The New Testament
A translation from the Greek ‘Patriarchal Text’ into British English
‘No one is truly poor, but he who lacks the truth’ – St Ephrem the Syrian
‘Orthodoxy is what Christ taught, the Apostles preached and the Fathers kept’ – St Athanasius
The New Testament is the record of what Christ taught and the Apostles preached, and more besides. The texts were written in Greek by the Apostles and Evangelists themselves, and preserved for future generations by the Fathers. The Holy Scriptures are God’s gift to us. To neglect that gift is to impoverish our souls. Paul the Apostle wrote, ‘Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully qualified, completely equipped for every good work.’. 2 Tim 3:16-17
To start reading, select a book:
N.B. If your connection is slow or your data charges high, please be aware that these links will each load a complete book of the New Testament. There are no images, however, and even the longer books are less than 200kB.
If you are unfamiliar with the New Testament:
- The first four books, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain eye-witness accounts of the birth, life, teaching, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
- The fifth book records the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ after our Lord’s ascension into heaven: the growth of the Church in Jerusalem, Antioch, and out across Asia Minor and into Europe.
- There follow twenty-one Epistles – letters from the Apostles Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude to churches and to individuals.
- Finally, we have the Apocalyse, the ‘Revelation of Jesus Christ’ which God gave to the Apostle John the Theologian.
The translation is essentially that of the Eastern/Greek Orthodox Bible (EOB). We wish to acknowledge our grateful thanks to all those who have laboured to provide a splendid translation of the Holy Scriptures for English-speaking Orthodox Christians. The generous copyright provisions of the EOB have enabled us to prepare this version in British English. Details of the minor changes made to the EOB text are shown below.
This is a work in progress. The complete New Testament is here, and it is our intention to add the text of the Old Testament (an Orthodox translation of the Greek Septuagint) in the near future.
A brief note on Greek New Testament texts: The Greek text of the New Testament recognised by the Orthodox Church is that which has been handed down to us from the Fathers. In 1904 this ancient text received endorsement as the Patriarchal Text. The text differs very little from the Byzantine Majority Text familiar to western scholars. Also of interest to many English speakers is the Textus Receptus of the reformation scholar Erasmus as this was the text used by the translators of the New Testament portion of the King James Bible of 1611. Textus Receptus, although a Byzantine-type text, does differ in minor detail from the Patriarchal Text. Less suitable still for Orthodox use are the great majority of modern western translations as they follow heavily revised ‘critical texts’, typically the NU-text (Nestle-Aland/United Bible Societies) and its variants, influenced by Alexandrian sources.
Changes made to the EOB text:
British and US English differ a little in vocabulary and significantly in spelling. This version uses the ‘Oxford’ spellings and usage of British English throughout.
The EOB in its original form has a wealth of footnotes and is furnished with copious articles which include explanations of why certain decisions in translation were made. We have not reproduced those articles or footnotes but would urge any serious student to seek them out. For example, the concept of ‘equivalence’, a difficult one for any translator, is discussed. This practice of consistently using one English word or phrase for every occurrence of a particular Greek word can lead to anomalies where English words have acquired associations and nuances which may fit the text well in certain contexts but not in others.
One example is the Greek word πρεσβυτερος (presbyteros). In the NT it is used both of the Jewish synagogue elders (as in the familiar biblical phrase ‘the scribes and elders’), and of the local leaders of the newly forming Christian communities. Some Protestant translations use the word ‘elder’ throughout; the EOB uses ‘presbyter’ throughout. We have chosen to distinguish between the two usages by using ‘elder’ in the Jewish context, and ‘presbyter’ in the Christian context.
A second example is the Greek επισκοπος (episkopos) from which the English word ‘bishop’ is derived, and which means literally ‘overseer’. The EOB uses ‘overseer’; we have retained the arguably more traditional translation ‘bishop’.
A third example is the handling of the verbs προσκυνηω (proskuneo) and λατρευω (latreuo) and their associated nouns. Both of these can mean ‘worship’, and on occasion are used interchangeably for the ‘worship of God’. But not always: there is a subtlety of emphasis which the EOB has attempted to preserve through the consistent use of the phrases ‘to express adoration to’ for the former, and ‘to offer divine service to’ for the latter. The essential point is that we offer divine service only to God, but may express adoration of an ordinary person or even something inanimate. In order to avoid awkward English constructions, we have used ‘worship’ consistently for ‘latreuo’ and, wherever possible, ‘bow down to’ for ‘proskuneo’. Very occasionally ‘proskuneo’ is translated ‘worship’, but only where ‘bow down to’ would create a tautology and the worship is clearly of Christ our God or of the Father: e.g., of the risen Christ, ‘They came forward and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him’. Matt 28:9. Here there can be no doubt that ‘proskuneo’ has the full strength of ‘worship’.