English Translations of the Bible Holy Bible
I tell you, my friends, don't be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.                But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him.                Aren't five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God.                But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.                I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God;                but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God.               
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English Translations of the Bible

By Glenn Christianson

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!

English Translations of the Bible

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 Translations of the Bible5. 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 version.

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 'old hat.'"

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 English.

English Translations of the Bible

15. New International Reader's Version (NIrV)

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 equivalent) translation.

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 online Bibles, commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, lexicons, and devotionals. Also over 200,000 Bible bookstore products at great prices. http://www.online-bible-studies.com/onlinebiblestudies.html

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