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Template:Bible translation infobox

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Christian Bible is an English translation released in 1989. It is an updated revision of the Revised Standard Version, which was itself an update of the American Standard Version.[1]

The NRSV was intended as a translation to serve devotional, liturgical and scholarly needs of the broadest possible range of religious adherents. The full translation includes the books of the standard Protestant canon as well as the books traditionally included in the canons of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity (the so-called “Apocryphal” or “Deuterocanonical” books). The translation appears in three main formats: an edition including only the books of the Protestant canon, a Roman Catholic Edition with all the books of that canon in their customary order, and The Common Bible, which includes all books that appear in Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox canons.[2]

Special editions of the NRSV employ British spelling and grammar.[3]


The New Revised Standard Version was translated by the Division of Christian Education (now Bible Translation and Utilization) of the National Council of Churches. The group included scholars representing Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christian groups as well as Jewish representation in the group responsible for the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. The mandate given the committee was summarized in a dictum: “As literal as possible, as free as necessary.”[2]

Principles of revision

Improved manuscripts and translations

The Old Testament translation of the RSV was completed before the Dead Sea Scrolls were available to scholars. The NRSV was intended to take advantage of this and other manuscript discoveries, and to reflect advances in scholarship.[1]

Elimination of archaism

The RSV retained the archaic second person familiar forms ("thee and thou") when God was addressed but eliminated their use in other contexts. The NRSV eliminated all such archaisms. In a prefatory essay to readers, the translation committee said that "although some readers may regret this change, it should be pointed out that in the original languages neither the Old Testament nor the New makes any linguistic distinction between addressing a human being and addressing the Deity."

Gender language

In the preface to the NRSV Bruce Metzger wrote for the committee that “many in the churches have become sensitive to the danger of linguistic sexism arising from the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender, a bias that in the case of the Bible has often restricted or obscured the meaning of the original text”.[1] The RSV observed the older convention of using masculine nouns in a gender-neutral sense (e.g. "man" instead of "person"), and in some cases used a masculine word where the source language used a neuter word. The NRSV by contrast adopted a policy of inclusiveness in gender language.[1] According to Metzger, “The mandates from the Division specified that, in references to men and women, masculine-oriented language should be eliminated as far as this can be done without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture.”[1]


The following scholars were active on the NRSV Bible Translation Committee at the time of publication.[2]

  • William A. Beardslee
  • Phyllis A. Bird
  • George Coats
  • Demetrios J. Constantelos
  • Robert C. Dentan
  • Alexander A. DiLella, OFM
  • J. Cheryl Exum
  • Reginald H. Fuller
  • Paul D. Hanson
  • Walter Harrelson
  • William L. Holladay
  • Sherman E. Johnson
  • Robert A. Kraft
  • George M. Landes
  • Conrad E. L’Heureux
  • S. Dean McBride, Jr.
  • Bruce M. Metzger
  • Patrick D. Miller
  • Paul S. Minear
  • Lucetta Mowry
  • Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm.
  • Harry S. Orlinsky
  • Marvin H. Pope
  • J. J. M. Roberts
  • Alfred v. Rohr Sauer
  • Katharine D. Sakenfeld
  • James A. Sanders
  • Gene M. Tucker
  • Eugene C. Ulrich
  • Allen Wikgren

Approval of the NRSV

Many of the older mainline Protestant churches officially approve the NRSV for both private and public use. The Episcopal Church in Canon II.2 added the NRSV to the list of translations approved for church services. It is also widely used by the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Canada.

In accordance with the Code of Canon Law Canon 825.1, the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, has the imprimatur of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, granted on 12 September 1991 and 15 October 1991 respectively, meaning that the NRSV (Catholic Edition) is officially approved by the Catholic Church and can be profitably used by Catholics privately in study and devotional reading. For public worship, such as at weekly mass, most Catholic Bishops Conferences in English-speaking countries require the use of other translations, either the adapted New American Bible or the Jerusalem Bible.[4] In Canada, an adapted form of the NRSV was approved in 2008 by the Canadian conference and the Vatican. An adapted version is under consideration for approval in England and Wales, in Ireland, and in Scotland.[4][5] Although the United States Conference approves only the New American Bible as adapted for liturgical use, the NRSV, along with the RSV, is adapted and quoted in the English-language edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In 1990 the synod of the Orthodox Church in America decided not to permit use of the NRSV in liturgy or in Bible studies,[6] though the National Council of Churches notes that the translation has "the blessing of a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church."[2]

Study editions



External links

  • Official Website
  • National Council of Churches
  • Time magazine
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