The Bible is one of the most printed and read books in the world. The Bible originally
was not in written format, but passed down orally by people. But many devoted
believers will say that the written Bible was handed down to Moses by God on Mount
Sinai. Although there is no direct evidence, it is a matter of faith for you to decide. It
is claimed that Moses wrote down the scriptures in his native language, Hebrew.
I will try to outline several key versions of the English Bible later on so that we can
see how different they are. In 1604, King James I of England initiated the translation
of the Bible to English. When the translation was completed in 1611, it became the
standard version for most English speaking Protestants. Since then, a second edition
has been published in 1994. It is called the 21st Century King James Version. This
revised version updated and eliminated obsolete words by referring to the Websters
New International Dictionary. However, the Biblical English has been retained where
words such as thee and thou are still used, so it is quite different from the colloquial
language that you and I use today.
In around 1965, the Lockman foundation published their first Amplified Bible. The
foundation of the Amplified Bible was laid down by Frances Siewert, who dedicated
her life in familiarising the Hebrew Bible. The end result is an English Bible that
defines and expands key words right in the original text with a unique system of
brackets, parentheses and italics. So verse by verse, the reader will get the full
translated meaning as they read. The Amplified Bible also provides considerable
amounts of footnotes making references to historical, archeological and devotional
Next up is the Contemporary English Version Bible. It was first published by the
American Bible Society in 1995. This version was translated with one aim in mind
that is to make it very easy to understand by primary school students and people who
do not speak English as their first language. The translators worked very hard to make
the English text accurate and still faithful to the original text in the Bible.
To date, there is one version that is widely recognised as the most accurate - the
Todays New International Version. This Bible translation was published in 2005 and it
is suitable for public or private reading, preaching and teaching. The translators laid
down simple guidelines before they embarked on this massive translation project.
They wanted to produce an accurate and readable translation in contemporary English,
which you and I use every day. Their translation approach can be said to be in
between the word-for-word (literal translation) approach and thought-for-thought
(attempt to convey hidden meanings) approach. The end result is a balanced
All in all, although the Bible has been translated into many different versions in the
English language, each of them is aimed to serve a slightly different audience but still
remaining faithful to the original manuscript.