The Living Bible is a translation of the Bible into easy-to-read English completed in 1971. The first published version of this translation was a New Testament published as the Living Letters in 1961, and the complete Living Bible was released in 1971. The Living Bible is a paraphrase rather than a literal, word-for-word translation. It was one of the more popular versions of the Bible during the 1970s and 1980s and was published in several editions, some of them using other names such as The Book.
It was one of the first modern translations to gain wide acceptance among some Evangelical Christians, who had historically used the King James Version and viewed the then-popular Revised Standard Version with some skepticism. The Billy Graham Crusade helped popularize the Living Bible by distributing it (and its predecessor, Living Letters) widely. The Living Bible was also criticized by some because of its nature as a paraphrase, and by some Calvinists who believed the Living Bible had an Arminian bias to the translation (Arminius was a Dutch theologian who rejected the Calvinist belief in predestination).
Verses translated particularly effectively by the Living Bible include:
- Proverbs 16:27 ("Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.") The New Living Translation does not translate it as effectively ("Scoundrels create trouble; their words are a destructive blaze.").
The Living Bible has since been revised as the New Living Translation, which was released in 1996.