7. Bibliography

All major Bible translations will include a translator’s preface or some sort of note to the reader at the front of the book, at least in the standard edition. (This introductory material is often abridged or omitted in later editions, particularly mass market paperbacks and pew editions). Also there is often a special book written or edited by a member of the translating committee to explain the ethos behind the new translation. These can be worth reading although not necessarily worth buying, so use your library or see what you can find on-line.

The following resources represent just a sample of what is available but are the ones used in preparing this unit. Please remember that even the best book is good only for so far as it goes. Ackroyd and Evans, for example, finished the Cambridge History of the Bible in the mid 1980s so we cannot expect them to have anything to say on The Message or NIV11. We keep the book on our bibliography because it is superb as a work of history but if we need contemporary analysis of Bible translation in the twenty-first century it falls well short. So always check the date and use the resource accordingly.

  • Ackroyd, Peter R. and C. F. Evans, editors, Cambridge History of the Bible – three volumes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

A wonderful resource but too expensive for a student budget.

A conversation between the rock star and translator Eugene Peterson on the Psalms.

  • Bruce, F. F., The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press,1943 and revised and updated many times since).

Shows how the New testament manuscripts can stand comparison with any ancient documents.

  • Bruce, F. F., History of the Bible in English (Oxford: Oxford University Press, third edition 1978).

Excellent on the earliest translations and the background to the King James Version but rather superficial on more recent translations.

  • Carson, D. A., The King James Version Debate: A plea for realism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1978).

A fair discussion with Carson eventually coming down against the “King James only” position.

  • Carson, D. A., The Inclusive Language Debate: A plea for realism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998).

A wide ranging discussion on the principles of translation in general as well as the inclusive language issue in particular.

  • Comfort, Philip W., Quiknotes: English Bible Versions (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2000).

Only fifty pages but manages to pack in a great amount of information.

  • Copley, Terence, “How did it reach us?” pages 69 – 92 of The Bible: The Story Of The Book (Swindon: Bible Society, 1990).

An easy introduction to how we got the Bible.

  • Davies, Philip R. et al, The Complete World of The Dead Sea Scrolls (London: Thames & Hudson, 2002).

All the background and much more.

A thorough critique.

  • Duthie, A. S., How to Choose Your Bible Wisely (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1994).

Written by a professional linguist rather than a theologian. His conclusion is that the Good News Bible was the best English Bible at that point in time.

  • “biblical translation” in Encyclopaedia Britannica 2007 Deluxe Edition CD-ROM (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009). Author not stated.

Good links to other relevant articles.

  • France, R. T., Translating the Bible: Choosing and Using an English Version (Cambridge: Grove Biblical Series, 1997).

An excerpt from The Oxford Guide to English Literature in translation at a fraction of the price.

  • Goldingay, John, Old Testament Commentary Survey 1991 Edition (Leicester: RFSF, 1991).

Out of date but his comments remain helpful.

  • Graham, Tony (editor), The Bible in Transmission (Swindon: Bible Society, Summer – Autumn 2011).

A special issue on “Translating the Bible”.

  • Jenson, Philip, “Choosing and English Version” in France (1997).

A useful chapter in a useful book.

  • Josephus, Flavius, see Maier below.

Could Shakespeare have had a hand in the King James Version?

  • Knox, Ronald A., http://knoxbible.com/index.html.

Information on Knox’s popular translation.

  • Knox, Ronald A., On Englishing the Bible (Burns & Oates, London,1949).

How Knox went about making his translation.

  • Kubo, Sakae and Walter F. Specht, So Many Versions? (Grand Rapids: Revised and Enlarged Edition, Zondervan, 1983).

Brilliant on English versions up to and including the Readers’ Digest Version of 1982.

  • Maier, Paul L., (translator and editor): Josephus – the essential writings (Grand Rapids MI: Kregal, 1988)

Background in this module but will be foreground later.

  • McDowell, Josh, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Nashville TN: Nelson, 1981).

An apologetic goldmine with plenty of matrerial on the reliability of the New Testament.

  • McGrath, Alister, In The Beginning – the story of the King James Bible and how it changed a nation, a language and a culture (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001).

Too much detail for the general reader but a wealth of information for those who want it.

  • Metzger Bruce, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 1994).

Explains the meaning of those arcane notes at the bottom of the page in your New Testament.

A critique of Moffatt’s translation.

  • Nida, Eugene and Charles R. Taber, The Theory and Practice of Translation (Helps for Translators – 8, United Bible Societies, 1969).

Nida is an important theorist who devised the principle of “dynamic equivalence”.

His tongue is in his cheek at some points but Olasky also covers some useful background.

  • Peterson, Eugene, https://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/bono-eugene-peterson-psalms

A conversation between the translator of The Message and the rock star Bono on the Psalms.

  • Staniforth, Maxwell (translator), Early Christian Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1968).

Thirteen key documents from the early Church in full.

  • Stevenson, J. (editor), A New Eusebius – Documents illustrative of the history of the Church to A.D. 337 (London: SPCK, 1957).

A standard collection of more than three hundred extracts from the early Church.

  • Vermes, Geza (translator and editor), The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Harmondsworth: Allen Lane, 1997).

All the key texts and plenty of background.

Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament.

A useful (and free) site where it is easy to compare many different versions.

Wikipedia can be very helpful but is not always as accurate as we expect a traditional encyclopaedia to be. “Wiki” is always worth a look but you must check the key facts. I have kept the dates I originally used these articles as Wiki gets updated all the time. As of 20/8/2016 all the articles were still available at the stated locations but I have not re-read them carefully enough to be certain that they have remained unchanged.

< Best Bible Guidelines   Comparison Assignment > 


  1. All websites on this page were checked and working on 20/8/2016.