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The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

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Styles of Translation


To the right we have provided a simple diagram that organizes the most common or popular translations of today from the most literal on the left to those that are paraphrased to the right. Click on the abbreviation of the various translations in the diagram to read more about them.


The various books of the Holy Bible were written long ago in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Since then, the Bible has been translated in most of the languages of the world, and it is the most read book ever. Over the course of the ages languages constantly change, so different versions and translations are often developed to meet different needs. It has been estimated that in English alone there have been more than 500 translations of the Bible. Choosing a good translation to use for personal reading and study can be quite a challenge, and very confusing. So, we decided to describe below some of the most popular versions available today. We hope this will help you find out which one best fits your needs.


Essentially, all the various translations of the Bible can be grouped according to their style of translation.


Literal versions: Some versions attempt to be literal renditions of the original text, staying as close as possible to the original. These versions are good for doctrinal study, as they are the closest to the inspired message in its original form. They help by bringing us as close as possible to that original form, so that the inspired message may remain as much as possible unaltered in the translation.


Paraphrases:  Other versions, instead, tend to translate the original in more of a paraphrased, modern language, focusing more on readability and flow than on accuracy. These versions may be good for lighter reading, or for those who have difficulty understanding the language of the more literal ones. These versions have the advantage of communicating the message with clarity of language, making the reading more pleasurable. However, they are often subject to the interpretation of the translators, who convey the overall meaning as they understand it. For this reason, they are generally not used nor recommended for doctrinal or more serious study.


The “Middle-of-the-Road" Versions: Other versions that tend to adopt what is generally called the dynamic equivalence method of translation (subject of much debate among scholars), attempt to convey the original text in a thought-by-thought, rather than word-by-word style. Some of them seek to maintain accuracy while offering readability and a linguistic style that is relevant to the average modern reader. These may be good for devotional reading and perhaps for personal study, especially if compared to more literal versions. On-going debate and sometimes controversy among scholars, however, tends to caution us against the use of some of these versions for doctrinal or more serious study.

Interlinear

This is not really a translation, but rather a transliteration that is alternated to the original to facilitate its reading by English students of the original languages. It is called interlinear because each line of original text is alternated to a line of the English transliteration, with each word in the line carefully located under its equivalent in the original language. It is not meant for reading, but rather to facilitate the study of the text in its original language. We include it here only for comparison.


Psalm 2:7
I will declare of the statute of Jehova: He said to me, my son you (are); I today have begotten you!

Acts 17:22
Having stood and Paul in [the] middle of the Areopagus he said, men, Athenians, with respect to everything how very religious you [to be] I observe.

NASB New American Standard Bible

This is one of the most literal translation of the Bible, preserving word for word equivalence and rendering the sentence structure as closely as possible to the original language. Yet, it is fluent and readable according to current English usage. Originally published in a partial edition in 1960 by the Lockman Foundation, this version saw its first publication as the complete Bible in 1971. Since then the editorial board has continued its work, and in 1995 a revision was published that eliminated the archaic "thees" and "thous" from the poetic books and updated its language to maintain fluent readability in current English.


Psalm 2:7
"I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'"

Acts 17:22
So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.


KJV King James Version (Authorized Version)

Originally translated in 1611, it is considered the classic English translation of the Bible. Although it is loved by many for its familiarity and poetic form, due to its age its language is archaic and it can be difficult to understand. This version attempts to translate each word of the original languages, it often uses long sentences and uses idioms and metaphores. It is best suited for advanced reading levels.


Psalm 2:7
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Acts 17:22
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.


NKJV New King James Version

This translation is a revision of the traditional King James Version that updates its language, while maintaining its basic literary structure. Like the KJV, this revision attempts to translate each word of the original languages, and although it is much easier to read, it still uses long sentences and metaphores that may make it more suitable for advanced reading levels.


Psalm 2:7
I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

Acts 17:22
Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;


NAB New American Bible

The official translation of the Roman Catholic Church in America. Still fairly literal in its approach to the translation. It includes the deuterocanonical books. It attempts to translate every word of the original languages and places its emphasis on word order. It tends to have long sentences and uses idioms and metaphors. Best for advanced reading levels.


Psalm 2:7
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD, who said to me, "You are my son; today I am your father."

Acts 17:22
Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: "You Athenians, I see that in every respect, you are religious."


NRSV New Revised Standard Version

Sponsored by the National Council of the Churches of Christ, this version attempts to translate every word of the original languages, with a mild emphasis on word order. It often uses long sentences and idioms and metaphors that make it best suited for advanced reading levels.


Psalm 2:7
I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my son; today I have begotten you."

Acts 17:22
Then Paul stood up in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way."


NJB New Jerusalem Bible

First published in 1966 and based on the work of L'Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, this translation follows the principles of dynamic equivalence, and is modeled after its French original. It was a very popular ecumenical version for study, liturgy and personal reading. In 1985 it was revised based on more recent biblical scholarship and to improve literary quality and accuracy.


Psalm 2:7
I will proclaim the decree of Yahweh: He said to me, 'You are my son, today have I fathered you."

Acts 17:22
So Paul stood before the whole council of the Areopagus and made this speech: 'Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters,"


NIV New International Version

A popular version widely used among protestant Christians. It seeks a balance between a word-for-word translation and an emphasis on meaning and fluency of language. It attempts to preserve the meaning of the literal text, while communicating the concepts and ideas of the original message in current language.


Psalm 2:7
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."

Acts 17:22
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.


CEV Contemporary English Version

This version seeks to avoid difficult vocabulary and sentence structure in order to provide a plain translation that may be easily understandable to the modern reader. It seeks to translate into English the meaning and the concepts of the original text, placing more emphasis on the clarity of meaning than on individual words.


Psalm 2:7
I will tell you promise the LORD made to me: "You are my son, because today I have become your father."

Acts 17:22
So Paul stood up in front of the council and said: "People of Athens, I see that you are very religious."


TEV Today's English Version

Published in 1976 by Tyndale, this is also known as The Good News Bible. It seeks to render the meaning of the original texts in words and forms that are widely accepted by English speaking people. It attempts to convey the biblical message in a natural everyday form of English.


Psalm 2:7
"I will announce," says the king, "what the Lord has declared. He said to me: "You are my son; today I have become your father.

Acts 17:22
Paul stood up in front of the city council and said, "I see that in every way you Athenians are very religious.


NLT New Living Translation

This version is translated with a fresh, clear style that makes it enjoyable to read. The aim of this translation is a thought-for-thought (rather than word-for-word) approach to the original text, placing more importance on the overall meaning and style of language than on individual words.


Psalm 2:7
The king proclaims the LORD's decree: "The LORD said to me, 'You are my son. Today I have become your Father.

Acts 17:22
So Paul, standing before the Council, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious,


The Living Bible

The aim of this translation is to communicate the essential message of God's Word to the average English reader. It simplifies theological language and expands it or paraphrases it when necessary in order to make it easy to understand.


Psalm 2:7
His chosen one replies, "I will reveal the everlasting purposes of God, for the Lord has said to me, 'You are my Son. This is your Coronation Day. Today I am giving you your glory.'"

Acts 17:22
So Paul, standing before them at the Mars Hill forum, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious,


The Message

This version is a colorful paraphrase that aims to convey the message of the original text in a way that is creative and impacts the reader. It greatly simplifies the language and expands the message in the attempt to make it easy to understand.


Psalm 2:7
Let me tell you what GOD said next. He said, “You’re my son, and today is your birthday."

Acts 17:22
So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. "It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously.


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