ISV nears publication

The International Standard Version (ISV) is now on its last revision before publication. Note its features on its website:

The ISV is the first modern Bible translation in any language to provide an exclusive textual apparatus comparing the text of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls with the traditional Masoretic text of the Hebrew Tanakh (i.e., the “Old Testament”).

  • Over 5,000,000 electronic copies of the ISV New Testament have been distributed worldwide.
  • The first press run sold out in less than a month.
  • The second press run sold out before it was printed.
  • The ISV has been universally praised for its readability and accuracy.
  • The ISV is respected by professional Bible translators.
  • The ISV renders the book of Isaiah from the reliable Dead Sea Scrolls, using the Massoretic Text as a comparative.
  • Other Dead Sea Scrolls translations are coming soon.

10 thoughts on “ISV nears publication

  1. J. K. Gayle says:

    Thanks for your post. The ISV site also specifies this –

    “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.”

    There’s also mention of “consultation with other ancient Hebrew texts such
    as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and a select number of ancient versions (the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Targums).”

    As you read the translations, how does the “international English” sound to you?

  2. Wayne Leman says:

    Kurk, IMO the ISV reads above average for English translations. There is no International English in it (if there is such a dialect), but I think the word “International” in the name is intended to indicate that those who produced this version would like it to become internationally used among English speakers. That would be a tough slog today in a world where there are so many English versions all of which sell pretty well.

  3. J. K. Gayle says:

    You are absolutely right that “international English” cannot be a “dialect.” And it seems that you’re correct about the intentions of the producers of this version, to have it “become internationally used among English speakers.”

    And that’s really what I was asking to, when I asked about how the “international English” sounds to those of us who are L1 speakers of any given lect of the language.

    On the website, there’s this:

    The ISV® is international.

    You won’t find slang, national colloquialisms, or confusing regionalisms. Readers whose English is their second language will love the elegant style and composition of the ISV® Bible.”

    That’s not too far from the definition of “English as an international language(EIL)” by Sandra Lee Mckay and Wendy Bokhorst-Heng (in their wonderful book, International English in its Sociolinguistic Contexts: Towards a Socially Sensitive Pedagogy. They call EIL,

    “English by any two L2 speakers of English, whether sharing the same culture or not, as well as L2 and L1 speakers of English. Our definition then includes speakers of World Englishes communicating within their own country, as well as ELF [English as a lingua franca] interactions. It also includes L2 speakers of English using English with L1 speakers.” (page xvi)

    As we all know, one of the ISV® translators is Dr. Mona Bias, from the Philippines. She “produced the base translation for chapters 25-40 of the book of Genesis, all of the books of Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Job, and Psalms 66-90, Psalms 92-116, and Psalm 118 and portions of the book of Ezekiel.” I would guess that the L1 of Dr. Bias is Tagalog and that her L2 is English of the USA; she’s done her graduate studies in America.

    Here’s an interesting thing, nonetheless:

    If we compare the subtle regional-English differences between, say, the NIV and the NIV Anglicised, then we can see whether the ISV reader indeed “won’t find slang, national colloquialisms, or … regionalisms.”

    This is just the very beginning of a comparison, only the first difference I’ve found:

    Psalm 68:13a


    “Even while you sleep among the sheep pens

    NIV Anglicised

    “Even while you sleep among the sheepfolds


    “When you men lie down among the sheepfolds

  4. Peter Kirk says:

    Kurk, thanks for your comment. You may like to look back at my 2007 post here British and American Bible version differences (in which “NIV” refers to the 1984 edition). I missed the “sheep pens”/”sheepfolds” difference. But I think a better comparison with ISV, in terms of language localization, is the CEV “Global Standard” edition, which is different from both the US and UK local versions.

  5. Wayne Leman says:


    Your question is reasonable, but it’s difficult to compare one English translation to another, as a whole. Subjective judgements can be made but I prefer not to be subjective. I prefer to deal with specifics such as how a particular Hebrew or Greek idiom is translated in one or more translations.

  6. J. K. Gayle says:

    I do remember your good post here. And I also recall your post, “British TNIV: ’empathize’ becomes ‘feel sympathy’.”

    Thanks for encouraging expanding the comparison of the ISV also with the CEV and Global CEV. On this particular phrase, below, I’ve done that now (and the two different CEVs here are identical).

    Your posts gave comparisons of different Englishes for the New Testament. I was interested (especially given Dr. Mona Bias’s ISV base translations) in the translations of the other scriptures in the Bible as well.

    Are her English translations actually without “slang, national colloquialisms, or … regionalisms”?

    Are her decisions (in the renderings of the Hebrew Bible) swayed by the LXX, or the Vulgate, or the Samaritan Pentateuch, or the Syriac Peshitta, or the Targums, or the DSS?


    “Even while you sleep among the sheep pens

    NIV Anglicised

    “Even while you sleep among the sheepfolds

    ISV (base translation by Mona Bias)

    “When you men lie down among the sheepfolds


    “And for those who stayed back
    to guard the sheep [ – 0 – ]

    Global CEV

    “And for those who stayed back
    to guard the sheep [ – 0 – ]

  7. James Drickamer says:

    The ISV, at least in the edition I read, does not use LORD, all in capital letters, where it is translating the covenant name of God in the Old Testament. Was this done by choice? Has it been changed in the latest edition?

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