Which Translation?



Things To Consider When Purchasing A Bible!

"The Best Translation is whichever one you will read the most"


  • What translation do you prefer or what translation does your church use? 
  • How or for what purpose will the Bible be used?

(ie... Home study, just to take to church, for school in a backpack etc.)

  • How much do you want to spend?
  • What features do you like in your Bible? 

(ie... Study guide helps, tabs, Christ words in red, concordance, cross references)

  • There are MANY Bible apps for your smart phone that are FREE!





Priority to word translation plus additional amplification of word meaning. Verse for verse.

The Amplified Bible is a popular translation used to understand the hidden meaning of Greek and Hebrew words. Published in 1964 and updated in 1987, the Amplified Bible is largely the work of France E Siewert. Priority has been given to word translation plus additional amplification of word meanings in a system of brackets and parentheses.

CEV Contemporary English Version

Written with an elementary-school reading level, the CEV is readable and understandable for the modern reader. Published in 1995.

The Contemporary English Version (CEV) has been prepared to incorporate the needs of those who hear the Bible, rather than read it for themselves. While remaining entirely faithful to the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic languages of the Scriptures, the CEV is written in such a way that people of all ages and abilities can read and understand the meaning of the text. Published in 1995.

English Standard Version
Priority given to word translation/essentially literal.

(ESV) is an "essentially new literal translation" follows the tradition of the King James, American Standard Version, and Revised Standard Version. Published in 2001 by Crossway, it was developed by a translation team of more than 100 scholars, with the goal of being very accurate (word for word), and yet very readable.  (This is a good choice!)

Good News The GOOD NEWS BIBLE (TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION) is the most widely recognised and accepted common language, dynamic equivalence translation of the Bible in English. The translation is the work of six American scholars, assisted by a panel of specialists, using the best Hebrew and Greek texts, and the whole Bible has been adapted for British usage. It was first published in 1976 and the second edition was launched in 1994. The Good News Bible has an easy to read style, yet the translation is based on sound principles and is suitable for devotional reading, serious study and liturgical use.

God's Word

Priority to meaning rather than word translation Paragraphs with poetry. Primarily utilized by and marketed to teens.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Uses optimal equivalence, which assures the maximum transfer of both the words & thoughts contained in the original text.

(HCSB) is another new word-for-word translation that strives to be both literally accurate and readable. It is not as literal as the ESV or NASB, but is more so than the NIV. The Holman published by Broadman & Holman in 2003, is the product of nearly 100 scholars.

NOTE:  The more I look at the new HCSB Study Bible, the more impressed I am. watch this video to see for yourself... (This is a good choice!)

Interlinear Bible (Greene) It is the first such Bible available to students of Scriptures who speak English. With it, one can utilize lexicons, word books, and other recent aids.

The Hebrew text in the Old Testament is the Masoretic text. The Greek text in the New Testament is the Received Text (differing slightly from other printed editions).

There are two English translations: one located directly under each Hebrew or Greek word and "The Literal Translation of the Bible" in a narrow column to the left. The latter straight-forward translation makes it easy to see proper word order in English and to assimilate the message of the text. Both translations are word-for-word, but are not absolute, literal representations of the Hebrew and Greek words.

Above each Hebrew or Greek word is a number as it appears in Strong's Concordance and lexicons. This opens Bible study possibilities for those who wish to understand the Scriptures better. The Hebrew and the Greek alphabets appear before the preface.

Hendrickson Publishers (1976)

King James Version

A word-for-word translation in a poetic, literary style using 17th century Elizabethan English

The AUTHORISED VERSION (KING JAMES BIBLE) is an indispensable classic which has left permanent marks on the English language and its literature. When first published in 1611, its language was already rather archaic. It was largely a revision of earlier works by William Tyndale and others.

Translated from the original languages by committee. Unexcelled in literary quality, although now archaic. Does not reflect the best text base on recent scholarship (some editions give explanatory notes on the text).

Living Bible

A modern language paraphrase with an evangelical approach.

(LB), completed in 1971, is Kenneth N. Taylor's paraphrase of the American Standard Version. Easy to read and once immensely popular, it is often criticized for adding too much commentary to the biblical text. Published by Tyndale House, although apparently no longer available from them.

A paraphrase is the restatement of an author's thoughts, using different words. The purpose of this version is for it to say as exactly as possible what the writers of the Scriptures meant, and to say it simply, expanding where necessary for clear understanding by the modern reader. There is a danger in paraphrasing that the translator, though honest, may give the English reader something that the original writer did not mean to say. When the Greek or the Hebrew is not clear, the theology of the translator and his sense of logic are his guides. The theological guide in this version has been a rigid evangelical position.

This version has undergone several manuscript revisions. It has also been under the scrutiny of a team of Greek and Hebrew experts to check the content and of English critics to check for style. Thus, this edition is tentative.

It is a compilation of previous paraphrases by Tyndale: Living Letters (1962), Living Prophecies (1965), Living Gospels (1966), Living Psalms and Proverbs (1967), Living Lessons of Life and Love (1968), Living Books of Moses (1969), and Living History of Israel (1970).


New American Bible

Priority to word translation rather than meaning. Paragraphs with poetry. 

From the original Greek (NT); revision of confraternity version (based on Latin Vulgate) in the OT. Catholic Committee consulted with Protestants in final stages. More conservative than JB but introductions to sections and to individual books "moderately liberal in tone" (Kubo and Specht, p. 164). Format differs with the publisher.

New American Standard Bible

Priority to word translation rather than meaning Verse for Verse with poetry.

The NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE is a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901 and is thus a formal correspondence translation. The translators' primary purpose is to adhere as closely as possible to the form of the original languages. They also aim to use clear, contemporary English, but provide more literal renderings in the footnotes. The translation was published in 1963. The updated edition was published in 1997.  (This is a good choice!)

New Century Version / International Children's Bible

Priority to meaning rather than word translation Paragraphs with poetry

The First concern of the NEW CENTURY VERSION is that the translation be faithful to the manuscripts in the original languages. The translation team composed of the World Bible Translation Centre and fifty additional highly qualified and experienced Bible scholars and translators. The second concern was to make the language clear enough for all people to read the Bible and understand it for themselves. Every attempt has been made to maintain proper English style, while clarifying concepts and communication.

New International Reader's Version

Balance between word translation and meaning, with an emphasis on meaning where necessary for simplification Paragraphs with poetry

New International Version

Balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought Paragraphs with poetry

An interdenominational team of more than one hundred English-speaking scholars from around the world translated the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, thus aiming to avoid sectarian bias in the work. It is more than a word for word, formal correspondence translation, idiomatic but not idiosyncratic in style, and it is based on the best Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. The New International Version is designed to have clarity and literary quality and to be suitable for public and private reading, teaching, memorising and liturgical use. It was published in 1978. All editions have section headings, and footnotes giving alternative readings and translations. More recently an ‘inclusive language’ edition has been published

New King James Version

Priority to word translation rather than meaning Verse for Verse

The NEW KING JAMES BIBLE or REVISED AUTHORISED VERSION is a major revision of the King James or Authorised Version, and was published in 1982.The translation, a best seller in the USA, aims to preserve the historic dignity of the 1611 text, but updates all that is no longer easily understood. The sequence and identity of words, phrases, and clauses are designed to conform to the AV. The translation of the New Testament usually follows the so-called Majority Text but variants are given in footnotes.

New Living Translation

Priority to meaning rather than word translation Paragraphs with poetry

The New Living Translation is an increasingly popular translation, which uses words and phrases in common use today. The aim of this dynamic equivalence translation is to 'enhance the power and clarity of the Living Bible' and create a 'translation as good for study as it is for devotional reading'. This thought-for-thought translation is both reliable and eminently readable, giving priority to meaning rather than word translation.

New Revised Standard Version

Balance between word translation and meaning Paragraphs with poetry

The NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION (NRSV) is an extensive revision of the Revised Standard Version, continuing the tradition of the RSV, which first appeared in 1952. NRSV, like the Revised English Bible, takes into account more recently discovered Hebrew manuscripts from Qumran, and follows more recently published editions of the Hebrew and Greek texts. The language has been brought more up to date, notably by the use of the inclusive language and the exclusion of 'thees and thous'.

Today's English Version

Meaning all-important Paragraphing with poetry and other special indentations

From the original. NT by one man, approved by committee. Aimed particularly at English - as - second - language audience and those with little formal education. Achieves its goal well - very readable, good format. Translates dynamics well but not dependable for deeper study if used by itself.

THE MESSAGE Convert the original languages into the tone and the rhythms of modern-day American speech while retaining the idioms and meaning of the original languages. Paragraphs with poetry.

The Message, like the Living Bible, is a paraphrase rather than a translation. The difference is that The Message is very recent and that Eugene Peterson, the paraphraser, worked from the original languages. Eugene Peterson has taught biblical languages on the post-graduate level and is a respected theologian with pastoral experience. Like J. B. Phillips, he is well qualified to undertake a paraphrase.

The Message is not suited for serious Bible study since the paraphrase, by its nature, obscures terminology and some implications of the text.
The Message is as accurate as a paraphrase can be—take that as a caution—and it is easy to read and understand.

Today's New International Version

Utilizes balance of word-for-word and thought-for-thought using the modern English spoken today.

This is a completely new translation that follows in the footsteps of its parent, the New International Version. It contains minor revisions and changes that all seem to be improvements, with the exceptions I’ve noted below.

While I am all in favor of the English translation being as gender-inclusive as the Greek (for instance, the most accurate translation of αδελφοι is ‘brothers and sisters’), most ‘inclusive-language’ versions go too far, changing gender-specific Greek words into generic or plural English words, which changes the meanings of passages such as Hebrews 2. This translation is not an exception. 
The text of the TNIV is eminently readable, just like its parent translation. In essence, this is an inclusive-language version of the New International Version. It has the same advantages.


My Choices for Bible Selection!
Most accurate translation     General Purpose     Easiest to read   
New American Standard Holman Christian Study Bible  New Living Translation  


My Choices for Bible Add-on Features
Features   Description
Factory Thumb Tabs   These are a great time saver and very useful to new believers. 
Life Application Study Bible   This is the most popular and comprehensive Bible Study notes available.
Cross References Hopping through the Bible from verse to associated verse is wonderful.
Concordance This is an excellent study help, particularly with topical searches.
Bible Dictionary There is inevitably a situation where this will be helpful.

Another good website about bible translations


Below is the best book I have read on this subject, I highly recommend it!

The Complete Guide To Bible Translations


More Links for you:

Wikipedia: Bible Translations

Tyndale Publishers

Zondervan Publishers

Nelson Publishers

Broadman Holman Publishers

Abingdon Press

Catholic Book Publishers