Dr. Robert G. Bratcher
Dr. Robert Galveston Bratcher, 90, died peacefully on July 11, 2010, at home at the Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill. He was born to Baptist missionaries Lewis Malen Bratcher and Artie Porter Bratcher in Campos, Brazil, on April 17, 1920. Bob grew up in Rio de Janeiro, and then attended Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, graduating in 1941. He continued his education at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, earning Th.M. and Th.D. degrees (1944, 1949). He served as pastor in Rising Sun, Indiana, and then as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy during World War II. From 1949 to 1956, Bob and his wife June served as Southern Baptist missionaries in Brazil, where he taught New Testament and Greek at the South Brazil Theological Seminary in Rio. In the later 1950s, Bob continued his studies at Victoria University in Manchester, England, and began his distinguished career as a Bible translator.
Working for the American Bible Society, employing an approach to translation known as “dynamic equivalence,” and rendering the text in simple, everyday English, Bob Bratcher produced an English translation of the New Testament that was published in 1966 as Good News for Modern Man: The New Testament in Today’s English Version; by 1971 it had sold 30 million copies, and by now over 100 million copies have been distributed. Bob went on to chair a team of scholars that translated the Old Testament in the same accessible style, leading to the publication of The Good News Bible in 1976. These translations have been deeply meaningful to many around the world; they also have been controversial among some fundamentalist Christians. Bob Bratcher’s contributions to Biblical studies extended far beyond his initial translations. He made extensive contributions to a common-language Brazilian Portuguese translation of the Bible, published in 1988. Working with United Bible Societies, he wrote or co-wrote numerous “Helps for Translators,” each one focusing in detail on issues involved in translating a particular book of the Bible, including Psalms, The Gospel of Matthew, and Revelation. He also wrote scholarly essays on translation issues, among other works, and lectured all over the world. Bob was a faithful and active member of Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill since he moved to the area in 1975. He served the Binkley community as a teacher, preacher and wise elder, and will be dearly missed. He also was a strong proponent of compassion for the less fortunate, justice for the oppressed, and world peace. Until his death he helped prepare meals monthly at Community House in Chapel Hill. And classical music, good writing, and, especially, poetry spoke to his heart.
Bob Bratcher was remarkably dedicated to his family, each member of which he loved deeply. Mourning his passing are his wife of sixty-five years, June Heaton Bratcher; his brother, Rev. Dr. Edward Bratcher; his children, Meredith, Priscilla, and Stephen; his grandchildren, Scott, Sara, Margaret, Joseph, Rosalind, and Vickie; his great-granddaughter, Hailey; cousins, nieces and nephews, and in-laws; and friends and colleagues around the world.
There will be a memorial service at Binkley Baptist Church on Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Robert G. Bratcher Fund at the Interfaith Council for Social Service, 110 W. Main St., Carrboro, NC 27510, or to Binkley Church, 1712 Willow Dr., Chapel Hill NC 27514.
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Published by The News & Observer from Jul. 14 to Jul. 18, 2010.
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13 Entries
I have fond memories of Dr. Bratcher and his loving family as members of the First Baptist Church of Port Jefferson in the early 19690's. I was privileged to work with Dr. Bratcher in typing some of manuscripts for "Good News For Modern Man" - a truly wonderful experience.
Natalie Aurucci Stiefel
E-mail: [email protected]
January 31, 2013
I've never met Dr. Bratcher, but his work has influenced me and made me who i am. Thanks so much for your work with the Good news bible. It's been my favorite translation and i've used it for over a decade now.
Neil Fernandes
June 8, 2012
June, Meredith, Priscilla, and Stephen;
Our prayers for your lose of a father and husband and one of the Bratcher family leaders. His knowledge of the bible and his talent for sharing it with the world will always be present for the rest of the Bratcher family in his many written volumes. He blessed us all with his talents.

The Donald Bratcher family
Jodie, Doug, Dona, Laura and our extended familes
July 24, 2010
We received word of Dr. Bratcher's Home-going from Dr. Norm Mundhenk, longtime Translations Consultant with the United Bible Society serving all the translators who used the Good News New Testament and the Good News Bible as a reference in Scripture translation in Papua, Indonesia where there are more than 200 different languages. Our own personal devotional reading of the Bible is in the Good News Bible. We feel it is the best dynamic equivalent translation available. We ourselves and the people of Papua, Indonesia who can read God's Word in their own heart language, thank God for Dr. Bratcher who has blessed us all. God, who wants his Word known, has surely greeted Dr. Bratcher with a joyful "Well done, Good and Faithful Translator." May God's comfort and peace be yours.
John and Helen Ellenberger
July 20, 2010
Dear Bratcher family, My sympathy and prayers reach out to all of you. I remember Dr. Bratcher as one of my favorite teachers at Southern Seminary. As a new student in the spring of 1955, he called on me to translate from the assigned Greek text. As did all his students, I stood to recite (a new experience for me). After completing my translation, he commented to the male students, i.e., everyone else in the room, "Now let's see if she knows what she is talking about" and proceeded to grill me about grammatical constructions. After I finished, he responded, "I guess she knows what she is talking about." He was a dear, dear man. I thank God for him.
Ruth (Bradfute) Heizer
July 20, 2010
June, Priscilla, Rosalind, and Family, I am so sorry for your loss of husband, father, and grandfather. Know that my thoughts and prayers go out to you. I will remember him fondly when I hold my Bible, when I see Greek letters, when I think of Brazil, when I pray the Lord's Prayer, when I walk through the gardens around church, and when I think of you. May your tender hearts fill with the joy of the "good news" that he shared with us all.
Julia Hicks
July 18, 2010
Dr.Bratcher will be greatly missed by our family. Um grande homem de Deus. We love you, dear family!
You are in our thoughts and prayers. SAUDADES!
Pastor Werner Kaschel e Dirce Kaschel(Brazil), Clinton and Eula Kaschel Parnell(Dallas, Texas).
July 17, 2010

Please accept our sincere sympathy.
The Whitfield family
July 17, 2010
What a loss to the Bratcher family and all of us who loved Bob. He will be missed by all of us.I pray that all of the happy memories of Bob will bring some comfort during this difficult time.Know that you are in our prayers.
Howard and Lillian Lee
July 16, 2010
Dear June and family, I was in the adult SS class Bob taught at Broadway when you lived in Louisville, and remember two particular incidents. Class was running little late one Sunday, and some of us were getting impatient to get to the pre-service choir rehearsal. Bob said, "Does anyone have a parting word?" and I offered GOODBYE! which he accepted with a chuckle.When the first printing of the Good News New Testament came out it was called "Good News for Modern Man." He was discussing it at Broadway one Sunday evening. When he offered to answer questions, I asked when he was going to do a translation for Modern Woman. Another chuckle -- but I think he called it The Good News New Testament thereafter. What a privilege it was to know him and his family! Marie Doyle
July 15, 2010
Bob was one of the most kind people I have ever met. My sympathy goes out to June and his family.
Kelly Seibert
July 15, 2010
Dear Priscilla and Family - On behalf of UNC at Chapel Hill, I send our sorrow to learn of your loss. Please know that we are thinking of you in this time of grieving.

Ron Strauss, Executive Associate Provost, UNC at Chapel Hill
July 14, 2010
Dear Meredith,
I'm so sorry for the loss of your father. Now, whenever I sell a Good News Bible at Cokesbury, I will remember your father and the important work he did to make the "good news" accessible to so many people around the world. May that be an additional comfort to you and your family as you travel this difficult road.
May you find joy in your memories of him and peace in the knowledge that he is with God.
Molly Beck
July 14, 2010
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