Unvarnished New Testament

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The Unvarnished New Testament (1991) is a translation produced by Andy Gaus as an attempt to render the New Testament more simply and more straightforwardly than other Modern English Bible translations.[citation needed] In addition to simpler sentence structure, Gaus also chose to translate a number of words that are important in Christian theology using words that are more commonplace and familiar (such as "doing wrong" for the more traditional word "sin").[citation needed] Both of these approaches lead to the label “unvarnished”, separating this translation from others in the Bible version debate. Gaus explained his approach briefly in the beginning of the volume, with more examples presented in the “Introduction” by George Witterschien, who summed it up saying "the effect of this is refreshing" (Unvarnished New Testament 1991:13).

This translation is a "thought-for-thought" translation and does not attempt to adhere to the original language through translation. See Dynamic and formal equivalence.

The volume contains a 15-page glossary in the back, allowing readers to look up words in their traditional translated forms. He marks chapter divisions, but does not mark verse numbers (Paul 1991:87).

Gaus is one in this long line who have tried to produce a translation that was easier to understand. He had earlier produced the four Gospels in 1988, titled “The Unvarnished Gospels”. "Gaus then produced a complete New Testament... The work contains a slightly revised edition of his Gospels, together with the remainder of the New Testament" (Paul 1991:87).

The volume contains a 15-page glossary in the back, allowing readers to look up words in their traditional translated forms. Each entry then gives the original Greek form, an explanation of the meaning, and Gaus's choice of translated form with some explanation of his choice (p. 493-508). For example, the familiar word “disciple” is used to translate the Greek word mathētēs, which Gaus explains is the usual Greek word for “student”, so this is the word he uses in his version of the Gospels (p. 496). Some other familiar words that are translated in innovative, less theological-sounding, ways include “sin” as “doing wrong”, “blessed” as “in luck” in the Beatitudes (p. 494,495)[non-primary source needed], and “behold” by a number of phrases including “look” and “all of a sudden” (p. 494)[non-primary source needed].

The books are arranged in the usual order[vague]. The translation marks chapter divisions, but does not mark verse numbers (Paul 1991:87)

Sample passages[edit]

Matthew 7:2-5

“Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but you don’t notice the log in your own eye? And how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get that splinter out of your eye,’ with that log there in your own eye? You fake, first get the log out of your own eye, and then you can see about getting the splinter out of your brother’s eye.”

Hebrews 12:1,2

“Well now, with such a swarm of good examples on every hand, let us cast off all our dead weight including sinfulness that gets into everything, let us run the endurance race that lies before us, taking our cues from the captain and trainer of our faith, Jesus, he who turned from the joy that beckoned to him to endure the death of the cross, caring not a whit how shameful it was, and now sits at the right of the throne of God.”


  • Gaus, Andy (1988). The Unvarnished Gospels. Threshold Books, Brattleboro, VT. ISBN 978-0-939660-25-4. 
  • Gaus, Andy (1991). The Unvarnished New Testament. Phanes Press, Grand Rapids, MI. ISBN 0-933999-99-2. 
  • Paul, William (2003). English Language Bible Translators. McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub. ISBN 978-0-786-41425-3. 

External links[edit]