The first complete Bible produced by The Lockman Foundation was the Amplified Bible. The Amplified Bible is a translation that, by using synonyms and definitions, both explains and expands the meaning of words in the text by placing amplification in parentheses and brackets and after key words or phrases. This unique system of translation allows the reader to more completely grasp the meaning of the words as they were understood in the original languages. Through multiple expressions, fuller and more revealing appreciation is given to the divine message as the original text legitimately permits.
The Amplified Bible is free of personal interpretation and is independent of denominational prejudice. It is a translation from the accepted Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts into literary English. It is based on the American Standard Version of 1901, Rudolph Kittels Biblia Hebraica, the Greek text of Westcott and Hort, and the 23rd edition of the Nestle Greek New Testament as well as the best Hebrew and Greek lexicons available at the time. Cognate languages, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other Greek works were also consulted. The Septuagint and other versions were compared for interpretation of textual differences. In completing the Amplified Bible, translators made a determined effort to keep, as far as possible, the familiar wording of the earlier versions, and especially the feeling of the ancient Book.
Through amplification, the reader gains a better understanding of what the Hebrew and Greek listener instinctively understood (as a matter of course). Take, for example, the Greek word pisteuo, which the vast majority of versions render as "believe." That simple translation, however, hardly does justice to the many meanings contained in the Greek pisteuo: "to adhere to, cleave to; to trust to have faith in; to rely on, to depend on." Notice the subtle shades of meaning which are unlocked in John 11:25:
"Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live."
The story of the Amplified Bible is a remarkable story of faith, hope, and love. It's the story of a woman, a foundation, a committee, and a publisher. Commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and giftedness--these are the words that paint the picture, the picture of the making of a translation.
Frances Siewert (Litt. B., B.D., M.A., Litt. D.) was a woman with an intense dedication to the study of the Bible. It was Mrs. Siewert (1881-1967) who laid the foundation of the Amplified Bible, devoting her life to a familiarity with the Bible, with the Hebrew and Greek languages, and with the cultural and archaeological background of Biblical times, which would result in the publication of this unique translation.
Every vision needs visionaries willing to follow the cause. The story of this dream is no different. Mrs. Siewert's vision was seen by a California non-profit foundation called The Lockman Foundation, made up of Christian men and women who through their commitment, their expertise, and their financial support under girded Mrs. Siewert's monumental translation project. The Lockman Foundation's purpose remains today what is was then: to promote Bible translation, Christian evangelism, education, and benevolence.
Commitment, energy, enthusiasm, giftedness --the things visions are made of--describes the efforts of the committee appointed by The Lockman Foundation to carefully review the impressive work of Mrs. Siewert. This Editorial Board, made up of dedicated people, lent credibility and organization to this unprecedented attempt to bring out the richness of the Hebrew and Greek languages within the English text itself.
One chapter yet remained to bring the vision into reality. A publishing house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on its way to becoming a major religious publishing firm, seized the opportunity to participate in a project which all visionaries involved strongly believed would be used by God to change lives. The Zondervan Publishing House joined the team, and the dream became reality with the publication of The Amplified New Testament in 1958, followed by the two-volume Amplified Old Testament in 1962 and 1964, and the one-volume Amplified Bible in 1965.
Remembered by The Lockman Foundation for her long life of tireless devotion to God, her expertise in the Greek language, and for her impressive knowledge concerning Scripture, Mrs. Frances Siewert went home to be with the Lord late Wednesday night, March 29, 1967. As the official Research Secretary of the Amplified Bible project, Mrs. Siewert displayed her tremendous passion for the Lord. This passion shown brightly throughout her monumental task of laying the translation foundation for the Amplified Bible.
Born in 1881, Mrs. Siewert (Litt. B., B.D., M.A., Litt. D.) dedicated her life to the intensive study of the Scriptures as well as to the cultural and archaeological background of biblical times. When asked by The Lockman Foundation in 1956 to recount, in her own words, her long journey as a Christian, Mrs. Siewert submitted the following amazing list concerning her life as a Christian to that point:
six years of age knew scores of hymns and Bible verses.
• At ten passed an oral examination on the Catechism.
• At fifteen entered the academy of Pacific University, deeply religious atmosphere, compulsory Bible study.
• At seventeen was meeting regularly with classmates to help them prepare for their Bible lessons.
• At eighteen entered Willamette University. Elected president of the Y.W.C.A. under intensely spiritual stimulus. Elected editor of the Willamette Collegian by unanimous vote of all factions of the student body. (With no Bible in Willamettes curriculum, she started a campaign to have it introduced, which authorities honored and was graduated at barely twenty with the degree of Bachelor of Literature, "cum laude.")
• At twenty-two married a minister, who was a brilliant Greek student.
• At twenty-four began helping ministers with their public written work, religious authors and editors with their manuscripts, writing stories for Sunday School material, some to be translated into German. Later, articles for such periodicals as the Sunday School Times.
• At twenty-nine received Master of Arts degree from Willamette University. Thesis subject, "The Effect of the Bible on English Language."
• At thirty-two received bachelor of divinity degree from Schuylkill Seminary (to which the credits had been transferred to make the graduation of a woman possible).
• At thirty-three teaching Bible to girls and women on campus at the University of Washington, downtown in Seattle from citys high schools and factories.
• At thirty-six teaching young people and teachers of Bible in Denver, Colorado.
• At forty teaching Bible daily in Clay County High School, Kansas, sixteen communities represented. In constant demand for Bible lectures at clubs, conventions, and in organized classes -- 254 such talks in one year. In meantime, completed seventeen reading courses at University of Indiana, and earned considerable credit in Psychology and teacher training at Kansas State College. Studied all of the courses pertinent to Bible teaching.
• In 1940 left a widow. Devoted full time to biblical research for ministers and religious writers.
• From 1952 to the present (1956) devoted time entirely to the translation task now in hand, with the work of the Gospel of John, which preceded it.
For all her immense educational preparation and thorough knowledge of Scripture, Mrs. Siewert always remained a humble servant of the Lord. In correspondence dated Sept. 8, 1954 to The Lockman Foundation President and Founder, F. Dewey Lockman, she stated, "Every day, almost, I find myself bubbling with the thrill of discovering some shade of meaning in the original Greek that had never been evident to me before. I have averaged 4 hours a day of serious Bible study since 1914, when I was already a theological seminary graduate, and yet I am finding daily evidence of the fact that there are countless Scripture passages which have been obscure to me until now."
With the Amplified Bible, Mrs. Siewert left us a legacy of her love for God, and we are forever indebted to her for her contributions, insight, and vision, which can still be seen today throughout the pages of the Amplified Bible's unlocked word meanings and timeless truths.
The Lockman Foundation is a nonprofit, interdenominational ministry dedicated to the translation, publication, and distribution of the New American Standard Bible (NASB), Amplified Bible (AMP), La Biblia de las Américas (LBLA), Nueva Biblia Latinoamericana de Hoy (NBLH), and other Biblical resources.