“The Recovery Version in its final developed format was now in place, and what was presented in the Recovery Version of Revelation became the norm and even the expectation for the rest of the New Testament. A major way to study the Bible in the Lord’s recovery was established.”
Then, in the summer of 1976, in a new meeting hall on Ball Road in Anaheim, CA, Brother Lee held the first semiannual training on the book of Revelation, and the trainees found on their seats the first half of the Recovery Version of Revelation, this time with extensive footnotes! Those of us who were there were astounded by these footnotes, even before the sharing of the message began. The explanations, the unveilings, the truth, and the light raced before our eyes and burned in our hearts! Also, charts were added that explained the details of the prophecies in Revelation. The Recovery Version in its final developed format was now in place, and what was presented in the Recovery Version of Revelation became the norm and even the expectation for the rest of the New Testament. A major way to study the Bible in the Lord’s recovery was established.
Year after year new translations of the books of the New Testament were released, all with many footnotes, extensive outlines, and a wealth of cross references. The translation of the text from Greek steadily improved as the team working on it gained greater knowledge and skill. By the time that Acts, the last book to be published, came out in December 1984, the team was providing newly-executed translation according to its final principles for the Recovery Version, but what had been produced as the whole New Testament was somewhat uneven and inconsistent. Therefore, three days after concluding his life-study of the New Testament, on January 1, 1985, Brother Lee initiated the work of revising the New Testament to make it more accurate and consistent in relation to the Greek text. However, though the revision work was in progress, he did not delay in putting all the standalone first translations of the New Testament into a single volume so that the saints could easily have the existing text and notes in hand. These were reproduced in the 1985 first edition, which one of the dear co-workers affectionately called the Gold Bar because of the gold stamping on the edges of the printed book. The name stuck, and many continued to refer to the first edition of the Recovery Version as the Gold Bar for years to come.
In March 1986 a new development in the work on the Recovery Version took place when Brother Lee made the decision to work on the Chinese New Testament Recovery Version himself in Taiwan. This happened during the first year and a half of what we call the New Way, when the full-time training in Taipei was started. Many saints from across the globe went to Taiwan to be trained in truth, life, and service, and many thousands of unbelievers were led to the Lord, baptized into the Triune God, and brought into the church life. While the New Way was being developed openly, Brother Lee was steadily working privately, usually eight hours a day, on the Chinese Recovery Version with a team of over sixty serving ones. During this time Brother Lee had the opportunity to re-study every verse in the New Testament in relation to the original Greek with the aid of his helpers, and many new renderings of the original text were adopted. Also, he asked a team of brothers in the US to go through his published Life-studies of the New Testament and compile materials that were not already in the current footnotes for possible inclusion in the final New Testament Recovery Version. These compilations were sent to Taiwan, and Brother Lee and his helpers selected, condensed, and edited much material for the final footnotes. Additionally, Brother Lee composed many, many new footnotes, dictating them to his helpers (something amazing for his helpers to witness since he usually did this with his eyes closed!) and polishing them for final publication. Thus, what we have today as the footnotes in the New Testament Recovery Version have come to us in three stages: the notes Brother Lee dictated for the individual New Testament books of the Recovery Version (reproduced in the Gold Bar), the compiled and edited notes from the Life-study messages, and the notes newly dictated by Brother Lee in Taiwan. His new translation of the Greek text into Chinese with this full body of footnotes constitutes the Chinese New Testament Recovery Version, which was first published in 1987. Given the fact that most New Testament Recovery Version teams take about five years to produce a new translation, Brother Lee’s sixteen months to produce the Chinese edition is simply amazing, especially when we bear in mind the other things that he was doing in his ministry at the same time.
“...what we have today as the footnotes in the New Testament Recovery Version have come to us in three stages: the notes Brother Lee dictated for the individual New Testament books of the Recovery Version (reproduced in the Gold Bar), the compiled and edited notes from the Life-study messages, and the notes newly dictated by Brother Lee in Taiwan.”
The work on the English Old Testament Recovery Version followed a somewhat similar pattern, except for the footnotes. Brother Lee began his Life-study of the Old Testament in 1974 with the book of Genesis, but he gave these messages in weekly ministry meetings, not in the semiannual trainings, which he reserved for his Life-study of the New Testament. He also gave the Life-study of Exodus in weekly ministry meetings. In the summer of 1988 he began using the semiannual trainings for the Life-study of the Old Testament, beginning with Leviticus, and for these trainings he had the LSM editorial section prepare a new translation of each Old Testament book from Hebrew (and Aramaic, as the case may be). These new translations did not have footnotes or cross references, but most of them had an outline of the book, which was derived from the outlines for Brother Lee’s Life-study messages. In July 1995 Brother Lee completed his entire life-study of the Bible with his messages on the Song of Songs, and at that time the translation of the text of the Recovery Version was almost complete. Brother Lee directed the LSM editorial section to translate the remaining books (Genesis, Exodus, and Ezekiel), revise the entire Old Testament text, and publish a text-only edition of the Holy Bible Recovery Version because, he said, “the saints should read the Bible.” This text-only edition of the Holy Bible Recovery Version was published in 1999.