Popular Bible Translations

A Comparison and Origin of Popular Bible Translations

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Fairchild, Mary. "Popular Bible Translations." ThoughtCo, Jul. 11, 2017, thoughtco.com/popular-bible-translations-701260. Fairchild, Mary. (2017, July 11). Popular Bible Translations. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/popular-bible-translations-701260 Fairchild, Mary. "Popular Bible Translations." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/popular-bible-translations-701260 (accessed October 17, 2017).
Popular Bible Translations
Bill Fairchild

With so many Bible translations to choose from, it's hard to know which one is right for you. You may wonder,what's unique about each translation, and why and how were they created. Take a look at one Bible verse in each of these versions. Compare the text and learn about the origin of the translation. These all contain only the books in the standard Protestant canon, without the Apocrypha included in the Catholic canon.

New International Version (NIV)

Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Translation of the NIV began in 1965 with a multi-denominational, international group of scholars gathered in Palos Heights, Illinois. The goal was to create an accurate, clear, and dignified translation that could be used in a variety of circumstances, from the liturgy to teaching and private reading. They aimed for a thought-by-thought translation from the original texts, emphasizing the contextual meaning rather than the literal translation of each word. It was published in 1973 and is updated regularly, including in 1978, 1984, and 2011. A committee meets yearly to consider changes.

King James Version (KJV)

Hebrews 12:1 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."

King James I of England launched this translation for English-speaking Protestants in 1604. Approximately 50 of the best Bible scholars and linguists of his day spent seven years on the translation, which was a revision of the Bishop's Bible of 1568. It has a majestic style and it used precise translation rather than paraphrasing.

However, its language can feel antiquated and less approachable to some readers today.

New King James Version (NKJV)

Hebrews 12:1  "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

Work on this entirely new, modern translation was commissioned byThomas Nelson Publishers in 1975 and was completed in 1983. About 130 Bible scholars, church leaders, and lay Christians aimed to produce a literal translation that retained the purity and stylistic beauty of the original KJV while using modern language. They used the best research in linguistics, textual studies, and archaeology available.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress."

Tyndale House Publishers launched the New Living Translation (NLT) in 1996, a revision of the Living Bible. Like many other translations, it took seven years to produce. The goal was to communicate the meaning of the ancient texts as accurately as possible to the modern reader. Ninety biblical scholars labored to make the text fresher and more readable, conveying whole thoughts in everyday language rather than translating word by word.

English Standard Version (ESV)

Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

The English Standard Version (ESV) was first published in 2001 and is considered an "essentially literal" translation. One hundred scholars produced it based on faithfulness to the historic orthodox text. They delved into the meanings of the Masoretic text, consulting the Dead Sea Scrolls and other sources. It's extensively footnoted to elaborate on why the text choices were made. They meet every five years to discuss revisions.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Popular Bible Translations." ThoughtCo, Jul. 11, 2017, thoughtco.com/popular-bible-translations-701260. Fairchild, Mary. (2017, July 11). Popular Bible Translations. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/popular-bible-translations-701260 Fairchild, Mary. "Popular Bible Translations." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/popular-bible-translations-701260 (accessed October 17, 2017).