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Barclay's New Testament

This version, translated by William Barclay, a professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at Glasgow University, is divided into two volumes: (1) The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) The Letters and the Revelation. The translator had two aims in making this translation. The first was to try to make the New Testament intelligent to the man who is not a technical scholar. The second was to try to make a translation which did not need a commentary to explain it.

Each book has an introduction. The order of books in each volume is different from that of the King James Version. At the end of Volume 1 is a section entitled "On Translating the New Testament." At the end of Volume 2 are two sections entitled "New Testament Words" and "Notes on Passages."

William Barclay produced a translation of the New Testament for the average, contemporary, reader. Initially published in two volumes, the first volume, containing the Gospels and Acts, was released in 1968, with the rest of the NT appearing in a second volume the following year. A one volume edition was published in 1980.

A striking feature of the Barclay's edition is that each section of books is presented in chronological order, beginning with Mark, Matthew, Luke, Acts, John.

There are few notes appended to the text. When they do appear, they usually indicate a different reading in some MSS for the verse indicated. There are no headings or titles.

Intending to produce a translation of the NT that did not require a commentary, Barclay has at times offered a paraphrase or commentary in lieu of an legitimate translation, resulting in a translation that is to some extent interpretive.

This is the most serious criticism against Barclay's translation, that his interpretive comments added to the text represent a personal viewpoint rather than a legitimate representation of the text.

    When the world began, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God. The Word was there in the beginning with God. It was through the agency of the Word that everything else came into being. Without the Word not one single thing came into being. -- John 1:1-3



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