In 1976, 40 years ago, the American Bible Society published the complete Good News Bible (GNB) for the first time. This Bible was launched in South Africa at the end of that year. Since 1977 a South African edition of this translation has been published by the Bible Society of South Africa.
The Good News Bible came into existence after requests were made from Africa and Asia, amongst others, for an easy to understand and readable Bible translation for people who speak English as a second or even third language.
In 1966, a paperback edition of the New Testament entitled Good News for Modern Man was published. This New Testament took the world by storm and by 1969 approximately 17,5 million copies were sold.
Due to its popularity and at the behest of the United Bible Societies, the American Bible Society was requested to complete this translation on behalf of Bible Societies worldwide. In 1976 the complete translation, directly translated from the source texts (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) using the dynamic equivalence translation method, was introduced. The illustrator, Annie Vallotton, was responsible for the distinctive line drawings in this Bible.
In 1979, an edition containing the Deuterocanonical Books also appeared and a revised edition was published in 1992. Bible Societies worldwide publish this translation in various formats annually.
Over the years, the Good News Bible has become exceedingly popular in South Africa. Over the last 40 years the Bible Society of South Africa has distributed more than 3,2 million copies of this Bible in various formats, including print, audio and e-Bibles. In 2015, this translation accounted for nearly 67% of all English Bibles distributed by the Bible Society.