There are many different versions of the Bible and for years, I always thought the King James Version was the best. That was before I bought my New King James version and found it easier to read and understand, and better to follow along with the teachings in church.
How Many Different Versions of the Bible Are There?
Actually, there is only ONE “version” of the Bible. The others are translations of the original Book. For example, the very first English Bible uses old English; words like thou, thee and a lot of “eth” at the ends of words. Those old words aren’t used in the English language anymore.
“When it comes to modern New Testament translations, you primarily have a few translations of the Textus Receptus, the King James and the New King James.”
King James Only! Really?
I don’t know why Bible translators and publishers call them “versions” and not “translations.” There is a long debate among Christians about which “version” is the best. This debate spawned King James “Onlyism” movement that I found easily and expertly debunked in the video below.
I always preferred the King James “version” too; it’s what I grew up with, until I started back to church and went through a Bible study. I was having difficulty following along with my mother’s King James Bible. I decided to compare the NKJV (New King James Version) with the KJV on Biblegate.com, then went out and bought a brand new NKJV Bible for myself.
It’s made it much easier to follow along at church and helps my daily devotionals make more sense.
The New King James translation helps readers better understand God’s Word by updating the language without changing the meaning of the message. Other translations of the Bible do the same thing. The words change but the meaning does not. It’s like using a thesaurus to maintain the meaning while using easier to understand wording.
There are too many translations or different versions of the Bible to list, but the most common are:
- American Standard (ASV) published in 1901
- English Standard (ESV) published in 2001
- International Standard (ISV) published in 2011
- King James (KJV) published in 1611
- The Living Bible published in 1971 is the ASV paraphrased
- New International (NIV) published in 1986
- Coverdale Bible published in 1535 – the first Bible printed in Early Modern English
And many, many more.
The Bottom Line on the Different Versions of the Bible
It’s an individual preference! Some people keep a few different versions on hand to compare and contrast the language. Some people stick to just one translation and won’t use any others.
The choice may even be determined by what translation you grew up with or what Bible “version” you use in a particular Bible study or during Sunday services. In fact, some people just use an app on their cell phone to read the Bible.
The important take-away is this – Read Your Bible and absorb God’s Word in whatever translation is easiest for you to follow, understand and apply.
What Translation is Your Favorite?
Let’s keep the conversation going with a comment below!