural description of those prophecies (See Acts 8:30).

Paul the apostle expected his readers to understand what he wrote to them (See Eph. 3:4).

Mark, writing by inspiration, urged; "Let him that readeth understand" (See Mark 13:14).

New English Version
Revised Version (1901)

"Indefatigable in confuting"

"Contaminated with sensuality"

"Anxious to ingratiate"


"Parricides and matricides"

"Pompous ignoramus"

"Ecstatic Utterance of different kinds"

"Propagandist for foreign deities"

"Smooth and specious words"

"Using the language of ecstasy"

"Our colleague"

"Inaugurated with divine splendor"

"The plots of the Jews"

"Powerfully confuted"

"Spotted by the flesh"

"Desiring to gain favor"


"Murders of fathers and murderers of mothers"

"Puffed up"

"Divers kinds of tongues"

"Setter forth of strange gods"

"Smooth and fair speech"

"Speaketh in a tongue"

"Our brother"

"Came with glory"

Acts 20:19

Acts 18:28

Jude 23

Acts 25:9

Col. 1:15

1 Tim. 1:9

1 Tim. 6:4

1 Cor. 12:10

Acts 17:18

Rom. 16:18

1 Cor. 14:2

2 Cor. 1:1

2 Cor. 3:7

The above samples are only a few of the more "wordy" renditions of the New English Version.

Fabrications, Interpolations, Insertions -Words That Are Not Found in the Greek Manuscripts

The translators of the King James Version flatly inserted the word "Easter" in Acts 12:4, in lieu of the correct word "Passover." They were pikers compared to the men behind the New English Bible. Please note the following:

"Whitsuntide" for "Pentecost" - (1 Cor. 16:8) . "Friday" for "Day of the Preparation" - (Luke 23:54). Note: It may well have been the day we call Friday, but the Greek manuscripts provide no authority for the use of such a modern proper name. "Saturday" for "first day of the week" - (Acts 20:7) . "Sunday" for "first day of the week" - (1 Cor. 16:2).

Paul, when writing to the church in Corinth concerning their abuse of spiritual gifts that existed in the early church, stressed the importance of understanding (1 Cor. 14:1420). Paul's own method of preaching, as he described it, also would endorse simplicity in writing and presentation (1 Cor. 2:1-5).

We are firmly convinced that the words used in the New English Version make it more difficult for the reader with a limited vocabulary to understand.

The word "Christian" is inserted in numerous instances where the Greek word "Christianos" is not found. Such as Romans 8:9, wherein the New English Version reads, "He is no Christian," while the American Revised Version gives it, "He is none of his." The possessive pronoun "his" has its Greek counter-part, but the word "Christian" does not, in this passage.

In other instances, the word Christian is prostituted to the extent of being used as an adjective rather than as a proper noun. In the Greek manuscripts, the word "Christianos" is always and only applied to the children of God, never to describe the nature or character of some person or thing. The New English version uses the word "Christian" as an adjective as follows: "Christian greetings" (Romans 16:22); "Christian wife" (1 Cor. 7:14); "Christian husband" (1 Cor. 7:14); "Christian community" (1 Cor. 14:4); "Christian men" (II Cor. 12:19); "Christian congregations" (Gal. 1:2); "Christian duty" (Col. 3:18); "Christian way" (Col. 3:20); "Christian brother" (II Thess. 3:6); "non-Christian public" (I Tim. 3:7); "Christian faith" (I Tim. 3:13); and others.

Additional Peculiar Terms Not Necessarily Contributing to Clarity

"Imposter and charlatan" (Acts 13:10) ; "intractable evil" (James 3: 8) ; "loose livers" (I Cor. 5:19); "bedizened" (Rev. 18:16); "servitor" (Heb. 3:5); "tiptoe of expectation" (Luke 3:15) ; and many others.


In this brief study, we have not "scratched the surface" as far as compiling evidence and reasons why the New English Bible is unworthy of being classed with such versions of scripture as the American Standard.

Truth Magazine, V:9, pp. 12-14
June 1961