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The Modern Language Bible was the dream of Gerrit Verkuyl, an immigrant to the US from the Netherlands, and was first published as a New Testament translation by Gallick Press in 1945. Originally titled the the Berkeley Version of the New Testament, after the location where it was written, rights for the translation were acquired by Zondervan. Zondervan then invited Verkuyl to oversee translation of the Old Testament by a group of 20 scholars, resulting in the full version of the Bible published in 1959. In 1969, a revised version was published under the title the Modern Language Bible.
Gerrit Verkuyl (1872-1967) emigrated to the US from the Netherlands in 1893, joining his brother as a farmhand in California. Self-taught in the English language, he earned a BA from Park College in Missouri, and in 1904 he gained his BDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. Verkuyl also received an MA from Princeton and a PhD from Leipzig University in Germany, and later received an honorary DDiv from Park College. He served as a Presbyterian minister for a number of years, but feeling a call to provide a faithful translation of the Bible into English he began the work of translating the New Testmanent in 1936.