|Full name||Amplified Bible|
|Authorship||Zondervan (subsidiary of News Corp) and The Lockman Foundation.|
|Translation type||Free, largely dynamic translation|
|Publisher||Zondervan Publishing House|
|Copyright||1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987|
|The Bible in English|
The Amplified Bible (AMP) is an English translation of the Bible produced jointly by Zondervan (subsidiary of News Corp) and The Lockman Foundation. The first edition was published in 1965. It is largely a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, with reference made to various texts in the original languages. It is designed to "amplify" the text by using a system of punctuation and other typographical features to bring out all shades of meaning present in the original texts.
The Amplified Bible was published in six stages:
- Gospel of John (1954)
- New Testament (1958)
- Old Testament Volume Two (Job-Malachi) (1962)
- Old Testament Volume One (Genesis-Esther) (1964)
- Complete Bible (1965)
- Updated Edition (1987)
The bulk of the work of producing the Amplified Bible was done by Frances Siewert, employed by the Lockman Foundation (Paul 2003:209).
The first complete Bible produced by The Lockman Foundation was the Amplified Bible. The Amplified Bible is a translation that, by using synonyms and definitions, both explains and expands the meaning of words in the text by placing amplification in parentheses and brackets and after key words or phrases. This unique system of translation allows the reader to more completely grasp the meaning of the words as they were understood in the original languages. Through multiple expressions, fuller and more revealing appreciation is given to the divine message as the original text legitimately permits.
The Amplified Bible is free of personal interpretation and is independent of denominational prejudice. It is a translation from the accepted Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts into literary English. It is based on the American Standard Version of 1901, Rudolph Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica, the Greek New Testament text of Westcott and Hort, and the 23rd edition of the Nestle Greek New Testament as well as the best Hebrew and Greek lexicons available at the time. Cognate languages, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other Greek works were also consulted. The Septuagint and other versions were compared for interpretation of textual differences. In completing the Amplified Bible, translators made a determined effort to keep, as far as possible, the familiar wording of the earlier versions, and especially the feeling of the ancient Book.
Through amplification, the reader gains a better understanding of what the Hebrew and Greek listener instinctively understood (as a matter of course). Take, for example, the Greek word pisteuo, which the vast majority of versions render as "believe." That simple translation, however, hardly does justice to the many meanings contained in the Greek pisteuo: "to adhere to, cleave to; to trust to have faith in; to rely on, to depend on." Notice the subtle shades of meaning which are unlocked in John 11:25:
"Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live."
The story of the Amplified Bible is a remarkable story of faith, hope, and love. It's the story of a woman, a foundation, a committee, and a publisher. Commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and giftedness—these are the words that paint the picture, the picture of the making of a translation.
Frances Siewert (Litt. B., B.D., M.A., Litt. D.) was a woman with an intense dedication to the study of the Bible. It was Mrs. Siewert (1881-1967) who laid the foundation of the Amplified Bible, devoting her life to a familiarity with the Bible, with the Hebrew and Greek languages, and with the cultural and archaeological background of Biblical times, which would result in the publication of this unique translation.
Every vision needs visionaries willing to follow the cause. The story of this dream is no different. Mrs. Siewert's vision was seen by a California non-profit foundation called The Lockman Foundation, made up of Christian men and women who through their commitment, their expertise, and their financial support under girded Mrs. Siewert's monumental translation project. The Lockman Foundation's purpose remains today what is was then: to promote Bible translation, Christian evangelism, education, and benevolence.
Commitment, energy, enthusiasm, giftedness—the things visions are made of—describes the efforts of the committee appointed by The Lockman Foundation to carefully review the impressive work of Mrs. Siewert. This Editorial Board, made up of dedicated people, lent credibility and organization to this unprecedented attempt to bring out the richness of the Hebrew and Greek languages within the English text itself.
One chapter yet remained to bring the vision into reality. A publishing house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on its way to becoming a major religious publishing firm, seized the opportunity to participate in a project which all visionaries involved strongly believed would be used by God to change lives. The Zondervan Publishing House joined the team, and the dream became reality with the publication of The Amplified New Testament in 1958, followed by the two-volume Amplified Old Testament in 1962 and 1964, and the one-volume Amplified Bible in 1965.
Explanation of arbitrary punctuation from the March 1985 printing
Parenthesis () and Dashes — —: signify additional phases of meaning included in the original word, phrase, or clause of the original language.
Titles of Deity: are set off with commas.
Brackets: contain clarifying words or comments not actually expressed in the immediate original text.
Italics: point out some familiar passages now recognized as not adequately supported by the original manuscripts. “And,” “or,” and other connectives in italics indicate they have been added for readability in English.
Capitals: are used in names and personal pronouns referring to Deity, but sparingly elsewhere.
References: are intended to cover any part of the preceding verse to which they apply.
Synonyms: are limited to what the text seems to warrant, both as to number and wording.
Acts 16:31 is the example used in the Publisher's Foreword, illustrating some of the features of the Amplified Bible, in comparison with other translations:
Acts 16:31, King James Version: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 16:31, American Standard Version: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.
Acts 16:31, Amplified Bible: And they answered, Believe in and on the Lord Jesus Christ—that is, lgive yourself up to Him, mtake yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping, and you will be saved; [and this applies both to] you and your household as well.
The Amplified Bible references two sources in the above verse: l) Thayer, and m) Wuest's "Golden Nuggets from the Greek New Testament."
Zondervan Publishing House. The Amplified Bible (1965). Thirtieth printing, March 1985. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 65-19500. Current edition is ISBN 0-310-95168-2
Currently, the only audio version of the Amplified Bible is produced by Promises For Life. Zondervan Publishing House is currently contracted with the Lockman Foundation to control and manage the publishing rights of the Amplified Bible. Current edition is ISBN 1-55897-932-8
- Paul, William. 2003. “Siewert, Frances E.” English Language Bible Translators, p. 208,209. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland and Company