Translating Scripture

A major part of this exhibit is exploring the ways in which metrical versions of Scriptural texts were translated in the English church. New translations were continually produced for congregational singing, often met with controversy and praise. This page offers some parallel translations of texts highlighted in the exhibit, to give you a sense of the differences between the versions.

The following texts are featured in the exhibit:

Psalm 91 (Case 2- "Improving" the Language of the Psalms)

Psalm 34 (Case 3- The New Version of the Psalms)

1 Corinthians 7:27-31 (Case 4- Keeping Company with David's Psalms)

Psalm 91 (Case 2- The New Version of the Psalms)

In case 2 of the exhibit, Psalm 91 is used to explore alterative translations of the Psalms that developed soon after the publication of Sternhold and Hopkins (1562). Click the image below to see the Sternhold and Hopkins translation of Psalm 91:1-4 compared with the New Revised Standard Version (1989).

Psalm 91

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Psalm 34 (Case 3- The New Version of the Psalms)

In case 3 of the exhibit, Psalm 91 is used to introduce the Tate & Brady New Version of the metrical Psalms, published first in 1696 and then revised in 1698. Below is the 1698 translation of Psalm 34 from Tate & Brady. Click on the image to compare this with the Old Version of Sternhold and Hopkins (1562) and the New Revised Standard Version (1989).

1  Through all the changing scenes of life,
       in trouble and in joy,
    The praises of my God stall still
       my heart and tongue employ.

 2  Of his deliv'rance I will boast
       till all that are distressed,
    From my example comfort take,
       and charm their griefs to rest.

 3  O magnify the Lord with me, 
       with me exalt his Name;
 4  When in distress to him I called,
       he to my rescue came.

 5  Their drooping hearts were soon refreshed,
       who looked to him for aid;
    Desired success in ev'ry face
       a cheerful air displayed.
Psalm 34

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1 Corinthians 7 (Case 4- Keeping Company with David's Psalms)

In case 4 of the exhibit, on display is William Barton's Six Centuries of Select Hymns, which demonstrates his paraphrases of Scripture he deemed appropriate for congregational worship. Below is Barton's paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 7:27-31. Click the image below to compare Barton's translation with the Sternhold and Hopkins (1562) and the New Revised Standard Version (1989).

William Barton (1688)

Brethren, I say, the time is short
And this remains for every sort
The married so to lead their lives
As free, and not as having Wives.

The sad is sorrowing not too deep,
But weeping as they did not weep:
And that joy in their fair lot
Should joy as if they joyed not.

The buyers free from carefulness,
As if not buying to possess:
Using the World as doth befit,
And not at all abusing it.

For lo! the World doth quite decay,
The fashion of it fades away.
But he that doth the Will of God
Hath an Eternal blest abode.

All Glory to the Holy One
That sits upon the sovereign Throne,
And to the Lamb of God therefore
Be praise and Honour evermore.
1 Corinthians 7

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