bible translations

For recent two years, I have an interest in various bible translations. I started to learn His words through many translations. In 2006, I prayed to GOD asking for English bible. And for my surprise, my sister, K’Juli, gave me one. New King James Version from Nelson Bible. Wow.. thanks GOD!!

Then, I started to use e-sword (electronic bible) in different way. I downloaded several free English versions, like American Standard Version, Bible in Basic English, Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version, Good News Bible, God’s Word, King James Version, Modern King James Version, and Revised Version. I was given also The Message Version (my favorite bible version) and Amplified Version. I always compare several version when I read His words.

Reading bible through many translations gave me new understanding. Sometimes, Indonesian bible does not understandable or makes me confused. And then, others translation gives me the new meaning.

Now, I have five versions bible in books. Indonesia Terjemahan Baru, Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-hari, New King James Version, New International Version, and New Living Translation. It always gives me satisfaction when I compare some verses in my bibles.

There are two general methods of bible translation. The first is formal equivalence. On this method, the translator attempts to render each word of the original language into the receptor language and seeks to preserve the original word order and structure as much as possible. The second is dynamic equivalence or functional equivalence. The goal of this method is to produce in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the message expressed by the original language text (both in meaning and style). Such a translation attempts to have the same impact on modern readers as the original had on it own audience.

A dynamic equivalence translation can also be called a thought-for-thought translation, as contrasted with a formal equivalence or word-for-word translation. To translate the thought of original language requires that the text be interpreted accurately and then be rendered in understandable idiom. So the goal of any thought-for-thought translation is to be both reliable and eminently readable.

Personally, I like thought-for-thought translation better than word-for-word translation.

In making a thought-for-thought translation, the translator must do their best to enter into the thought patterns of the ancient authors and to present the same ideas, connotations, and effects in the receptor language. In order to guard against personal biases and to ensure the accuracy of the message, a thought-for-thought translation should be created by a group of scholars who employ the best exegetical tools and who also understand the receptor language very well. With these concerns in mind, the Bible Translation Committee assigned each book of the bible to three different scholars. Each scholar made a thorough review of the assigned book and submitted suggested revisions of the appropriate general reviewer. The general reviewer reviewed and summarized these suggestions and then proposed a first draft revision on the text. This draft served as the basis of several additional phases of exegetical and stylistic committee review. Then the Bible Translation Committee jointly reviewed and approved every verse in the final translation.

A thought-for-thought translation prepared by a group of capable scholars has the potential to represent intended meaning of the original text even more accurately than a word-for-word translation. This is illustrated by the various renderings of the Hebrew word hesed. This term cannot be adequately translated by any single English word because in can connote love, mercy, grace, kindness, faithfulness and loyalty. The context (not the lexicon) must determine which English term is selected for translation.


NASB       New American Standard Bible (1971; update 1995)

AMP         Amplified Bible (1965)

ESV          English Standard Version (2001)

RSV          Revised Standard Version (1952)

KJV           King James Version (1611; significantly revised 1769)

NKJV        New King James Version (1982)

HCSB       Holman Christian Standard Version (2004)

NRSV       New Revised Standard Version (1989)

NAB         New American Bible (Catholic, 1970, 1986 (NT), 1991 (Psalms)

NJB          New Jerusalem Bible (Catholic, 1986; revision of 1966 Jerusalem Bible)

NIV           New International Version (1984)

TNIV        Today’s New International Version (NT 2001, OT 2005)

NCV         New Century Version

NLT1         New Living Translation (1st ed. 1996; 2nd ed. 2004)

NIrV         New International reader’s Version

GNT          Good News Translation (also Good News Bible)

CEV          Contemporary English Version

Living        Living Bible (1950). Paraphrase by Ken Taylor. Liberal treatment of ‘blood.’

Message    The Message by Eugene Peterson (1991-2000s)


For details comparison, click here.


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