Everything You Need to Know About Choosing A Bible (Almost)

Everything  You  Need  to  Know  About  Choosing  A  Bible  (Almost)     The  Bible  continues  to  be  the  most  translated  book  in  the  world.  ...
Author: Betty Owens
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Everything  You  Need  to  Know  About  Choosing  A  Bible  (Almost)     The  Bible  continues  to  be  the  most  translated  book  in  the  world.  As  Hebrew  and  Greek,  the   original  languages  of  the  Bible,  have  idioms  and  concepts  not  easily  translated,  there  is  an   on  going  critical  tension  about  whether  it  is  better  to  give  a  word  for  word  translation  or  to   give  a  translation  that  gives  a  parallel  idiom  in  the  target  language.  .  For  instance,  in  the   English  language  Catholic  translation,  the  New  American  Bible,  as  well  as  the  Protestant   translations  of  the  Christian  Bible,  translations  like  the  King  James  Version,  the  New   Revised  Standard  Version,  ad  the  New  American  Standard  Bible  are  seen  as  fairly  literal   translations  (or  "word  for  word"),  whereas  translations  like  the  New  International  Version   and  New  Living  Translation  attempt  to  give  relevant  parallel  idioms.  The  Living  Bible  and   The  Message  are  two  paraphrases  of  the  Bible  that  try  to  convey  the  original  meaning  in   contemporary  language.       A  paraphrase  is  different  from  a  translation.  For  a  paraphrase,  authors  take  an  English  text   and  put  it  into  their  own  words,  that  is,  the  way  they  would  say  it  themselves.  A  paraphrase   does  not  begin  with  the  Hebrew  and  Greek  texts  as  a  translation  does.  The  further  away   one  gets  from  word  for  word  translation,  the  text  becomes  easier  to  read  while  relying   more  on  the  theological,  linguistic  or  cultural  understanding  of  the  translator,  which  one   would  not  normally  expect  a  lay  reader  to  require.     Many  who  study  the  Bible  intellectually  or  devotionally  find  that  selecting  more  than  one   translation  approach  is  useful  in  interpreting  and  applying  what  they  read.  For  example,  a   very  literal  translation  may  be  useful  for  individual  word  or  topical  study,  while  a   paraphrase  may  be  employed  for  grasping  initial  meaning  of  a  passage.  Other  areas  to   consider  are  reading  level,  especially  for  children  and  youth.      

A  Sample  of  English  Translations  (and  Paraphrases)  of  the  Bible    

5th  –  11th  Century   Middle  English   16th  –  17th  Century   18th  –  19th  Century   20th  Century  

21st  Century  

Old  English  Bible  translations   Wycliffe   Tyndale  +  Coverdale  +  Geneva  +  Authorized  King  James   Webster’s  +  Young’s  Literal  +  Darby  +  Joseph  Smith  +  Quaker  +  others     American  Standard  +  Revised  Standard  +  New  World  +  New  English  Bible   +  New  American  Standard  +  Good  News  +  Jerusalem  +  New  American  +   Living  +  Bethel  +  New  Jerusalem  +  New  Revised  Standard  +   Contemporary  English  +  The  Message  +  New  International  Reader’s  +   New  Living  +  Holman  Christian  Standard  +  others   World  English  +  English  Standard  +  The  Voice  +  New  English  Translation   +  Common  English  Bible  +  Today’s  New  International  +  WGC  Illustrated  +   Apostolic  Bible  Polyglot  +  others    


©  July  2010  Sharon  Ely  Pearson.  Morehouse  Education  Resources.  All  rights  reserved.    


What’s  the  Difference?  

Graphic  from  www.biblica.com    

  CEB:  Common  English  Bible  

A  translation  of  the  Hebrew  and  Christian  Scriptures,  including  the  deuterocanonical  books  began   in  late  2008.  It  is  a  bold  new  translation  designed  to  meet  the  needs  of  Christians  as  they  work  to   build  a  strong  and  meaningful  relationship  with  God  through  Jesus  Christ.      A  key  goal  of  the  CEB   translation  team  is  to  make  the  Bible  accessible  to  a  broad  range  of  people;  it’s  written  at  a   comfortable  level  for  over  half  of  all  English  readers.  As  the  translators  do  their  work,  reading   specialists  from  more  than  a  dozen  denominations  review  the  texts  to  ensure  a  smooth  and  natural   reading  experience.  Easy  readability  can  enhance  church  worship  and  participation,  and  personal   Bible  study.  It  also  encourages  children  and  youth  to  discover  the  Bible  for  themselves,  perhaps  for   the  very  first  time.     • ©  Fall  2010  (yet  to  be  published)  by  Christian  Resources  Development  Corporation,  a  joint   project  with  the  United  Church  of  Christ,  Presbyterian,  Episcopal,  United  Methodist,   Lutheran,  Disciples  of  Christ,  and  Baptist  churches  and  publishers.     • Reading  level:  Grade  7  or  8      

CEV:  Contemporary  English  Version  

Translation  done  in  contemporary  style  using  common  language  marked  the  American  Bible   Society’s  translation  of  the  Contemporary  English  Version  Bible  that  was  first  published  in  1995.  It   was  designed  to  be  understood  when  read  and  heard  out  loud,  not  just  when  it  is  read  silently.  It  is   one  of  the  best  Bibles  for  children  and  youth,  as  well  as  for  new  Bible  readers  who  are  not  familiar   with  traditional  Bible  and  church  words  as  it  is  designed  for  a  lower  reading  level  (than  the  Good   News  Bible).     • ©  1991,  1995  American  Bible  Society     • Reading  level:  Grade  5.6  


©  July  2010  Sharon  Ely  Pearson.  Morehouse  Education  Resources.  All  rights  reserved.    

GNT:  Good  News  Translation  

The  Good  News  Translation,  formerly  called  the  Good  News  Bible  was  first  published  as  a  full  Bible   in  1976  (revised  in  1992)  by  the  American  Bible  Society  as  a  “common  language,”  or  “meaning   based”  Bible,  initially  for  those  whom  English  is  a  second  language.  It  was  first  known  as  “Good   News  for  Modern  Man)  and  “Today’s  English  Version.”  It  is  a  clear  and  simple  modern  translation   that  is  faithful  to  the  original  Hebrew,  Koine  Greek  and  Aramaic  texts.     • ©  1966,  1971,  1976,  1979  American  Bible  Society   • Religious  affiliation:  endorsed  by  most  Protestant  denominations   • Reading  level:  Grade  5.6  

  KJV:  King  James  Version  

Translated  in  1611  by  47  scholars  using  the  Byzantine  family  of  manuscripts,  the  King  James   Version  Bible  has  served  as  a  standard  of  measurement  for  subsequent  English  translations.  It  is  a   word-­‐for-­‐word  translation  published  at  the  request  of  King  James  I  of  England.  It  was  frequently   reprinted  with  its  spelling  updated,  and  most  copies  today  are  slightly  adapted  from  a  1769  edition.   Many  of  the  best  and  most  ancient  Hebrew  and  Greek  manuscripts  of  Bible  books  have  been   discovered  since  1850,  and  so  the  KJV  could  not  make  use  of  them.  It  continues  to  be  a  time-­‐ honored  translation  that  has  been  enjoyed  for  almost  400  years,  although  its  Elizabethan  style  Old   English  is  difficult  for  modern  readers,  especially  children  and  youth.     • ©  Public  domain  due  to  age,  publication  restrictions  until  2039  in  the  United  Kingdom   • Reading  level:  Grade  12  

  TLB:  The  Living  Bible  

A  paraphrased  rendition  of  the  1901  American  Standard  Version  by  Kenneth  Taylor  in  1971,  this  is   not  a  genuine  translation,  but  a  type  of  phrase-­‐by-­‐phrase  commentary  that  was  originally  intended   to  help  the  author’s  own  children  understand  the  scriptures.  It  is  useful  for  inspiration  and   commentary,  but  for  serious  Bible  study  it  should  only  be  used  in  conjunction  with  a  legitimate   translation.   • ©  1971  Tyndale  House  Publishers   • Religious  affiliation:  Protestant  /  Evangelical   • Reading  level:  8.3    

  MSG:  The  Message  

Subtitled  “The  Bible  in  Contemporary  Language,”  this  paraphrase  was  created  by  Eugene  H.   Peterson  and  published  in  segments  from  1993  to  2002.  It  uses  contemporary  idiom  and  makes  the   biblical  text  relevant  to  the  conditions  of  the  people  by  “converting  the  tone,  the  rhythm,  the  events,   the  ideas  into  the  way  we  actually  think  and  speak.”   • ©  2002  Eugene  H.  Peterson   • Religious  Affiliation:  None     • Reading  level:  Grade  8.5    


©  July  2010  Sharon  Ely  Pearson.  Morehouse  Education  Resources.  All  rights  reserved.    

NAB:  New  American  Bible  

The  New  American  Bible  was  published  in  1970  and  has  had  new  editions  released  since  then  as   revisions  on  specific  books  have  been  accomplished  (2nd  Edition  1986:  some  traditionally  familiar   phraseology  was  restored  to  the  New  Testament,  including  some  inclusive  language.  3rd  Edition   1991:  More  inclusive  language  for  the  Psalms;  4th  Edition  2002:    Revision  of  the  Old  Testament,   excluding  the  Psalms).     • ©  2002  United  States  Conference  of  Catholic  Bishops     • Religious  Affiliation:  Roman  Catholic     • Reading  level:  Grade  6.6  

  NASB:  New  American  Standard  Bible  

The  complete  NASB  Bible  published  in  1971  (updated  in  1995)  is  a  conservative  yet  literal  (word-­‐ for-­‐word)  translation  of  58  scholars  working  from  Kittle’s  Biblia  Hebraica  and  Nestle’s  Greek  New   Testament  of  Alexandrian  roots.  It  retains  traditional  theological  words  and  is  academic  in  tone.   Because  of  this,  the  NASB  is  a  good  version  to  use  in  Bible  study  where  one  is  concerned  with  the   form  of  the  original  Hebrew  and  Greek.   • ©  1971  The  Lockman  Foundation   • Religious  Affiliation:  Nonprofit  Christian  corporation  committed  to  evangelism     • Reading  level:  Grade  11  

  NIrV:  New  International  Reader’s  Version  

A  Bible  version  developed  to  enable  early  readers  to  understand  God’s  message  that  is  a   simplification  of  the  New  International  Version  (NIV).    Can  be  read  by  the  typical  4th  grader  as  well   as  those  for  whom  English  is  a  second  language.     • ©  1996,  1998  Biblica  &  Zondervan  Publishing  House   • Religious  affiliation:  Protestant   • Reading  level:  Grade  3.5  

  NIV:  New  International  Version  

The  NIV  was  published  in  1978  by  100  translators  as  a  completely  new  translation,  but  was   strongly  influenced  by  the  King  James  tradition.  It  is  a  “thought-­‐for-­‐thought”  open  translation  and   not  a  literal  translation  with  broad  audience  appeal  for  both  older  and  younger  readers,  being   revised  in  1984.  The  deutero-­‐canonical  books  are  not  included  in  the  translation.  It  preserved   traditional  Evangelical  theology  on  many  contested  points  for  which  the  Revised  Standard  Version   has  been  criticized.   • ©  1978  International  Bible  Society  –  Publisher:  Zondervan   • Religious  affiliation:  explicitly  Protestant   • Reading  level:  Grade  7.8  

  NJB:  New  Jerusalem  Bible  

The  NJB  is  a  1985  revision  of  the  older  Jerusalem  Bible  (JB)  that  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.  It  is  a  word-­‐based  translation.   • ©  1985  Darton,  Longman  &  Todd  Ltd   • Religious  Affiliation:  Roman  Catholic   • Reading  level:  High  School    


©  July  2010  Sharon  Ely  Pearson.  Morehouse  Education  Resources.  All  rights  reserved.    

NKJV:  New  King  James  Version  

The  NKJV  Bible  published  in  1982  is  the  fifth  revised  version  of  the  King  James  Bible  using  the  work   of  130  translators.  It  retains  both  the  standard  and  theological  terms  in  a  poetic  and  devotional   style,  while  being  updated  to  modern  English  with  minor  translation  corrections  and  retention  of   traditional  phraseology.  This  is  the  translation  that  Gideons  International  places  in  hotels  and   hospitals.     • ©  1979,  1980,  1982  Thomas  C.  Nelson,  Inc.   • Reading  level:  Grade  8.5    

  NLT:  New  Living  Translation  

A  meaning-­‐based  revision  of  the  Living  Bible,  it  made  changes  by  comparing  it  to  the  original   language  texts.  It  is  a  helpful  translation  for  youth  and  adults  who  have  difficulty  with  traditional   language.   • ©  1996,  2004,  2007  Tyndale  House  Foundation   • Religious  Affiliation:  Protestant  /  Evangelical   • Reading  level:  Grade  6.3  

  NRSV:  New  Revised  Standard  Bible  

The  NRSV  translation  has  been  labeled  “An  Ecumenical  Edition,”  that  has  been  widely  used  by  both   Protestant  and  Catholic  worshippers  since  it  became  a  1989  revision  of  the  RSV.  It  is  the  latest   authorized  translation  in  the  King  James  tradition  and  has  become  a  standard  translation  for   serious  Bible  study.     • ©  1989  by  the  Division  of  Christian  Education  of  the  National  Council  of  Churches  of  Christ   of  the  USA     • Religious  affiliation:  Ecumenical,  but  generally  with  mainline  Protestant  denominations   • Reading  level:  Grade  8.1  –  Grade  10  (Zondervan)    



Websites  about  Bible  Versions  and  Search  Engines:  


• • • • • •

The  Bible  Researcher  http://www.bible-­‐researcher.com/versions.html   The  Bible  Gateway  http://www.biblegateway.com/     Oremus  Bible  Browser  http://bible.oremus.org     New  Testament  Gateway  http://www.ntgateway.com/   Online  Bible  http://www.onlinebible.org/   Bibles  in  Your  Language  http://www.ethnicharvest.org/bibles  

Choosing  a  Bible  for  Children:   • • • •

United  Church  of  Christ           http://www.ucc.org/children/choosing-­‐a-­‐bible-­‐for-­‐children.html     Sunday  School  Resources   http://www.sundayschoolresources.com/biblechoices.htm#considerations   ChristianBook.com   http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=844809&sp=1003     Gretchen  Wolff  Pritchard       http://sundaypaperblog.blogspot.com/2005/09/choosing-­‐childrens-­‐bible.html  

©  July  2010  Sharon  Ely  Pearson.  Morehouse  Education  Resources.  All  rights  reserved.