The examples here printed are taken from The Bible in Basic
English which came out in 1949 (the the New Testament
had been in print since 1941). In addition to the general 850, the
Basic Bible makes use of 100 words for reading verse:
angel, arrow, beast, blind, bow, breast, bride, brow, bud, calm. child, cross, crown, curse,
dawn, delight, dew, dove, dream, eagle, eternal, evening, evil, fair, faith, fate, feast, flock, flow, fountain, fox,
gentle, glad, glory, God, grace, grape, grief, guest, hawk, heaven, hell, hill, holy, honey, honor, image, ivory, joy, lamb, lark, life, lion, lord,
meadow, melody, mercy, noble, passion, perfume, pity, pool, praise, prayer, pride, priest, purple,
rapture, raven, robe, rock, rose, rush, search, shining, shower, sorrow, soul, spear, spirit, storm, stream, strength, sword, thief, tower, travel,
valley, veil, vine, violet, virtue, vision, wandering, wealth, weariness, weeping, wisdom, wolf, wonder.
And 50 special words for reading the Bible:
altar, ark, ass, ax, baptism, blessing, captain, cattle, circumcision, deceit, disciple, envy, flesh, forgiveness, generation, herd, heritage, husband, kingdom, leaven, leper, locust,
master, neighbor, oath, ox, people, pillar, preaching, prophet, revelation, righteousness, saint, salvation, savior, scribe, sin, spice, tent, testament, thorn, tribe, virgin, widow, wife, witness, world, worship, wrath, yoke.
1. Opening Note from The Bible in Basic English
The form in which the Bible is given here is not simply another example of the Bible story put into present-day English. The language used is Basic English; as is the language of this note.
[ The entire Bible in Basic English is available at
multiple locations on the Internet. -- ed ]
[a quick to view version is available on our site. -- ed]
Basic English, produced by Mr. C. K. Ogden of the Orthological Institute, is a simple form of the English language which, with 850 words, is able to give the sense of anything which may be said in English.
By the addition of 50 Special Bible words and the use of 100 words listed as giving most help in the reading of English verse, this number has been increased to 1000 for the purpose of putting the Bible into Basic.
Working with the Orthological Institute, a Committee under the direction of Professor S. H. Hooke, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Studies in the University of London,
has been responsible for a new English form of the Bible made from the Hebrew and the Greek.
In this undertaking, the latest ideas and discoveries in connection with the work of putting the Bible into other languages were taken into account,
and when the Basic form was complete it was gone over in detail by a Committee formed by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press.
The Basic Bible, which in this way was watched over by two separate groups of experts through its different stages, is designed to be used wherever the English language has taken root.
Frequently, the narrow limits of the word-list make it hard to keep the Basic completely parallel with the Hebrew and the Greek;
but great trouble has been taken with every verse and every line to make certain that there are no errors of sense and no loose wording.
It is only natural that, from time to time, some of the more delicate shades of sense have not been covered;
on the other hand, it is well to keep in mind that in the Authorized Version the power and music of the language sometimes take so much of the reader's attention that these more delicate shades are overlooked.
In fact, the Basic expert is forced, because of the limited material with which he is working, to give special care to the sense of the words before him.
There is no question of the Basic work taking the place of the Authorized Version or coming into competition with it;
but it may be said of this new English Bible that it is in a marked degree straightforward and simple and that these qualities give it an independent value.
2. The Making of the Earth
1. At the first God made the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was waste and without form; and it was dark
on the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God was moving on
the face of the waters.
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God, looking on the light, saw that it was good: and God made a division between the light and the dark,
5. Naming the light, Day, and the dark, Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6. And God said, Let there be a solid arch stretching over the waters, parting the waters from the waters.
7. And God made the arch for a division between the waters which were under the arch and those which were over it: and it was so.
8. And God gave the arch the name of Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven come together in one place, and let the dry land be seen: and it was so.
10. And God gave the dry land the name of Earth; and the waters together in their place were named Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11. And God said, Let grass come up on the earth, and plants producing seed, and fruit-trees giving fruit, in which is their seed, after their sort: and it was so.
12. And grass came up on the earth, and every plant producing seed of its sort, and every tree producing fruit, in which is its seed, of its sort: and God saw that it was good.
13. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14. And Cod said, Let there be lights in the arch of heaven, for a division between the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for marking the changes of the year, and for days and for years:.
15. And let them be for lights in the arch of heaven to give light on the earth: and it was so.
16. And God made the two great lights: the greater light to be the ruler of the day, and the smaller light to be the ruler of the night: and he made the stars.
17. And God put them in the arch of heaven, to give light on the earth;
18. To have rule over the day and the night, and for a division between the light and the dark: and God saw that it was good.
19. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20. And God said, Let the waters be full of living things, and let birds be in flight over the earth under the arch of heaven.
21. And God made great sea-beasts, and every sort of living and moving thing with which the waters were full, and every sort of winged bird: and God saw that it was good.
22. And God gave them his blessing, saying, Be fertile and have increase, making all the waters of the seas full, and let the birds be increased in the earth.
23. And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24. And God said, Let the earth give birth to all sorts of living things, cattle and all things moving on the earth, and beasts of the earth after their sort: and it was so.
25. And God made the beast of the earth after its sort, and the cattle after their sort, and everything moving on the face of the earth after its sort: and God saw that it was good.
26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth.
27. And God made man in his image, in the image of God he made him: male and female he made them.
28. And God gave them his blessing and said to them, Be fertile and have increase, and make the earth full and be masters of it; be rulers over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing moving on the earth.
29. And God said, See, I have given you every plant producing seed, on the face of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit producing seed: they will be for your food:
30. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and every living thing moving on the face of the earth I have given every green plant for food: and it was so.
31. And God saw everything which he had made and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
3. Saul Is Put Down by God
I SAMUEL, 15
1. And Samuel said to Saul, The Lord sent me to put the holy oil on you and to make you king over his people, over Israel: so give ear now to the words of the Lord.
2. The Lord of armies says, I will give punishment to Amalek for what he did to Israel, fighting against him on the way when Israel came out of Egypt.
3. Go now and put Amalek to the sword, putting to the curse all they have, without mercy; put to death every man and woman, every child and baby at the breast, every ox and sheep, every camel and ass.
4. And Saul sent for the people and had them numbered in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen and ten thousand men of Judah.
5. And Saul came to the town of Amalek and took up his position in the valley secretly.
6. And Saul said to the Kenites, Go away, take yourselves out from among the Amalekites, or destruction will overtake you with them: for you were kind to the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt.
So the Kenites went away from among the Amalekites.
7. And Saul made an attack on the Amalekites from Havila] on the road to Shur, which is before Egypt.
8. He took Agag, king of the Amalekites, prisoner, and put all the people to the sword without mercy.
9. But Saul and the people did not put Agag to death, and they kept the best of the sheep and the oxen,
and the fat beasts and the lambs, and whatever was good, not desiring to put them to the curse; but everything which was bad and of no use they put to the curse.
10. Then the Lord said to Samuel,
11. It is no longer my pleasure for Saul to be king; for he is turned back from going in my ways, and has not done my orders. And Samuel was very sad, crying to the Lord in prayer all night.
12. And early in the morning he got up and went to Saul; and word was given to Samuel that Saul had come to Carniel and put up a pillar, and had gone from there down to Gilgal.
13. And Samuel came to Saul; and Saul said to him, May the
blessing of the Lord be with you: I have done what was ordered by the Lord.
14. And Samuel said, What then is this sound of the crying of sheep and the noise of oxen which comes to my ears?
15. And Saul said, They have taken them from the Amalekites:
for the people have kept the best of the sheep and of the oxen as an offering to the Lord your God; all the rest we have given up to destruction.
16. Then Samuel said to Saul, Say no more! Let me give you word of what the Lord has said to me this night. And he said to him, Say on.
17. And Samuel said, Though you may seem little to yourself, are you not head of the tribes of Israel? for the Lord with the holy oil made you king over Israel;
18. And the Lord sent you on a journey and said, Go and put to the curse those sinners, the Amalekites, fighting against them till every one is dead.
19. Why then did you not do the orders of the Lord, but by violently taking their goods did evil in the eyes of the Lord?
20. And Saul said, Truly, I have done the orders of the Lord and have gone the way the Lord sent me; I have taken Agag, the king of Amalek, and have given the Amalekites up to destruction.
21. But the people took some of their goods, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which were put to the curse, to make an offering of them to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
22. And Samuel said, Has the Lord as much delight in offerings and burned offerings as in the doing of his orders? Truly, to do his pleasure is better than to make offerings, and to give ear to him than the fat of sheep.
23. For to go against his orders is like the sin of those who make use of secret arts, and pride is like giving worship to images. Because you have put away from you the word of the Lord, he has put you from your place as king.
24. And Saul said to Samuel, Great is my sin: for I have gone against the orders of the Lord and against your words: because, fearing the people, I did what they said.
25. So now, let my sin have forgiveness, and go back with me to give worship to the Lord.
26. And Samuel said to Saul, I will not go back with you: for you have put away from you the word of the Lord, and the Lord has put you from your place as king over Israel.
27. And when Samuel was turning round to go away, Saul took the skirt of his robe in his hand, and the cloth came away.
28. And Samuel said to him, The Lord has taken away the kingdom of Israel from you this day by force, and has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you.
29. And further, the Glory of Israel will not say what is false, and his purpose may not be changed: for he is not a man, whose purpose may be changed.
30. Then he said, Great is my sin: but still, give me honor now before the heads of my people and before Israel, and come back with me so that I may give worship to the Lord your God.
31. So Samuel went back after Saul, and Saul gave worship to the Lord.
32. Then Samuel said, Make Agag, the king of the Amalekites, come here to me. And Agag came to him shaking with fear. And Agag said, Truly the pain of death is past.
33. And Samuel said, As your sword has made women without children, so now your mother will be without children among women. And Agag was cut up by Samuel, bone from bone, be-fore the Lord in Gilgal.
34. Then-Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah, in the land of SauL
35. And Samuel never saw Saul again till the day of his death; but Samuel was sorrowing for Saul: and it was no longer the Lord's pleasure for Saul to be king over Israel.
4. The Testing of Job
1. There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. He was without sin and upright, fearing God and keeping himself I far from evil.
2. And he had seven sons and three daughters.
3. And of cattle he had seven thousand sheep and goats, and three thousand camels, and a thousand oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great number of servants. And the man was greater than any of the sons of the east.
4. His sons regularly went to one another's houses, and every one on his day gave a feast: and at these times they sent for I their three sisters to take part in their feasts with them.
5. And at the end of their days of feasting, Job sent and made them clean, getting up early in the morning and offering burned offerings for them all.
For Job said, It may be that my sons have done wrong and said evil of God in their hearts. And Job did this whenever the feasts came round.
6. And there was a day when the sons of the gods came together before the Lord, and the Satan came with them.
7. And the Lord said to the Satan, Where do you come from? And the Satan said in answer, From wandering this way and that on the earth, and walking about on it.
8. And the Lord said to the Satan, Have you taken note of my servant Job, for there is no one like him on the earth, a man without sin and upright, fearing God and keeping himself far from evil?
9. And the Satan said in answer to the Lord, Is it for nothing that at Job is a god-fearing man?
10. Have you yourself not put a wall round him and his house and all he has on every side, blessing the work of his hands, and increasing his cattle in the land?
11. But now, put out your hand against all he has, and he will be cursing you to your face.
12. And the Lord said to the Satan, See, I give all he has into your hands, only do not put a finger on the man himself. And the Satan went out from before the Lord.
13. And there was a day when his sons and daughters were feasting in the house of their oldest brother,
14. And a man came to Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses were taking their food by their side:
15. And the men of Sheba came against them and took them away, putting the young men to the sword, and I was the only one who got away safe to give you the news.
16. And this one was still talking when another came, and said, The fire of God came down from heaven, burning up the sheep and the goats and the young men completely, and I was the only one who got away safe to give you the news.
17. And this one was still talking when another came, and said, The Chaldaeans made themselves into three bands, and came down on the camels and took them away,
puffing the young men to the sword, and I was the only one who got away safe to give you the news.
18. And this one was still talking when another came, and said, Your sons and your daughters were feasting together in their oldest brother's house,
19. When a great wind came rushing from the waste land against the four sides of the house, and it came down on the young men, and they are dead; and I was the only one who got away safe to give you the news.
20. Then Job got up, and after parting his clothing and cutting off his hair, he went down on his face to the earth, and gave worship, and said,
21. With nothing I came out of my mother's body, and with nothing I will go back there; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; let the Lord's name be praised.
22. In all this Job did no sin, and did not say that God's acts were foolish.
1. And there was a day when the sons of the gods came together before the Lord, and the Satan came with them.
2. And the Lord said to the Satan, Where do you come from? And the Satan said in answer, From wandering this way and that on the earth and walking about on it.
3. And the Lord said to the Satan, Have you taken note of my servant Job, for there is no one like him on the earth, a man without sin and upright, fearing God and keeping himself far - from evil?
And he still keeps his righteousness, though you have been moving me to send destruction on him without cause.
4. And the Satan said in answer to the Lord, Skin for skin, all a man has he will give for his life.
5. But now, if you only put your hand on his bone and his flesh, he will certainly be cursing you to your face.
6. And the Lord said to the Satan, See, he is in your hands, only do not take his life.
7. And the Satan went out from before the Lord and sent on Job an evil disease, covering his skin from his feet to the top of his head.
8. And he took a broken bit of a pot, and, seated in the dust, was rubbing himself with the sharp edge of it.
9. And his wife said to him, Are you still keeping your righteousness? Say a curse against God, and put an end to yourself.
10. And he said to her, You are talking like one of the foolish women. If we take the good God sends us, are we not to take the evil when it comes? In all this Job kept his lips from sin.
11. And Job's three friends had word of all this evil which had come on him. And they came every one from his place, Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.
So they came together to a meeting-place, in order that they might go and make clear to Job their grief for him, and give him comfort.
12. And lifting up their eyes when they were still far off, it did not seem that the man they saw was Job because of the change in him. And they gave way to bitter weeping, with signs of grief, and put dust on their heads.
13. And they took their seats on the earth by his side for seven days and seven nights: but no one said a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.
5. The Birth of Christ
1. Now when the birth of Jesus took place in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem,
2. Saying, Where is he who is King of the Jews by birth ? We have seen his star in the East, and have come to give him worship.
3. And when it came to the ears of Herod the king, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4. And he got together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, questioning them where the birth-place of the Christ was to be.
5. And they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea: because this is in the writings of the prophet,
6. You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah are not the least among the princes of Judah; out of you will come a ruler, who will be the keeper of my people Israel.
7. Then Herod sent for the wise men privately, and put a question to them about what time the star had been seen.
8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and make certain where the young child is; and when you have seen him, let me have news of it, so that I may come and give him worship.
9. And they did as the king said, and went on their way; and the star which they saw in the East went before them, till it came to a stop over the place where the young child was.
10. When they saw the star, they were full of joy.
11. And they came into the house, and saw the young child with Mary his mother, and went down on their faces and gave him worship; and they took from their boxes things of great price, and gave him gold and perfumes.
12. And it was made clear to them by God in a dream that they were not to go back to Herod; so they went into their country by another way.
13. And when they had gone, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream, saying, Get up, and take the young child and his mother, and go into Egypt,
and do not go from there till you get word from me; because Herod will be looking for the young child to put him to death.
14. And he got up, and took the young child and his mother by night, and went into Egypt.
15. And was there till the death of Herod; so that what the Lord said by the prophet might come true, Out of Egypt I have sent for my son.
16. Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was very angry; and he sent out, and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem,
and in all the parts round about it, from two years old and under, acting on the answers given to him by the wise men.
17. Then that came about which Jeremiah the prophet had said,
18. In Rama there was crying, weeping and great trouble, Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are not.
19. But when Herod was dead, an angel of the Lord came in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20. Saying, Get up, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel : they are now dead who were attempting to take the young child's life.
21. And he got up, and took the young child and his mother and came into the land of Israel.
22. But when it came to his ears that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in the place of his father Herod, he had fear of going there: and being made conscious of the danger by God in a dream, lie went out of the way into the country parts of Galilee.
23. And he came and made his living-place in a town named Nazareth; so that what the prophets said might come true, He will be named a Nazarene.
6. Jesus Goes to Jerusalem
1. And when they came near to Jerusalem, to Beth-phage and
Bethany, at the Mountain of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
2. And said to them, Go into the little town opposite: and when
you come to it, you will see a young ass with a cord round his
neck, on which no man has ever been seated; let him loose, and
come back with him.
3. And if anyone says to you, Why are you doing this ? say, The
Lord has need of him and will send him back straight away.
4. And they went away and saw a young ass by the door out-side in the open street; and they were getting him loose.
5. And some of those who were there said to them, What are
you doing, taking the ass?
6. And they said to them the words which Jesus had said; and
they let them go.
7. And they took the young ass to Jesus, and put their clothing
on him, and he got on his back.
8. And a great number put down their clothing in the way;
and others put down branches which they had taken from the fields.
9. And those who went in front, and those who came after, were crying, Glory: A blessing on him who comes in the name of the Lord:
10. A blessing on the coming kingdom of our father David:
Glory in the highest.
11. And he went into Jerusalem into the Temple; and after looking round about on all things, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
12. And on the day after, when they had come out from Bethany, he was in need of food.
13. And seeing a fig-tree in the distance with leaves, he went to see if by chance it had anything on it: and when he came to It, he saw nothing but leaves, for it was not the time for the fruit.
14. And he said to it, Let no man take fruit from you for ever. And his disciples took note of his words.
15. And they came to Jerusalem; and he went into the Temple, and sent out those who were trading there, overturning the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who were offering doves for money;
16. And he would not let any man take a vessel through the Temple.
17. And he gave them teaching, and said to them, Is it not a the Writings, My house is to be named a house of prayer for all the nations? but you have made it a hole of thieves.
18. And it came to the ears of the chief priests and scribes, and they took thought how they might put him to death; being in fear of him, because all the people were full of wonder at his teaching.
19. And every evening he went out of the town.
20. And when they were going by in the morning, they saw the fig-tree dead from the roots.
21. And Peter, having a memory of it, said to him, Master, see,
the tree which was cursed by you is dead.
22. And Jesus, answering, said to them, Have God's faith.
23. Truly I say to you, Whoever says to this mountain, Be taken
up and be put into the sea; and has no doubt in his heart, but
has faith that what he says will come about, he will have his
24. For this reason I say to you, Whatever you make a request
for in prayer, have faith that it has been given to you, and you
will have it.
25. And whenever you make a prayer, let there be forgiveness in
your hearts, if you have anything against anyone; so that you may
have forgiveness for your sins from your Father who is in heaven.
27. And they came again to Jerusalem: and while he was walking
in the Temple, there came to him the chief priests and the scribes
and those in authority:
28. And they said to him, By what authority do you do these
things? or who gave you authority to do these things?
29. And Jesus said to them, I will put to you one question; give
me an answer, and I will say by what authority I do these things.
30. The baptism of John, was it from heaven or from men? give
me an answer.
31. And they gave thought to it among themselves, saying, If we
say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did you not have faith
32. But if we say, From men - they were in fear of the people,
because all took John to be truly a prophet.
33. And they said in answer to Jesus, We have no idea. And
Jesus said to them, And I will not say to you by what authority
I do these things.
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