What is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)?Question: "What is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)?"
New Revised Standard Version – History
The NRSV was translated by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches, an ecumenical Christian group. It is called the New Revised Standard Version because it is a revision of, and meant to replace, the Revised Standard Version of 1952. Released in 1989, the NRSV has three versions: the NRSV, containing the Old and New Testaments, the NRSV Common Bible, which includes the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books, and the NRSV Catholic Edition containing the Old Testament books in the order of the Latin Vulgate. There are also anglicized editions of the NRSV, which modify the text slightly to be consistent with British spelling and grammar.
New Revised Standard Version – Translation Method
The NRSV was intended to take advantage of manuscript discoveries made since the printing of the Revised Standard Version and to reflect advances in scholarship since the RSV had been released. The NRSV translators chose to eliminate archaic language, especially the pronouns “thee” and “thou.” They also made the controversial decision to translate some gender-specific words using more gender-neutral wording in places where gender was not seen to be an issue, e.g., “people” in place of “mankind.” The goal of the translators was to be “sensitive to the danger of linguistic sexism arising from the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender” (Preface to the NRSV from the National Council of Churches website). The NRSV also sought to expand gender-specific phrases such as “brothers” into “brothers and sisters.”
New Revised Standard Version – Pro’s and Con’s
Overall, the New Revised Standard Version is a good English Bible translation. The fact that the NRSV has a Catholic version (including the Apocrypha), and the fact that it is "gender-inclusive" in some of its renderings, prevented it from being adopted by most conservative and evangelical Christians. Also, many consider the NRSV to not be as free-flowing and natural-sounding English as it could be.
New Revised Standard Version – Sample Verses
John 1:1,14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
John 8:58 – “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’”
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Titus 2:13 – “while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
Recommended Resource: How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions by Gordon D. Fee & Mark L. Strauss
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