Posted by: Barbara Wilbur for ElysJoy Church | November 12, 2014

Bible Translations Explained

Bible Translation ComparisonI know there is a lot of controversy in the United States, especially among certain denominations about which translation of the Bible is acceptable to read and study.   This blog post is my thoughts on the subject and some charts and definitions to help you decide  for yourself.   Use this information and pray about it and God will reveal his will to you.

My feelings are that as a new Christian you should be able to understand what you are reading so some of the more modern translations like the NIV or God’s Word translation are perfect for that.   As soon as you feel comfortable, a step from the “thought for thought” translation style to the “word for word” translation style may be what will work at your next level.   These help you get the full impact of the text and are recommended for word studies and the original language research of Greek or Hebrew.

My Bible translation of choice varies depending on what I am doing.  I use the  NASB (New American Standard Bible) the most.  It is true to the original language, is a word for word translation but reads much easier than some others.    I also use for personal study time and many blog posts and lessons, the HCSB, (Holman Christian Standard Bible)  It reads well and is closer to the word for word translation method than some others.  For deep study, I use the interlinear Bible.   This is  a bible which has the Hebrew or Greek word then the English word right under it including the Strongs’ Dictionary number.  A great tool for deep study.   You can get the interlinear on line for free at  That is a great site!   When I am working with a new believer, I often give them a NIV translation or even a God’s Word  or CEV translation to get them started.

Bible Translations Explained To see a great overview of the most common translations, click on the Bible Translation button on the right to read Mike Bryant of KY’s blog about Bible Translations.  He does a great job of explaining it simply.

Now I know I must address the situation of the people that believe the King James Version 1611  is the only acceptable Bible so here goes.   While a great translation for people already familiar with the Bible, for new Bible readers and students, that translation is very hard to understand.  I find it often makes them discouraged because it is not in contemporary English they can even understand.  The thees and thous get them.   While the Holy Spirit is a powerful thing which can do ANYTHING, handing a new Christian a KJV Bible and telling them that if they are saved then the Spirit will interpret for them makes them feel like they will never understand God’s Word which is never God’s intention and even question their salvation.    The Bible is for everyone!  Interestingly,  the first manuscripts written in the New Testament were Greek.  That was the language of the day and could reach many more people than writing in Jesus’ language which scholars document as Aramaic.  And that was obviously God’s plan.  He uses all things for His glory!

Here is one more chart that we use often when helping people choose a translation that fits them and below that find a chart you can download and review more extensively.

Bible Translation Chart

Bible Translation Chart to Download– This is a PDF Document you can easily print.

Now go get a Bible and watch God move!

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 NIV

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 KJV



  1. […] ← Bible Translations Explained […]

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