Definition of
Dynamic and Formal Equivalence

Dynamic and formal equivalence are two methods or styles used to convert source text (e.g. Hebrew or Greek) into another language (e.g. English). The Dynamic (also known as functional) method attempts to convey the THOUGHT expressed in the source text using equivalent expressions from a contemporary language like English ('thought for thought' translating). The formal equivalence method (also known as a literal translation) attempts to translate the source text WORD for WORD into another language.

The difference between these translation techniques can be seen by comparing the first few words of Genesis 1 in the Good News Translation (dynamic) to the American Standard Version (formal). Also included is a Bible that uses a mix of both translation techniques (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate (GNT)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; (ASV)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty (HCSB)

Bibles that utilize a Dynamic translation technique can be good for conveying the overall meaning of a passage. Those that use this method include the Contemporary English Version (CEV), Good News Bible (GNB), New English Bible (NEB) and New Jerusalem Bible (NJB).

Bibles that utilize a formal (functional) technique, because of their exactness in translation, are best for detailed, in-depth studies and for research to determine doctrine. Those that use this method include the American Standard Version Bible (ASV), Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version (HBFV), King James Version (KJV), New King James Bible (NKJV), New American Standard (NASB), Young's Translation (YLT) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

 
 
Comparison of
most popular
Bible Translations
 
 
How can we
know the Bible
is God's word?
 
 
Who preserved
the Old Testament?
 
 
How to conduct
a Bible study
in the home
 
 
Are there
LOST books
that should be
in God's word?

Versions of God's word that use a mix of both Dynamic and Formal Equivalence include the popular New International Version (NIV) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). There are also versions of Scripture that are not, strictly speaking, translations. They are paraphrases of God's word. One example of this type of version is the Living Bible.

Additional Study Materials
Rules for
studying the Bible
Who wrote the
word of God?
 
Map showing where
books of the Bible written
Why are there so many
copies of Scripture in the world?


Definition of Christian Terms

AntinomianismDogmaHeresy Place of Safety
Apocalypse Dynamic EquivalenceHermeneuticsProof texting
ApocryphaEschatologyHereticRapture
ApologeticsExegesisHoly LaughterRhema
ArmageddonFive-fold MinistryLegalismSacred Name
Bible CodesFormal EquivalenceMessianic JewSatan's Seed
Body of ChristGenerational CurseMillenniumSecond Coming
CharismaticGnosticismNew AgeSpeaking in Tongues
CultGreat TribulationOccultSpiritual Warfare
DeliveranceHebrew RootsPentecostalWord of Faith


Bible Answers to Questions  -  Basic Articles  -  Beginners Studies  -  Pictures  -  In-Depth Articles  -  Life of Paul

Maps and Timelines  -  Prophecy  -  Reference Materials  -  Roman Empire  -  The Sabbath  -  Study by Topic

Discount Bookstore  -  FREE books  -  Site Map  -  Email List

© The Bible Study Site