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Bible Translations

 The Bible was originally written in Hebrew (the Old Testament) and Greek (the New Testament) For years it has been translated into other languages for other people to read.

Two basic methods of Bible Translation

1) Formal Equivalence – render the exact words form for form, word for word. But, strict literalism can distort the original meaning because it may not take into account such things as idioms.

2) Dynamic Equivalence – reproduce the closest natural equivalent of the original. It does this first in meaning, second in style. This is to give modern reader the same dynamic impact. This is thought for thought translation instead of word for word. Of course, for this to be a correct translation you must have the correct interpretation to correctly translate the thought.


Jerome who translated the Latin Vulgate in 405 said:

“For I myself not only admit but freely proclaim that in translating from the Greek (except in the case of the holy scriptures where even the order of the words is a mystery) I render sense for sense and not word for word.”

Martin Luther, when he translated the German Bible, attempted to reproduce the spirit of the author; at times this could only be done by idiomatic rendering, though when the original required it only word for word could be used.


Styles of Translations

Strictly Literal Translation

  • New American Standard

Literal Translation

  • New King James
  • Revised Standard
  • New American Bible

Literal with Freedom to interpret Idioms  

  • New International Version
  • New Jerusalem Bible
  • Revised English Bible
  • New Jewish Version Dynamic Equivalent (Modern Speech)
  • Today’s English Version


The Living Bible


Use 3 or 4 Bible translation for your own personal study:

For detailed word studies

  • New American Standard  (NAS)         
  • New Revised Standard

For general study

  • New International Version (NIV)
  • New Jerusalem Bible

For reading pleasure 

  • The Living Bible

Other useful translations by individual men

  • Williams New Testament – by Charles B. Williams
  • The New Testament in Modern English – by J.B. Phillips
  • The Weymouth New Testament – by Richard Weymouth
  • The New Testament: An Expanded Translation – Kenneth Wuest
  • The Worrell New Testament – by A.S. Worrell
  • The Emphasized Bible (OT/NT) – by Joseph Bryant Rotheraham

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