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An interfaith team of scripture experts led by a gentle-mannered Princeton scholar has worked for 15 years producing what's likely to become the most widely used Bible in American churches.

The New Revised Standard Version, put out by six publishers in various editions, is being distributed in May to bookstores. It has been authorized and commended by most of the nation's major denominations."It offers greater accuracy, clarity and naturalness of expression," said the Rev. Bruce M. Metzger, chairman of the 30-member translation committee that turned out the new rendition.

Drawing on older, more exact manuscripts and changes in meanings of current English, the work is a fine-tuning of the Revised Standard Version, completed in 1952, and the most broadly endorsed version in the years since.

Many archaic usages and sometimes ambiguous or obscure passages are clarified in the revised translation.

The NRSV was produced under auspices of the National Council of Churches, which also holds the copyright on the predecessor RSV, endorsed by most major Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.