Uncompromising simplicity marked the American Bible Society's (ABS) translation of the Contemporary English Version (CEV) that was first published in 1995. The text is easily read by grade schoolers, second language readers, and those who prefer the more contemporized form. The CEV is not a paraphrase. It is an accurate and faithful translation of the original manuscripts.
The CEV began as a result of studies conducted by biblical scholar Dr. Barclay M. Newman in 1984 into speech patterns used in books, magazines, newspapers, and television. These studies focused on how English was read and heard, especially by children. This led to a series of test volumes being published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The CEV New Testament was released in 1991, the 175th anniversary of ABS. The CEV Old Testament was released in 1995 and the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books were published in 1999.
The translators of the CEV followed three principles; that the CEV:
- must be understood by people without stumbling in speech
- must be understood by those with little or no comprehension of "Bible" language
- must be understood by all.
"The drafting, reviewing, editing, revising, and refining the text of the Contemporary English Version has been a worldwide process extending over a period of slightly more than ten years. It has involved a wide variety of persons beyond the core team of ABS translators and the consultant experts who have worked closely with the team. The creative process has also involved scholar consultants and reviewers representing a wide range of church traditions and with expertise in such areas as Old Testament, New Testament, Hebrew language, Greek language, English language, linguistics, and poetry. In all, this process involved more than a hundred people in the various stages of the text creation and review process. And it is this process, carried out in constant prayer for the guidance of the Spirit of God, that guarantees the accuracy, integrity and trustworthiness of the CEV Bible" (from Creating and Crafting the Contemporary English Version: A New Approach to Bible Translation—New York: American Bible Society, 1996).