Wuest's Expanded Translation of the New Testament

Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament: An Expanded Translation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961. Reprinted 1994. This is a one-volume edition of a translation which was first published in 3 volumes, 1956-59, under the title, Wuest's Expanded translation of the Greek New Testament.

Wuest was a professor of New Testament Greek at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago until his death in 1962. During the 1950's he produced several volumes of Greek word studies, going through the New Testament book by book (published as Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, 16 volumes in all). In his translation of the New Testament (based upon the critical text of Nestle) Wuest attempted to represent some of the same kind of lexical and grammatical information which he had provided in his Word Studies. The result may be seen in the examples below. On the left is the essentially literal rendering of the English Standard Version, and on the right is Wuest's "expanded translation."

ESV Wuest
Matthew 2:8. Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him. Having proceded on your way, conduct an exhaustive and accurate investigation concerning the child, and after you discover that for which you are seeking, bring back the news to me in order that I also, having come, may render homage to him.
Matthew 3:1-2. In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Now, in those days there makes his public appearance John the Baptizer, making a public proclamation with that formality, gravity, and authority which must be listened to and obeyed, in the uninhabited region of Judaea, saying, Be having a change of mind which issues in regret and a change of conduct, for there has come near and is imminent the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 3:7-8. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. But, having seen many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the baptism, he said to them, Offspring of vipers, who gave you a private, confidential hint that you should be fleeing from the wrath about to break at any moment? Produce therefore fruit weighing as much as the repentance you profess.
Matthew 4:3-4. And the tempter came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. But he answered, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. And having come, facing him, he who puts to the test by his solicitation to do evil said to Him, In view of the fact that you are Son of God by virtue of your participation in the divine essence of diety, speak, to the end that these stones become loaves of bread. But answering He said, It has been written and is at present on record, Not upon the basis of bread only shall the individual live, but upon the basis of every word proceeding out of God's mouth.
Mark 2:9. Rise, take up your bed and walk Be arising and pick up your pallet at once and carry it away, and start walking and keep on walking.
John 1:14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. And the Word, entering a new mode of existence, became flesh, and lived in a tent [His physical body] among us. And we gazed with attentive and careful regard and spiritual perception at His glory, a glory such as that of a uniquely-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Acts 2:37-38. Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now, having heard this, they were stung to the heart with poignant sorrow. And they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, what shall we do, men, brothers? And Peter said to them, have a change of mind, that change of mind being accompanied by abhorrence of and sorrow for your deed, and let each one of you be baptized upon the ground of your confession of belief in the sum total of all that Jesus Christ is in His glorious Person, this baptismal testimony being in relation to the fact that your sins have been put away, and you shall receive the gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:25. Husbands, love your wives ... The husbands, be loving your wives with a love self-sacrificial in its nature ...

Wuest's attempt to represent verbal tenses and the full range of meaning for many words results in some very unnatural English, which becomes tiresome enough after a chapter or two. But the version was not intended for casual reading. As F.F. Bruce says, "such an expanded translation as this cannot be judged by stylistic criteria; it is intended for the study, in order that the Greekless student of the New Testament may be made acquainted with all the shades of meaning in the original." Nevertheless it does seem to be the case that (as Bruce also gently indicates) "Sometimes, indeed, one may wonder whether some of the shades of meaning have not been read into the Greek in order to be read out of it." (The English Bible: A History of Translations, p. 182). Several of the examples above go well beyond a strictly philological exegesis, and enter into the realm of theological exposition. We may also note that the painfully explicit and unidiomatic representation of verbal tenses in the translation tends to exaggerate their semantic value, and this will lead some naive English readers into misguided questions and speculations about their exegetical significance. It would probably be better for students who want to explore the nuances of the Greek to use an ordinary version while consulting Wuest's Word Studies volumes, or the similar works by A.T. Robertson and Marvin Vincent.


F.F. Bruce, The English Bible: A History of Translations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 181-182. A brief and friendly review of the version, with some gentle criticism.

Dewey M. Beegle, God's Word into English (Grand Rapids: Eerdman's, 1960), pp. 162-67. Sharp and detailed criticism. Beegle accuses Wuest of "exaggerated paraphrases," "theological bias," and "faulty concepts of Greek grammar."