How To Learn about Bible Translations

The original texts of the Bible were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. They need to be translated into modern day languages for them to be understood. In English, there are many translations that those interested in reading the Bible can choose from. If you are looking for a Bible translation that appeals to you, here is a description of some of the more popular English translations.

  1. The King James Bible (KJV) From when it was first published in 1611 until well into the 1900's, the King James Bible was the Bible for Protestants. Authorized by King James of England, its language is antiquated today, but many people still consider this the best translation. Another version, The New King James Version, removes archaic language like "thee" and "thou" to make it more readable.

  • The New International Version (NIV) Printed in its entirety in 1978, the NIV is a modern translation from some of the best original texts available. More than 100 respected Bible scholars worked on the translation for over ten years. The result is an accurate, clear, highly readable translation that many Christians have embraced.
  • The New American Standard Bible (NASB) The NASB is an updated version of the American Standard Version that was originally published in 1901. In 1995, the NASB was updated to ensure that the phrasing was consistent with modern English and any archaic language was changed. This is a very easy to read translation.
  • The New Living Translation (NLT) The NLT focuses more on translating the meaning of the original texts rather than a word for word literal translation. Its purpose is to try to impact modern readers the way that the original texts would have impacted their readers thousands of years ago. This translation is in very natural, everyday modern English.
  • The Amplified Bible The Amplified Bible was translated to take both the literal meaning of the words of the original texts and the context that the words were in to create an accurate translation of the meaning of the texts. There are parenthetical amplifications that help the reader to better understand the text. It is a different type of Bible than most people are used to reading, but it can give some unique insights.
  • The Message The Message is one of the most recent modern translations. Pastor and Bible scholar Eugene Peterson translated the entire Bible from the original texts into a highly modern translation. The language in the Message is very current and includes modern phrasing and even slang. The original versions were not divided into chapter and verses, but newer versions have been divided to help readers compare The Message with other versions.
  • The Catholic Bible The New Testaments of Catholic and Protestant Bibles are identical, but the Catholic Bible contains books in the Old Testament that aren't included in Protestant versions. These books include 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), additions to Esther, and Susanna and Bel and the Dragon which are included in Daniel.
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