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!
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 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
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
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.
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
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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