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The Amplified Bible

The Amplified New Testament was published by the Lockman Foundation and Zondervan Publishing House in 1958. The Amplified Old Testament was released in two parts, in 1962 and 1964. The entire Amplified Bible was published in 1965.

In its quest to make the Bible understandable to contemporary readers, the translators chose to use amplification. Its purpose is to reveal, together with the single-word English equivalent to each key Hebrew and Greek word, any other shades of meaning that might exist. The translators felt that amplification would help the reader comprehend what the Hebrew or Greek listener understood.

The symbols used for the types of amplification are:

  • Parentheses and dashes, which signify additional phases of meaning included in the original word, phrase, or clause of the original language.
  • Commas are used to set off titles of Deity.
  • Brackets contain justified clarifying words or comments not actually expressed in the original text.
  • Italics point out familiar passages now recognized as not adequately supported by the original manuscripts

The verses are arranged similarly to the KJV, with each verse set off as a separate paragraph in two columns. Although the intent was good, the format works against a goal of producing an easily readable text. Each verse is read as an isolated passage, making it difficult to read the verses in context.

To make matters worse, no quotation marks are used, and there are no headings of any kind. Cross references, found in brackets after the verse, sometimes refer to specific parts of the verse which are not indicated.

Genesis 1:1-6

  1. In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned,) and created the heavens and the earth. [Heb. 11:3.]
  2. The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was on the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving, (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.
  3. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.
  4. And God saw the light, that it was good--suitable, pleasing-- and he approved it; and God separated the light from the darkness. [2 Cor. 4:6.]
  5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening, and there was morning, one day.
  6. And God said, Let there be a firmament [the expanse of the sky] in the midst of the waters; and let it separate the waters [below] from the water [above].

As you can see from the example above, some of the amplifications are unnecessary. The meaning of the text in context is clear without them, and their inclusion serves only to hinder smooth reading of the text.

The translators of the Amplified Bible were determined, as much as possible, to retain the familiar wording of earlier versions. Its value is in the amplification, yet most of these additions add little of value.

    For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. -- John 3:16



Overview of Bible Study