The translator of this version of the Holy Scriptures, Steven T. Byington, was born in 1868. When less than thirteen years of age, he made it his goal to translate the Bible into modern English. To this end, Steven Byington directed his education to fit him for the work of Bible translating.
He took the classical course in college, receiving the degree of A.B. and graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Vermont. His postgraduate study included one year at Union Theological Seminary and a half year at Oberlin Theological Seminary. He specialized in Bible languages as far as the curriculums permitted. Thereafter he kept up his language studies in private.
About 1898 Mr. Byington felt that he could begin translating. It was then that he rendered the first chapter or two of Matthew into English. For some years he had little time for this work. But in 1906 he came into a position that enabled him to spend about forty-five minutes a day, six days a week, in actual translating. Other spare time was spent in studying the originallanguage text in preparation for what he planned to translate in coming days.
This continued until 1940, at which time he retired from his regular job. In the next three years he was able to devote all his working hours to the translation and thus complete it.
Mr. Byington regularly attended a Congregational church that later merged with another church to form the United Church of Ballard Vale, Massachusetts. He had a deep love and respect for the Holy Scriptures. His purpose was to put the Bible into living present-day English. To bring out the flavor of the original-language words, he attempted to determine their specific meaning.
He also appreciated the importance of incorporating the divine name "Jehovah" in his work, especially since its omission from other translations definitely obscured certain texts.. Regarding his use of the name "Jehovah," he said: "I see that the Hebrew is using a personal name, and the ruling principle of my translation is to make the English say just what the Hebrew said, in just the way in which the Hebrew said it, as exactly as English can be made to do it."
Mr. Byington looked forward to the publication of his entire translation, "The Bible in Living English," on which he had labored for some forty years. But his desire was not fulfilled during his lifetime.
After his death in 1957 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania received the publication rights for the entire work. The translation was turned over to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York for publication.
We, the publishers, are pleased to make Mr. Byington's complete translation available to the reading public for the first time. It is our prayer that "The Bible in Living English" may play a part in helping honest-hearted readers to come to know the supreme Sovereign of the universe, Jehovah God.