The ISV was produced by Bible
scholars who believe that "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for
teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy
3:16 ISV) The ISV takes advantage not only of the most ancient manuscripts available, but
also of the most recent archaeological discoveries.
The translators of the ISV have selected the English
equivalent that most closely reflects the meaning of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and
Greek texts. For a more detailed account of how the English speaking world received its
Bible, see the article by ISV Committee on Translation member Dr. Ronald Reitveld entitled How Our English Bible Came to Us.
2. The ISV is a Computer-Friendly Translation
The ISV is the first English Bible conceived, designed,
translated, and formatted primarily for a computer-literate generation. It is being
produced entirely in a computer aided media (CAM) format. In its electronic format, the
ISV will be the first Bible translation ever published with version numbers. English
language Bible readers who have access to the Internets World Wide Web will be able
to read the ISV under The ISV Foundations tradename International Standard Version
(Internet) (ISVi) at The ISV Foundations publisher's web site at
http://davidsonpress.com. The latest electronic version of the ISVi will also be available
in compressed formats compatible with many contemporary Bible research software programs.
Printed copies of the ISV also contain version numbers. The current version number can
always be found on the reverse of the title page of printed editions and on the Davidson Press Home Page.
3. The ISV is Sensitive to Poetic Literary Forms in the Original Text
The ISV treats subtle nuances of the original texts with
special care. For example, several passages of the Bible appear to have been rendered in
poetic form when first penned by their authors. The ISV has meticulously crafted these
original passages as true poemsthus communicating a sense of their original literary
form as well as translating the original intent of the New Testament author.
As a result, passages that would have been read as poetry
by first century readers actually appear in poetic form in the ISV. For example, see
Christs complaint to the Pharisees recorded in Luke 7:32-35, the Christ Hymn of
Philippians 2:6-11, the Apostle Pauls description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, the
Common Confession of 1 Timothy 3:16, Pauls Hymn to Christ in Titus 3:4-7),
Pauls witty quote of the ancient Greek poet Epimenides in Titus 1:12, and the
"faithful sayings" of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15, 1 Timothy 3:1, 1 Timothy 4:8, and
2 Timothy 2:11. For a more detailed analysis of how the ISV renders New Testament poetry,
see the article by ISV New Testament Editor Dr. David Alan Black entitled The Poetry of the International Standard Version New
4. The ISV is a Literal-Idiomatic Translation
The translation theory behind the ISV is different from theories employed in
previous Bible translations. Traditionally, two basic methods of Bible translation have
been used. The older method (and for many centuries practically the only method used) has
been labeled "literal" or "formal equivalent." This type of
translation allows readers to identify as fully as possible with the source languages of
Scripture and to understand as much as they can of the Bibles customs, manners of
thought, and means of expression.
The other method is termed "idiomatic" or
"functional equivalent." The goal of an idiomatic translation is to achieve the
closest natural equivalent in modern language to match the ideas of the original text.
Idiomatic translations have little or no concern for maintaining the grammatical forms,
sentence structure, and consistency of word usage of the source languages.
All major translations of the Bible fall somewhere on a
scale between complete formal equivalence and complete functional equivalence.
Some of these
translations are quite literal (e.g., the King James Version (KJV), the New King James
Version (NKJV®), the American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV), the New American Standard
Bible (NASB®), the Revised Standard Version of 1901 (RSV®), and the New Revised Standard
Other translations lean toward the idiomatic end of the
Some of these
familiar works include the New International Version (NIV®), the New English Bible
(NEB®), the Revised English Bible (REB®), the Good News Bible (GNB®), the New Living
Translation (NLT®), and the Contemporary English Version (CEV®).
It is clear that each of these methods of Bible translation
has its weaknesses. Competent Bible translators have always recognized that a strictly
literal translation of the words of Scripture can be misleading. For example, "the
wicked will not stand in the judgment" might be interpreted as proving that evil
people actually would not be judged. Hence literalness is not always equivalent to
On the other hand, the limitations of idiomatic
translations are also obvious. Such translations frequently tend to cast the words of
Scripture into new molds that convey the ideas in a significantly different spirit or
emphasis. Idiomatic translations have, in a sense, a commentary built into them; they
represent a choice made by the translators as to what the translators think a passage
means. For that reason, an idiomatic translation is easier to read but less reliable for
A good translation
will steer a careful course between word-for-word translation and interpretation under the
guise of translating. In other words, a good translation will be both reliable and
readable. The best translation, then, is one that is both accurate and idiomatic at the
same time. It will make every effort to reproduce the culture and exact meaning of the
text without sacrificing readability. The ISV Foundation calls this type of translation
Of these three basic types of translationliteral,
literal-idiomatic, and idiomaticthe translators of the ISV have, without hesitation,
opted for the second. This is not because it happens to be the middle option, simply
avoiding extremes, but because the literal-idiomatic translation is the only choice that
avoids the dangers of over-literalness and of over-interpretation discussed above.
Teaching biblical truth demands extreme fidelity to the original text of Scripture.
However, a translation of the Bible need not sacrifice English clarity in order to
maintain a close correspondence to the source languages. The goal of the ISV, therefore,
has been both accuracy and excellence in communication.
The ISV is international. You wont find slang,
national colloquialisms, or confusing regionalisms in the text of the International
Standard Version Bible.
The ISV is standard.
Its perfect for use in public worship services and for your private Bible studies.
The ISV is clear.
Passages flow smoothly in clear, natural English.
The ISV is accurate.
It's quite possibly the most insightful version of the Bible you'll ever read.
The ISV is contemporary.
It conveys the thoughts, intents, and words of the original text of the Bible in language
you and your children can understand, appreciate, and apply to your life today.
The ISV is distinctive.
Subtle nuances of the original languages stand out with a crystal clarity that will
astonish you. Poetic passages such as Philippians 2:6-11 and Titus 3:4-7 have been
painstakingly crafted as true poems. The result: you can actually feel the undistorted
sense of the original literary form insightfully rendered in clear English.
The ISV is original.
Its no mere paraphrase. Its no mere revision of a now outdated translation.
The ISV is totally new. It comes to you directly from the original languages of the Bible.
The ISV is faithful.
The text is translated without reading any presuppositions into the text. You know that
the original intent of the authors of Scripture has been rendered with integrity and
The ISV is trustworthy.
Its world-class translators and consulting scholars are clearly identified by name and by
The ISV is insightful.
More than 3,100 exhaustive footnotes in the ISV New Testament alone provide comprehensive
insights into the meaning and background of the Biblical text.
The ISV is intergenerational.
Its the first Bible translation specifically developed for todays
The ISV is cutting-edge.
Its the first translation of the Bible ever produced with version numbers in both
printed and software editions.
Software text upgrades
of the ISV New Testament in the e-Sword format
are always downloadable from the internet free of charge. You'll have the confidence that
youre reading the latest print or software edition available.