Why are there so many Bible translations? Well, as you may know, the Bible was not originally written in English but in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. And if you've ever taken time to learn another language, you've likely found it's not always easy to offer a seamless, word-for-word translation.
This is why so many different translations, or versions, of the Bible exist.
We compare these versions to see how well-established translations have approached a text. It gives us greater insight into not only the meaning of a particular verse or passage but also each individual word. This can be invaluable in our understanding.
For the purpose of our study and best understanding the original meaning of a text, we encourage you to consider word-for-word translations over thought-for-thought.
A word-for-word translation attempts to translate the Bible as literally as possible. While this helps preserve original meaning, as accuracy increases sometimes readability decreases.
Well-known word-for-word translations include the King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard (NASB), and the English Standard Version (ESV).
As you know, at Abidible we use the ESV. We've found it does a nice job of maintaining accuracy while not feeling too cumbersome.
Well-known thought-for-thought translations include the New Living Translation (NLT) and The Message. These translations are closer to what we would call a paraphrase. While accuracy may decrease with these versions, readability increases.
The New International Version (NIV) and the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) are examples of translations that land right in the middle when it comes to accuracy and readability.
Now that you know a little more about why different translations exist and the kinds of translations we have, let's talk about how to compare these versions.
Want real training and practice with doing Bible comparisons? Get both in our "How to Study the Bible" course! Click the link to learn more.
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