New Revised Standard Version

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 (Rahlfs) with Vulgate influence.

NT: United Bible Societies' The Greek New Testament (3rd ed. corrected). 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 in respect to public teaching
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
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.

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is an English translation of the Bible published in 1989 by National Council of Churches. It is a 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 Deuterocanonical books traditionally included in the canons of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.

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, 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]

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. This move has been widely criticised by some, including within the Catholic Church, and continues to be a point of contention today. 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]

Translation committee

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


The New Revised Standard Version is the version most commonly preferred by biblical scholars and used in the most influential publications in the field.[5] This fact continues to divide scholars who hold conservative or traditional biblical translations.

Many of the older progressive 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), the 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 NRSV with the deuterocanonical books received the Imprimatur of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops,[6] 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. The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition also has the imprimatur, granted on 12 September 1991 and 15 October 1991 respectively. 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.[7] 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.[7][8] The NRSV, along with the Revised Standard Version, is also quoted in several places in the English-language edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the latter of which summarizes in written form, Catholic doctrine and belief.

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",[9] though the National Council of Churches notes that the translation has "the blessing of a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church."[3]

Future update

According to a SBL's report in 2017, the NCC was said to announce a plan for an update of the New Revised Standard Version.[10] The update will be managed by the Society for Biblical Literature.

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. 1 2 3 4 5 Preface to the NRSV Archived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine. from the National Council of Churches website
  3. 1 2 3 4
  4. entry for Anglicized NRSV
  5. A Discussion of Bible Translations and Biblical Scholarship
  6. The Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible Catholic Edition New Revised Standard Version. HarperOne. 2011. p. ix. ISBN 0062048368. ...and an edition of the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books placed between the two Testaments. The text of the latter edition received the Imprimatur (official approbation) of the United States and Canadian Catholic Bishops.
  7. 1 2 "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.
  8. CECC / CCCB - Revised lectionary approved for Canada
  9. Bishop Tikhon. "Bishop's Pastoral Letter on the New Revised Standard Version". Retrieved 2007-04-22.


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