Thursday, June 9, 2016

Brief History of Bible Translations

In the Market for a New Bible?

Most people prefer one translation of the Bible over others for a variety of reasons—not the topic of this post. I have compiled a list of some of the most popular Bible translations and some facts about them. These facts may surprise you. These facts may reenforce your choice. These facts may change your mind. I’d love to know if you leaned something new in the comments. (List is chronological.) 

  1. King James Version (KJV)— The KJV was written between 1604-1611. The KJV is a revision of the Bishops Bible of 1568. The Bishops Bible is a revision of the Great Bible of 1539. The Great Bible includes sections revised from the Tyndale Bible of 1522 with the objectionable features revised and the rest translated from the Latin Vulgate of 405 and a German translation. The Tyndale Bible was the first English translation directly from Hebrew and Greek. The Latin Vulgate was made the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church in 1546.
  2. Revised Version (RV)— The New Testament of the RV was published in 1881. The Old Testament of the RV was published in 1885. It is a revision of the KJV.
  3. American Standard Version (ASV)— The ASV was published in 1901. It is based on the work of the Revised Version. (The ASV is the basis of 4 translations: Amplified (1965), Living Bible (1971), New American Standard (1995), Recovery Version (1999).)
  4. New American Standard Bible (NASB)— The NASB was published in 1971. Fifty highly educated Bible scholars and linguist created a literal translation of the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. It has the reputation for being one of the most accurate and reliable translations. It was updated in 1995.
  5. Living Bible (LB)— The Living Bible was published in 1971. Kenneth N. Taylor paraphrased this version from the ASV of 1901. Taylor said, “Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the KJV…the children…would shrug their shoulders. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thoughts. It occurred to me I should write out the readings.” 
  6. New International Version (NIV)— The NIV was published in 1978. Over one hundred scholars from more than fourteen denominations and five countries worked directly from the original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. The scope of theological diversity helped to safeguard the translation from bias. 
  7. New King James Version (NKJV)— The NKJV was published in 1975. Thomas Nelson Publishers commissioned 130 Bible scholars, church leaders and lay Christians to produce an entirely new, modern translation from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Also, linguists, archeologists and textual studies assisted in the translation. 
  8. Message by Nav Press published in 1993. The Message was translated from the original Greek by Eugene Peterson. He wanted to bring the Bible to life in contemporary English using slang, tone, rhythms and idioms. He wrote the Message for 1) people who thought the Bible was old and irrelevant and for 2) people who read the Bible too much and it got boring. 
  9. New Living Translation (NLT)— The NLT was published in 1996. It is a revision of the Living Bible. The goal was to communicate the meaning of the original text as accurately as possible using entire thoughts instead of just words. 
  10. English Standard Version (ESV)— The ESV was published in 2001. It is translated from Tyndale New Testament of 1526 and the KJV of 1611. 

Did anything surprise you?
Do you think differently about any information you learned?
What is your favorite translation? 

My information came from Wikipedia, Bible Gateway, Bishops Bible Leaves


Anonymous said...

I too have done a lot of research into this subject and have gradually come to the conclusion that the King James Bible is the only accurate translation we currently have in the English language. I believe that God has preserved His perfect WORDS for us. All the modern translations come from a differing set of manuscripts used by Wescott and Hort, and they change or leave out many verses of scripture. Here are a few links regarding the history of the Bible and describing some of the differences and corruptions and include links to additional information:

Erin E. McEndree said...

I don't have a problem with any translation because, to me, the concepts are all the same even if a word is changed here or enemies, forgive, Salvation, add fruits of Spirit, deny self, get rid of malice ..., and the 1000 other concepts in the Bible. No one has successfully shown me where a word changed has made the verse opposite of its meaning.

My question to you is... How can you say the KJV is the 'only accurate translation we currently have in the English language," when the KJV is a translation of (Bishops Leaves) a translation (Great Bible) that was a translation of the Tyndale Bible which was a translation of two translations (Latin Vulgate and German translation)?

To me, having a translation directly from the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic is more accrue. But like I said I don't care what people read. I'm happy if they are reading it at all. Even someone reading the Living Bible or the Message will understand Jesus' life, death and resurrection and all the concepts I mentioned above.

I personally read several versions when I study. I get a fuller, richer meaning out of many different words.

By the way, I read read the four articles you suggested. I could send four that rebuff those, but it would only be from 4 more closed minded people like those writers who have an agenda and then we would just have 8 close minded people who think their way is the only way and the correct way which leaves NO ROOM FOR GOD TO WORK.

I tend to say to each his own [Bible] and allow God to work. I don't want to limit God when I realize I am doing it. I'm sure I limit Him unknowingly enough as it is with my view on things anyway.

Anonymous said...

To just label the other writers (and by inference, me) "closed minded" is in itself rather closed minded! BTW, I USED to fully agree with your stated views on this subject, but as I began to dig deeper into this subject and through my own bible study over the years I began to see the subtle differences in "translation" and the effects that it has on God's WORD! I could've provided more links showing the literal differences and how the NIV, for example has changed over 64000 words. Still doubt, compare the older NIV to the newest 2011 NIV. To answer your question regarding why I believe the KJB is the only accurate translation, I can not give you a simple pat answer in a comment, but the articles I mentioned (and links to additional articles) go into the many gory details explaining the many reasons. God Himself says that He regards His WORD above His very NAME (Psalms 138:2) and that man shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matt 4:4! I'm not trying to start an argument or anything nor did I come to my conclusions suddenly, but over a long period of time and simply invite you and your readers to dedicate prayer and research to this critical topic, as Satan has every incentive to attempt to corrupt God's word!

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