Comparison of Bible Translations

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Below is a comparison of twenty-three major Bible translations. Listed with each version is the text basis translators used for the Old and New Testaments, what technique they used to translate, and background information about the version.

Translation (Date originally published, abbreviation)

American Standard Version Bible (1901, ASV)
Text basis for Old Testament:  Masoretic Text (Septuagint influence).
Text basis for New Testament:  Westcott and Hort (1881), Tregelles (1857)
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
Unlike other translations, the language used for this version was Elizabethan English. This version never achieved the wide popularity of the KJV or other versions.
 
Amplified Bible (1965, AMP)
Produced jointly by Zondervan and The Lockman Foundation
The AMP is largely a revision of the ASV with reference made to various texts in the original languages. It is designed to "amplify" the text by using a system of punctuation and other typographical features.
 
Bible in Modern English - Ferrar Fenton (1903, BME)
Text basis for O. T. :  Septuagint and Masoretic manuscripts
Text basis for N. T. :  Westcott and Hort Greek Text
Published by:  Destiny Publishers
Fenton spent approximately fifty years working on his translation, with his goal to study the scriptures in their original languages and ascertain what its writers actually said and thought.
 
 
 
 
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Contemporary English Version (1995, CEV)
Technique used:  Dynamic Equivalence
The CEV is a simplified version of the scriptures written at a fourth grade (10 year old) reading level. It uses gender-neutral language for humanity but not for God.
 
English Standard Version (2001, ESV)
Text basis for O. T. :  Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (B.H.S.) with Septuagint influence.
Text basis for the Apocrypha:  Göttingen Septuagint, Ralf Septuagint and Stuttgart Vulgate.
Text basis for N. T. :  Nestle-Aland N.T.G. 27th edition.
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The ESV is a revision of the Revised Standard Version (1971). It contains the non-inspired books of the Apocrypha.
 
Good News Bible (1976, GNB)
Former Name:  Today's English Version (TEV)
Text basis for N. T. :  Medium correspondence to Nestle-Aland N.T.G. 27th ed.
Technique used:  Dynamic Equivalence
The Good News is also known as the Good News (GNT). It is written in simple, everyday language. The 1979 edition of the GNB includes the Apocrypha.
 
Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004, HCSB)
Text basis for O. T. :  B.H.S. 5th edition with Septuagint influence.
Text basis for N. T. :  Nestle-Aland N.T.G. 27th edition and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition.
Technique used:  Mix of Dynamic and Formal Equivalence
The HCSB is the work of one hundred men and women representing seventeen different denominations.
 
Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version, Second Edition (2009, HBFV)
Text basis for O. T. :  Ben Asher Masoretic Hebrew Text
Text basis for N. T. :  Stephens Greek Text of 1550 A.D.
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The HBFV is one of the only known modern translation that uses the original inspired canonical manuscript order to arrange the books. This restores the original book order and reestablishes its seven divisions which are: 1) The Law, 2) The Prophets, 3) The Writings, 4) The Gospels and Acts, 5) The General Epistles, 6) The Epistles of Paul, and 7) The Book of Revelation. According to its translator, the HBFV reflects the true meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek text and shows the unity of Scripture between the Old and New Testaments.
 
Interlinear Bible: Hebrew - Greek - English (1985, LITV)
Former Name:  Green's Literal (LITV)
Text basis for O. T. :  Masoretic Text
Text basis for N. T. :  Textus Receptus
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
 
Jewish Bible: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (1985, NJPS)
Text basis for O. T. :  Masoretic Text
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The NJPS is a modern Jewish of the Hebrew Scriptures into English. It is the second published by the Jewish Publication Society, which is the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English. This new supersedes the Society's 1917 version, which is abbreviated as JPS.
 
King James Version Bible (1611, KJV)
Text basis for O. T. :  Masoretic Text
Text basis for N. T. :  Textus Receptus
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The KJV is also known as the Authorized Version (AV) or King James Version. This was commissioned by King James I of England (born 1566 A.D., died 1625). Forty-seven scholars from the Church of England worked on the translation. Though four hundred years old, the KJV still remains one of the most popular versions of God's word sold.
 
Living Bible (1971, TLB)
Text basis for O. T. / N.T.:  Paraphrase of American Standard Version (ASV) with comparisons to other translations.
Type:  Paraphrase
The the Living Bible is an English version created by Kenneth N. Taylor. It was one of the best selling translations in the early 1970s. In the late 1980s Taylor and Tyndale House Publishers invited a team of ninety Greek and Hebrew scholars to participate in a project of revising the LB text. The result of their work was the NLT.
 
Moffatt New Translation (1922, MNT)
Published by:  University of Chicago Press
James Moffatt (1870 - 1944 A.D.) was Professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Mansfield College, Oxford, England. He was also Professor of Church History at United Free Church College and Union Theological Seminary. In the introduction to his 1926 edition, Moffatt wrote, "The aim I have endeavored to keep before my mind in making this has been to present the books of the Old and the New Testament in effective, intelligible English."
 
New American Bible (1970, NAB)
Text basis for O. T. : Primarily B.H.S. Has influence of Dead Sea Scrolls along with Septuagint.
Text basis for Apocrypha:  Primarily Septuagint with Vulgate and Dead Sea Scrolls influence.
Text basis for N. T. :  N.T.G. 25th edition.
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The NAB is a Catholic translation that had its beginnings in the Confraternity, which began to be translated from the original languages in 1948. It was specifically translated into English by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine under the liturgical principles and reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).
 
New American Standard Bible (1971, NASB)
Text basis for O. T. : Primarily B.H.S. with influences from the Septuagint.
Text basis for N. T. :  N.T.G. .
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
This translation is considered a literal and conservative revision of the ASV of 1901.
 
New English Bible (1970, NEB)
Text basis for O. T. :  Primarily the Masoretic Text as presented by Rudolf Kittel in his 3rd Edition of the Biblia Hebraica (1937). Also used were the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targums, and the Syriac Peshitta.
Text basis for Apocrypha:  The Old Testament in Greek according to the Septuagint, edited by H. B. Swete. Also used was the Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, Codex 248 and R. L. Bensly's Latin text The Fourth Book of Ezra.
Text basis for N. T. :  Early Greek New Testament manuscripts, early translations rendered in other languages (those aside from Greek), and the quotations of early Christian writers and speakers.
Technique used:  Dynamic Equivalence
The NEB is a modern English version taken directly from the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts. This controversial version, which also includes the Apocrypha, was sponsored by several denominations in Great Britain.
 
New International Reader's Version (1996, NIRV)
Owner:  International Bible Society
Published by:  Zondervan
The New International Reader's Version is derived from the popular New International Version (NIV). The NIV was rewritten in a simpler form of English by the IBS in order to make it more accessible to people who have difficulty reading English.
 
New International Version Bible (1978, NIV)
Text basis for O. T. :  Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Latin Vulgate, Aramaic Targums and still others.
Text basis for N. T. :  United Bible Societies' Koine Greek editions and the Nestle-Aland N.T.G. (based on Westcott-Hort, Weiss and Tischendorf, 1862).
Technique used:  Mix of Dynamic and Formal Equivalence
The is one of the most popular modern translations in English. At least 15 scholars made up the core team that produced the NIV, with additional scholars from various denominations around the world also participating.
 
New Jerusalem Bible (1985, NJB)
Text basis for O. T. :  B.H.S. with Septuagint influence.
Text basis for Apocrypha:  Septuagint with Vulgate influence.
Text basis for N. T. :  N.T.G.
Technique used:  Dynamic Equivalence
The NJB was created by the Roman Catholic Church as an updated version of the JB.. Like the JB, the NJB translates God's name in the Old Testament (the Tetragrammaton) as Yahweh.
 
New King James Bible (1982, NKJV)
Text basis for O. T. :  Masoretic Text. Some influence from Septuagint.
Text basis for N. T. :  Textus Receptus.
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The NKJV is a conservative revision of the King James that does not make any alterations on the basis of a revised Greek or Hebrew text, but adheres to the readings presumed to underlie the KJV. The Gideons, a Christian organization that distributes free copies of God's word through hotels, motels and other means, uses the NKJV.
 
New Revised Standard Version Bible (1989, NRSV)
Text basis for O. T. :  B.H.S. Also has influence of Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Text basis for Apocrypha:  Septuagint. Has influence of Vulgate.
Text basis for N. T. :  N.T.G. 27th edition.
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The NRSV is a thorough revision of the Revised Standard Version of 1952. This is less literal than the RSV due to the goal of making the English easier to understand. Some editions of the NRSV contain the Apocrypha.
Revised Standard Version Bible (1952, RSV)
Text basis for O. T. :  B.H.S. with limited Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint influence.
Text basis for N. T. :  Nestle-Aland N.T.G. 17th edition.
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The RSV is an authorized revision of the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901. The 1957 version of the RSV contains the Apocrypha.
 
Young's Literal Translation of the Bible (1862, YLT)
Text basis for O. T. :  Masoretic Text
Text basis for N. T. :  Textus Receptus
Technique used:  Formal Equivalence
The YLT was produced by Robert Young, who also produced Young's Analytical Concordance. It is considered a strict literal translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts.
 
Definition of Terms

Apocrypha

Collection of books found in the Roman Catholic and a few modern non-Catholic Bibles. These books were written roughly two hundred years AFTER the official canon of the Old Testament was finalized by Ezra and the Great Assembly.

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (B.H.S)

A Leningrad Codex preservation of the Masoretic Text. Masoretic plus critical notes supplement the text.

Dynamic Equivalence

Dynamic (or functional) equivalence attempts to convey the THOUGHT expressed in the source text using equivalent expressions from a contemporary language like English (THOUGHT-FOR-THOUGHT).

Formal Equivalence

This method attempts to translate the source text WORD-FOR-WORD into another language.

Masoretic Text (MT)

Considered the authoritative Hebrew text of what we today call the Old Testament. The word Masoretic comes from the Hebrew word masora, meaning tradition.

The text itself is based on the Masora, the textual tradition and marginal notes of the Levitical scholars known as Masoretes. The Masoretes were active from about 500 to 950 A.D. They continued the work of earlier Aaronic priests and Levitical scribes known as the Sopherim, who were appointed by Ezra the prophet as the official guardians of the Hebrew text after its canonization around the 500s to 400s B.C.

Novum Testamentum Graece (N.T.G.)

Latin name of the Greek-language version of the New Testament, which was first published by Erasmus in 1516 A.D. Today, this term usually refers to the Nestle-Aland editions, which are named after the scholars who led the critical editing work.

Septuagint

The word Septuagint, which means "seventy," is a Greek of the Hebrew-based Old Testament. Also called the LXX (the Roman numeral for 70), the text is believed to be the work of seventy Jewish scholars that assembled in Alexandria, Egypt around 285 to 247 B.C. The Septuagint includes the books of the Apocrypha.

Textus Receptus

Textus Receptus, which is Latin for "received text," is also known as the Stephens Greek Text of 1550 A.D. The Stephens text was one of the Reformation's printed editions of the Greek New Testament. The Textus Receptus was the base for the original German Luther Bible, the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the KJV and others.

Vulgate (Latin Vulgate)

A 4th century A.D. Latin translation by Jerome, a Greek and Latin scholar who was commissioned by Roman Catholic Pope Damasus I. The Vulgate included the fourteen books of the Apocrypha. It was considered the definitive edition of the scriptures up until the 1530s.

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