Contemporary English Version -9.x

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Uncompromising simplicity marks the American Bible Society's translation of the Contemporary English Version. The text is easily read by fourth graders, second language readers, and those who prefer the more contemporized form. The CEV is not a paraphrase. It is an accurate and faithful translation of the original manuscripts.

In translating the CEV, the translators followed three translation principles. They were:

  • The CEV must be understood by people without stumbling in speech,
  • it must be understood by those with little or no comprehension of "Bible" language,
  • and it must be understood by all.

The CEV uses gender-sensitive language for humanity, but not for the Godhead. The translation also takes care to simplify "Bible" terms into more understandable words and phrases. An example can be found in Exodus 20:14 where the word "adultery" is translated "Be faithful in marriage". The translators have also taken great care to translate the Greek phrase "hoi Ioudaioi" (literally, "the Jews") as "the Jewish leaders," especially in the Gospel of John (as in John 18:14). The CEV translators believe, along with many (but not all) Biblical scholars, that the Greek phrase "hoi Ioudaioi" in the Gospel of John primarily refers to the Jewish leadership, not to the Jewish people, as a whole. Therefore, their translation as "the Jewish leaders" is intended to increase translation accuracy. One result of this translation decision is a reduction of the perception of Anti-Semitism in the New Testament.

The CEV is similar to the Good News Bible previously published by the American Bible Society, though at a lower reading level. It was produced under the direction of one of the Society's officers, Dr. Barclay M. Newman. Newman explained in an interview that he and his assistants:

"We did a lot of research with children. We did a lot of research with persons who were not familiar with traditional Biblical jargon, persons who are almost street people as a matter of fact, and then we tried to simply listen to the way that people speak ... We got it by their language, the way they speak, and did our translating accordingly."

About the Translators:

Barclay  M. Newman, Editor

At the core of the CEV development process has been the team of translators assembled by the American Bible Society specifically for that purpose. This creative core, a team of three translators and an editorial associate, has been responsible for producing an accurate translation in a style appropriate for the designated audience. Dr. Barclay M. Newman (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a biblical scholar with several decades of experience as a United Bible Societies Translation Consultant in the Asia Pacific region) planned and organized the CEV project with the aid of Dr. Eugene A. Nida, a Special Consultant to the ABS. Beginning in 1984, Newman carried out research in preparation for this project, initiated the translation work that ensued, and throughout the next decade guided the overall project to its publication targets, with the New Testament appearing in 1991, the Psalms and Proverbs in 1992, and the Bible in 1995. An edition of the Bible with the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha was published in 1998. The rest of the CEV team has consisted of Dr. Donald A. Johns (Ph.D., St. Louis University), Dr. Steven W. Berneking (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary), and Mrs. M. Jean Newman, who has served as editorial associate throughout the project, handling a variety of the editorial and stylistic responsibilities as part of the CEV team.

The Contemporary English Version is a simplified version of the Bible designed for children and uneducated adults (at a fourth grade reading level). It is similar to the Good News Bible previously published by the American Bible Society, though at a lower reading level. It was produced by employees of the American Bible Society (ABS) working under the direction of one of the Society's officers,


Sample Text:

Contemporary English Version




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Contemporary English Version
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