Question: "What is the Recovery Version of the Bible?"

Answer: The Recovery Version of the Bible is a direct English translation of the Scriptures, produced and published by Living Stream Ministries, part of the Local Church movement. The relationship between the Local Church and the Recovery Version of the Bible may or may not raise questions about its trustworthiness, depending on how one views this particular group. At the very least, one should be cautioned to treat the specific translations and footnotes of the Recovery Version with caution, if not a large dose of skepticism.

The Recovery Version is presented as a formal translation, and most analysts would agree that it uses an extremely literal approach. From an objective standpoint, the text follows reasonably closely to accepted manuscripts of the Bible, with some editorial license in which ones to follow. In some cases, this results in the use of phrases that are nearly meaningless in English. The book also includes extensive footnotes—so many that they could be fairly described as a commentary. The Recovery Version has raised some caution flags over particular translated passages, as well as the content of these footnotes.

The general opinion of Witness Lee’s theology is mixed, and the same goes for the content of the Recovery Version. Both feature confusing and sometimes contradictory accounts of doctrines such as the Trinity and human nature. According to supporters of Local Church, this is just a matter of cultural confusion, and taking all of the commentary in context results in an orthodox view of theology. According to detractors, the Recovery Version is the result of beliefs that are either aberrant or conflicted, or both. Also, the fact that the names and credentials of the translators are not publicly available is a legitimate source of suspicion.

Given that the Bible was not originally written in English, differences between various versions are not necessarily a problem. And, as compared to cult-specific efforts such as the New World Translation, the Recovery Version does not appear to have an overtly biased approach to translation. In fact, its stated purpose is to avoid such bias, resulting in sometimes overly literal phrasing. Then again, there are already English translations aimed at literalness, such as the NASB and the Amplified Bible, reducing the need for translations like the Recovery Version.

As a lesser-known and lesser-studied version, it would be impossible for Got Questions to adamantly endorse or condemn the Recovery Version of the Bible. However, given some of its widely noted flaws, it should be handled with caution and only in conjunction with other, less worrisome translations.