The Twentieth Century New Testament, as far as I can tell, is the very earliest truly modern English translation. It was released in its Tentative Edition in 1901, and in its Final Edition in 1904. But the Final Edition is so radically different from the Tentative Edition that they should be regarded as an entirely different translations. They are about as different as the New Revised Standard Version is from the King James Version. In fact, I suspect that the original translators lost control of their own project.

I like to read unique translations, for each new translation allows me to contemplate the truths of the Gospel afresh, and thus to bring them into sharper focus. The familiar words of a familiar translation often fail to impact me with the force that they once did, much as the scenery of a oft-traveled road (however splendid the landscape may be) is usually little noticed.

The Twentieth Century New Testament is the product of about 20 English scholars. It's an excellent Bible for reading, but not very good for study, since it often approaches paraphrase. The Final Edition is a bit more literal than the Tentative Edition, but even so, it isn't literal enough for serious study.

I love both editions. But I think that the Tentative Edition is better. It's quirky and quaint, and takes the reader further away from the grand texts with which he is better acquainted.

Since the Final Edition entirely replaced the Tentative Edition, I like to refer to the earlier edition as THE LOST TRANSLATION OF 1901.

For anyone who wants to read the Final Edition, it's available on the PowerBible CD, which may be purchased at I highly recommend the PowerBible CD; it's one of the most user-friendly and useful Bible programs available.

The Lost Translation of 1901