World English Bible

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World English Bible
Public Domain Cover
Full nameWorld English Bible
Complete Bible
Online asWorld English Bible at Wikisource
AuthorshipMichael Paul Johnson (Editor in Chief)
Derived fromAmerican Standard Version 1901
Textual basisNT: Byzantine Majority Text by Robinson and Pierpont 1991. OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (with some Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls influence).
Translation typeFormal equivalence
PublisherRainbow Missions
CopyrightPublic domain (copyright waived)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The World English Bible (WEB) is an English translation of the Bible published in 2000. It is an updated revision of the American Standard Version (1901). The World English Bible was created by volunteers using the American Standard Version as the base text as part of the project through Rainbow Missions, Inc., a Colorado non-profit corporation.[1] The World English Bible is one of the few public domain,[2] twenty-first century English translations of the entire Bible, and it is freely distributed to the public using electronic formats.


The World English Bible claims to be one of the few English-language Bibles custom translated to be understood by most English-speakers worldwide, eliminating the need for data-processing based or computer operating system-specific internationalizations. Work on the World English Bible began in 1997 and it was first known as the American Standard Version 1997.

The World English Bible project was started in order to produce a modern English Bible version that is not copyrighted, does not use archaic English (such as the KJV), and is not translated into Basic English (such as the Bible in Basic English). The World English Bible follows the American Standard Version's decision to transliterate the Tetragrammaton, but uses "Yahweh" instead of "Jehovah" throughout the Old Testament. The British and Messianic editions as well as the Apocryphal books and New Testament use the traditional forms (e.g., the LORD).

The translation also includes the following Apocryphal books (in the following order):

  1. Tobit
  2. Judith
  3. Additions to Esther (additions found in the LXX namely Esther 10:4 – 16:24)
  4. Wisdom (also known as the Wisdom of Solomon)
  5. Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach)
  6. Baruch
  7. Epistle of Jeremy (or the Letter of Jeremy)
  8. Prayer of Azarias (Daniel 3:24–97 in the LXX & Vulgate)
  9. Susanna (Daniel 13 in the LXX & Vulgate)
  10. Bel and the Dragon (Daniel 14 in the LXX & Vulgate)
  11. I Maccabees
  12. II Maccabees
  13. 1 Esdras
  14. Prayer of Manasses
  15. Psalm 151
  16. III Maccabees
  17. IV Maccabees
  18. 2 Esdras

Translation philosophy[edit]

The work is based on the 1901 American Standard Version English translation, the Greek Majority Text, and the Hebrew Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with some minor adjustments made because of alternate readings found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint. These alternate readings are usually ignored or restricted to the footnotes. The translation process included seven phases of editing and proofreading for each book. An initial automated pass updated approximately 1,000 archaic words, phrases and grammatical constructs. The first manual pass added quotation marks (the ASV had none) and other punctuation and compared the translation to the Greek and Hebrew texts in areas where significant textual variants or meanings were unclear.


All of the text of the World English Bible is deeded into the public domain. The project maintains a trademark on the phrase "World English Bible" and forbids any derivative work that substantially alters the text from using the name "World English Bible" to describe it.[3] The reasons given were that they felt copyright was an ineffective way of protecting the text's integrity and the fact that the Creative Commons licenses did not exist at the time the project began and thus, since the decision to place the text in the public domain had already been made, "it is way too late to change that decision" after the fact.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Evangelical site praised the WEB for being "a modern, free, and public domain English translation of the Bible" while also criticising the translation's sentence structure as "not always in the most natural-sounding and free-flowing English". The site suggests the lack of physical print copies has made the translation difficult for widespread adoption by Christian communities.[5]

The Provident Planning web site uses the World English Bible because it is free of copyright restrictions and because the author considers it to be a good translation.[6]

The Bible Megasite review of the World English Bible says it is a good revision of the American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV) into contemporary English, which also corrects some textual issues with the ASV.[7]

The World English Bible is widely published in digital formats by a variety of publishers.[8][9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World English Bible Translation FAQ". Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "Read the World English Bible Free Online". Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "World English Bible with Deuterocanon". Archived from the original on May 26, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  4. ^ "The World English Bible (WEB) FAQ". Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  5. ^ Got Questions?. "What is the World English Bible (WEB)?". Archived from the original on February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Corey. "Why I use the World English Bible (WEB) Version". Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  7. ^ David. "David's Review of the World English Bible". Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  8. ^ Michael Paul Johnson. "World English Bible". Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  9. ^ Olive Tree Bible Software. "World English Bible (WEB), Ecumenical". Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  10. ^ Li Liangpu. "World English Bible WEB Audio Holy Scriptures". Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.

External links[edit]