Steven T. Byington

Steven Tracy Byington, birthname Stephen, [* Westford VT (U.S.A.) Dec. 10, 1869 † Oct. 12, 1957 ……) - Congregationalist and sometime seminary student of meager means. Had a speech impediment which precluded the fulfilling of his desire to be a preacher. »Mr. Byington regularly attended a Congregational church that later merged with another church to form the United Church of Ballard Vale, Massachusetts. He has a deep love and respect for the Holy Scriptures. About 1898 he felt that he could begin translating.« The manuscript was completed by Byington at age 83 after 40 years of diligent work, but with no publisher at hand. The Watchtower Society obtained publication rights after his death. Byington was not a Jehovah's Witness. (Sentences set in »« are taken from the biogramm in the Bible)

For sample verses from the translation by Steven T. Byington, click here


Title: The Bible in Living English Translated by Steven T. Byington
Date: Ⓒ 1972 by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (reprinted 1973, 1979, 1981)
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY (U:S.A.): Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York
Contents: Bible. – Translator´s Preface • Explanations of Abbreviations • Alphabetical Listing. – Scetches and maps • (About the) Translator • Chief Office and Official Addresses.
References: Chamberlin p. 50-2, Taliaferro-BVE CN00042, Taliaferro-EELBV 8105.
Images: Cover, Title Page
Comments: Hardcover large octavo; sewn binding; 1592 & [6] pp incl. sketches & maps. Scripture text in single column paragraph-wise printed; marginal notes at end of each chapter; these include mostly alternate readings etc. but no cross references. No introductions. Some of the additional verses found in the Byzantine text family are put to the Marginal Notes, others not. S. T. Byington does not give any information on the source texts he used; he relied upon a critical one, resulting in e. g. Mat. 17:21, 18:11 and Romans 16:24 are not in the main text. The longer Mark– ending is translated, the "pericope adulteræ" is relegated to the end of John´s Gospel.

S.T.B. wrote a Preface of six pages. As to the translation, he mentions:
»The central purpose of this translation, the reason of which it exists, is to put the Bible into living present–day English. Where good American and good British usage are known to differ, (…) I have been American. (…)
Many critics will find it hard to bear that in addressing God I have said “thou“ in the New Testament and "you" in the Old; they will say that I ought at least to have been uniform. Perhaps I ought; but my feeling was that the NewTestament men had nearly the same feelings as we have about addressing God, but the Old Testament men (…) had not such feelings as lead us to give God a special pronoun. (…) As to the Old Testament name of God, certainly the spelling and pronunciation “Jehovah“ were originally a blunder. But the spelling and the pronunciation are not highly important. What is highly important is to keep it clear that this is a personal name. There are several texts that cannot be properly understood if we translate this name by a common noun like “Lord", or, much worse, by a substantivised adjective. –
It is customary for the preface of a new translation of the Bible to say that this translation is to be used only for certain limited purposes, and for most purposes the old version, or a conservative revision of it, should still be preferred. I say the contrary: I sincerely recommend that my translation be used in preference to the old for all purposes, under all circumstances where mine is available. (…) A man who uses the old version as his standard Bible has no right to claim that he is treating the Bible respectfully as the word of God. (…) Please believe that in my work of many years, with the help of the books of many good students, I have done my best to give you in English the genuine Bible as the prophets and apostles wrote it, and that you are not unsafe in taking what you find here.«

The first printing in 1972 consisted of 100,000 copies. The second printing in 1973 consisted of 50,000 copies. A third printing in 1979 apparently consisted of 25,000 copies (The printing information in the 1979 edition says "Total printing as of 1979: 175,000 Copies. As of 1981: 225,000 Copies).
P.S.: A copy sold on ebay (item 260191669728) for $77.00 in December of 2007.


Spine and Impressum of the 1981 edition, the number of printed copies totaling 225,000 by then.


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