The International Standard Version, ISV® is a totally new work translated directly from the
original languages of Scripture and derived from no other English translation;
it references the most ancient manuscripts available, and the most recent
archaeological discoveries. The translators of the ISV® have selected the
English equivalent that most closely reflects the meaning of the Hebrew,
Aramaic, and Greek texts.
The ISV® balances between formal equivalence and functional equivalence by strict adherence to the source text without losing readability. With a target reading level in English at the 8th-9th grade level it's a natural choice for a wide range of Bible readers.
Unique features include:
1. A New Translation, Not a Revision: The ISV is a totally new work translated directly from the original languages of Scripture and derived from no other English translation. It was produced by Bible scholars who believe that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 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.
2. A Computer-Friendly Translation: When the ISV project began in October 1994 (actual translation began in the Spring of 1996), the ISV became the first English language Bible translation conceived, designed, translated, and formatted primarily for a computer-literate generation. It has been produced entirely by computer and is the first Bible translation ever published with release numbers after the manner of fine software. (The release number of this edition is 2.0, the build number can be found on the frontispiece.)
3. Sensitive to Poetic 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 poems—thus communicating a sense of their original literary form as well as translating the original intent of the 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 Christ’s complaint to the Pharisees recorded in Luke 7:32, the Christ Hymn of Phil 2:6-11, the Apostle Paul’s description of love in 1 Cor 13, the Common Confession of 1 Tim 3:16, Paul’s Hymn to Christ in Titus 3:4-7, Paul’s witty quote of the ancient Greek poet Epimenides in Titus 1:12, and the “trustworthy sayings” of Paul in 1 Tim 1:15, 1 Tim 3:1, 1 Tim 4:8, and 2 Tim 2:11.
4. Sensitive to Literary Forms in the Original Text: The ISV treats synoptic parallels with special sensitivity. For example, historical narratives in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were carefully examined in the original Greek text in order to compare each occurrence in the text where the narratives appeared to describe similar instances. Unlike all other English language translations available today, the ISV translates each separate synoptic instance with exact translational parity in each textual occurrence. In those parallel passages where the Greek text occurs with word-for-word synoptic identity, readers will discover that the ISV translates these passages into word-for-word English equivalents. In those parallel passages where the Greek text in the parallel passages approaches, but does not reach, a word-for-word identity, the ISV has adjusted the English language translation to reflect the similar, but not exact, nature of the parallel passages. Similar attention to detail has been adhered to in the synoptic pre-exilic Old Testament history books of Chronicles, Kings, and Samuel.
The reader will notice—particularly in the Bible’s historical narratives, in the four Gospels, and in the Book of Acts—that the ISV usually shifts its style of English composition in order to utilize contractions when translating quoted words of a speaker, even though the ISV generally avoids the use of contractions when rendering historical narratives or written correspondence. It was intended that a sense of the informal be communicated when people are speaking and that a sense of the formal be communicated when people are writing.
5. Sensitive to Conservative, Modern Textual Scholarship: The ISV includes the latest scholarly analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls and is the first modern English language translation to contain an exhaustive treatment of catalogued Dead Sea Scrolls materials produced courtesy of Dr. Peter Flint and Dr. Eugene Ulrich, two authorities on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Every major variant from the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Scriptures contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint was carefully examined and catalogued for the ISV by a special team of scholars under the direction of Dr. Peter Flint. All significant departures from traditional understandings of various Old Testament readings were carefully analyzed and are presented for the reader’s consideration in footnotes. The present release of the ISV contains these analyses only for the Psalms and Proverbs. A future version release of the ISV will contain an analysis for the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures. The ISV’s book of Isaiah was translated by Dr. Peter W. Flint directly from the text of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1 QIsa), which was found among the Qumran Cave 1 collection of Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts.
6. A Literal-Idiomatic Translation: The translation theory behind the ISV differs 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 Bible’s 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. It is clear that each of these methods of Bible translation has its limitations. 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 accuracy.
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 careful study.
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 “literal-idiomatic.”
Of these three basic types of translation—literal, literal-idiomatic, and idiomatic—the 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.
Special Appendix Features: The ISV® also includes appendix features such as: Miracles of Jesus and the Apostles, Map set, Jewish Sacred Calendar, Harmony of the Gospels, One-year reading plan, Special Readings from the Torah and Haftarah and What does the Bible say to do when.
This add-on is compatible with PC Study Bible Version 5 libraries. For it to operate, your computer must have a pre-installed Version 5 library. If an existing PC Study Bible program is not installed, a program-only version will be installed to run this add-on content. This add-on will not install or work properly with any pre-installed PC Study Bible program prior to Version 5.
The product photos shown on this page are for illustrative purposes only. All reference works are supplied on CD or via online download.