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New Revised Standard Version

"NRSV" redirects here. For the New York City punk band, see No Redeeming Social Value.
New Revised Standard Version
Full name New Revised Standard Version
Abbreviation NRSV
Complete Bible
Textual basis

OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint influence.
Apocrypha: Septuagint with Vulgate influence.

NT: 81% correspondence to Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition.[1]
Translation type Formal equivalence, with minimal gender-neutral paraphrasing.
Reading level High School
Copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Religious affiliation Ecumenical, but generally mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic

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.[2]

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.[3] Special editions of the NRSV employ British spelling and grammar.[4]


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.”[3]

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.[2]

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”.[2] 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.[2] 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.”[2]


The following scholars were active on the NRSV Bible Translation Committee at the time of publication.[3]

  • 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

File:NRSV Methodist Bible.jpg
The NRSV is a popular choice for a pew Bible in the United Methodist Church.

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 in the dioceses of the United States and the Philippines or the Jerusalem Bible in most of the rest of the English-speaking world.[5] However, the Canadian conference and the Vatican approved a modification of the NRSV for lectionary use in 2008, and an adapted version is also under consideration for approval in England and Wales, in Ireland, and in Scotland.[5][6] The NRSV, along with the RSV, is also one of the texts 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 on the grounds that it is highly "divergent from the Holy Scriptures traditionally read aloud in the sacred services of the Church",[7] though the National Council of Churches notes that the translation has "the blessing of a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church."[3]

Study editions


  1. ^ Clontz (2008), "The Comprehensive New Testament", ranks the NRSV in eighth place in a comparison of twenty-one translations, at 81% correspondence to the Nestle-Aland 27th ed. ISBN 978-0-9778737-1-5
  2. ^ a b c d e Preface to the NRSV from the National Council of Churches website
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^ entry for Anglicized NRSV
  5. ^ a b "Liturgical Books In The English Speaking World". Official Website of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  6. ^ CECC / CCCB - Revised lectionary approved for Canada
  7. ^ Bishop Tikhon. "Bishop's Pastoral Letter on the New Revised Standard Version". Retrieved 2007-04-22. 


Barker, Margaret (2001). "Isaiah". In Dunn, James D.G.; Rogerson, John. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans. 
Childs, Brevard S (2001). Isaiah. Westminster John Knox Press. 
Coogan, Michael D. (2007). "Isaiah". In Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Mark Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann. New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford University Press. 
Ehrman, Bart D. (1999). Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press. 
Rhodes, Ron (2009). The Complete Guide to Bible Translations. Harvest House Publishers. 
Saldarini, Anthony J. (2001). "Matthew". In Dunn, James D.G.; Rogerson, John. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans. 
Sweeney, Marvin A (1996). Isaiah 1 – 39: with an introduction to prophetic literature. Eerdmans. 

External links