Introduction to Bible Translations

(aka versions of the Bible)

There have been many attempts to translate the manuscripts of the Bible into English. Many of those translations have served as at least partial testimonies to God’s Testimony that he established for humanity throughout the ages. We must admit that not every translation is created equal. There are many reasons why not and exploring those serves us well to understand the reason for a new and faithful translation called The Rooted Word [TRW].

Hearts of the Translators

First off, we can indicate the heart of those involved in the translation work of any particular translation determines more than anything the truthfulness of that translation. Yes, you read correctly. I am calling some translators liars. Their works are evident and available to be judged by competent men. I am going to do that here for your benefit. You will see which translations were made by liars and which by honest men.

And yes, I use men very purposefully here. If any women have been involved in the translation work of any particular translation they are included in that pronoun. It is the pronoun I have chosen to use as the inclusive pronoun according to conventions of the English language I learned.

As we compare translations to the Greek manuscripts we will discover which have either purposely concealed God’s Testimony or were too lazy to do the work of translation themselves, merely rewording the KJV, for example. The hearts will be laid bare.

Literal vs Figurative Language

Secondly, the heart of the translator can be seen by the tendency to use figurative language above literal meanings of words. Granted, sometimes it is inevitable to turn to the figurative meaning, but extremely rarely and only in the instances when the literal cannot be made sense of its context. A translator who leans upon figurative language in lieu of literal is interpreting, rather than translating.

When we talk of literal vs figurative language we are referring to the translation of individual words by their lexical meanings. Of course, some language is figurative in context, functioning as metaphors, similes and synechdoche. We are not referring to this level of language, but to the choice of translation of individual words.

Pronouns in the Bible

A convention of interpretation has slipped into translation work of the Bible that became a kind of convention in the 19th century in English Christian circles, in particular, in popular and professional Christian writings. I am speaking of the capitalization of a pronoun when it refers to any of the three members of the Trinity or to God in general. You ask why this is interpretation, rather than reverential translation. The answer is simple. Sometimes it is unclear who the pronoun is referring to, whether to God or to a male human being mentioned in the passage. If you determine to capitalize the pronouns that are unambiguously referring to God and then do not capitalize it when it is ambiguous, you are making an interpretation of that ambiguity to mean that it refers to a human being and not to God. It is not capitalized and the reader will read it as not referring to God. If you capitalize the ambiguous pronoun, then the reader reads it as definitely referring to God, though it is unclear in the passage. The only solution that preserves the ambiguity for the reader to interpret its application is to not capitalize any pronouns, except of course those that occur at the beginning of sentences. Therefore, in The Rooted Word [TRW] we have decided not to capitalize pronouns that refer to God.

Another problem that has surfaced with pronouns in biblical translation work is invisible to many native English speakers. This is the confusion between the grammatical gender of a noun and its sexual or biological gender. This is especially a problem with the term for wisdom, which is grammatically feminine in the Greek. As a consequence there has arisen false teachings that Jesus is equivalent to wisdom personified, and that wisdom was portrayed as a woman. Essentially, and critically so, they are superimposing their perverse cultural views of so-called gender, which is not the same as grammatical gender, upon the Bible. In particular, they would subvert God the Father and replace him with a mother god. They would subvert God the Son and replace him with an androgynous being with their abominable gender fluid inventions. Judgment is not sleeping! It is coming upon those people who rush with their perversions into the churches and soil the Testimony of God with their abominations.

In The Rooted Word [TRW], when an abstract noun is clearly being personified with distinctive feminine aspects, such as motherhood (her children), we render the pronouns her and she. When there is no indicator of distinctive feminine qualities we render personified abstract nouns he and him. When the abstract noun is not being personified we render the pronoun it and its.

Proper Nouns in the Bible

(aka geographic names and names of people)

When a proper noun commonly used in modern English is very similar to the Greek transliterated, we opt for the modern English spelling. If there is more than a superficial difference between the modern English and the Greek, we opt for the transliterated spelling. Therefore, there are some differences between names one may be used to and what you find in The Rooted Word [TRW]. We try as much as possible to restore the name as it appears in the Greek.

You may find rare, but important exceptions to these rules. The name of Jesus is unaltered. We do not cave into those bullying others to use a Hebraicized alternative to the English translation of the Greek name for Jesus. The Hebrew name of Jesus was not preserved by God in his testimony. So we do not use it either. However, since we speak English and this is an English translation of the Bible we will use the English name already established for us. You may ask why we do not do the same for other biblical proper nouns. The reason is that there is unanimous agreement of the translation of the Greek into English of Jesus. This cannot be said of most other proper nouns.

Apostates Do Not See Their Apostasy

in their reviews of their most treasured mockeries of the Testimony of God

The following is from Cambridge University Press & Assessment website

The red bolded phrases indicate problematic assumptions and qualities of the translation. Although the NIV has the least text in red, it is no less problematic as a translation. The Cambridge Press merely has not gloated over it, since it is a distinctly American English translation that has out paced all modern British efforts. That is not to gloat over it either, but to attempt to address why they did not gloat over it and reveal through that its real problems.

English Standard Version

The English Standard Version is a literal translation of the Bible, firmly rooted in the tradition of Tyndale and King James but without archaic language. Published at the beginning of the 21st century, it is extremely close to the Revised Standard Version and is well suited to public reading and memorisation.

King James Version

The King James Version is the world’s most widely known Bible translation, using early seventeenth-century English. Its powerful, majestic style has made it a literary classic, with many of its phrases and expressions embedded in our language. Earlier generations were ‘brought up’ with this translation and learnt many of its verses by heart.

New American Standard Bible

The New American Standard Bible is a literal translation from the original texts, well suited to study because of its accurate rendering of the source texts. It follows the style of the King James Version but uses modern English for words that have fallen out of use or changed their meanings. It uses capital letters for pronouns relating to divinity, eg ‘there He sat down with His disciples’.

New English Bible

The New English Bible was a translation undertaken by the major Protestant churches of the British Isles. Scholars translated from the best Hebrew and Greek texts, aiming to present the full meaning of the original in clear and natural modern English. The translation was published jointly by the University Presses of Cambridge and Oxford.

New International Version

The NIV watchword is ‘balance’. The most widely used of any modern Bible version, the New International Version marries meaning-for-meaning principles with word-for-word renderings. It is an all-round translation, suitable for a wide range of purposes, and has proven especially popular amongst evangelicals. Its straightforward, contemporary language is both clear and dignified in style.

New King James Version

The New King James Version was first published in 1982 and is a modernisation of the King James Version of 1611, using the same underlying Greek text for the New Testament. It preserves the KJV’s dignified style and its word and phrase order but replaces some words and expressions that may be no longer easily understood. The translators sought ‘to preserve the original intended purity of the King James Version in its communication of God’s Word to man.’

New Living Translation

The New Living Translation was translated from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. It employs clear and natural English. It often makes implicit information explicit (e.g. ‘disreputable sinners and corrupt tax collectors’.) The NLT’s motto is ‘the Truth made clear’.

New Revised Standard Version

The New Revised Standard Version is a thorough revision of the original RSV by an ecumenical team of scholars. It is growing in popularity, particularly in churches, schools and academia. The translators made full use of contemporary biblical manuscripts, resulting in a clearer understanding of many obscure passages. It uses gender-inclusive language (making it clear where the original texts include both males and females).

The Revised English Bible

The Revised English Bible updates the New English Bible, retaining the latter’s elegant literary style, but removing its archaisms. The REB employs a modest amount of inclusive language and is good for public reading. Like the NEB before it, the REB is a British translation, sponsored by all the main Christian denominations.


William Tyndale’s seminal contribution to the development of the Bible in English is universally recognised. Translating directly from the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, he produced a text of enduring quality that underpinned Bible translations in English from the sixteenth century to the present day

Revised Version

The Revised Version was produced in the nineteenth century by British and American scholars, benefiting from the discovery of some early and important manuscripts which threw new light on many aspects of biblical scholarship. It was the first real revision of the KJV and the basis for the American Standard Version of 1901.

Major Translations of the Bible

I do not recommend any of these as a permanent and reliable translation of the Scriptures. Most of them are not translating the Scriptures with regards to the Old Testament. Most of them also do not adhere to the majority Byzantine texts for the New Testament and therefore should not be taken as translating the Scriptures. On top of that their translation methodology is actually interpretation, depending almost wholly on figurative meanings for words. This is why there is a great need for The Rooted Word today. We see the works of the apostate churches who refuse to adhere to Jesus’ Gospel and invent their own instead. They have done the same with the Scriptures, making it sound in form like the real thing, but in fact differing in such critical and manifold ways that they are not the Scriptures.

You may have seen me teaching from the NKJV in videos. That was done to prove that even the product of so-called translation of their so-called manuscripts still rebukes them of their apostasy. For the translators themselves were not aware of their apostasy nor the ways in which God caused their own hands to pen a mock version of the Testimony of God that would still rebuke them – like the dumb ass being given speech of a man to refrain the prophet’s madness. In this case, I might be akin to the dumb ass being given human speech.

Bible Symbol English Year Sources Notes Denominations
Wycliffe’s Bible (1388) WYC Middle English 1388 Latin Vulgate    
Coverdale Bible TCB Early Modern English 1535 Masoretic Text, the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, Vulgate, and German and Swiss-German Bibles (Luther Bible, Zürich Bible and Leo Jud’s Bible) First complete Bible printed in English (Early Modern English)  
Matthew’s Bible   Early Modern English 1537 Masoretic Text, the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, the Vulgate, the Luther Bible, and a 1535 bible from France.    
Great Bible   Early Modern English 1539 Masoretic Text, Greek New Testament of Erasmus, the Vulgate, and the Luther Bible.   Roman Catholic and Anglica
Geneva Bible GEN Early Modern English 1557 (NT)
1560 (complete Bible)
Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus First English Bible with whole of Old Testament translated direct from Hebrew texts Puritan
Bishops’ Bible   Early Modern English 1568 Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus   Anglican, Calvinist, Presbyterian
Douay–Rheims Bible DRB Early Modern English 1582 (NT)
1609–1610 (OT)
Latin, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. This work is now Public Domain Roman Catholic
King James Version (a.k.a. the Authorized Version) KJV Early Modern English 1611, 1769 Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus, Tyndale 1526 NT, some Erasmus manuscripts, and Bezae 1598 TR. Public domain in most of the world. Crown copyright in the United Kingdom due to crown letters patent until 2039, and all countries which have international mutual copyright recognition agreements. Anglican, Puritan, Evangelical Protestant, Latter-Day Saint Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. There are congregations, notably Independent/Fundamental Baptists, that use the KJV exclusively.
Young’s Literal Translation YLT Modern English 1862 Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus This Bible version is now public domain due to copyright expiration.  
Revised Version, also English Revised Version RV, also ERV Modern English 1885   Revision of the King James Version, but with a critical New Testament text: Westcott and Hort 1881 and Tregelles 1857  
Darby Bible DBY Modern English 1890 Masoretic Text, various critical editions of the Greek text (i.a. Tregelles, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort). This Bible version is now Public Domain due to copyright expiration. Not associated with any church. Because of the short version of the title on the Darby Bible, which is New Translation, it is often confused with a translation done decades later by the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization named the New World Translation.
American Standard Version ASV Modern English 1901 Masoretic Text, Westcott and Hort 1881 and Tregelles 1857 This version is now in the public domain due to copyright expiration.  
Revised Standard Version RSV Modern English 1946 (New Testament), 1952 (Complete Bible) Masoretic Text, Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. Revision of the American Standard Version.

Mainline Protestant

Roman Catholic (see below)

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures NWT Modern English 1950 (New Testament) 1960 (single volume complete Bible) 1984 (reference edition with footnotes) 2013 (revised) 2018 (Study Bible) Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, Hebrew J documents, as well as various other families of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. This is the version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses bible published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society Jehovah’s Witnesses
Amplified Bible AMP Modern English 1965 (first complete publication) Revision of the American Standard Version    
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition RSV-CE Modern English 1965 (New Testament), 1966 (Complete Bible)   Reordering of Deuterocanonical Books of the Revised Standard Version to reflect traditional book order with other Old Testament Books. Roman Catholic
Jerusalem Bible JB Modern English 1966 From the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, with influence from the French La Bible de Jérusalem. This Bible was heavily influenced by the French original, and the commentary was a verbatim translation of the French Roman Catholic, Protestant Episcopal, Anglican, and liberal + moderate Protestants
New English Bible NEB Modern English 1970 Masoretic Text, Greek New Testament    
New American Bible NAB Modern English 1970, 1986 (revised NT), 1991 (revised Psalms)     Roman Catholic
The Living Bible TLB Modern English 1971 American Standard Version (paraphrase)  

Evangelical Protestant

Roman Catholic (Version)

New American Standard Bible NASB Modern English 1971, 1995, 2020 Masoretic Text, Nestle-Aland Text   Evangelical Protestant
The Bible in Living English   Modern English 1972     Jehovah’s Witnesses
Good News Bible GNB Modern English 1976 United Bible Societies (UBS) Greek text Formerly known as Today’s English Version  
New International Version NIV Modern English 1978, 1984, 2011 Masoretic Text, Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (based on Westcott-Hort, Weiss and Tischendorf, 1862).   Protestant
New King James Version NKJV Modern English 1982 Masoretic Text (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 1983), Textus Receptus   Protestant, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox
A Literal Translation of the Bible LITV Modern English 1985 Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus (Estienne 1550) by Jay P. Green  
New Jerusalem Bible NJB Modern English 1985 From the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, with influence from the French La Bible de Jérusalem. An update to the 1966 Jerusalem Bible which uses more extensive gender neutral language Roman Catholic
Recovery Version of the Bible   Modern English 1985 (NT w/ footnotes, revised 1991) 1993 (NT, text only) 1999 (single volume complete Bible, text only) 2003 (single volume complete Bible w/ footnotes) OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS; revised 1990 edition).NT: Novum Testamentum Graece (Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 26th edition) A study Bible with a modern English translation of the Scriptures from their original languages. Comparable to the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible. Local Churches denomination (affiliation)
New Revised Standard Version NRSV Modern English 1989   Revision of the Revised Standard Version.

Mainline Protestant

Roman Catholic (Version)

New International Version Inclusive Language Edition NIVI Modern English 1996 Revision of the New International Version.    
New Living Translation NLT Modern English 1996    

Evangelical Protestant

Roman Catholic (Version)

New International Reader’s Version NIrV Modern English 1998   New International Version (simplified syntax, but loss of conjunctions obscures meanings)  
Third Millennium Bible   Modern English 1998   Revision of the King James Version.  
World English Bible WEB Modern English 2000 Based on the American Standard Version first published in 1901, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament. It is in draft form, and currently being edited for accuracy and readability. Released into the public domain by Rainbow Missions, Inc. (nonprofit corporation)  
English Standard Version ESV Modern English 2001 (revisions in 2007, 2011, and 2016) Derived from the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version. Based on Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (5th ed., 1997); UBS Greek New Testament (5th corrected ed.); and Novum Testamentum Graece (28th ed., 2012). Adheres to an “essentially literal” translation philosophy. Attempts wherever possible for the Old Testament “to translate difficult Hebrew passages as they stand in the Masoretic text rather than resorting to emendations or to finding an alternative reading in the ancient versions.” Primarily evangelical, being popular among Presbyterian and other Reformed circles.
The Message MSG Modern English 2002   A fresh paraphrase into contemporary language and idiom by Eugene Peterson.

traditional Protestant

Roman Catholic (Version)

Holman Christian Standard Bible HCSB Modern English 2004 Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Novum Testamentum Graece 27th Edition, United Bible Societies 4th Edition.   Southern Baptist
New English Translation (NET Bible) NET Modern English 2005 Masoretic Text, Nestle-Aland/United Bible Society Greek New Testament    
Today’s New International Version TNIV Modern English 2005 Masoretic Text (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 1983), Nestle-Aland Greek text Revision of the New International Version.  
Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition RSV-2CE Modern English 2006 The RSV-2CE is a slight update of the 1966 Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition It removes archaic pronouns (thee, thou) and accompanying verb forms (didst, speaketh), revises passages used in the lectionary according to the Vatican document Liturgiam authenticam and elevates some passages out of RSV footnotes when they reflect Catholic teaching. For instance, the RSV-2CE renders “almah” as “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14, restores the term “begotten” in John 3:16 and other verses, uses the phrase “full of grace” instead of “favored one” in Luke 1:28, and substitutes “mercy” for “steadfast love” (translated from the Hebrew hesed) throughout the Psalms. As with the original RSV, gender-neutral language is not used when it has no direct referent in original language of the text. Roman Catholic
The Orthodox Study Bible OSB Modern English 2008 Adds a new translation of the LXX to an existing translation of the NKJV in a single volume.   Eastern Orthodox
The Inclusive Bible   Modern English 2009   Translation done by Priests for Equality of the Quixote Center.  
Divine Name King James Bible DNKJB Early Modern English 2011 Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus Authorized King James Version which restores the Divine Name, Jehovah to the original text in 6,973 places, Jah in 50 places and Jehovah also appears in parentheses in the New Testament wherever the New Testament cross references a quote from the Old Testament in 297 places. Totaling to 7,320 places. Messianic Judaism
International Standard Version ISV Modern English 2011      
New American Bible Revised Edition NABRE Modern English 2011 Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia for the Hebrew Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls consulted and referenced, Septuagint also consulted and compared for the OT and Deuterocanonicals, the Latin Vulgate for some parts of the Deuterocanonicals, and the United Bible Societies 3rd edition (UBS3) cross referenced to the 26th edition of the Greek New Testament (NA26) for the New Testament The NABRE is the latest official English Catholic Bible translation released. An update to it (mainly to the New Testament as of now) is scheduled for release in 2025. Roman Catholic
Names of God Bible NOG Modern English (GW) & Early Modern English (KJV) 2011. 2014 GW edition: NT: Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament 27th edition. OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. KJV edition: OT: Masoretic Text, NT: Textus Receptus. By Ann Spangler, The Names of God Bible restores the transliterations of ancient names—such as Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay—to help the reader better understand the rich meaning of God’s names that are found in the original Hebrew and Aramaic text.  
Lexham English Bible LEB Modern English 2012 SBL Greek New Testament A relatively literal translation from Logos Bible Software.  
The Voice Bible VOICE Modern English 2012   “The heart of the project is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works while remaining painstakingly true to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts.”  
Modern English Version MEB Modern English 2014 Masoretic Text, Textus Receptus Revision of the King James Bible Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant
Tree of Life Bible TLB Modern English 2014 Masoretic Text, the 27th Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece The Old Testament translation is based on the Hebrew Masoretic text. It follows the edition of Seligman Baer except for the books of Exodus to Deuteronomy, which never appeared in Baer’s edition. For those books, C. D. Ginsburg’s Hebrew text was used. Messianic Judaism
Berean Study Bible BSB Modern English 2016 Masoretic Text, various Greek texts. Published by the Bible Hub website.  
Christian Standard Bible CSB Modern English 2017 Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Novum Testamentum Graece 28th Edition (NA28), United Bible Societies 5th Edition (UBS5). The new Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a major interdenominational revision of the 2009 edition of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Protestant
EasyEnglish Bible EASY Modern English 2018 Masoretic Text, Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece Translated by MissionAssist  
English Standard Version Catholic Edition ESV-CE Modern English 2018 Catholic edition of the English Standard Version. Includes the deuterocanonical books. Roman Catholic
Revised New Jerusalem Bible RNJB Modern English 2018 (New Testament), 2019 (Complete Bible)   Revision of the New Jerusalem Bible. Roman Catholic
Evangelical Heritage Version EHV Modern English 2019     Lutheran and Evangelical Protestant
365 Day Bible 365DB Modern English 2020 Modern revision of World English Bible This version is public domain.  
Literal Standard Version LSV Modern English 2020 Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls, Textus Receptus, other New Testament manuscripts consulted Published by Covenant Press. It is the first English translation featuring continuous text-blocks similar to the autographs. It also makes use of the caesura mark and the transliterated Tetragrammaton. Updated Young’s Literal Translation  
Legacy Standard Bible LSB Modern English 2021 Masoretic Text, Nestle-Aland Text Published by Three Sixteen Publishing, Inc. and the Lockman Foundation. Updated NASB. Evangelical Protestant