Top 6 Bible Versions
- New King James Version
- Common English Bible
The Common English Bible is a version with a more contemporary and socially-conscious tone. The editors backgrounds reflect various denominations and the result is a fantastic trans-denominational read. Additionally, the language is suited to being gender-neutral, again reflecting a changing of the times, therefore the masculine undertones of the text have been minimalized or removed completely. The language has been updated for quicker comprehension by removing outdated terms such as “alas” and “alien” and replacing them with “oh my!” and “immigrant.” Fuller Theological Seminary endorsed use of Common English Bible in 2011 to general acclaim and stated, “[Common English Bible] reflects the reality that the communities for which the Bible was written consist of both women and men.”
- The New International Version
- New Living Translation
- English Standard Version
- New American Standard Bible
The New King James Version (NKJV) is an update to the one of the most popular versions of the bible available and just includes simple updates to the English used, which has largely remained unchanged since the original King James Version was published in the early 1600’s. The original King James Version was well known because of the straight-forward tone and readability. The NKJV has removed the most archaic terms, such as “thou” and “thee”, which has cemented this version as the most accessible in decades.
The idea for The New International Version (NIV) was sparked by an engineer in Seattle who was passionate about the King James Version, but realized he couldn’t excite the same enthusiasm about it in others. Interest surrounding the translation began slow, but soon picked up, surmounting with being financially backed by the New York Bible Society. The NIV is regarded as the most meticulously translated versions of the bible, with the fervent translation process resulting in a different translating team assigned to each book. The NIV is now the 2nd most popular version of the bible, surpassing KJV in 1988.
The New Living Translation (NLT) was made by more than 90 scholars and is the best-selling version of the bible to date in unit sales. This translation started out as an improvement of The Living Bible, but quickly expanded into it’s own version. Many contemporary translations are provided, with weight and length adjusted accordingly with footnotes on the bottom with original figures. The NLT is also a gender-inclusive version, with phrases such as “brothers” amended to “brothers and sisters.”
The English Standard Version is often seen as an intermediary between the ultra-literal New King James Version and the more readable New International Version. The ESV also is viewed as very contemporary and mainstream.
The New American Standard Bible is the most intuitive resource for academics, due to it’s word-for-word translation. The focus on translation does expose a particular weakness in the versions general ability to be used for worship or devotional reading. The translators had four goals when translating this version:
- These publications shall be true to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
- They shall be grammatically correct.
- They shall be understandable.
- They shall give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him; therefore, no work will ever be personalized.