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Bible Versions An Overview

Bible Versions: An Overview 

by ArKa

The Bible has so many versions, so many to choose from. It is estimated that there are hundreds of versions of just the English language alone. Furthermore, the bible has been translated into more than 2000 languages to date.

Depending on its version and intended audience, the bible caters to a different kind of reader. In addition to literal translations, you can also find versions that present thought for thought.

There are a few bible versions that are widely respected and accepted, including the New International Version and those that are very contemporary and readable, such as the New Living Translation.

There is no difference in terminology or cadence between versions, but the Bible still contains the same stories throughout and can help readers reach a closer relationship with God.

Bible Versions: An Overview 


The bible is available in three different versions;

  • Translations word-for-word
  • A meaning-to-meaning or a thought-to-thought exchange
  • Presented in paraphrase

It is usually possible to tell what type of version a Bible is by reading the introduction.

Based on the Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew texts, word-for-word versions of the Bible are available. The KJV and the NKJV are considered word-for-word translations.

Easy understanding is one of the benefits of meaning-to-meaning bible versions. For example, the New International Version is a meaning-to-meaning version and explains points better than the New King James version.

When it comes to ancient idioms and figures of speech not often translated into modern language, this type of bible version helps to convey a clearer meaning. There are also several other popular meaning-to-meaning translations, including the New Living Translation, The Good News Bible and The Revised English Bible.

Bible versions that have been paraphrased include The Message Bible and The Living Bible. The purpose of these versions is to simplify the reading of the Bible in modern English. The flow of a story can be grasped more easily and the characters can be better understood by using these versions.

Bible Versions An Overview 

Top 50 Most Common Bible Versions

Despite not being able to cover all Bible versions in this article, if you’re interested in learning more about how the different versions differ, keep reading.

ASV stands for American Standard Version

Also known as the Standard American Edition, this Bible is a translation of the King James Version. It is a revised version of the Kings James Version, which was completed in 1885 and edited by the American Revision Committee in 1901.

English Standard Version – ESV

Compared to other versions of the bible, this one is relatively new. This book is very easy to read and provides precision and accuracy on a word-by-word basis. More than 100 evangelical scholars from around the world contributed to the creation of this literal plain English translation of the bible.

The following Bibles have been reviewed by us:

  • ESV Reader’s Bible

NIV – The New International Version

There is a balance between a thought-for-thought translation and a word-for-word translation in this version of the Bible. There are many who consider this translation of the Bible to be one of the easiest to read and most accurate in modern English.

The following Bibles have been reviewed by us:

  • Biblical Theology Study Bible

King James Version – KJV

This is the first version of the Bible to be commissioned and approved by King James I of England and the Protestant church. The first draft of this version was approved in 1604 and completed in 1611. Since its publication, this version has had a great influence on biblical literature.

NKJV – New Kings James Version

A modernization of the original Kings James Version is included in this version. Many feel that this version is easier to read and follow than the KJV because it maintains the traditional sentence structure and interpretation.

A new version of the NKJV was commissioned by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 1975. This modern translation was created over a period of seven years. Since the translation was commissioned, it has been revised using the most recent textual, linguistic, and archaeological studies. It maintains its faithfulness to the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic original texts.

NLT – The New Living Translation

Using modern English and producing clear text is the goal of this version. While it does not provide a literal equivalent translation, it makes for a very readable translation. A good choice for those who want to have a better understanding of difficult Bible translations, this Bible version remains true to the original texts.

Common English Bible – CEB

The purpose of this version of the Bible was to provide a comfortable level of reading. Rather than using traditional terminology, it uses more modern and natural language. It is therefore easy for English speakers of different levels of proficiency to understand this bible.

Catholic Bible in the Douay-Rheims style – RHE

As a result of the Protestant Reformation, which was the dominant religion during Elizabethan times, this version was created to uphold the Catholic tradition. A complete Rheims text and notes were compiled by William Fuke in 1589. In support of the Counter-Reformation, this version was created. There were three reprints of this version of the New Testament, one in 1600, one in 1621, and one in 1633. In England, this version was widely sold until 1633, when three more versions were released. Rheims played an important role in the development of English in the 17th century.

There are seven Deutero-Canonical books included in this bible version, including the Apocrypha.

New American Standard Bible – NASB

Despite being written in a formal style, this Bible version is considered and respected as the most literal translation of the Bible in English. In this version, verb tenses are maintained to maintain as close a similarity to the Hebrew and Greek original texts as possible. 1995 was the last time the text was updated, and this makes reading and understanding easier.

God’s Word Translation – GW

A more readable and reliable version of the text is now available. The original text has been translated into everyday language and is clear. A version of this Bible was first published by the Nations Bible Society in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995. As part of the team, members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod participated. The intention was to create a bible version that would be a naturally equivalent translation.

GNT – The Good News Translation

The American Bible Society originally published this version in 1976. In addition to being known as the Good News Bible, it is also known as GNB. The language is simple enough for even children to understand. For this reason, it is a very popular choice among children.

HarperCollins has published this translation in several editions and it is multi-denominational.

NLT – The New Living Translation

An English translation of the Bible has been provided in this version. The translation is not word-for-word equivalence, but provides clarity on the meaning of the text. To provide a translation that is clear and readable, while staying faithful to the meaning of the original, this version aims to provide a translation for the reader that is clear, readable, and easy to follow.

Holman’s Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Holman Christian Standard Bible is a highly readable version of the Bible written in modern English. Among America’s oldest Bible publishers, Holman Bible Publishing provides a version that maintains the Biblical accuracy of its translation and is trusted by many who want a simpler understanding of the scriptures.

NRS – The New Revised Standard Bible

One of the most popular versions of the Bible is this one. The Revised Standard Version and the King James Version are similar translations. To provide users with better readability, this translation incorporates modern English while preserving earlier versions of meanings.

JUB – The Jubilee Bible 2000

There is quite an interesting history behind this version. The material was translated from Spanish to English by Russell M. Stendal in 1530. A comparison was made between this translation and Tyndale’s Old English Translation. Additionally, it was compared to the Ploughboy Edition of the New Testament published in 1534. A comparison was also made in 1537 between Joshua and Chronicles and Jonah with Chronicles.

A Spanish version of this Bible was first translated from Greek and Hebrew texts in 1569 by Casiodoro de Reina. Based on the 1543 New Testament of Francisco de Enzinas, the 1556 New Testament, and the 1557 Psalms of Juan Perez de Pineda, it was completed in 1557. Compared to the Authorized Version of 1611, which was the King James Version, it was a word-for-word translation.

The Bible Versions An Overview 

Revised Standard Version – RSV

A combination of three versions has been used in this translation. As well as the King James Version and Revised Version, the American Standard Version was also used in this translation. In addition to being used for worship and reading in public, this translation is also suitable for private use.

MSG – The Message Bible

The Bible version presented here is a paraphrase. Authored by Eugene H. Peterson, it was translated from the original languages. This translation took Peterson nine years to complete. This Bible was intended to be a literal translation and more of a companion bible than a scholarly work.  The Message Bible provides readers with a unique and refreshing Bible reading experience.

LEB – Lexham English Bible

You can look at the word of God from a completely new perspective with the Lexham English Bible. Designed to complement a primary translation well, it can be used along with it. With its literal rendering and transparent design, it makes a great choice for anyone looking for a Bible to cross-reference when a primary translation is not as clear as they would like.

BBE: The Bible in Basic English

Mr. C. K. Ogden from the ORthological Institute is the author of The Bible in Basic English. The Bible is translated into basic English in this version. A list of approximately 1000 words makes up Basic English, the simplest form of the English language.

The translation was overseen by a Committee including Old Testament Studies Professor Emeritus from the University of London and Professor S. H. Hooke. Translated into basic English from Hebrew and Greek texts, this version of the Bible contains the original Hebrew and Greek texts.

A modern interpretation of the Bible was developed based on the latest discoveries and ideas. A committee of Syndics of Cambridge University Press examined the Bible In Basic English after it was completed. Before this Bible version was published and released on the market, this was done.

WBT – The Webster Bible

The Webster Bible contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament. A language amendment has been made by Noah Webster, LL.D.

The current version of this Bible was first published in 1611 during the reign of James I. While there were changes to the language of the previous versions, none of them are the same as those which were prevalent during Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

There is correct, general, and perspicuous language in the current version of The Webster Bible. This book is written in the English language of genuine Saxon origin. There are many passages that show a perfect balance between simplicity and sublimity, and the text is adapted to the subjects in a unique way.

TCNT – The Twentieth Century New Testament

1901 was the first year that the TCNT translation was published and 1904 was the year it was revised. Based on the 1881 edition of Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, the translation was made. In order to provide young people of the time with a plain English Bible, the TCNT was derived from this edition. Aiming to make it easier for its target audience to read, it was designed with ease of reading in mind.

NTMS – New Testament in Modern Speech

First published in 1903, this Bible translation is based on the Hebrew text. An expert in Greek was responsible for translating it, Richard F. Weymouth. By keeping the same verb tenses and definite articles, the translation makes use of contemporary English language while maintaining the originality of Greek language.

WNT – The Worrell New Testament

The translation was completed by A. S. Worrell in 1904. Compared to the American Standard Version, it is a moderate revision. In this version, Worrell renders the participles and verbs more literally than in the American Standard Version.

TCRB – Thompson Chain Reference Bible

The translation was done by Frank C. Thompson in 1908. Designed with a chain linking system of topics, it is a study bible. In addition to over 4000 chains of references, the Bible provides comprehensive help. Due to the way it references Bible texts with topics, this study bible is quite popular. There have been over four million copies sold of this translation.

SSB – Scofield Study Bible

The translation in this book is an annotated Bible created by Cyrus Scofield. The original version was completed in 1909 and revised in 1917. There is no separate volume of annotations. They are done with commentary around the text. A unique cross-reference system is also included in the study Bible.

MNT – The New Translation of the Bible

When it was just the New Testament, Moffatt’s New Translation was first published in 1913. 1924 saw the addition of the Old Testament, followed by 1928 with the completion of the Bible. There are a few unique expressions in this version that convey the meaning of a passage very clearly. In spite of the liberties Moffatt took in his translation, this version is considered one of the most readable.

AAT: An American Translation of the Bible

In 1935, this translation was completed. Edgar. J Goodspeed translated the New Testament in 1923 and called it The New Testament : This is an American translation. His goal was to provide a bible that was free of British English expressions. As well as the Old Testament: An American Translation, he added the Apocrypha in 1935 and 1938.

NTLP – The New Testament in the People’s Language

Charles B. Williams published the New Testament in the Language of the People in 1937. The New Testament has been amplified in this translation. These versions of the Bible give fuller meaning to delicate Greek verb tenses.\

KNOX – The Knox Bible

An English priest named Ronald Knox was commissioned to translate a new version of the Bible for Catholics in 1940. During this time, all Catholic Bible versions had to be based on the Latin Vulgate. It was Knox, however, who made sure to pay attention to both Greek and Hebrew in this translation. During 1945 and 1949, the New Testament and Old Testament were completed. In 2010, a newer version of the Knox Bible was released.

DSB – The Daily Study Bible

A translation of this Bible was made by William Barclay. The purpose of this translation was to make the Bible easier to read for the average person. A professor at the University of Glasgow has included 17 commentaries with his translation of the Bible in order to provide the average reader with the best Biblical scholarship available.

Top 50 Bible Versions An Overview 

NTME – New Testament in Modern English

Paraphrased from J.B Phillips’ The Phillips New Testament version, this translation was completed in 1958. There was a revised edition released in 1972, but most people prefer the original version.

Wuest Expanded Translation of the New Testament – WET

The translation was completed in 1959 by Kenneth S. Wuest. The Moody Bible Institute in Chicago employed Quest as a professor of New Testament Greek. A version amplified by him was translated between 1956 and 1959. From the original Greek text, Wuest expanded the meaning to encompass all parts of speech. A very good resource is the WET Bible because of this.

Berkeley Version in Modern English – BV

Originally completed in 1959, this translation is complete with modern English. This book is very easy to read and has all the relatable language for a better understanding of the scriptures.

Annotated Reference Bible by Dake

The study Bible was written by Finis J. Dake in 1963. More than 35,000 notes and commentary were included in Dake’s Bible, which took him 7 years to complete.

Amplification of the Bible – AMP

The translation of this Bible was completed in 1965. In this Bible translation, you will find words that would normally be found in footnotes and margins in the text. By expanding the text, the author adds meaning to the text so that the reader has the information right there. As a result, the AMP version is a good resource for those who want an in-depth Bible that is still simple to read.

JB – The Jerusalem Bible

The original translation of this Bible was in French. 1966 was the year when the English version was created. Although some consultation was done with the French version, the English translation was based on the Hebrew and Greek texts. Several opinionated notes and advanced literacy skills in scholarly production are included in this English translation of the Catholic version.

NAB – The New American Bible

In this translation of the Bible, the Douay Bible has been revised for American Catholic readers. Greek, Hebrew, and Latin Vulgate texts were used for the translation. 1970 marked the introduction of the final product.

NEB – The New English Bible

The translation was produced in 1970 by the British government. We aim to provide thought-for-thought translation through the NEB. There are, however, several places in the text where it borders on paraphrasing. In some cases, the same Greek or Hebrew word is rendered with a different English word. It is therefore difficult for those without access to original Greek or Hebrew texts to conduct detailed word studies.

NASB or NAS is the New American Standard Bible

This is one of the Bible versions that provides a literal translation word for word. The translations used in it are considered to be some of the most accurate in the world. A translation group of 54 scholars produced this Bible translation. In 11 years, they completed the translation, making it one of the most dependable ones available today.

TLB – The Living Bible

A paraphrase version of the Bible is the Living Bible. Kenneth N. Taylor adapted the American Standard Version for this translation. Using a language kids could understand, Taylor aimed to present the Bible in an accessible manner. In addition to being highly readable, this interpretation is very contemporary. Due to its popularity, over 40 million copies have been sold. Last but not least, all proceeds from sales of The Living Bible go to charity.

A Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible

This version of the Bible was developed by a biblical language scholar named Spiros Zodhiates. There are several additional texts included in the study bible to enhance the reader’s experience. There are lexical aids, grammatical notations, footnotes, and a very strong concordance with reference numbers. Those seeking to learn the original languages of the Bible will find it to be an ideal tool.

Revised English Bible – REB

The latest version of the REB was released in 1989. A free translation revision of the 1970 NEB was used to create it. It is primarily translated in British English by the translators, who are liberal with the text.

NRSV – New Revised Standard Version

There is something quite unique about this Bible version. In 1990, the NRSV became available. In addition to eliminating archaic language, it presents a gender-neutral approach by replacing masculine gender forms with feminine ones.

The King James Version of the 21st Century – KJ21

It was published in 1994, making it one of the newer Bible versions. A literal translation is provided in this formal version. This Bible translation is a minor update to the KJV. There is no significant change to the language, but some vocabulary is changed to make sense to modern readers.

CEV – Contemporary English Version

The American Bible Society published the CEV for the first time in 1995. It is in plain English so that people whose reading ability is below average will be able to understand it.

Bible Versions Overview 

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

This Bible translation was produced in 2004 and provides both word-for-word and thought-for-thought translations. Each sentence, phrase, clause, and word of the ancient text is thoroughly scrutinized by the translator. The wording keeps the original meaning and intention in an easier-to-read format. An accurate and modern version, in short.

Today’s New International Version – TNIV

Compared to the New International Version, this translation is functional and freestyle. As a literal translation of the NIV, you could call it the NIV in more detail. The project took ten years to complete and was completed in 2005. The translation was provided by a team of more than 50 scholars.

NET – The New English Translation

NET translations are literal translations completed with formal English. As one of the first Bible versions available free of charge on CD-Rom and the internet, this version was released in 2005. The NET Bible has numerous footnotes and can be downloaded free of charge online. There is also a printed edition available.

There are countless versions of the Bible available in multiple languages, and we aim to reach every “nation, tongue, and tribe” with the word of God. A number of English speaking Bible versions are included in this list, but it is by no means comprehensive.

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