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What Are The Different Versions Of The Bible

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Different Bible Versions

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How The Bible You Read Became English

So how did the Bible you read get translated into English?

Well, there is a long and fascinating detailed history you can read in A Brief History of Bible Translations.

But, for todays beginners guide, lets break down the key points.

  • Scripture was translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic to Latin and eventually other languages, including Old English around the 10th
  • Around the 14th century, John Wycliffe felt the Bible belonged to all the people of God, and it was out of this conviction that arose the effort to bring the Bible into the common English of the day.
  • Following Wycliffes already out of date English translation came a man named William Tyndale who wanted to make the Bible readable by even the common English man.
  • In 1526, Tyndales English New Testament was published. However, this was so scandalous at the time that Tyndale ended up being arrested and executed.
  • Following his death, the first complete English translation of the Bible was produced in 1611.
  • In the years following, the KJV Bible first appeared with the final version that is still used today being published in 1769.
  • During the 20th century, numerous other English translations have appeared.

Why Are There So Many English Versions Of The Bible

With so many manuscripts and different translation philosophies, we have about 50 main versions of the English Bible today. If we count revisions, we are well into the hundreds of Bibles.

Another reason there are many versions of the English Bible is that over time the English language has changed dramatically. Old English sounds and reads differently than modern English. Some readers might be confused while reading certain passages, and certain words have changed in meaning.

For example: In the KJV you will find that in 1 Corinthians 13 instead of using the word love it uses charity. Charity today means something completely different then what it meant back in the 17th century. Today we use the word love, and when we speak of charity, we are referring to the act of being generous or to an organization.

Another example is in 2 Timothy 2:15. The modern NIV says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved in the modern versions of The Bible. In the KJV, it says, Study to show thyself approved. Back then study didnt mean to learn new things but simply to do your best.

Before the KJV, there was the Wycliffe Bible, completed in 1382, and the Tyndale Bible , published in 1526.

Below are 12 of the common Protestant Bibles used today. Here is a list of more best-known translations along with a brief description of each.

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Choosing A Bible Version

There is no one way to translate a book as large as the Bible.

With such a cultural and linguistic distance between then and now, its really more of an art than a science: an art that seeks to communicate the Bibles truth to todays readers. That means that there are a number of different Bible translations out there. Nowadays, they are more commonly called different versions of the Bible. The two words, though meaning different things, are used pretty interchangeably. For ease, Im just going to stick with version.

The big stumbling block for people trying to choose a Bible is which version to pick. There are a lot to choose from. It also doesnt help that they almost all go by acronyms. How would you, as a new Christian, feel if you were asked to choose from NIV, ESV, NRSV, NLT, KJV, NKJV? Daunting, no?

To help you choose with speed and confidence, here is a quick run through four of the most popular versions of the Bible:

The New International Version Bible:Short for the New International Version Bible, the NIV is the most popular version of the Bible. Its written in pretty standard English and is the one youll most likely find in a Church. Its simple text means that it is often given away to new Christians. If you are looking for a first Bible, the NIV Bible would be a solid choice.

New Revised Standard Version

Bible Versions: Does It Matter Which One?

The New Revised Standard Version is a thorough revision of the original RSV by an ecumenical team of scholars. It is growing in popularity, particularly in churches, schools and academia. The translators made full use of contemporary biblical manuscripts, resulting in a clearer understanding of many obscure passages. It uses gender-inclusive language .

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Versions Of The Bible

Versions of the Bible. Synopsis.GREEK: Septuagint Aquila Theodotion Symmachus other versions. VERSIONS FROM THE SEPTUAGINT: Vetus Itala or Old Latin Egyptian or Coptic Ethiopic and Amharic Gothic Georgian or Grusian Syriac Slavic Arabic Armenian. VERSIONS FROM THE HEBREW: Chaldaic Syriac Arabic Persian Samaritan Pentateuch Vulgate other Latin versions. HEBREW VERSIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. VERSIONS FROM MIXED SOURCES: Italian Spanish Basque Portuguese French German Dutch and Flemish Scandinavian Finnish Hungarian Celtic . MISCELLANEOUS: Aleutian Aniwa Battak Benga Bengali Chinese Gipsy or Romany Hindu Hindustani Japanese Javanese Mexican Modern Greek. ENGLISH VERSIONS.

I. GREEK

The Septuagint

The Septuagint, or Alexandrine, Version, the first and foremost translation of the Hebrew Bible, was made in the third and second centuries B.C. An account of its origin, recensions, and its historical importance has been given above . It is still the official text of the Greek Church. Among the Latins its authority was explicitly recognized by the Fathers of the Council of Trent, in compliance with whose wishes Sixtus V, in 1587 published an edition of the VaticanCodex. This, with three others, the Complutensian, Aldine, and Grabian, are the leading representative etlitions available.

Version of Aquila
Version of Theodotion
Version of Symmachus
Other Greek Versions

II. VERSIONS FROM THE SEPTUAGINT

The Vetus Itala or Old Latin
The Vulgate

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Choosing The Right Bible

Why Are There So Many Different Versions Of The Bible?

Posted by Aaron Lewendon · 1

With more than 20 English Language translations each available in 25 or more different editions the choice of Bibles excites and bewilders. Choosing the right Bible for you is important – even if you already have more than one.

Its hard to know which Bible to buy.

There are dozens of translations, each with a different style and approach. With sales of Bibles rising in the wake of coronavirus, a lot more questions are being asked which Bible is best. So here is our no-nonsense guide to which Bible you should buy. We also cover some common terms youll find when browsing.

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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.

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Bible Versions And Translations

Why are there so many different translations of the Bible? I find this confusing. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” If that’s true, how did we end up with so many different versions of the Bible? Why do they all say different things? God doesn’t change, does He? I’ve compared the King James Version with other modern translations and come up with a long list of discrepancies. How can this be right? Is it part of a plot to introduce modern relativism into the church?

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Bible Abbreviations for Books and Common Versions

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Csb Christian Standard Bible

The Christian Standard Bible is a 21st century translation that is a revision of the HCSB . According to the CSB preface, it seeks optimal equivalence in a commitment to both formal equivalence and functional equivalence . It is also unique in being the first translation to use contractions, such as in John 3:10, Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things? Jesus replied.

Why Are There So Many Bible Translations

To understand this question, we can compare it to Shakespeare. Shakespeares English is often called Old English, but in reality, it is early Modern English. In spite of this, it is often difficult for modern readers like us to understand. To get an idea, lets take a look at this couplet which appears in Act I of Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet:

The measure done, Ill watch her place of stand,And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.

What is Romeo talking about here? What does this mean? Why is there a funny accent mark over blessed?

Now lets say you are teaching this to a ninth-grade class. In order to understand these words, you would probably have to write it differently. SparkNotes translates it as, When this dance is over, Ill see where she stands, and then Ill touch her hand with my rough and ugly one.

This is easier to understand, but most of the words are different, the meter is gone, and the rhyme of stand and hand are gone.

And this is just translating English to English.

Bible translators have the difficult task of translating ancient Hebrew and Greek into readable English. Along with that, they have to consider the audience. Is this Bible suited for a seminary professor? A teenager? Children? Families? Anyone and everyone?

Remember, the English language as Shakespeare knew it would not even exist for well over a thousand years after Paul penned his final letter.

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Literal Translations Of The Bible

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

Pick A Bible Translation

Trending Faith: “Which version of the Bible should I read?”

The goal is to find a Bible in a language you can understand and get excited to read every day. To get a sense of the different types, you can read different Bible translations for free using the YouVersion Bible app. Read a passage first in a familiar translation and then in a couple different versions to get a sense for the differences in style.

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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.

The Bible You Own Is A Translation

The first thing you need to know is the Bible you own is already a translation, even if its the KJV.

It can be easy for churchgoers and Christians to mistakenly believe the words on the page are the same exact ones Jesus spoke.

Since most of us do not speak Hebrew or Greek, we are actually reading or listening to a translation of the Scripture.

In A Brief History of Bible Translations, the writer explains, Translation of Scripture is older than Christianity itself. The Old Testament Scriptures of the Hebrew Bible were brought into other common languages for centuries before the coming of Jesus Christ, and indeed were a great help to the early church.

Plus, our Old Testament would have been Jesus Bible, but the modern-day term of Bible wasnt used until 200 plus years after Jesus death and resurrection.

When the first Christians were on the scene, there was no modern Bible.

When you factor all of this in and consider the first completed English translation of the Bible into English did not occur until 1382, you can begin to see why there are multiple translations.

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Translated Into Over 700 Languages

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 Christianity.com, 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.

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