Bible Translations

If you pay attention to the rantings between Christians, you know that there is constant debate between which translation of the Bible is correct. To make it clear, the Bible was written in a combination of three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. For the sake of everyone in the English speaking world, it is easier to just translate the entire Bible into English, because most of us won’t learn to read any of the original languages.

There are differences in translations. One of the things we need to know about the translations is how they are translated. Are they word-for-word, thought-for-thought, or paraphrased? Another is the readability. Two more things that must be considered are who the translators are/were and the time period in which it was translated. Then, we must compare certain verses. It is amazing to see the differences in verses. The verses we will compare here are:

  • Proverbs 18:24
  • 2 Corinthians 10:13

    English Bible Translation Comparison

    (Brown II)

 

AMP — Amplified Bible [1965] by Frances E. Siewert, plus 12 others

  1. Translation Philosophy: Word-for-word plus additional amplification of word meanings.
  2. Readability: Expanded and “amplified” by means of a system of brackets and parentheses, which sometimes make for fragmented reading.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, on the other hand, will not boast beyond our legitimate province and proper limit, but will keep within the limits [of our commission which] God has allotted us as our measuring line and which reaches and includes even you.

CEV — Contemporary English Version [1995] by more than 100 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Thought-for-thought.
  2. Readability: Clear, simple English that a child can understand, but with a mature style that adults can appreciate.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 Some friends don’t help, but a true friend is closer than your own family.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We won’t brag about something we don’t have a right to brag about. We will only brag about the work that God has sent us to do, and you are part of that work.

ESV — English Standard Version [2001] by more than 100 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Word-for-word.
  2. Readability: Literal style, but more readable than the King James Version.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even you.

GNB — Good News Bible (see GNT)

GNT— Good News Translation [1976] by R. Bratcher (NT); Bratcher plus 6 others (OT)

  1. Translation Philosophy: Thought-for-thought.
  2. Readability: Very simple, readable version without jargon. Uses a limited vocabulary.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers.
  4. 2 Corithians 10:13 As for us, however, our boasting will not go beyond certain limits; it will stay within the limits of the work God has set for us, and this includes our work among you.

GW — God’s Word to the Nations [1995] by William Beck

  1. Translation Philosophy: Balance between thought-for-thought and paraphrase.
  2. Proverbs 18:24 Friends can destroy one another, but a loving friend can stick closer than family.
  3. 2 Corinthians 10:13 How can we brag about things that no one can evaluate? Instead, we will only brag about what God has given us to do–coming to the city of Corinth where you live.

HCSB — Holman Christian Standard Bible [2004] by 90 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
  2. Readability: A highly readable translation written in modern English.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure but according to the measure of the area of ministry that God has assigned to us, which reaches even to you.

KJV — King James Version [1611; significantly revised 1769] by 54 people (translation ordered by King James I of England)

  1. Translation Philosophy: Word-for-word.
  2. Readability: Difficult to read due to 17th century English vocabulary and word order.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and their is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

LB — Living Bible [1950] by Kenneth Taylor

  1. Translation Philosophy: Paraphrase.
  2. Proverbs 18:24
  3. 2 Corinthians 10: 13

MSG — The Message [1991-2000s] by Eugene H. Peterson

  1. Translation Philosophy: Thought-for-thought. Converts the original languages into the tone and the rhythms of modern-day American speech, while retaining the idioms and meaning of the original languages.
  2. Readability: An easy-to-read, modern-language paraphrase.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We aren’t making outrageous claims here. We’re sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you.

NAB — New American Bible (Roman Catholic) [1970, 1986 (NT), 1991 (Psalms)] by 55 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Word-for-word.
  2. Readability: A clear and straightforward translation that reads smoothly. Written in basic American English.
  3. Proverbs 18:24
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast beyond measure but will keep to the limits God has apportioned us, namely, to reach even you.

NASV — New American Standard Version [1971; update 1995] by 54 people

  1. Tranlsation Philosophy: Word-for-word.
  2. Readability: Formal style in modern English but more readable than the King James Version.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.

NIRV — New International Reader’s Version by 11 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Balance between word translation and meaning, with an emphasis on meaning where necessary for simplification.
  2. Readability: Easy to read and understand; uses simple, short words and sentences.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 Even a man has many companions can be destroyed. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 But I won’t brag more than I should. Instead, I will brag only about what I have done in the area God has given me. It is an area that reaches all the way to you.

NIV — New International Version [1978] by 115 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Thought-for-thought.
  2. Readability: A smooth-reading version in modern English.
  3. Proverbs 18:24One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will combine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that includes you.

NJB — New Jerusalem Bible (Roman Catholic) [1986; revision of 1966 Jerusalem Bible] by 36 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Balance between word translation and meaning.
  2. Readability: A highly readable translation written in modern English.
  3. Proverbs 18:24
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 By contrast we do not intend to boast beyond measure, but will measure ourselves by the standard which God laid down for us, namely that of having come all the way to you.

NKJV — New King James Version [1982]by 119 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Authors used the original KJV as a benchmark, while working to produce an modern word-for-word translation.
  2. Readability: Easier word usage, but somewhat choppy because it maintains 17th century English vocabulary sentence structure.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere of God appointed us–a sphere which especially includes you.

NLT — New Living Translation [1st ed. 1996; 2nd ed. 2004] by 90 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Translators were involved in bringing the classic Living Bible from its status as a paraphrase to a thought-for-thought translation of scripture.
  2. Readability: A readable translation; uses vocabulary and language structures commonly used by the average person.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you.

NRSV — New Revised Standard Version [1989] by 30 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Attempts a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
  2. Readability: Contemporary, dignified with generic language in reference to humans.
  3. Proverbs 18:24
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond our limits, but will keep within the field that God has assigned to us, which reaches even you.

OIV — Oxford’s Inclusive Language Version [revision of NRSV to be more gender neutral and politically correct]

TEV — Today’s English Version (see GNT)

The Scriptures [1999; revised in 2009] by the Institute for Scripture Research, overseen by Dr. Chris Koster

  1. Translation Philosophy: Word-for-word in the Old Testament. The New Testament has names translated from the original Greek into Hebrew, then the names (that are not names of God or Jesus) are written in transliterated English.
  2. Readability:
  3. Proverbs 18:24 A man of many friends might come to ruin, But there is a Loving One Who sticks closer than a brother!
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 But we shall not boast beyond measure, but within the measure of the limits Elohim assigned unto us, to reach even you.

TNIV — Today’s New International Version [2000; 2001 (NT); 2005 (OT)] by 115 people

  1. Translation Philosophy: Thought-for-thought. Deliberate attempt to be gender neutral.
  2. Readability: A smooth-reading version in modern English.
  3. Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond our proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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  1. This is an impressive study into the many translations of the Christian Bible. I have to say I did chuckle a bit about the concept of a “politically correct” Bible. The purpose of the Bible was to give us a history and guidance for living that would set us apart from the world as the People of God. Making the book “inclusive” kind of seems like it would take away from the true message behind the words. I tend to prefer versions that include more word for word translations as well as the original text. Sometimes just by focusing on the wrong root word in the original language it can skew the entire meaning of the Scripture.

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