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The Bible in Living English

The Bible in Living English (BLE) was an entirely new translation by Stephen T. Byington, who attended a Congregational church that later merged with another to form the United Church of Ballard Vale, Massachusetts.

After his death, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society obtained the publication rights for the translation and published it in 1972.

In his translation, Byington tends to be more literal than free, yet is not wholly bound to the limitations of translated language.

In pronouns referring to God, the BLE uses "thou" in the NT and "you" in the OT. Byington's justification for this is that the NT men had nearly the same feelings as we have about addressing God, but the OT men, those who had the most to say to God, did not have such feelings that would lead us to give God a special pronoun.

A feature that led the Jehovah's Witnesses to publish this translation is the rendering of the name of God as Jehovah. Byington recognized that this name was due to a blunder, but felt that it was important only that it be clear that this is a personal name.

The translation is presented in one column with the verse numbers on the left margin. There are no subject headings, notes, or references. Marginal notes are limited to the end of each book. The divisions of the Bible are not labeled "Old Testament" and "New Testament" but the author makes references to these in the preface.

The Bible in Living English is fully independent from the New World Translation. Jehovah is used to refer to God in the OT, but is not found in the NT section of the BLE. The word "God" is capitalized when referring to Jesus Christ, and its punctuation clearly identifies Christ as God. The designation for the "Holy Spirit" is capitalized, unlike the NWT, and the text makes reference to a cross rather than to a torture stake.

The Bible in Living English tends to be literal in its translation, and is rather straightforward, lacking the literary beauty of several other translations. On a whole, it is not a bad choice, but neither is it the best choice.

Overview of Bible Study