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What Are The Different Translations Of The Bible

How Many Versions Of The Bible Are There

Why are there so many different Bible translations, and which ones should we use?

December 9, 2020 | Tanya Media

Translated to over 690 languages and selling over 100 million copies each year, the Bible is a collection of holy writing of the Christian religion consisting of New and Old Testaments, and the accurate account of Gods work in the world and his objection for all his creation.

The Bible was written more than sixteen centuries ago, and more than forty writers took part in its creation. Ten writers participated in the New Testament and thirty in the Old Testament.

Today, the Protestant English Bible comprises 66 books, with the old testament consisting of 39 books while the New Testament contains 27 books. The Catholic Bible has a total of 73 books: 43 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

Now that we understand what the Bible is let us see how many versions of the Bible are there.

New American Standard Bible

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

This translation is another literal word-for-word translation that was dedicated to being true to the original sources, grammatically correct, and understandable. It uses modern idioms where they are needed to convey the meaning clearly. It was first published in 1971 and an updated version was published in 1995.

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Also Check: Bible Books In Chronological Order

List Of English Bible Translations

The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The Latin Vulgate translation was dominant in Western Christianity through the Middle Ages. Since then, the Bible has been translated into many more languages. English Bible translations also have a rich and varied history of more than a millennium.

Included when possible are dates and the source language and, for incomplete translations, what portion of the text has been translated. Certain terms that occur in many entries are linked at the bottom of the page.

Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others differ on the true content of the Bible, the “incomplete translations” section includes only translations seen by their translators as incomplete, such as Christian translations of the New Testament alone. Translations such as Jewish versions of the Tanakh are included in the “complete” category, even though Christians traditionally have considered the Bible to consist properly of more than just the Tanakh.

Literal Translations Of The Bible

[Infographic]: Types of Bible Translations

Based on Functional Equivalence or Literal here are the 5 most accurate translations of the Bible:

1. New American Standard Bible

The NASB holds the title of Most Accurate Translation due toits strict adherence to Literal translation methods. It wasoriginally published in 1963 and was revised in 1995.

Another thing that makes it so accurate is the NASBs use of the text from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum critical text.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the oldest of Old Testament texts. They are regarded by scholars as among the best original texts.

The NASB is not too easy to read, due to the strict adherence to literalism. The translators wanted to stick to the structure of the source language as closely as possible.

This gives the NASB the title for most accurate English translation at the expense of readability and comprehension.

There are quite a few people who love reading such an accurate translation, so the NASB has a strong following.

But there are other translations that are easier to read than the NASB. .

2. English Standard Version

The ESV is a revision of the Revised Standard Version .It is also very close to the NASB. It was originally published in 2001.

A new edition was published in 2009 including thedeuterocanonical or apocryphal- books. This makes it suitable for reading forCatholic believers.

It is written in very modern English, yet readers still find that it reminds them of the KJV and RSV.

3. New English Translation

Read Also: Reading The Bible In Chronological Order Of Events

Final Thoughts About The Best Bible Version

So, out of the best Bible translations which one is the best for you? The simple answer is, the one you read. There are so many great options out there it comes down to which one you prefer. Go check out BibleGateway you can read several of them side by side and see which you prefer. Then go buy your favorite.

The bottom line is you should choose the Bible translation that you most like to read. Read a few and figure out which one you enjoy reading. The best Bible translation is the one you actually read.

Now that you know what translation to use check out: How To Read The Bible

Lets hear from you! What is your favorite translation? What do you think is the best Bible translation?

List Of The Best Translations Of The Bible

The best translations of the Bible are mostly well-known, but there are also a few that are not so well-known. Scholars regard Word-for-Word as most accurate translation method that leaves the least room for error.

Thought-by-Thought and Paraphrase are much more readable, but they have been criticized because these translations can begin to interpret the Bible rather than only translating it.

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How Many Different Translations Are There Of The Bible

It may be surprising to consider here in the 21st century, but there was a time when translating the Bible into the language of the reader was extremely fraught. Indeed, as The L.A. Review of Books notes, for centuries the clergy wanted to keep the knowledge contained within for themselves, and not have it translated so that the common man could read it in his own tongue. One of the earliest pioneers of translating the Bible into English, William Tyndale, paid for his crime by being burned at the stake.

These days, Bible translation continues, as some Christian missionaries believe it their sacred duty to render the ancient text into the languages the people in their chosen missionary field speak and read, according to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Of course, the most-spoken languages in the world have their own Bible translations, in some cases several, and in some cases those translations have been around for centuries. But for speakers of more obscure languages, translation work continues, and the day may never come when every last extant language has its own Bible translation.

Which Of The Many Bible Versions Is Best For Reading And Studying The Bible How Do They Differ

Bible Translations Explained which Bible should I read?

The English language has changed substantially over the four centuries since the King James Version of the Bible was first published. Many people find it increasingly difficult to understand the words and may be put off by the KJV’s foreign-sounding words. We can be thankful, however, that many newer versions exist that are much more up-to-date in their wording. But this raises another issue: Which of these many versions is best for reading and studying the Bible? How do they differ? The following is excerpted from our free booklet How to Understand the Bible:

More than 60 English-language versions are available. We can divide them into three broad types: word-for-word, meaning-to-meaning and paraphrased. Usually a particular Bible version will explain, on its introductory pages, which approach was used in preparing it.

Also Check: What Does The Bible Say About Depression And Anxiety

Bible Translation And Bible Versions Timeline

Bible Translation and Bible Versions Timeline is something a christian must know.

Many Bible versions have written this in their first pages as the Preface but some have twisted it to campaign for the use and authorization of their Bible version.

I am not going to give you Bible Translation and Bible Versions Timeline as found in your Bible preface but a clear and summarized view.

Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence To Formal Equivalence

Most well-known English Holy Bible translations were produced using the traditional approach to translation which is called formal equivalence. Most translations of the Bible available in bookstores today use some variation of formal-equivalent translation.

Also Check: What Does The Bible Say About Sexuality Before Marriage

Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence To Functional Equivalence

Because of the problems associated with formal-equivalent translation, another translation theory was developed. It is called functional-equivalent translation. Functional equivalence takes the differences between the source language and the target language seriously. The functional equivalent theory is not concerned with preserving the maximum number of characteristics of the source language text, because it is often unnatural in the target language.

Different Bible Versions Timeline

How to Choose a Bible Translation
  • New American Bible of 1970
  • English Revised Version
  • Revised Standard Version appeared between 1946 and 1952
  • The New Revised Standard Version
  • Weymouth
  • Todays English Version
  • The New English Bible
  • The New International Bible
  • Living Bible
  • New Jewish Version1962-1983)
  • The Jerusalem Bible

There are many English Bible versions in recent times, translated and written for different reasons and purposes. The big question is: which English Bible translation is most accurate ?

Realize that some bible versions were translated by men with their own intentions, like the Roman Empire, who translated it to fit into the church doctrines and teachings not sticking to how God inspired the word.

Also Check: Bible Verses To Read When Lonely

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Below Is A Listing Of Some Bible Versions According To The Type Of Translation They Are

Literal Translations:

  • KJV King James Version
  • NKJV New King James Version
  • NASB New American Standard Bible
  • ASV American Standard Version
  • The Holy Bible in Modern English
  • YLT Youngs Literal Translation
  • JPS Jewish Publication Society
  • Jewish New Testament
  • NEB The New English Bible
  • The Bible, A New Translation
  • NIV New International Version
  • ESV The English Standard Version
  • NAB New American Bible

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Different Bible Translations I Use

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Gods Word Bible Is In A Category All Its Own

GODS WORD Translation Bible was produced using a theory of translation that combines accuracy with understandability. This theory is called closest natural equivalence. In short, closest natural equivalence concentrates on accurately translating the meaning of the original languages into natural English.

At the same time, closest natural equivalence retains as many of the unique characteristics of the original text as possible without making the English translation unnatural or harder to understand than the text was in the original languages. Thats why you can hear Gods word in clear, natural English.

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Bible Translations Into English

Partial Bible translations into languages of the English people can be traced back to the late 7th century, including translations into Old and Middle English. More than 100 complete translations into English have been written.

In the United States, 55% of survey respondents who read the Bible reported using the King James Version in 2014, followed by 19% for the New International Version, with other versions used by fewer than 10%.

Accurate Bible Translations Compared

Comprehensive List Of English Bible Versions


Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses.

Bible scholars have to study the original languages for a long period of time in order to develop a high proficiency in the original language.

And these same scholars must be top experts in the target language as well.

Anybody who has learned a foreign language knows there are certain idioms in each language.

These idioms do not always translate accurately from a source language to the target language, so translators must be very careful to make sure the meaning is accurately transmitted.

And the translators do a very good job of it. We can tell, because after hundreds of years of Bible translating, all the major translations are in agreement about the major meanings they are conveying in English.

They differ very slightly in the exact expression of the meanings and the translators take great care to make sure the core meanings are conserved.

This makes the translations very useful in side-by-side comparisons.

Read Also: Do Not Dwell In The Past Bible

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