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Biblia del Oso.png
Bible's title-page traced to the Bavarian printer Mattias Apiarius, "the bee-keeper". Note the emblem of a bear tasting honey. The title in English says:
Full nameReina–Valera
AuthorshipCasiodoro de Reina
First revision by Cipriano de Valera
Version revision1602, 1862, 1909, 1960, 1977 1995 and 2011
PublisherUnited Bible Societies
En el principio creó Dios los cielos y la tierra. Y la tierra estaba desordenada y vacía, y las tinieblas estaban sobre la faz del abismo, y el Espíritu de Dios se movía sobre la faz de las aguas. Y dijo Dios: Sea la luz; y fue la luz.
Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna.

The Reina–Valera is a Spanish translation of the Bible originally published in 1602 until[1] United Bible Societies in 1909 revised the earlier translation produced in 1569 by Casiodoro de Reina. This translation was known as the "Biblia del Oso" (in English: Bear Bible)[2] because the illustration on the title page showed a bear trying to reach a container of honeycombs hanging from a tree.[3] Since that date, it has undergone various revisions notably those of 1602, 1862, 1909, 1960, 1977, 1995,[1] and more recently in 2011.


Starting point[edit]

Casiodoro de Reina, a former Catholic monk of the Order of St. Jerome, and later an independent Lutheran theologian,[4] with the help of several collaborators[5] produced the Biblia del Oso, the first complete Bible printed in Spanish. (Earlier translations, such as the 13th-century Alfonsina Bible, translated from Jerome's Vulgate, had been copied by hand.)

It was first published on September 28, 1569, in Basel, Switzerland.[6][7] The translation was based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text (Bomberg's Edition, 1525) and the Greek Textus Receptus (Stephanus' Edition, 1550). As secondary sources, de Reina used the Ferrara Bible for the Old Testament and the Latin Edition of Santes Pagnino throughout. For the New Testament, he was greatly aided by the translations of Francisco de Enzinas and Juan Pérez de Pineda. The 1569 version included the deuterocanonical books within the Old Testament and the 1602 version included the deuterocanonical books sandwiched between the Old and New Testaments.

Edition by Cipriano de Valera[edit]

In 1602 Cipriano de Valera, a student of de Reina, published a revision of the Biblia del Oso which was printed in Amsterdam in which the deuterocanonical books were placed in a section between the Old and New Testaments called the Apocrypha.[8] Among the reasons for the revision was the fact that in the intervening period words had changed their meanings or gone out of use.[9] For a time, it was known simply by de Valera's name.[10]

Further revisions[edit]

The British and Foreign Bible Society, the American Bible Society and the United Bible Societies published a total of fifteen revisions between 1808 and 1995[10] of which those of 1909, 1960 and 1995 are the most significant today and remain in print[1] and a further revision appeared in 2011. Modern editions often omit the Apocrypha. The principle behind these revisions has been to remain as close to the original Reina–Valera as possible without causing confusion or misunderstanding.[11] Even the 1995 New Testament is based on the traditional Textus Receptus despite the fact that the United Bible Societies use modern critical Greek texts as the basis for other translations.[12] It retains the traditional form of the name of God, "Jehová" (with the notable exceptions of the Nueva Reina Valera 1990, revision which replaces "Jehová" with "El Eterno" and the Reina Valera Contemporánea, revision of 2011 which replaces "Jehová" with "El Señor").

In addition, it uses for the second-person plural the pronoun "vosotros" (except for the Reina Valera Contemporánea which replaces "vosotros" with "ustedes"), which is obsolete outside Spain.[13] Apart from updating the vocabulary where necessary, its major innovations lie in the area of visual presentation: Hebrew verse is printed in a way that reflects its structure rather than as if it were prose, and while the numbering of verses has been retained the text is laid out clearly in paragraphs.[14]

Since the resurgence of the King James Only movement in the United States (and its exportation to other countries), there has been much debate among Christian groups who use the Reina–Valera Bible. However, the 1960 revision became the common Bible of many millions of Spanish-speaking Protestants around the world, surpassing the 1909 in its reception. Almost all Hispanic churches use it, despite further attempts to revise it (for example, the unofficial Reina–Valera-Gomez revision).

The Reina–Valera Bible is one of the Bible translations authorized to be used in Spanish-language services of the Church of Christ, Scientist,[15] the Anglican Communion as well as by many religious groups.[16][17]

Unofficial revisions[edit]

  • The 1602 Purified Bible done in Monterrey, Mexico, by advocates of King James Onlyism.[citation needed] The First edition was printed in 2001, with the Second Edition in 2002. Their purpose was to create (or rather, to restore) a Spanish-language bible which honored and remained true to the old Reina-Valera Castellan Spanish.
  • The Reina–Valera 1865, made by Dr. Ángel H. de Mora of Spain, and subsequently printed by the American Bible Society. The ABS continued to reprint this Valera edition until the 1950s. It was reprinted again in the year 2000 by the Local Church Bible Publishers of Lansing, Michigan, and the Valera Bible Society of Miami, Florida.
  • The Reina–Valera–Gómez Bible, a revision of the 1909, done in Matamoros, Mexico, by advocates of King James Onlyism.[18][19]
  • The Trinitarian Bible Society has been working on a revision of the Valera 1909.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) published in 2009 their first official Spanish edition of the Bible based on the 1909 Reina–Valera edition, with "a very conservative update of outdated grammar and vocabulary".[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Anon. ¡Refrescante y más brillante que nunca! Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (1995) p.9
  2. ^ The facsimile reproduction was published by the Spanish Bible Society (1970 ISBN 84-8083-073-5).
  3. ^ "La Biblia del Siglo de Oro". La Biblia Web, Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas. 26 July 2010. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  4. ^ compare: Rosales, Raymond S. Casiodoro de Reina: Patriarca del Protestantismo Hispano. St. Louis: Concordia Seminary Publications. 2002.
  5. ^ González, Jorge A. The Reina–Valera Bible: From Dream to Reality Archived 2007-09-18 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ James Dixon Douglas, Merrill Chapin Tenney (1997), Diccionario Bíblico Mundo Hispano, Editorial Mundo Hispano, pág 145.
  7. ^ "Sagradas Escrituras (1569) Bible, SEV". Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  8. ^ A facsimile edition was produced by the Spanish Bible Society: (Sagrada Biblia. Traducción de Casiodoro de Reina 1569. Revisión de Cipriano de Valera 1602. Facsímil. 1990, Sociedades Biblicas Unidas, ISBN 84-85132-72-6)]
  9. ^ Anon. ¡Refrescante y más brillante que nunca! Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (1995) pp. 22f
  10. ^ a b "Versiones castellanas de la Biblia" en Nuevo Diccionario Bíblico Ediciones Certeza (1991)
  11. ^ Anon. ¡Refrescante y más brillante que nunca! Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (1995) p.14
  12. ^ Anon. ¡Refrescante y más brillante que nunca! Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (1995) pp.19f
  13. ^ "Presentación" near beginning of the 1995 version study edition (no page number)
  14. ^ Anon. ¡Refrescante y más brillante que nunca! Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (1995) pp. 51f
  15. ^ "Edición de citas - Christian Science Bible Lessons". Christian Science Bible Lessons.
  16. ^ "General Seminary will host lecture on printed Bibles". 27 March 2006.
  17. ^ "The Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (Canon 2 - of translations of the Bible) -Episcopal Church" (PDF).
  18. ^ compare: Here Comes Gomez
  19. ^ compare: What About The Gomez Bible?
  20. ^ "Church Edition of Spanish Bible Now Published". 14 September 2009.
  21. ^ "La Santa Biblia".

Further reading[edit]

  • Raymond S. Rosales. Casiodoro de Reina, patriarca del Protestantismo hispano, in Serie de monografías [de las] Publicaciones del Seminario Concordia, no. 5. Saint Louis, Mo.: Concordia Seminary Publications, 2002. ISBN 0-911770-74-7

External links[edit]