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History of the Bible

English Bible Versions

King James Bibles

Modern Language Bibles

I have Four Requirements which Modern Translations must meet before I will recommend them:

  1. Literal Translation Style vs Dynamic Equivalent Translation Style
  2. Original or Gender Accurate vs Gender Neutral/Gender Inclusive
  3. Bias-free Translation
  4. Excellent Translation Quality

Modern English Translations Which I Personally Appreciate:

  • Info and Review - The New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • Info and Review - The English Standard Version (ESV)
  • American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV) - Literal Translation, Original Gender Forms

    Part of the same project as the 1881 Revised Version, the 1901 ASV was one of the first English Bibles to make use of the more recentlly discovered Critical Texts, making heavy use of the Codex Sinaticus and the Codex Vaticanus. The New Testament translation predates modern Critical-Text Bibles which are based on the Nestle-Aland Greek Texts. For the Old Testament, the Masoretic text is used, with the ASV translation slightly predating the first (1906) version of Kittel's "Biblia Hebraica."

    I have come to a much greater appreciation of the ASV, especially for the Old Testament, since my initial review. The value of the ASV is that it is VERY literal in its text. Of special note is that this version appropriately translates YHWH as Jehovah (proper name of God, meaning I AM), instead of replacing YHWH with Lord (meaning Master), as dictated for verbal pronouciation by post-exilic Jews. Another benefit is the use of the singular pronouns (thou, thee, thy, thine). This version is over 120 years old and is not for everyone, but it is quite valuable for those who appreciate the literal rendering.

  • New English Translation (NET) - Dynamic Equivalence, Gender-Accurate - Recommended as Translation Reference.

    The NET Bible is a project of Dallas Theological Seminary published by Biblical Studies Press 2003, 2005, 2017, 2019. Unlike most modern versions, the NET was not based on any English version and revised, but composed directly from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.

    The NET Bible is uniquely valuable for it's incredibly extensive translation notes, which are well written and meaningful, explaining why the word or passage was translated as it was, and even going into alternate considerations. The extensiveness of these notes make this more of a translation reference than a Bible version, with over 60,000 translation notes compared to 31,000 verses in the whole Bible (use free online at NetBible.org). Note that the ESV Bible above promotes the fact that they used the NET Bible's notes in their translation development.

Most Popular Modern Versions Which I Do NOT Recommended:

  • New International Version (NIV) - Dynamic Equivalent, 7th Grade Reading Level, Gender Neutral (degree varies by version). Published in 1978, 1984, my original review was "...Not as reliable of a work as it should be...too many individual verses with "spot" problems...has too many passages with irregular translations or unqualiftied deviations"

    In 2011 the NIV went to a fully gender-inclusive format and both the 2011 NIV and the derived TNIV version were both formally rejected by the Southern Baptist Convention and pulled from Lifeway stores. Over 450,000,000 NIV Bibles have been sold.

  • Christian Standard Bible (CSB) - Dynamic Equivalent, 7th Grade Reading Level, At least partially Gender Neutral.

    Originally published in 1999, 2010 as the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), revised in 2017 as the CSB.Over 20,000,000 CSB Bibles have been sold.

  • New Living Translation (NLT) - Dynamic Equivalent, "Middle-School" Reading Level, At least partially Gender Neutral.

    Started as a project to revise The Living Bible, but instead became of fresh translation using the critical texts. Published in 1996, 2004, 2007, 2015.

  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Integrated Catholic or Orthodox Apocrypha editions, Gender Inclusive, Formal equivalence, High School reading level.

Primary Sources for this set of pages:

  • Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (5th ed)
    by Sir Frederic Kenyon, Harper & Brothers NY Publishers, 1958.
  • The English Bible from KJV to NIV (2nd ed)
    by Jack P Lewis, Baker Book House, 1991.
  • The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce, Intervarsity Press, 1988.
  • The English Bibles - From the Originals to the Various English Versions
    by Daniel Stanfield, Self-published public domain, 1999.

I also referenced many unrecorded sources from my personal physical and electronic libraries and from various online sources, but the vast majority of this content was sourced from the four works listed above including my 1999 publication.