Bible Guide

Helping You Understand The Different Translations

Frequently Asked Questions about the Bible

Why are there so many translations of the Bible?

Since the English language continues to change, revisions of older translations and new translations are made continually so that people may read the Bible in contemporary language. Also, the translators strove to achieve different language styles in each translation. Although they all seek to convey the original meaning, the translations end up different due to unique styles.

  • Some are close to the original Hebrew and Greek.
  • Some are written in modern vernacular.
  • Some are very accurate to the text but phrased more lyrically.
  • Some are written in easily accessible language for lower reading levels or those with a limited English vocabulary.
  • Some use a thought-by-thought, or phrase-by-phrase, equivalent rather than word-for-word.

What is the difference between the King James and the New King James Bible?

The King James Version (KJV), authorized by King James I of England, was completed in 1611. It has long been loved for its poetic, literary style; beauty of language; and accuracy as a literal translation. For more than 400 years, it was the most universally accepted translation. Because of changes in the English language--spelling, grammar, word meanings, and the like--the original version has been revised from time to time. The KJV we read today is the fourth revision of the 1611 edition, completed in 1769.

 

The New King James Bible is in essence a fifth revision of the original text; it retains the beauty and accuracy of the KJV in contemporary, readable language. It is the only modern translation that keeps the Textus Receptus, the Greek text used in the KJV for the New Testament.

What is the difference between the authorized King James Bible and the King James Bible?

They are the same. King James I of England authorized this translation in 1611.

What is the difference in the New American Standard Bible and the New American Standard update?

The American Standard Bible was published in 1901. It is a word-for-word translation by an American committee that consulted the English Revised Version of 1885, a British revision of the King James Version.

 

The New American Standard Bible (NASB), published in 1971, is a revision of the 1901 American Standard Bible. The publisher's objective was to produce the most literal and accurate translation. With the NASB, readers have insight into what the original text really means word for word. With publication of the NASB Update (1995), the vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure have been carefully updated for greater understanding and smoother reading. It remains the most literal word-for-word and sentence structure translation of the Bible available in English.

What is the difference between the Living Bible and the New Living Bible?

The Living Bible is a paraphrase based on the 1901 American Standard Bible. A paraphrase is a restatement of the message in the same language, but in different words than were used in the original text. Its purpose is to put the Bible into simplified language.

 

The Living Bible (1971) paraphrase was made by Kenneth Taylor from the 1901 American Standard Bible.

The New Living Bible (1996) is a dynamic equivalence translation. Ninety Bible scholars used the original languages to produce the closest natural equivalent, both in meaning and style, of the message in contemporary English. A dynamic equivalence translation converts the Greek and Hebrew into modern English meanings and concepts, placing more importance on the total meaning than on individual

What is a Red Letter edition?

This is a Bible that has words traditionally attributed to Christ printed in red rather than black lettering (like all the other verses in the Bible). A problem occasionally occurs with bleed-through on very thin paper, especially in large and giant print Bibles. Another problem is that the red color can cause blurring for some people with vision impairment.

What is considered Large Print?

Some companies consider type size 10 point (pt.) as large print. However, most companies classify 11 pt.-13 pt. as large print. Giant print ranges from 13.5 pt.-15 pt., and super giant print is 15 pt.-24 pt., depending on the publisher. Note that other factors also increase readability of text, such as the space and distance between lines and words, font style, and paper brightness.

What is the difference between an Interlinear Bible, a Parallel Bible, and a Bilingual Bible?

 

  • An interlinear Bible is a Greek New Testament or Hebrew Old Testament with a literal English translation for each word or phrase.
  • A parallel Bible has the text of two or more translations printed side by side. These can be multilingual or contain multiple versions.
  • A bilingual Bible has the text of two languages printed side by side.

 

What is the difference in a Study Bible and a Reference Bible?

A Study Bible has many features to help readers understand the Bible. These usually include resources like a dictionary, concordance, references, maps, and detailed study notes. A Reference Bible contains cross-references to related Scripture passages either in the column with the text, in footnotes, or within the verses.

What is the difference between a bonded leather Bible and a genuine leather Bible?

Bonded leather is a high-quality material made of leather fibers bonded with latex. A genuine leather Bible is made from one solid piece of leather. This may be pigskin, calfskin, cowhide, Berkshire (a high-quality pigskin), or Morocco (goatskin). Genuine leather Bibles also cost more.

Which books are included in the Hebrew Bible?

  • Torah: Books of Genesis (B'reishis), Exodus (Sh'mos), Leviticus (Vayikra), Numbers (Bamidbar), and Deuteronomy (D'varim).
  • Neviim (Prophets): Books of Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habukkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
  • Ketuvim (Writings): Books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel (although not all of this book is included in the Christian Canon), Ezra and Nehemiah, I Chronicles, and II Chronicles.

 

What is the Jewish Bible?

The Jewish Bible consists of the Five Books of Moses, or the Torah; the Prophets; and the Writings. Non-Jews refer to the Jewish Bible as the Old Testament, and Jews call it the Tanach or Tanakh. Both Jews and non-Jews use the word Scripture, but bear in mind that the New Testament is not part of the Jewish Scripture.

Compare Bible Translations

Translation

Abbr.

Date Completed

Sample Verse

Reading Level

Translation Type

Comments

Alba House Gospels

OE

1992

Not Available

7th Grade

Dynamic

This Catholic version was translated from the 3rd UBS Greek New Testament and the 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece by Mark Wauck. His goals are to render the text faithfully in contemporary American English. The words of Christ are cast in a poetic format.

American Standard Version

OE

1901

1 Peter 3:15: ...but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: [being] ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meakness and fear...

12th Grade

Formal Equivalent

This translation was the work of the American committee which had consulted on the English Revised Version (1885), which was itself a revision of the King James Version

American Translation

OE

New Testament 1923; Old Testament 1927; Apocrypha 1938

Not Available

Not Available

Dynamic

Produced as a common-language version specifically for public reading use by Edgar Goodspeed, this version was intended as an improvement on the variety of new English translations becoming available at the time.

Amplified Bible

AM

New Testament 1958; Old Testament 1964; Revised 1987

1 Peter 3:15: But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.

11th Grade

Dynamic

This translation is really a mini-commentary which features a system of verse-end alternate translations and comments on different shades of meaning in the original languages.

Biblia de las Americas

SN

1986

Not Available

Not Available

Formal Equivalent

This new literal Spanish translation from the original languages is stylistically equivalent to the NASB.

Contemporary English Version

CE

New Testament 1991; Old Testament 1995

1 Peter 3:15: Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope.

4th Grade

Formal Equivalent

This version seeks to be readable, yet faithful to the meaning of the original texts. Nouns describing God's actions (righteousness, salvation, etc.) are rendered in varying ways. This version avoids complicated language, obscure vocabulary and difficult sentence structure to produce a translation understandable to a wide variety of modern readers.

Douay-Rheims

OE

New Testament 1609 Old Testament 1610

1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

9th-10th Grades

Formal Equivalent

This Roman Catholic translation was based on the Latin Vulgate (4th century), and was intended to counter the large number of Protestant English Bibles which appeared in the late 16th century. It reads much like the King James Version.

Emphasized Bible

OE

New Testament 1878, 1897; Old Testament 1902

1 Peter 3:15: But the Lord Christ hallow ye in your hearts, ready always for defence unto every one that is asking you a reason concerning the hope within you, nevertheless, with meekness and reverence

12th Grade

Formal Equivalent

Joseph R. Rotherham's translation features special markings, indentations, and footnotes designed to convey the sense of Hebrew and Greek to the modern reader.

English Standard Version

ES

Fall 2001

1 Peter 3:15: but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

8th Grade

Formal Equivalent

The ESV uses the classic principles of word-for-word translation and literary excellence as exemplified by the KJV and most recently the RSV. Highly accurate, the ESV closely reflects the original meaning of the text in clear, readable, enduring English.

English Version for the Deaf

OE

New Testament 1978; Old Testament 1986

1 Peter 3:15: But you should keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer every person who asks you to explain about the hope you have.

6th Grade

Dynamic

Not a simple English translation, but one which is carefully designed to accommodate the thought patterns and special language needs of the deaf.

Geneva Bible New Testament

OE

1602

1 Peter 3:15: But fanctifie the Lord God in your harts: and be ready alwaies to give an anfwer to enery man that asketh you a reafon of the hope that is in you.

College

Formal Equivalent

This New Testament features a text which reads like the King James Version, accompanied by commentary reflecting the Puritan theological outlook.

God's Word

GW

New Testament 1988; Old Testament 1995

1 Peter 3:15: But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.

4th-5th Grade

Dynamic

This revision utilizes the translation process employed by global mission organizations for translating the Bible into new foreign languages. The goal is to express the meaning of what appears in the forms of the original biblical languages into those expressing essentially the same meaning in modern English.

Good News Version

TE

New Testament 1966; Old Testament 1974, Revised 1993

1 Peter 3:15: But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.

7th Grade

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

A thought-for-thought translation theory called dynamic equivalence was used for this version. It uses common English throughout, and modern idioms are sometimes substituted for ancient ones in the interest of clarity.

Holman Christian Standard Bible

HC

NT 2001

1 Peter 3:15: but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.

NT 7th-8th Grade. When OT is available, it will be re-evaluated.

Optimal Equivalence

The HCSB is a combination of word-for-word and dynamic renderings that is both faithful to the words God inspired and user friendly to modern readers.

Jerusalem Bible

OE

1966

1 Peter 3:15: Simply reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have.

7th Grade

Formal Equivalent

Based on the French Bible de Jerusalem (1956), this Roman Catholic Bible is noted for its fine literary style, and is used across denominational lines.

Jewish New Testament

OE

1989

1 Peter 3:15: ...but treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you--yet with humility and fear...

8th Grade

Formal Equivalent

David H. Stern's modern translation from the Greek seeks to bring the Jewishness of the New Testament to the reader's attention by employing transliteration of Hebrew/Aramaic words (like Yeshua for Jesus) and Jewish cultural references.

King James Version

KJ

1611; Revised 1768

1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

12th Grade

Formal Equivalent

Commissioned by King James I of England, this translation is still recognized for the beauty of its language which dates from the time of William Shakespeare.

Lamsa Bible

OE

1933

Not Available

Not Available

Formal Equivalent

A translation by George M. Lamsa which is based on the Eastern Peshitta manuscripts in Syriac, a language closely related to the Aramaic spoken by Jesus.

Richmond Lattimore Translation of the New Testament

OE

1996

1 Peter 3:15: but hallow the Lord Christ in your hearts, always ready to answer anyone who demands that you give a reason for the hope that is in you; but with gentleness and respect, with good conscience,

8th Grade

Formal Equivalent

Lattimore offers a simple, literal rendering of the New Testament that allows the syntax and order of the Greek dictate the character of the English style, without the pretensions of a Bible scholar.

Living Bible

LI

New Testament 1962; Old Testament 1971

1 Peter 3:15: Quietly trust yourself to Christ the Lord and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.

8th Grade

Paraphrase

This paraphrase of the American Standard Version was an attempt by Kenneth L. Taylor to put the Bible in language his children could understand. It is useful for introducing the Bible to people who are unfamiliar with it.

The Message

MS

New Testament 1993; Psalms 1994; Complete Bible, July 2002

1 Peter 3:15: Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.

7th Grade

Paraphrase

Pastor and biblical scholar Eugene H. Peterson's aim in developing this contemporary language version is to transfer the informal and earthy flavor of the Greek into the rhythms and idiom of everyday English.

Modern Language Bible -- Berkley Version

OE

New Testament 1945;

Revised 1969; Old Testament 1959

Not Available

Not Available

Formal Equivalent

This fairly literal translation is expressed in clear, simple American English.

Moffatt Bible

OE

1926, Revised in 1935

1 Peter 3:15: . . .but reverence Christ as Lord in your own hearts. Always be ready with a reply for anyone who calls you to account for the hope you cherish, but answer gently and with a sense of reverence

7th Grade

Not Available

James Moffatt's modern speech translation features some text rearrangement according to his understanding of biblical chronology and many Anglicisms.

Montgomery New Testament

OE

1924

Not Available

Not Available

Formal Equivalent

This is the only modern speech translation of the New Testament produced by a woman. Helen Barrett Montgomery's translation is marked by a conversational style, with the text arranged into paragraphs.

New American Bible

NB

1970; NT revised 1986; Psalms revised 1992

1 Peter 3:15: . . . But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

11th Grade

Dynamic

This is the first complete American Catholic Bible translated from the original languages. Its style is more direct than that of the Jerusalem Bible.

New American Standard

NS

New Testament 1963; Whole Bible 1971, Revised 1995

1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

11th Grade

Formal Equivalent

Especially popular among Evangelicals and others who want a word-for-word translation of the original manuscripts, this translation was prepared as an update of the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV).

New Century Version

NC

New Testament 1978; Old Testament 1986

1 Peter 3:15: But respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope that you have.

3rd Grade

Formal Equivalent

Also called the International Children's Version, this conservative evangelical translation is in very simple English, designed for those with a limited vocabulary.

New English Bible

NE

New Testament 1961; Old Testament 1970

1 Peter 3:15: do not be perfurbed, but hold the Lord Christ in reverence in your hearts. Be always ready with your defence whenever you are called to account for the hope that is in you, but make that defense with modesty and respect.

8th Grade

Dynamic

The first British Bible to be translated from the original languages since the King James Version, this is a thought-by-thought translation in modern British English. It has been replaced, for the most part, by the Revised English Bible.

New International Version

NI

New Testament 1973; Old Testament 1978

1 Peter 3:15: But in your hearts set aside Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

7th Grade

Primarily functional equivalent with some attention to formal considerations

Called "international" because it is transdenominational and contains the work of many scholars from many English-speaking nations, the NIV is a straightforward translation in contemporary English.

New International Readers' Version

NV

1996

1 Peter 3:15: But make sure in your hearts that Christ is Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect.

3rd Grade

Simple Functional Equivalent

The NIrV is a simplified version of the NIV, developed by the same translation team that prepared the NIV. Very easy reading, designed for children as a stepping stone to the NIV, as well as those for whom English is a second language.

New Jerusalem Bible

NJ

1985

1 Peter 3:15: Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.

9th Grade

Not Available

An update of the Jerusalem Bible, with revised footnotes and more dignified language.

New Jewish Translation

OE

Torah 1962; Nevi'im 1978; Kethubim 1982; Tanakh 1985

Not Available

12th Grade

Formal Equivalent

A modern language translation of the Jewish Scriptures (Christian Old Testament); of special interest to students of the Old Testament.

New King James Version

NK

1982

1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

8th Grade

Formal Equivalent

This translation updates the language of the King James Version, changing archaic inflections and obsolete words, while preserving its basic literary structure.

New Life Bible

OE

New Testament 1969; Old Testament 1986

Not Available

Not Available

Dynamic

Missionaries Gleason and Kathyrn Ledyard's work in the Canadian arctic inspired them to develop a simple language version which breaks down difficult concepts into simple phrases.

New Living Translation

NL

1996

I Peter 3:15: Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

6th-7th Grades

Functional Equivalent

Using Kenneth Taylor's paraphrase, The Living Bible, as a base, a team of 90 Bible scholars worked for seven years, carefully comparing each verse with the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures to produce a true translation that is accurate and easy to understand.

New Revised Standard Version

NR

1990

1 Peter 3:15: . . . But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.

10th Grade

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

An update of the Revised Standard Version (1952), this translation incorporates changes resulting from archaeological and textual discoveries in recent decades.

J. B. Phillips' New Testament in Modern English

OE

1958, Revised 1972

1 Peter 3:15: ...simply concentrate on being completely devoted to Christ in your hearts. Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you.

9th Grade

Essentially Formal Equivalent

Cast in striking modern British English, this translation uses phrase-by-phrase equivalents.

Reina Valera

SN

1569, Revised 1909, 1960, and 1977

1 Peter 3:15: sino santificad a Dios el Senor en vuestros corazones, y estad siempre preparados para presentar defensa con mansedumbre y reverencia ante todo el que os demande razon de la esparanza que hay en vosotros;

10th Grade

Emphasis on Formal Equivalent

This Spanish-language Protestant Bible is stylistically equivalent to the KJV (1569, 1909 revisions), the RSV (1960), NRSV (1990) or the NAS (1977)

Revised English Bible

RE

1989

1 Peter 3:15: ...but hold Christ in your hearts in reverence as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense when anyone challenges you to justify the hope which is in you. But do so with courtesy and respect.

6th Grade

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

This revision of the New English Bible, which began in 1973, features clear, contemporary international English. This text is intended for both private reading and public worship.

Revised Standard Version

RS

New Testament 1946; Old Testament 1952, Revised 1971

1 Peter 3:15: ...but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;

7th Grade

Formal Equivalent

A revision of the American Standard Version (1901), the RSV was intended to preserve the best of that version while incorporating modern English.

Simple English Bible

OE

1980

Not Available

Not Available

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

This translation is based on a working text used for the production of modern foreign Bibles. It has a 3,000-word vocabulary and the sentence structure commonly found in newspapers and magazines.

The Schocken Bible Volume 1: The Five Books of Moses

OE

1983, 1986, 1990, 1995

Not Available

10th Grade

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

Translated by Everett Fox, this translation seeks to retain the full force of the rhetoric and poetry of the original languages and recover layers of meaning that have been lost in other recent translations.

Twenty-first Century King James Version

OE

1994

1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

8th Grade

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

An updating of archaic language, punctuation, etc. of the original 1611 KJV for 21st Century readers, that safeguards the integrity and beauty of the original KJV.

Tyndale New Testament

OE

1525, Revised 1534

1 Peter 3:15: ...but fancifye the Lorde God in your hartes. Be redy alwayes to geve an anfwere to every man that axeth you a refon of the hope that is in you/and that with meaknes and feare...

College

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

William Tyndale's determination to produce a translation readable by common people eventually led to his death. Although controversial, the Tyndale New Testament had a great impact on the language of the KJV.

Weymouth New Testament

OE

1890, Revised 1912

1 Peter 3:15: ...but in your hearts consecrate Christ as Lord, being always ready to make your defense to any one who asks from you a reason for the hope which you cherish...

10th Grade

Emphasis on Functional Equivalent

Richard F. Weymouth produced this translation in the contemporary English of his time.

Worrell New Testament

OE

1904

Not Available

Not Available

Emphasis on Formal Equivalent

A. S. Worrell sought to update the accuracy and grammar of the King James Version in his translation of the New Testament and included his personal study notes in it as well.

Wuest Expanded Translation New Testament

OE

Gospels 1956; Acts-Ephesians 1958; Philippians-Revelation 1959

Not Available

Not Available

Emphasis on Formal Equivalent

Kenneth Wuest sought to use as many English words as were necessary to bring out the force and clarity of the Greek text. This version follows Greek word order and seeks to differentiate between the various verb tenses in that language.

Young's Literal Translation

OE

1862, Revised 1887

1 Peter 3:15: ...and the Lord God sanctify in your hearts. And [be] ready always for defence to every one who is asking of you in account concerning the hope that [is] in you, with meakness and fear;

8th-9th Grades

Formal Equivalent

Robert Young sought to correct certain inaccuracies in the King James Version in this very literal translation.