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How Many Versions Of The Bible Are There

Translated Into Over 700 Languages

Why Are There So Many Versions of the Bible?

According to Tyndale Bible Translators, the Bible has been translated fully into 717 languages, meaning that roughly 5.75 billion people have at least one translation of the Bible in their language . Translators who have decided to focus only on the New Testament have managed to get that text translated into 1,582 languages, allowing another 830 million people access, at least theoretically, to that portion of the text. Further, certain portions have been translated into 1,196 other languages, adding another 457 million people to the list of those who, theoretically at least, have access to a Bible or a portion of the Bible.

Of course, that is not the end of the discussion. Some languages have multiple translations for example, according to, there are 450 different translations of the Bible in English alone, about 21 in Spanish , and three ones in French, according to Fluentu.

Meanwhile, according to Tyndale Bible Translators, at least 20% of the world’s population is still waiting on a translation of the full Bible into their native language.

How Many Versions Of The Bible

Muslim: Why do you Christians have so many versions of the Bible. Which is the actual version?

Christian: The answer will surprise many Muslims. There is only ONE version!

Muslim: You lie. How can that be? What about the King James Version, New King James Version, New International Version, English Standard Version, etc. Arent these all different versions of the Bible?

Christian: No. These are not different versions. These are different versions of TRANSLATIONS of the Bible.

Muslims: Whats the difference?

Christian: These are different English translations of the Bible. Not different versions. The message is the same. Different translations of the same message.

Muslims: Why the need for so many different translations then?

Christian: Good question. The first English Bible used old English. Many words are no longer common usage in our daily language.

Muslims: You mean words like Thou, Thee etc?

Christian: Correct. Example, The New King James Version for example, simplifies the English of the original King James version for a more modern reading, substituting words like Thou with You. The message remains intact but the translation makes it easier to read and understand.

Muslim: What about the other versionsI mean.translations like New International Version?

Muslims: Interesting. I didnt know that. But how can you mutilate Gods Word like this?

Muslim: Sounds like changing the Bible to me.

Christian: Do you speak and understand and write Arabic?

Muslim: No

Objections To Modern Translations

Only the KJV is Inspired

There is nothing in the Bible that would suggest that one particular Bible translation would be superior to others. Neither does it suggest that God would choose one particular Bible translation, in one particular world language, to be the most authentic version. The great majority of Christian denominations do not attribute any special accuracy or authority to the KJV.

Different Hebrew and Greek Manuscripts

The KJV was translated into English from a set of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts known as the Textus Receptus, put together in the 16th century. It was based on seven manuscripts that were available in Basel, Switzerland.

Since that time, the scientific method of paleography has been developed. By analyzing the paper, ink and handwriting, scientists can determine approximately when and where a manuscript was written. Some of the results of paleography have been tested and verified by accelerator mass spectrometry, a form of radiocarbon dating.

It is now known that the manuscripts of the Textus Receptus date to the 10th century A.D. and later. Thus, they have been copied over by hand many, many times since the originals, with a chance of additional compounded errors each time.

Omitted Verses

Gender-Neutral Language

New Revised Standard VersionNew International Version


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Three Types Of Translations

1 The word-for-word versions most accurately follow the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. The King James Version and its modern counterpart, the New King James Version, are both word-for-word translations. You can easily find them in most bookstores or on the Internet.

The accuracy of a version is obviously of utmost importance. Although the King James Version contains some mistakes, to establish sound doctrines, your first choice of versions should be a more literal edition such as the King James or the New King James Version.

2 What about the meaning-to-meaning versions? They can be valuable in putting the Scriptures into more understandable wording. Compare these two meaning-to-meaning versions of the same verse:

Hebrews 2:17-18

“Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted”…

Hebrews 2:17-18 :

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

English Bible Versions Translation


This is how it was:

  • John Wycliffe

In 1378 1388 AD, a English theologian and reformer John Wycliffe and Oxford associates undertake the first translation of the Bible into English. The first complete English Bible from them appeared in manuscript in 1382 AD. John Wycliffe was later deemed heretic by the Catholic Church and killed.

  • William Tyndale

In 1525 AD, a English reformer William Tyndale translated the New Testament from the Greek text, copies of which were printed in Germany and smuggled into England.

Tyndales translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew text was only partly completed because he was publicly executed and burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Empire.

  • King James Version

In 1611 AD James I of England commissioned a revision of the English Bible, The King James Version, as it is called, was completed in 1611 AD. It is a continuation of the partly complete Tyndales work of translation.

Realize that the Roman Empire was in power in the days of John Wycliffe and William Tyndale. They were against them and their work hence they persecuted them.

Therefore the Roman Empire entered to translate the bible to fit into catholic doctrines and teachings. This how the Roman Empire did:

  • Douay or Douay Rheimsh Bible

In 1582-1609 AD, the Douay or Douay Rheimsh Bible was completed and it was commonly used by the Roman Catholics in English-speaking nations.

  • The New American Bible

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Iii Deissmann And The Papyri

In1895 a German pastor by the name of Adolf Deissmann published a rather innocent-sounding volume: Bible Studies. Yet, this single volume started a revolution in NT scholarship–a revolution in which the common man was the winner.

In the 1800s Deissmann began reading ancient Greek MSS. But not the great classical authors. He was reading private letters, business transactions, receipts, marriage contracts. What were these documents? Merely scraps of papyrus found in 2,000-year-old Egyptian garbage dumps. In these seemingly insignificant papyri, Deissmann discovered a key to uncover the NT! For these papyri contained the common Greek language of the first century A.D. They were written in the vocabulary of the NT.

What’s so revolutionary about that? you ask. It is revolutionary because up until 1895, biblical scholars had no real parallels to the language of the NT. They often viewed its Greek as invented by the Holy Spirit. They called it “Holy Ghost Greek.” Now it is true that the ideas–even the words–were inspired by the Holy Spirit. But it’s another thing to say that the language of the NT was unusual–that its grammar and vocabulary were, in a word, unique. If this were true, only the spiritual elite could even hope to understand the NT.

Deismann’s discovery burst the bubble on this view: the Greek of the NT was written in the language of the common man.

There are two implications of what Deissmann did for the Bible translations:

How Many English Versions Of The Bible Exist There

Then how many versions of the Bible are there, More than 60 English-language versions are available. We will divide them into three broad types: word-for-word, meaning-to-meaning and paraphrased. Usually, a specific Bible version will explain, on its introductory pages, which approach was utilized in preparing it.

The word-for-word versions several carefully understand the Hebrew, Aramaic including Greek texts. Generally speaking, how many versions of the Bible are there, the King James Version plus its new equivalent, the New King James Version, are exact translations. Theyre quickly discovered in most maximum bookstores or on the interconnection.

In the New Testament, the sheer bulk of thousands of texts means many minor variations among the documents are going to be found. The King James Version, for instance, is predicated on the bulk of the authoritative Greek texts.

About 98 per cent of the known Greek manuscripts accept as accurate how many versions of the Bible are there with the essential text of the King James Bible.

Even the variations that do exist rarely affect the underlying meaning within the remaining 2 per cent of these manuscripts. The passage of Scripture has been preserved and transmitted over the centuries remarkably well.

The Revised English Bible, excellent news Bible and New Living Translation are other popular meaning-to-meaning translations.

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Whats The Difference Between The Protestant Bible And The Catholic Bible

The Protestant Bible comprises much of the Hebrew Bible but organizes the stories into a larger collection than its Jewish predecessor. While the Hebrew Bible was formed entirely from ancient scrolls , the Protestant Bible combines the Hebrew Bible with the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible written in the third and second century BC.

The Eastern/Greek Orthodox Church may use the New King James Version or other translations that allow more of the Greek translation to be used, coupled with their belief that the Bibles New Testament, with the story of Jesus, is precedent over the Old Testament. The Catholic Bible consists of 46 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament .

The additional Old Testament sections in the Catholic Bible are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus , Baruch , I and II Maccabees, and additional sections for the books of Daniel and Esther. Those of the Catholic faith believe what is in their Bible was canonized by the Synod of Rome council and the early church in AD 382.

It was decided several years later, during the Reformation, by Protestants to follow more of the Greek translations of the Bible instead of the entire Hebrew Bible, which had been canonized and accepted in the original King James Bible by the Catholic Church.

Different Kinds Of Translations

Why Are There So Many Different Versions Of The Bible?

Did you know there are over 450 translations of the Bible in the English language alone? Although most of these translations are not in wide use today, some are commonly used and unfortunately many fail to accurately and faithfully preserve the Word of God.

The following translations listed below should be avoided altogether, as utilizing them can lead to grave theological errors, the teaching of a radically different gospel, and a counterfeit Jesus.

An overwhelming number of these translations suffer from the strong bias of an unfaithful group of translators. They attempt to validate their erroneous theological claims by editing the Bible as they see fit.

Other translations have just one translator, thereby single-handedly taking on a role that is meant for a diverse team of renowned biblical translators of various denominations. Some simply cut out sections of the Bible altogether or add ideas that were never in the original manuscripts.

Bible translations are usually broken down into three major categories: Word-for-word or Formal Equivalence, Thought-for-Thought or Dynamic Equivalence, and Paraphrase.

Word-for-word is a more literal translation of the original language used and puts more of the onus on the reader to discover the intended meaning of the author.

Paraphrase is often written by a single author who translates the Bible in their own words, sometimes not even using the original biblical languages as a foundation.

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Bible Versions And Bible Translations

Bible translations and versions of the Bible are terms often used interchangeably, but we should look at these terms as separate. Translations have to do with language, and versions have to do with difference or variety. Therefore, we can have an English translation of the Bible and 50 versions in just that one language.

English speakers have been blessed with many translations and versions of the full Bible. But what about the people who speak one of the other 7,360 living, known languages? According to Wycliffe Global Alliances 2018 data, 1.5 billion people still need either portions or the entirety of the Bible translated into their language.

Wycliffe Global Alliance reported that at least some portion of the Bible has been translated into 3,350 languages. This number includes over 680 languages with complete Bible translations, over 1,500 languages with complete New Testaments, and over 1,000 with some Bible portions and stories.

This tremendous milestone is the result of hard work by all involved. And the hard work continues toward translating the Bible into the remaining living languages to provide the whole world with access to Gods word.

Edward Antonio is the Founder of Elevating Your Life and a student of theology and church history. He lives in Orange County, CA and is part of Harvest Christian Fellowship. Find him on at: or answering Bible questions at: .

The Text Of The Modern Translations

During my undergraduate studies, I would routinely talk to the Mormons who frequented my neighbourhood. They were polite and would knock on my door regularly. During one particular conversation, a young Mormon missionary challenged me: You dont think your Bible has been changed? No, I replied. Then who took John 5:4 from your Bible? he asked, without missing a beat. Puzzled, I turned to the Gospel of John, chapter five, and sure enough, it went from verse 3 straight to verse 5 . As a Mormon, he would have only read the KJV, which does include this verse.

As I continued to probe, I found even more examples of supposed discrepancies. For example, in 1 Timothy 3:16, in the KJV it says that God was manifest in the flesh, but most of the modern translations read, He who was manifest in the flesh. At Revelation 22:19, the KJV refers to the book of life, while almost all of the modern versions have the tree of life in its place. And that was only the beginning: there are hundreds of changes between the KJV and modern translations. So whats going on?

First, it is important to note that the textual changes in the modern translations effect no major doctrine of the biblical message. The deity of Christ, his virgin conception and birth, salvation by grace alone, and all the rest are still clearly found in the modern translations.

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So Which Is The Best Translation

As you can see, there are many audiences and many different kinds of readers. You should decide what kind of reader you are and estimate your reading level. Are you seeking a literal translation or one that provides a thought-for-thought presentation? Do you prefer the historic dignity of the King James Version, the widely accepted and respected New International Version, or the very readable and contemporary New Living Translation? Consult a knowledgeable Christian and then immerse yourself in Gods Word!

Each translation has the power to transform your life. Though the cadence and the terminology may differ, the voice of God can speak to you through each one. Then the question remains: how will you respond to Gods voice as He speaks to you from the pages of this life-changing book?

What Is The Best Bible Translation For You

Something May Have Been Lost In The Translation

The Bible is the most important book in the world. It contains the words of God himself, speaking through his chosen messengers. The Bible is also one of the oldest books in existence. Written down somewhere between 400 BC and 100 AD, its made up of 66 books.

But how did this collection of writings come together? Who wrote each individual book? Why were certain books written while others werent? These questions have puzzled scholars for thousands of years. While there are many theories out there, no one knows for sure.

But regardless of who wrote each book, we know that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. The original language is still largely unknown, but we now have access to some of the oldest copies ever found, thanks to modern technology.

For example, weve discovered manuscripts dating back to 200 AD. These documents provide us with information about the text of the Bible before anyone else knew about it! One such manuscript dates back to A.D. 892. This is known as the Codex Sinaiticus, and its currently housed in St. Petersburg, Russia.

This ancient document consists of four different texts: the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Psalms, and Book of Proverbs. It even includes a list of names of people who donated money for its creation.

This evidence shows us that one person didnt just create the Bible. Instead, it was put together over hundreds of years by multiple authors.

FAQ How Many Versions Of The Bible Are There?

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Which Bible Translation Is Closest To The Original

Based on what we now know of how difficult translation is, this is also a difficult question to answer, and it leads to comparing two different translation philosophies. The first is formal equivalence, also called literal or word-for-word equivalence. Formal equivalence strives to stay as close as possible to the actual wording of the original language, striving to translate each Greek or Hebrew word to the closest possible word in English. Think of this reading Shakespeare as Shakespeare wrote it.

The second is dynamic equivalence, or thought-for-thought equivalence. This approach attempts to stay as close to the thought the original writer was trying to convey. Think of this as Shakespeare rendered as an easier-to-understand language for modern English speakers.

Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately most translations are a true combination of the two. The versions below are generally considered to be very close to the original.


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