Chronological History of the Bible - 20th Century
1900 - 1950
1901 Publication of the American Revised (Standard) (ASV) version of the KJV.
1902 The New Testament In Modern Speech: An Idiomatic Translation Into Every-Day English From The Text of The Resultant Greek Testament. Translated by Richard Francis Weymouth, Fellow of the University College, London; published (London) James Clarke & Co. my copy is the 1909 3rd Edition, (Boston) Pilgrim Press. In his thoughtful and scholarly Preface to the First Edition, Dr. Weymouth says this “is a bona fide translation made directly from the Greek, and is in no sense a revision.” His 60-year study of both Greek and English led to this modern yet faithful English translation, understandable to Twentieth Century Christians, without “slavish” literal rendering. “An utterly ignorant or utterly lazy man, if possessed of a little ingenuity, can with the help of a dictionary and grammar give a word-for-word rendering, whether intelligible or not, and print ‘Translation’ on his title page.” His words bring to mind several modern American ‘translations’.
1902 The Emphasized Bible: A New Translation [by Joseph B. Rotherham]; Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio; in the Introduction, Mr. Rotherham gives a lengthy explanation as to why the name Yahweh must be restored to the Holy Scriptures.
1903-05 T. J. Cobden-Sanderson’s Dove Press Bible
1904 Canadian Bible Society founded; chartered in 1906; today, the Canadian Bible Society translates, publishes and distributes the Bible in 111 foreign languages as well as 23 Canadian Aboriginal languages.
1904 14-Volume Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha. (King James Version) Limited, numbered edition; top edge gilt, octavo, quarter-morocco over wooden boards; published by R. H. Hinkley of Boston, and printed by Merrymount Press on hand-made paper. Illustrated with seventy black & white plates by various artists.
1907 Oxford University Press sells it’s last copy of the Coptic New Testament of Wilkins, which was printed in 1716 and is believed to have been continuously on sale ever since, at the original price
1907 American Unitarian Association/Beacon Press, Boston, publishes The Soul of the Bible, edited by Ulysses G.B. Pierce, “being selections from the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha.” Edited readings, each a literary unit dealing with but one subject, and enforcing a definite religious lesson. Indexed.
1908 Gideon Bible Society votes to put its first bibles in hotel rooms; the association was founded in 1899 in Boscobel, Wisconsin by two traveling salesmen; today, the Gideons distribute various editions of the Holy Bible throughout the world, free of charge.
1908 R. H. Hinckley Co. publishes a twelve-volume Merrymount Press edition of the Bible.
1909 Third Edition of The New Testament in Modern Speech is released by The Pilgrim Press of Boston and James Clarke of London. Re-set in new type, many entries re-written to make them more literal, and many errata corrected. Editedby Ernest Hampden-Cook, M.A.
1911 Hoe Library auction held in New York; a copy of Gutenberg Bible brings $50,000- the largest price ever paid for a book up to that time - now in the Huntington Library, California.
1913 The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English. edited in conjunction with many scholars by Robert Henry Charles. (Oxford) Clarendon Press, Two-Vols. 1,555 p.
1913 New York Bible Society (later renamed the International Bible Society) declares its independence and breaks away from the American Bible Society; began as and still remains very conservative.
1913-14 Gutenberg Bible facsimile published by Insel-Verlag, Leipzig, in an edition of 300 copies. Numbers 1 to 3 were printed on parchment, the rest on van Gelder paper. Numbers 1 to 3 were also illuminated in color and in gold by hand; Numbers 4 through 13 only, the gold illumination was by hand.
1914 Mnemonic Bible Skeleton. devised, illustrated and published by Denver, Colorado evangelist Frank Lloyd Rose, using “The Rose System of Mnemonics”. About a 50-page stapled booklet outlining each book of the Bible in contrasting fonts of size and style, with accompanying pen & ink drawings. A good teaching aid.
1917 English translation of Masoretic Text of Hebrew Holy Scriptures, published by the Jewish Publication Society of America.
1918 The two-volume Shorter Bible is published in New York; Translated by Yale professor Charles Foster Kent, it did not indicate chapters and verses, and was never popular. Printing ended in 1922.
1922 The James Moffatt translation of the Holy Bible is published (George H. Doran, NY); the goal to "present the books of the Old and the New Testament in effective, intelligible English." Moffatt's introduction says it is "a fresh translation of the original, not a revision of any English version." The Apocrypha is included and the books are arranged, as in the case of the Old Testament, in the order of the English Bible for the sake of convenience. Moffatt makes the case that his translation is based on improved scholarship and resources not previously available, including updated and more accurate methods of translating the ancient Greek manuscripts.
1923 King James Version of the revised Braille Bible was completed in 21 volumes, being the work of J. Robert Atkinson, also known as the “Blind Benjamin Franklin”
1924 New York Public Library acquires the Bible once owned by Mrs. Mary Christian, said to be the widow of Fletcher Christian of the mutinous HMS Bounty; the story told is that Mrs. Christian, with failing eyesight, exchanged her small Bible in 1839 for a larger copy, brought to Pitcairn Island by Levi Hayden, the mate of the American Whaler Cyrus of Nantucket. Hayden also brought back a Bible given to him by John Adams, the grandson of the original mutineer John Adams. This copy had been rebound in what looked like fish- skin and was acquired by the Connecticut Historical Society in 1896. See “The Pitcairn Bible,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library, June and Sept 1924.
1924 Bible History in the Language of the Teton Sioux Indians; Wowapi Wakan; by Eugene Buechel. (NY) Benziger Pub. 1924.
1924 The Millenium Bible is published; a ten-year effort by author William E. Biederwolf; intended “as a help to those who desire to study for themselves as to what the scriptures really do testify concerning the important event known as the Second Coming of the Lord”. See 1972.
1924-25 Nonesuch Bible, typography by Francis Meynell, printed by Oxford University Press.
1925 American Standard Revised Version of the Braille Bible completed in 20 vols.
1926 In February of` this year the “Melk” Gutenberg (from the Benedictine Monastery at Melk, Austria) was purchased by rare book dealer A.S.W. Rosenbach for $106,000 at a public auction in New York, the most paid for a single volume up to this point; Dr. Rosenbach later sold the Bible to Mrs. Edward S. Harkness for $120,000, and she then presented the book to Yale University Library.
1926 In March, eight leaves (the entire Saint Paul Epistle to the Romans) of a Gutenberg from the library of Mrs. Hannah M. Standish, were sold at public auction in New York for $1,750, or $218 per page.
1926 Otto H.F. Vollbehr of Berlin, Germany pays $305,000 for the Gutenberg from St. Blasius Abbey in the Black Forest; It is one of only 12 known copies printed on vellum, and becomes the costliest book in the world to date.
1931 National Institute For the Blind completes Braille Bible in Arabic in 32 vols.
1931 At the height of the Depression, Grosset & Dunlap publishes its Dollar Bible, a KJV Octavo; Bound in plain, blue cloth with blue ribbon marker, in a dust jacket. It also included illustrations, maps and two short dictionaries. A fancier boxed edition in fabrokoid sold for $1.50. In its first week of publication, the highly successful Dollar Bible sold 500 copies in a single day at one of the Western Book & Stationery department stores.
1933 Goodspeed’s “Short” Bible, published by University of Chicago
1935 Oxford Lecturn Bible, typography by Bruce Rogers; published by Oxford Univ. Press.
1935 St John’s Gospel fragment is discovered in Egypt and is dated to the first half of the Second Century A.D.; it is the earliest known fragment of the New Testament in any language, and is written in the format of a codex, i.e. book; remains part of the collection of Greek papyri in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK.
1936 The Teacher's Edition of the Joseph Smith translation; this was the First Edition to have the words Inspired Version in the title and appears to have been a photographic enlargement of the 1867 edition, complete with all the original typographical errors.
1935-36 Limited Editions Club five-volume edition of the King James Version plus Apocrypha. 1,500 sets in slipcases.
1937 Williams New Testament (The New Testament in The Language of The People); the First Edition published by Bruce Humphries; a translation of the Greek New Testament by an American theologian, Charles Bray Williams, into readable and more understandable English, “in the language of the people.” Reprinted a number of times by Holman Bible Publishers. 572pp.
1938 Hertel's Standard Reference Indexed Bible; The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (Authorized or King James Version); Self-Pronouncing Words Spoken By Christ Printed in Red. Published by John A. Hertel, Chicago.
1941 The Holy Bible, published by Douay Bible House, which also contains the 1898 “Encyclical Letter on the study of the Holy Scriptures by Pope Leo XIII, and a presentation on Biblical studies by Pope Pius XII.
1944-50 Knox Catholic Bible, published by Sheed & Ward; this edition translated from the Vulgate Latin (with reference to the Massoretic text) by Msgr. Ronald Knox at the request of His Eminence The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.
1944 New Corrected Edition of the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible also known as the Inspired Version or IV (RLDS Pub.)
1944 Talking Book edition of the Bible completed (for the blind) on 169 double-sided phonographic discs. Total reading time: 84.5 hours. Funded by Congressional grant, it marked a new era for the sightless.
1946 The Concordia Bible With Notes (revised by John Theodore Mueller); Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis; a modern revision of the popular Self-Explaining Bible, edited by Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman and originally published by the American Tract Society, NY.
1946 Revised Standard Version (“RSV”) of the King James Bible (O.T. only)
1948 Lattey Catholic translation of the N.T. published by Longmans in Westminster, UK
1948 Confraternity Catholic Bible, (Authorized Catholic translation)
1949 (Rogers) World Bible, typography by Bruce Rogers, published by World
1950 Book of Psalms, New Catholic version
1950 Jehovah Witnesses New World translation of the New Testament, published by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
1950 Dr. Charles Harold Dodd’s translation of The New English Bible begins in the United Kingdom; Dr. Dodd’s panel of 30 scholars completes the task in 1970.
1950 Dutton’s Basic English Edition, renders the KJ in basic English vocabulary of 850 words, plus 150 special Bible words.
1950 Dartmouth Bible, R.B. Chamberlain & H. Feldman, editors. (Boston) Houghton-Mifflin. “An abridgment of the King James Version, with aids to its understanding as history and literature, and as a source of religious experience.”
1950 Thomas Nelson & Sons publish Revised Standard Version of the New Testament.
1951 American Foundation For the Blind releases a new sound recording of the complete King James Version, superior in tone and accuracy to the 1944 version.
1952 Thomas Nelson & Sons, Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament and the complete Bible
1952 The Interpreter’s Bible: The Holy Scriptures in the King James and Revised Standard Versions. 12-Vols., published by Abingdon Press.
1952 Olive Pell Bible – published by Crown, NY; a project begun in 1940 by Olive Bigelow Pell, this bible is a condensed version of the KJV, reduced to its “purest spiritual essence.”
1953 New Testament in Original Greek; text revised by Brooke Foss Westcott D.D., and Fenton John Anthony Hort D.D.; published by Macmillan, and includes a Greek-English Lexicon; reproduced from a larger edition published in 1881.
1954 Chinese language New Testament, the Kuoyü-Phonetic New Testament “Shen” Edition published and printed in Hong Kong by the HongKong Bible House. Printed on cheap newsprint stock with plain black cloth bindings, numerous copies of this edition were successfully smuggled into Communist China under the noses of border security by Chinese nationals who were also Christians. Chinese nationals were not searched as carefully as other foreigners when entering China, making it possible to enter with a handful of books in the false bottom of a suitcase. The Bible was banned in Communist China, and those caught with the book were subject to immediate imprisonment and interrogation.
1955 New Edition of Dr. Solomon Mandelkern’s Concordance on the Bible is published in NY by Shulsinger Brothers in two folio volumes of 1,621 pages; revised, corrected, and completed by Rabbi Chaim Mordecai Brecher; supplementary corrections and notes by Abraham Avrunin of Israel, English introduction by Rabbi Dr. Harry Freedman; also incorporates Otzar Halexicografia Haivrit, a detailed bibliography of all biblical and Talmudic concordances, dictionaries, and lexicographical works to date with an essay on Hebrew lexicography by A.R. Malachi.
1958 The Bible in Gujarati, an Indian dialect; published in Bangalore, by the Bible Society of India and Ceylon (B.S.I.C.); 8vo, black cloth; printed and bound in London by Lowe and Brydone.
1959 The Holy Bible: The Berkeley Version In Modern English; published by Zondervan.
1959 The New Testament in Modern English; translated from the original Greek by J.B. Phillips of Swanage, Dorset, United Kingdom, republished in the US by Macmillan Paperbacks in 1962. My copy is the full-leather edition published Oct 1960 (reprinted 1962) by Geoffrey Bles (London); in the Foreword, Phillips thanks C.S. Lewis for his encouragement and friendship, and for his introduction to Phillips’ Letters To Young Churches written 20 years prior, for which he (Lewis) also supplied the title. A new Preface to the General Edition explains further revisions by Phillips, aided by newly discovered Greek manuscripts, probably the Dead Sea Scrolls.
1960 Don Cleveland Norman publishes limited folio edition census of extant copies of the Gutenberg Bible.
1961 Cooper Square Publishers reissues the two-volume Gutenberg Bible facsimile in 996 sets; in full color, with 97 illuminated leaves, this facsimile is a reprint of the (Leipzig) Insel-Verlag 1913-14 edition.
1961 The Jerusalem Bible (in English), edited by Alexander Jones; introduction and notes translated from the 1956 French edition of La Bible De Jerusalem.
1961 New Testament section of The New English Bible is completed and published, and by 1970 has sold more than seven million copies.
1963 Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible; the O.T. and N.T. of the KJV, with four equal-sized columns on each page – two of text and two of notes and comments, self-pronouncing text, and a complete concordance and cyclopedic index; published by Dake Bible Sales, Lawrenceville, GA.
1966 The Greek New Testament; edited by textual scholars Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Witgren, who comprised an international and interdenominational committee appointed in 1955 by the American Bible Society, the National Bible Society of Scotland, and the Wurtemberg Bible Society, who were later joined by the Netherlands Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society. Their aim was to produce an edition of the Greek New Testament primarily to meet the requirements of Bible translators throughout the world. My 920-page, 16mo, cloth-bound copy was published by the United Bible Societies, London. The preface states that “Since this edition is intended primarily for translators it is not to be regarded as in competition with other modern editions…”
1968 On Christmas Eve the crew of Apollo 8 became the first humans to orbit the Moon and mankind heard the first Bible reading from space, Genesis 1: “In the beginning when God created the universe.”
1969 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin writes out and leaves Psalm 8 on the surface of the moon, and it remains the only Bible verse ever left on the Moon: “When I look at the sky, which you have made, the moon and the stars which you set in their places, what is man that you think of him?”
1969 Zondervan Topical Bible, edited by Edward Viening.
1969 The Holy Bible: Old and New Testaments in the King James Version. (Tulsa) Church of the Christian Crusade. Lands of the Bible Pilgrimage Edition. Initial chapter by Guy P. Duffield, S.T.D., D.D.
1970 RLDS Herald Publishing House issues a parallel-column edition: King James Version and Inspired Version, titled Joseph Smith's “New Translation” of the Bible.
1970 The complete New English Bible is published in Great Britain by eleven British Churches and religious societies, and is the first totally new English translation of the entire Bible by English Protestant churches since the completion of the King James Version in 1611; this project is the culmination of 20 years of effort by Dr. Charles Dodd and his panel of 30 Protestant scholars. Written in “the language of the present day” incorporating the most advanced knowledge available to Biblical scholars, including that resulting from the Dead Sea Scrolls.
1971 The Story Bible, by Pearl S. Buck and Lyle Kenyon Engel; Guideposts Edition; Retold in Seventy-two Story Sections. Published by Guideposts Associates by arrangement with Batholomew House, Ltd. Hard Cover, 435pages. Ms. Buck explains in the foreword, that as a child growing up in China and the daughter of Christian missionaries, she didn’t read the Bible’s English versions because her father considered them all inferior to the Greek and Hebrew texts. Her mother instead bought her a fat volume of Stories of the Bible which she read with a great deal of pleasure from cover to cover. For this reason she has produced this Story Bible for “the readers of today”.
1972 The Second Coming Bible, by William E. Biederwolf and reprinted by Baker House; originally published in 1924 as the Millenium Bible; “for the Christian who wants to learn more about what the Bible itself says concerning the last days on Planet Earth and the Second Coming of Christ”. Included is the complete text of every Bible verse, from Genesis to Revelation, that directly or indirectly deals with the Second Coming. Isbn: 0801005604 (paperback), 728pp.
1973 New York Bible Society releases the New International Version (NIV) New Testament.
1973 Dr. Charles Dodd, Director of the New English Bible translation, dies Sept 22nd at age 89. Among his most important works: The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel and The Founder of Christianity. He was also known for trying to rid theological writing of some of its traditional ponderousness, and he was noted for his apt use of modern Americanisms. During his long career he taught not only in England, but also lectured and taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia University, and at the Union Theological Seminary. (New York Times, 9-23-73).
1975 Picture-Bible of Ludwig Denig (1755-1830) discovered by Esther Ipp Schwartz (1904-1988), collector and patron of American folk-art studies. This is an album of sixty full-page, ink and water-color plates, dated 1784, which portray biblical scenes and religious emblems and is accompanied by explanatory notes written in the everyday German of colonial Pennsylvania.
1976 Ryrie Study Bible, ed. by C.C. Ryrie; New American Standard translation. Moody Press, Chicago.
1976 The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, revised by Missionary Dispensary Bible Research of Emory, Tx; “designed to restore to the scriptures the sacred name of the MOST HIGH and His Son from the Sacred Original on the basis of the Rotherham Version.” This version takes Isaiah 52:6 and Psalm 68:4 literally, to the extreme. This entry courtesy the 1990 Sixth Edition.
1976 Good News Bible, Today’s English Version, published by the American Bible Society, New York.
1978 Complete NIV released by the NYBS; touted as “more evangelical” than the RSV.
1981 Analytical Greek New Testament: Greek Text Analysis. Edited by Barbara and Timothy Friberg; published by Baker Book House; developed by the Fribergs, and compiled from a computer-stored research data base, enabling the study of the word order of the New Testament; since its’ publication, more computer-based research projects related to the study of the scriptures have occurred, based on the Fribergs’ database.
1984 The NEW Englishman’s Hebrew-Aramaic Concordance: Coded to Strong’s Concordance Numbering System. George P. Wigram.(Peabody, MA) Hendrickson Publishers. Jay P. Green, Sr. Revising Editor. Originally published in late 1843, this new edition has been coded with the numerical system from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, and indexed to Brown-Driver-Briggs Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon Dictionary (page number and column given). The Chaldee in the original title was changed to Aramaic to be more accurate. see 1843.
1984 The Other Bible, edited by Willis Barnstone. (NY) Harper & Row, in hardcover & paperback; a collection of ancient, esoteric texts from Judeo-Christian traditions, excluded from the official canon of the Old and New Testaments. “For the first time in one volume, Ancient esoteric texts from: the Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the early Kabbalah, the Nag Hammadi Library and other sources.
1984 The Holy Bible in Urdu; published by the Pakistan Bible Society, Lahore; Revised in 1993.
1986 Williams New Testament Fiftieth Anniversary Edition published by Holman; 0-87981-650-3.
1987 The Everyday Bible, New Century Version; Worthy Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX; translated from the original Hebrew and Greek languages “into familiar everyday words of our times” mainly using the Third Ed. of the United Bible Society’s Greek text, and the latest edition of the Biblia Hebraica and Septuagint.
1987 the First Edition of The Book of Yahweh: The Holy Scriptures, is published by House of Yahweh, Abilene, TX; Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer (a one-time Abilene policeman, formerly known as “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins). My 4to (Quarto), 986-page (plus notes) reference copy is the Ninth Edition of 1996; the extensive Preface doesn’t say how long the translation took to complete, or who did the translating. In “The Plan of the Book” the claim is made that The Book of Yahweh “is the most correct and accurate translation of the Holy Scriptures that is available today.” See our 2008 entry on the downfall of “Buffalo Bill”.
1990 Vietnam Veteran’s Bible, Tyndale House; edited by John A. Wickham, Jr.
1993 New KJV word-for-word New Testament narrated by Cliff Barrows (voice of radio’s “Hour of Decision”) is released on 12 audio cassettes; published by Thomas Nelson, and dramatized by music and sound effects.
1993 Original African Heritage Study Bible (KJV), James W. Peebles, publisher.
1995 (CEV) The Contemporary English Version: God's Promise For People of Today. (Nashville) Thomas Nelson. First Edition,1995; 1,529pp., plus chronology. A "user friendly and a mission-driven translation that can be read aloud without stumbling, heard without misunderstanding, and listened to with enjoyment and appreciation, because the language is contemporary and the style is lucid and lyrical".
1995 The Holy Bible With Illustrations From the Vatican Library. (Atlanta) Turner Publ. Revised Standard Version. 1269p.
1995 Free On The Inside New Testament. (Colorado Springs) International Bible Society, 1995; IBS was assisted by Christian Light Foundation, the Institute For Prison Ministries, the brothers at Arrowhead Correctional Center, and Dell Coats Erwin, reading consultant. Adapted from Free On The Inside: An NIV Bible For Inmates; 8vo, Paper Back, 287pp., plus additional notes/questions.
1995 The Woman’s Study Bible (NKJV), published by women, for women; Dorothy Kelley Patterson, General Editor.
1996 NIV Classics Devotional Bible: with daily readings from men and women whose faith influenced the world; Features the writings of over 100 heroes and heroines of the faith from every era of church history; published by Zondervan.
1999 Saint John’s Bible project commissioned by the Benedictine Monks of St. John’s Abbey and St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN; the first bible in 500 years to be completed by hand, and when finished in the United Kingdom, this seven-volume, 11,050 calfskin-page New Revised Standard Version will cost close to $4 million.
1999 The Access Bible: A Resource for Beginning Bible Students. NRSV with apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. Edited by Gail R. O’Day; Oxford University Press.
1999 Extreme Teen Bible (New King James Version) published by Thomas Nelson.
1999 The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, King James Version The award-winning Viking Studio Edition of the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, designed and illustrated by Barry Moser; “232 relief engravings printed as black and white line art.” Folio, bound in beige cloth. Viking Press, NY. Displayed by the New Mexico History Museum in 2012 as part of an historical printing exhibit.