The RSV and NRSV Editions of the Holy Bible

Since its beginnings in the early 1950s, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) has supported the work of scholars who dedicate their lives to the study of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. The NCC’s purpose and steadfast aim have been to encourage readers to study the Scriptures and to inspire the faith of religious adherents. Bible scholars across Jewish and Christian faith traditions approached the work with two guiding principles before them. One was to adhere to the ancient texts “as literally as possible.” A second principle was to be “as free as necessary” to make the meaning clear and graceful for English-speaking audiences.

The RSV and NRSV translations of the Bible have received approval and validation from a broad range of ecumenical church bodies. Thirty-nine Protestant communions, the American and Canadian Conferences of Catholic Bishops, and Greek Orthodox Church leaders have all endorsed the RSV and NRSV translations.

While the work to clearly present Holy Scriptures to new generations is ongoing, we believe that the RSV and NRSV translations are worthy of your trust. As you use these translations, we hope you will find them worthy of your trust too.

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV) (1946, 1952, and 1971) is an authorized update of the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901). Bible scholars worked to “embody the best results of modern scholarship as to the meaning of the Scriptures, and express this meaning in English diction which is designed for use in public and private worship and preserves those qualities which have given the King James Version a supreme place in English literature.” Under the direction of Catholic Bible scholars, the Roman Catholic edition (RSV-CE) was released in 1965, 1966 (updated in 2006).

The Revised Standard Version—Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) (1965, 1966, and 2006) is an adaptation of the RSV by the Catholic Biblical Association. Catholic biblical tradition contains the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament and places them in the canonical order of the Vulgate, a fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible. Bernard Orchard OSB and Reginald C. Fuller were principal editors of the RSV-CE. Under their guidance, the work proceeded with prudence to make changes to the RSV informed by the Catholic tradition. The RSV-CE offers Catholics the scholarly achievements of the RSV translation while affirming their faith tradition.

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) (1989) is a revision of the RSV. It is the latest version of the Bible in the King James (1611) tradition. Bible scholars followed the mandate to adhere to changes based on “accuracy, clarity, euphony (pleasing effect to the ear) and current English usage.” They followed the maxim “as literal as possible, as free as necessary” in their meaning-based and form-based approach to the update. Their efforts resulted in the standard scholarly edition of the Bible.

The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible—Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE) is an adaptation of the Bible strictly based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The canon for the Roman Catholic Church includes the deuterocanonical books. The Catholic Church has approved the NRSV-CE. This Bible edition is an accurate and comprehensible translation that Catholics can use with confidence.

The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible—Anglicized edition (NRSV-A) extends the scholarship of the NRSV to a broader English-speaking readership. Biblical linguists use an Anglicization process to American-English words and phrases that British-English readers might find awkward or meaningless. The work includes making adjustments to spellings, grammar, and punctuation. Anglicization of the NRSV does not attempt to alter earlier translations of the Bible text. For those who prefer the use of British English, the NRSV-A was produced to present the meaning as clear as possible, while preserving the integrity and scholarship of the NRSV.

The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible—Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSV-ACE) is an adaptation of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The NRSV-ACE presents the canon of the Roman Catholic Church that includes the deuterocanonical books. British-English spelling, punctuation, and grammar are used throughout the edition. Adjustments have been made for idiomatic distinctions that exist between British- and American-English.