How Many Versions Of The Bible Are There Really?

Posted: September 10, 2014 in Bible, Christian

bibles

Ali: Why do you Christians have so many versions of the Bible. How on earth would anyone know which is the real version?
So how many versions are there really? 50? 100? More?

Alan: I’ll tell you, Ali. The answer will surprise many Muslims. In truth, there is only ONE version!

Alan: How can that be? What about the King James Version & New King James Version & New International Version & English Standard Version, etc.  Aren’t these all different versions of the Bible?

Alan: No. These are not different versions. These are different TRANSLATIONS!

Ali: What’s the difference?

Alan: These are examples of different English translations of the Bible. Not different versions. Different translations of the same message.

Ali: Why the need for so many different translations then?

Alan: Good question. The first English Bible uses old English, and some words are no longer  common usage in our daily language.

Ali: You mean words like “Thou”, etc?

Alan: Correct. The New King James Version for example, simplifies the English for a more modern reading, substituting “Thou” with “You”. The message remains intact but the translation makes it easier to read and understand.

Ali: What about the other versions…I mean…. translations… like New International Version?

Alan: That’s just another English translation that tells the same message in a way that is easy for most people to understand. There’s even a translation for those for whom English is their second language using limited vocabulary where the message of the Bible is told in very simple English! The goal is simply to communicate the message of the truth of the Word of God. There are more than 2500 translations in hundreds of languages.  There are about 6000 languages in the world. There’s one new translation produced every 10 days!

Ali: Wow! I didn’t know that. But how can you mutilate God’s Word like this?

Alan: It’s not mutilating. Nothing is changed or corrupted in the actual message. It’s making the Word of God available for everyone to read in the language they understand. You find this difficult to accept because the Quran can only be read in Arabic. The Bible is available in Japanese, Nepalese, Swedish, Indonesian, Hindi…you name it, they have it!

Ali: Isn’t this changing the Bible?

Alan: No, not at all.  The Quran has been translated into German, French , etc.  Does this mean the Quran has been changed? I’ve told you that the message remains the same in every translation even though different words are used.  Ali, do you speak Arabic?

Ali: No

Alan:  That’s right. Only 15% of Muslims understand Arabic. Then how do you read the Quran?

Ali: Haha! I have memorized it since young so I can recite the Quran fully.

Alan: Good. But can you UNDERSTAND what it is saying?

Ali: Not all of it.

Alan: You say the Quran is the word of God for all people, the final revelation to all mankind, yet when you recite it, you dont understand the message of God? How do you expect someone in Kenya or Iceland to read the Quran in Arabic? They have to first learn Arabic?

Ali: Yes…

Alan: You see, that is a difference between the Bible and Quran. God allows the Bible to be translated so everyone can know and understand His message.  Does Allah allow that?

Ali: Well, there are translations of the Quran in English and….

Alan: I know. You have the Yusuf Ali version, the Pickthall version, the Sahih International version, the Shakir version…many versions…

Ali: These are not different versions of the Quran. They are just different English translations by different translators….

Alan: Exactly! Different translations…NOT different versions…..that’s the same with the Bible….

Ali: OK. I get what you are saying.

Alan: The message of the Bible is the same in whatever translation you use. The only difference is there are different means of communicating that message. For example, the words I use to share a message with you, will be different from the words I use to share that same message with a child. It will also be different from the way I share that same message with my wife, with a stranger, with someone who does not speak English, with someone who is deaf, and so on. The words used may be different but the message remains the same. That is why there are different translations to cater for everyone.

Ali: So which translation of the Bible do you read?

Alan: I read the Bible daily, usually in the NIV, NKJV, NLT translations. In fact, the different translations enhances my understanding of the message.

Ali: Can you show me a verse as an example?

Alan: Sure. Pick any verse in the Bible you want to look at…

Ali: I don’t know. You choose.

Alan: OK. Why don’t we look at 1 John 1:9 where the Bible talks about forgiveness of sins.

Ali: Fine. Show me the translations…

Alan: Here are just 21 different English TRANSLATIONS. You tell me if the message conveyed is same or  not in all these different “versions” of the Bible” you see below.

New International Version
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

New Living Translation
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

English Standard Version
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

New American Standard Bible
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

King James Bible
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

International Standard Version
If we make it our habit to confess our sins, in his faithful righteousness he forgives us for those sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

NET Bible
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and he will purge us from all our evil.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

King James 2000 Bible
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

American King James Version
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

American Standard Version
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.

Darby Bible Translation
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us [our] sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

English Revised Version
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Webster’s Bible Translation
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Weymouth New Testament
If we confess our sins, He is so faithful and just that He forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

World English Bible
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Young’s Literal Translation
If we may confess our sins, stedfast He is and righteous that He may forgive us the sins, and may cleanse us from every unrighteousness

 

Ali: Looks like they are all saying the same thing, just in different ways. Never knew this. Interesting!

Alan: I know you don’t read Greek but this same verse in the original language it was written looks like this:

ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος, ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας.

A direct and literal word-for-word translation to English from Greek for this verse would look like this:

“If we should confess the sins of us, faithful he is and just, that he might forgive us our sins, and might cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Do you see that message is perfectly preserved from the original Greek that the text was written in? And it’s conveyed perfectly in all the different translations above. Most of us don’t read Greek but thank God, we have English translations for us to read and understand His Word.

You can go online to http://www.biblehub.com where you can read the Bible in different English translations that you are most comfortable with.

gradebible

 

And here’s a link to online Bibles in 73 languages. https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/ , where you will probably find a Bible translation in your own native language.

 

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