English Translations of the Bible
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There are so many translations available
today that it can be quite confusing? Which are the best
ones? Are some inaccurate? Is "older" always better?" Or
maybe "newer" is preferred!
I've tried to summarize twenty-one of the most popular ones
below. (There are many others out there.) I've also included
some editorial comments from time to time that may point
out strengths and weaknesses. I hope this is a help to you.
God bless you as you study His Word!
1. Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Amplified Bible was the first Bible project
of The Lockman Foundation. It attempts to take both word
meaning and context into account in order to accurately
translate the original text from one language into another.
The Amplified Bible does this through the use of explanatory
alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader
in understanding what Scripture really says. Multiple English
word equivalents to each key Hebrew and Greek word clarify
and amplify meanings that may otherwise have been concealed
by the traditional translation method.
2. American Standard Version (ASV)
Published in 1901, the American Standard Version
was produced as a revision to the King James Version.
3. Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Uncompromising simplicity marked the American Bible Society’s
translation of the Contemporary English Version
Bible that was first published in 1995. The text is easily
read by grade schoolers, second language readers, and those
who prefer the more contemporized form. The CEV is not a
paraphrase. It is an accurate and faithful translation of
the original manuscripts.
4. Darby Translation (DARBY)
First published in 1890 by John Nelson Darby, an
Anglo-Irish Bible teacher associated with the early years
of the Plymouth Brethren. Darby also published translations
of the Bible in French and German.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The English Standard Version stands in the
classic mainstream of English Bible translations over the
past half-millennium. In that stream, faithfulness to the
text and vigorous pursuit of accuracy were combined with
simplicity, beauty, and dignity of expression. Our goal
has been to carry forward this legacy for a new century.
To this end each word and phrase in the ESV has been carefully
weighed against the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek,
to ensure the fullest accuracy and clarity and to avoid
under-translating or overlooking any nuance of the original
text. The words and phrases themselves grow out of the Tyndale-King
James legacy, and most recently out of the RSV, with the
1971 RSV text providing the starting point for our work.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Even though many conservative scholars have
found inaccuracies in the orginal RSV, those problems were
corrected in the ESV translation. It is one of the best
modern translations available today.]
6. Good News Translation (GNT)
The Good News Translation, formerly called
the Good News Bible or Today’s English Version
was first published as a full Bible in 1976 by the American
Bible Society as a “common language” Bible. It is a clear
and simple modern translation that is faithful to the original
Hebrew, Koine Greek and Aramaic texts. The GNT is a highly-trusted
7. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
The Bible is God's inspired word, inerrant in the original
manuscripts. It is the only means of knowing God's plan
of salvation and His will for our lives. It is the only
hope and answer for a rebellious, searching world. Bible
translation, both a science and an art, is a bridge that
brings God's word from the ancient world to the world today.
8. King James Version (KJV)
In 1604, King James I of England authorized that a new translation
of the Bible into English be started. It was finished in
1611, just 85 years after the first translation of the New
Testament into English appeared (Tyndale, 1526). The
Authorized Version, or King James Version,
quickly became the standard for English-speaking Protestants.
9. 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
The 21st Century King James Version of the
Holy Bible (KJ21®) is an updating of the 1611 King James
Version (KJV). It is not a new translation, but a careful
updating to eliminate obsolete words by reference to the
most complete and definitive modern American dictionary,
the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition,
unabridged. Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have
also been updated.
What has been historically known as Biblical English has
been retained in this updating. It is readily distinguished
from the colloquial language of commerce and the media used
in contemporary Bible translations.
All language relating to gender and theology in the King
James Version remains unchanged from the original.
10. The Message (MSG)
Why was The Message written? The best answer to that
question comes from Eugene Peterson himself: "While I was
teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the
adults in my class weren't feeling the vitality and directness
that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in
its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text,
I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and
idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers
of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these
writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in
the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life
for two different types of people: those who hadn't read
the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and
those who had read the Bible so much that it had become
11. New American Standard Bible (NASB)
While preserving the literal accuracy of the 1901 ASV, the
New American Stand Bible has sought to render
grammar and terminology in contemporary English. Special
attention has been given to the rendering of verb tenses
to give the English reader a rendering as close as possible
to the sense of the original Greek and Hebrew texts. This
translation has earned the reputation of being the most
accurate English Bible translation.
12. The NET Bible (NET)
The NET Bible is a completely new translation of
the Bible with 60,932 translators’ notes! It was completed
by more than 25 scholars – experts in the original biblical
languages – who worked directly from the best currently
available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.
13. New Century Version (NCV)
This translation of God's Word was made from the original
Hebrew and Greek languages. The translation team was composed
of the World Bible Translation Center and fifty additional,
highly qualified and experienced Bible scholars and translators.
Some had translation experience on the New International
Version, the New American Standard, and the New
King James Versions. The third edition of the United
Bible Societies' Greek text, the latest edition of Biblia
Hebraica and the Septuagint were among texts used.
14. New International Version (NIV)
The New International Version is a translation
made by more than one hundred scholars working from the
best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. It was
conceived in 1965 when, after several years of study by
committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National
Association of Evangelicals, a trans-denominational and
international group of scholars met at Palos Heights, Illinois,
and agreed on the need for a new translation in contemporary
15. New International Reader's Version
The New International Reader's Version is
a new Bible version based on the New International Version
(NIV). The NIV is easy to understand and very clear.
More people read the NIV than any other English Bible. We
made the NIrV even easier to read and understand. We used
the words of the NIV when we could. Sometimes we used shorter
words. We explained words that might be hard to understand.
We made the sentences shorter.
We did some other things to make the NIrV a helpful Bible
version for you. For example, sometimes a Bible verse quotes
from another place in the Bible. When that happens, we put
the other Bible book's name, chapter and verse right there.
We separated each chapter into shorter sections. We gave
a title to almost every chapter. Sometimes we even gave
a title to the shorter sections. That will help you understand
what each chapter or section is all about.
16. New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
The New Jerusalem Bible is a 1985 revision
of the older Jerusalem Bible (JB). The JB was translated
from the original languages, but it developed out of a popular
French translation done in Jerusalem, which is why it was
called the Jerusalem Bible. The NJB, like the JB
before it, is known for its literary qualities. While the
JB tended to more meaning-based (or functional equivalent),
the NJB has moved toward more of a word-based (or formal
17. New King James Version (NKJV)
Commissioned in 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 130 respected
Bible scholars, church leaders, and lay Christians worked
for seven years to create a completely new, modern translation
of Scripture, yet one that would retain the purity and stylistic
beauty of the original King James Version. With unyielding
faithfulness to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic
texts, the translatiors applies the most recent research
in archaelology, linguistics, and textual studies.
18. New Living Translation (NLT)
The goal of any Bible translation is to convey the meaning
of the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts as accurately as possible
to the modern reader. The New Living Translation
is based on the most recent scholarship in the theory of
translation. The challenge for the translators was to create
a text that would make the same impact in the life of modern
readers that the original text had for the original readers.
In the New Living Translation, this is accomplished
by translating entire thoughts (rather than just words)
into natural, everyday English. The end result is a translation
that is easy to read and understand and that accurately
communicates the meaning of the original text.
19. New Revised Standard Version (NSRV)
The NRSV translation has been rightly labeled “An Ecumenical
Edition,” that has been widely used by both Protestant and
Catholic worshippers since 1990.
20. Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Published in 1952, the Revised Standard Version
of the Bible is an authorized revision of the American
Standard Version. It seeks to preserve all that is best
in the English Bible as it has been known and used through
the years. It is intended for use in public and private
worship, not merely for reading and instruction. [EDITOR'S
NOTE: Many conservative scholars have found inaccuracies
in the translation work in the RSV.]
21. Today's New International Version (TNIV)
The Today's New International Version is
a thoroughly accurate, fully trustworthy Bible text built
on the rich heritage of the New International Version
(NIV). In fact, this contemporary language version incorporates
the continuing work of the Committee on Bible Translation
(CBT), the translators of the NIV, since the NIV's last
update in 1984.
In translating the NIV, the CBT held to certain goals: that
it be an Accurate, Beautiful, Clear, and Dignified translation
suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching,
memorizing, and liturgical use. The translators were united
in their commitment to the authority and infallibility of
the Bible as God's Word in written form. They agreed that
faithful communication of the meaning of the original writers
demands frequent modifications in sentence structure (resulting
in a "thought-for-thought" translation) and constant regard
for the contextual meanings of words.
About the Author: Glenn Christianson has
a website with links to 100s of free Bible study tools including
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The source of the photos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible