• Louie Monteith

WHICH VERSION OF THE BIBLE? Part II (Comparing versions)

Updated: Aug 16, 2018

Last time our emphasis was on the King James Version vs. the modern translations, as well as the importance of accuracy (word for word) and readability. Now let’s do a version comparison:


KJV (King James Version, 1611): Word for word translation. Reading level (RL) 12 years old. Well-loved and traditional favorite. Difficult to read due to archaic language. Lovely for memorization.


NKJV (New King James Version, 1982): Word for word. RL 9. Purpose: to update and modernize the original KJV but preserve the KJV as much as possible. Maintains poetry of the KJV.


NASB (New American Standard Bible, pub. 1971/1995): Word for word. RL 11. An update of the (ASV) American Standard Version into more current English. Formal, readable, respectable.


ESV (English Standard Version, 2001): Word for word. RL 8.0. A literal update of the Revised Standard Version (RSV). A good blend of accuracy and readability.


NIV (New International Version, 1978): Seeks balance of word for word and thought for thought. RL 7.8. Lively and readable. Widely accepted and adopted by evangelical believers.


NLT (New Living Translation, 1996): Seeks balance of word for word and thought for thought. RL 6.3. Original language sought but goal was a vibrant contemporary English style.


AMP (Amplified Bible, 1964): Word for word, amplifying word meanings. RL NA. Brings out more light of Hebrew and Greek words. Insightful but awkward to read with brackets.


THE MESSAGE (MSB, 2002): Thought for thought paraphrase. RL 4.8. Modern day American speech but holds to the meaning of the original language. Ultra-easy and relaxed readability.


HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible, 2003): Seeks balance of word for word and thought for thought. RL 7.5. Published by Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist convention.


I hope this Bible version comparison is helpful. And you know, it only scratches the surface of so many Bible translations out there. And every few years another translation will be published if the pace keeps with the past. But remember, the point is to read your Bible and claim its promises daily!


(2 Tim 3:16-17) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


Louie