A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO BIBLE TRANSLATIONS

These are a few of the best well-known versions of the Holy Scriptures. There are more, but I wanted to introduce the reader to these from information gathered from the Internet.

  1. King James Translation (KJV): “In 1604, King James I of England authorized that a new translation of the Bible into English be started. It was finished in 1611, just 85 years after the first translation of the New Testament into English appeared (Tyndale, 1526). The Authorized Version, or King James Version, quickly became the standard for English-speaking Protestants. Its flowing language and prose rhythm has had a profound influence on the literature of the past 400 years… The King James Version has with good reason been termed ‘the noblest monument of English prose.’ Its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for ‘its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression… the music of it cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.’ It entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples.”

  1. Revised Version (RV): “The Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV) is an authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611.” It met with criticism by its treatment of “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 as “young woman”, and omission of “begotten” in John 3:16. Some regarded this as a denial of the virgin birth, and deity of Jesus. Part of the suspicion arose from the sponsorship and promotion of this translation by the liberal National Council of Churches. (“Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.”)

  1. New American Standard Bible: “This Bible is in the public domain in the United States. Summary of this 1995 version attempts to preserve the literal accuracy of the 1901 (ASV) and to render grammar and terminology in contemporary English.”

  2. International Standard Version (ISV): “The International Standard Version embodies the best results of modern scholarship as to the meaning of Scripture, and expresses this meaning in clear and natural English. It is intended for liturgical and pulpit uses as well as for devotional reading, Bible study, and reading in the home. The ISV is a moderately literal translation, seeking to avoid the paraphrasing tendencies of some modern versions.”

  3. The English Standard Version (ESV) “is an English translation of the Christian Bible. It is a revision of the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version. The English Standard Version (ESV) stands in the classic mainstream of English Bible translations over the past half-millennium.”

  4. Amplified Bible (AMP): “The Amplified Bible attempts to take both word meaning and context into account in order to accurately translate the original text from one language into another. The Amplified Bible does this through the use of explanatory alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader in understanding what the Scripture really says.” It is classified as a paraphrase, and may not be as dependable as other versions.

  5. The Message: Its “contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message (Bible) current and fresh and understandable. Peterson notes that in the course of the project, he realized this was exactly what he had been doing in his thirty-five years as a pastor, ‘always looking for an English way to make the biblical text relevant to the conditions of the people.’”

  6. Holman Christian Standard Bible published by Broadman Holman: “Our purpose is to publish Bibles that positively impact the hearts and minds of people around the world, inspiring them to build a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ. Simply put, it’s why we exist. We have a deep sense of responsibility to share God’s Word in a trustworthy and faithful manner.”

  7. Young’s Literal Translation(YLT): “The Modern Literal Version translators goal was to create an extremely literal and accurate translation… The Bible text designated in YLT is from the 1898 Young’s Literal Translation by Robert Young, who also compiled Young’s Analytical Concordance. This is an extremely literal translation that attempts to preserve the tense and word usage as found in the original Greek and Hebrew writings. There is also a similar translation in Green’s Literal Translation (LITV) which is a formal equivalence translation.”

  8. Contemporary English Version: “Uncompromising simplicity marked the American Bible Society’s translation of the Contemporary English Version Bible. Published by the American Bible Society, the Contemporary English Version has the goal of uncompromising simplicity. Also known as the Bible for Today’s Family, the CEV is written at a fourth grade reading level, making it appropriate for children and adults with limited English skills. In 1991, the 175th anniversary of the American Bible Society, the CEV New Testament was released. The CEV Old Testament was released in 1995. The CEV is similar to Good News for Modern Man is a modern version of the Bible in mid-20th century American English, prepared… to provide the Holy Scriptures to every man, woman and child in a language and form each can understand.”

  9. William Tyndale’s Bible “was the very first English language Bible to appear in print. It was first published in the year 1525.”Older Translations have provided a source to build upon.

  10. Coverdale Bible. “The first complete Bible printed in English gave no indication of the name of the one who published it. Its translator was Miles Coverdale.”

  11. The Geneva Bible “is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James translation by 51 years. It was the Bible of the Protestant Reformation. The Geneva Bible was providentially unleashed on a dark, discouraged, downtrodden people, and it was the spark for a Christian Reformation of life . It has been regarded to be the choice of the older translations.”

  1. Phillips’ translation of the New Testament “brings home the full force of the original message.” The New Testament in Modern English “was originally written for the benefit of Phillips’ youth group; it was later published more widely in response to popular demand. The language is up-to-date and forceful, involving the reader in the dramatic events and powerful teaching of the New Testament. It brings home the message of Good News as it was first heard two thousand years ago.”

Disclaimer: Information concerning these versions has been gleaned from the Internet and Bibles in my possession. The King James version remains my preference and standby because it is in the public domain, and I prefer it’s style and reverence for God. Its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for “its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression… the music of it cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.” I agree with that appraisal.

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