Bibles/Prayer Books & Their History

For Bibles, their Study Bibles, Concordances, Prayer Books etc. it is best to look at the individual publisher’s sites, or ask at your nearest Christian Bookshop, but we have given brief descriptions of the best loved versions, their publishers and examples of each version.

Brief description of best loved versions

New International Version (NIV) Published by Hodder in UK. Certain editions, mainly fine bindings, published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) The most popular translation with evangelical churches. Combines word-for-word and easy-to-read translation methods with the aim of providing reasonable accuracy and readability alike.

Today's New International Version (TNIV) Published by Hodder in UK. Certain editions, mainly fine bindings, published by Cambridge University Press (CUP). Substantially updating and enhancing the NIV, it presents the fruit of the ongoing study of the same team of translators that were responsible for the NIV.

New International Readers Version (NIrV)is a new Bible version developed to enable early readers to understand God's message. Published by WTL Publications Ltd.

Revised Standard Version (RSV) Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP),Collins, and Oxford University Press (OUP),

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP), Collins, and Oxford University press (OUP), . The most widely accepted across the different denominations, and offers word-for-word accuracy alongside modern scholarship and gender-sensitive language.

Good News Bible (GNB) Published by Collins was the first truly easy to read translation and is the UK's best-selling translation according to Nielsen Booktrack, especially popular with schools and for work with children and young people, but also used in churches that want a Bible people can read easily.

English Standard Version (ESV) Published by Collins.Certain editions, mainly fine bindings, published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) Aims at the highest possible accuracy in the context of modern English, using the Revised Standard Version as a base. As such, it is very popular with churches emphasising expository preaching and close Bible study.

King James Version or Authorised Version (KJV or AV) Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP), Collins and Oxford University Press (OUP), . An indispensable classic which has left permanent marks on the English Language and its literature. Largely a revision of earlier works by William Tyndale and others.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Published by Collins. This is the most up-to-date easy to read translation available, thoroughly accessible and ideal for use with anyone new to the Bible, and thus in churches focused on outreach to new areas and/or on young people's work.

New Living Translation (NLT) Published by Tyndale and distributed by STL. Certain editions, mainly fine bindings, published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) It is committed to accuracy within the constraints of easy-to-read translation methods.

New King James Version (NKJV)Certain editions, mainly fine bindings, published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) This is a fresh, completely updated translation. It captures the beauty and accuracy of the KJV, in contemporary readable language.

Revised English Bible (REB) Published Cambridge University Press(CUP) and Oxford University Press (OUP) A translation standing firmly in the tradition established by the New English Bible. This substantial revision expresses the mind and conviction of biblical scholars and translators of the 1980s

New Century Version (NCV) Published by Thomas Nelson and Authentic Media. Aims to be faithful to the manuscripts in the original languages while making the language clear enough for all people to read the Bible and understand it for themselves.

New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) Published by DLT. A fresh translation which combines accuracy with dignity and clarity of modern usage, and is approved for use in many churches today. This Bible is widely used by the Catholic church as its study Bible, as the footnotes and commentaries are biased toward Catholic theology.

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Published by Zondervan. Certain editions, mainly fine bindings, published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) A very literal translation, ideal for in-depth word studies but without archaic language.

Amplified Bible Published Zondervan. A popular translation used to understand the hidden meaning of Greek and Hebrew words. Additional amplification of word meanings is given in a system of brackets and parenthesis.

The Message Published by Navpress distributed by STL. A contemporary rendering of the Bible from the original languages, crafted to present its tone, rhythm, events and ideas in everyday speech. A paraphrase that reads as a novel but now some editions have numbered verses.

Prayer Book & Bible, Heritage Edition

- 1662 Book of Common Prayer Holy Bible, King James Version

Just when you think there couldn’t be another edition of something we know and love so well Cambridge University Press has come up with just that as part of the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the publication of the BCP and the 400th anniversary of the KJV. Naturally there is little to say about the contents because it is simply what it says on the cover – the Book of Common Prayer as published in 1662 plus the various authorised amendments through to 1968 and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
The Bible is arranged in the paragraph format of the new Cambridge Pitt Minion Reference Bible, whereas the Prayer Book maintains a layout and pagination familiar to many generations of readers. The details given are for the hardback edition which has a blue cover with gold lettering under the bright paper jacket. These other editions available, black leather, ISBN 978-1-107-03269-9 £55 or purple leather, ISBN 978-1-107-03271-2 £55
I must praise CUP here for the clarity of the text, in bringing these two classic resources together in one book. An excellent choice for presentation, gift or personal use.

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Review by Mike Norbury  (18/10/12)
Price: £22.99
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP )
Published: Autumn 2012
ISBN: 978-1-107-03268-2

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The Voice Bible

- Step Into the Story of Scripture

Translated for the Ecclesia Bible Society

Again there’s a big clue in the title!!
The Voice Bible puts into narrative form as much as is possible in the pages of both the Old and New Testaments. Two examples:
From Genesis 18, part of Abraham’s conversation with God about Sodom and Gomorrah:
Abraham (persisting): suppose 40 are found there
Eternal One: I won’t destroy the city for the sake of 40
Abraham: Please don’t be angry Lordat my boldness. Let me ask this: what if 30are found there who are good and true? Etc.etc.
From Luke 8
Jesus (stopping and looking about): Who touched me
Some in the crowd (everyone speaking at once): Not me
Another in the crowd: It wasn’t me either
From this is will be clear that The Voice Bible can also be used as a script for dramatic reading in a worship or study context. You need to spend some time reading the comprehensive introduction to discover how The Voice works and also how you can make this tool work for you in your own particular situation, but, having said that, it is a useful tool, especially to groups like Open the Book.

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Review by Nick Horton  (16/10/12)
Price: £25.99
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-418-54901-5

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Everyday Matters Bible For Women

- Practical Encouragement to Make Every Day Matter - NLT (New Living Translation)

Notes compiled by various authors

Another lovely looking women’s devotional Bible. I liked the way the spiritual practices notes are made to look like note pages that have been stuck in using masking tape and the way the Question & Answer sections are made to look like lined notebook pages just ripped out, it's a nice look for a Bible that's designed to be used everyday and to reflect everyday matters. What is even nicer is that even though these everyday touches abound, so too do more gentle decorative flourishes such as the leaves pattern backing the page chapter and verse side headers and the gentle mint green accents throughout. Just really nice touches.
The notes throughout the Bible reflect on twenty-four spiritual disciplines that stand well alone but also work well in conjunction with others so that in effect you can build up themes for instance by linking together Worship, Celebration and Faith or Community, Mentoring and Service. At the back of the Bible there is also a wonderful section where each of the spiritual disciplines has its own short breakdown, and Bible verse's resource.
A great everyday devotional Bible for women, the only thing that lets it down is that there is a lot of bleedthrough on the pages due to the thinness of the paper and while for most this will not be a problem I think for anyone with a sight issue this would make this otherwise excellent Bible a little hard to use, and that's a pity. Definitely a great gift to give, but would also be a nice present to treat yourself to, for using in your quiet times.

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Review by Melanie Carroll  (09/08/12)
Price: £29.99
Publisher: Hendrickson from Alban Books
Published: 08 August 2012
ISBN: 978-1-598-56705-2

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The Story

- The Bible As One Continuing Story of God and His People

Foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee

This edition of The Story deliberately targets a UK readership by using the British text edition of the NIV, New International Version, of the Bible. This makes for a comfortable read without the jarring of unfamiliar spelling or phrasing.
Much of the book is taken directly from the Bible and these passages are spaced, to indicate that a part of the Biblical passage has been omitted, and the Bible passages are linked with text in italics, written to help the continuity of The Story. The result is a clear and absorbing narrative. Much of it very familiar to regular Bible readers, but making it equally accessible to one who is coming to the Bible for the first time.
Inevitably parts of the Bible have had to be left out, the book would not fulfil its purpose otherwise, and Yes, it is ideal for introducing a new Christian or a seeker to the riches of the Bible, but it also serves as a refresher course for those who think they already understand the full picture. It sent me hurrying to my Bible when I came across a statement or a name I was unsure about, and this is perhaps the books greatest gift, to send the reader to the full bible to learn more.

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Review by Mary Bartholomew  (21/03/12)
Price: £14.99
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton imprint of Hachette UK Ltd
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-444-70238-5

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The Book of Common Prayer: Past, Present and Future: A 350th Anniversary Celebration

Edited by Prudence Dailey

The book is a 350th anniversary celebration which embraces the foundations laid over a century before our current Book of Common Prayer. There are 14 essays, a Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales and an Afterword by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.
A key theme is the influence the Book of Common Prayer has had on the English language, and at the heart of this work of English formation is Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. P D James quotes Cranmer's biographer, Diarmaid MacCulloch - 'Millions who have never heard of Cranmer, or of the muddled heroism of his death, have echoes of his words in their minds'.
Each writer contributes from their experience what value they place on the Book of Common Prayer – theology, Bible reading, mission, the inner devotional life and memorability.
This is a timely tribute to that 'via media' which is the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, and its Prayer Book. Do read it – it will send you to the BCP and fresh appreciation.

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Review by Sam Burrows  (06/02/12)
Price: £12.99
Publisher: Continuum - A Bloomsbury Company
Published: October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-441-12818-8

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Your Sunday Missal

The New Liturgy

The 'new translation' of the Roman Missal (i.e. the prayers of the Mass), means that most religious publishers are providing a Sunday and / or Daily Missal, which includes the Readings for Mass. Incidentally, it is intended that the Readings are going to be revised, with, maybe, another authorised translation, so these Missals have a limited life span.
As the reviewer has not seen other new Missals, he is unable to say whether or not this is the best in the field. However, Your Sunday Missal meets the criteria for it to be recommended. It is easy to navigate; the typeface is clear; the paper is not too thin; there are enough marker ribbons and the binding and cover appear hard-wearing. It also includes major feasts. Being able to read the Prayers of the Mass being proclaimed by the Priest may help people make more sense of much of the convoluted language and poor syntax of this 'translation'.
While the Missal is clearly for the congregation, space should have been found for the prayers said quietly by the Priest, e.g. during the Offertory and before Communion, as they are suitable for lay people to pray as well. The 'Latin Texts for the Mass' for the congregation are on the final pages - these are inadequate, as they lack context.
There is a short 'Welcome from the Editor', which is a good explanation of the 'why' and 'what' of Mass. The Missal concludes with various popular devotions: Litanies, meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary (but not the prayers which make up the Rosary - one should never assume that these are known), a prayerful modern translation of St Alphonsus Liguori's 'Stations of the Cross' with a further selection of prayers by St Alphonsus, ending with a Daily Prayer by Fr Denis McBride.

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Review by J.Nicholas Latham  (11/01/12)
Imitation Leather
Price: £19.95
Publisher: Redemptorist Publications
Published: 16 November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-852-31397-8

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The King James Bible After 400 Years

- Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences

Edited by Hannibal Hamlin & Norman W Jones

ISBN: 978-0-521-76827-6

Published: 09 December 2010
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The New Testament for Everyone

by Tom Wright

ISBN: 978-0-281-06426-7
Price: £14.99

Published: July 2011
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- The King James Bible & the English Language

by David Crystal

ISBN: 978-0-199-69518-8
Price: £8.99

Published: 18 August 2011
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611 - 2011

by Gordon Campbell

ISBN: 978-0-199-55759-2
Price: £9.99

Published: 11 August 2011
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KJV Transetto edition - green

ISBN: 978-0-521-24899-0
Price: £15.99

Published: 03 March 2011
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The People’s Bible

- The Remarkable History of the King James Version

by Derek Wilson

ISBN: 978-0-745-95559-9
Price: £9.99

Published: 21 October 2011
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The Gospels

- Authorised King James Version

by Edited with an Introduction by and Notes by W. R. Owens

ISBN: 978-0-199-54117-1
Price: £8.99

Published: 10 March 2011
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Mark’s Gospel

- New International Version

Recorded by Peter Wickham

ISBN: 978-1-907-06201-8
Price: £12.99

Published: September 2009
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The Psalms – The Grail Translation

- Inclusive Language Version

ISBN: 978-0-007-32932-8
Price: £11.99

Published: 01 May 2009
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A Shetland Bible with Accompanying Free CD

by Charles Greig with illustrations by Smirk (Stephen Gordon)

ISBN: 978-0-715-20915-8
Price: £12.99

Published: October 2009
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CEV - Contemporary English Version - Poverty and Justice Bible

ISBN: 978-0-564-09453-0
Price: £20.00

Published: 2008
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How to Choose a Translation

- A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions

by Gordon D.Fee and Mark L.Strauss

ISBN: 978-0-310-27876-4
Price: £7.99

Published: 2008
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Matthew’s Gospel

- From The New Testament in Scots
Translated by William Laughton Lorimer and read by Tom Fleming

ISBN: 978-1-905-01018-9
Price: £19.99

Published: Summer 2008
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A Glasgow Bible

Adapted and told by Jamie Stuart

ISBN: 978-0-715-20845-8
Price: £9.99

Published: March 2008
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