Realms of Faith


Comparing Bible Translations

The research you do in choosing a version of the Bible can be as simple as knowing its basic orientation and looking up three or four verses, or as extensive as a massive computer analysis. What I've done here is provide a few sample verses for a large number of questions you might want answered before you decide what Bible version is best for you.

I cannot pretend to be unbiased in this area. I grew up with the King James Version, used the NIV in college, and carry the Updated NASB for most of my English Bible reading today. In studying the languages at seminary, I've come to some fairly firm conclusions about what a translator should and should not do. But while I'll offer my own opinion on most of these questions, I hope to provide enough information that you, the reader, can make an informed decision yourself.

Following the classification of Robert L. Thomas, I've divided the questions into five basic categories. To allow you as much independence as you desire in checking out a translation, I'm listing only the questions and sample verses on this page. For those who want more, I've linked to my analysis for each question and a summary of my conclusions for each of 40-plus Bible versions. There's also a practice page that allows you to compare several versions of the same passage on your own.

Questions to Ask in Assessing a Bible Version

Issue #1: Historical Background

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Issue #2: Textual Basis

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Issue #3: Translation Philosophy

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Issue #4: Theological Orientation

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Issue #5: English Style

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For an abundance of resources by other authors, see this fantastic site (off-site link).

For a concise statement of my beliefs about the Bible, see my Declaration of Faith.


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