Navigating Different Bible Versions: A Guide for Christian Education

As Christians, the Bible is an essential part of our faith. It is the ultimate source of wisdom, guidance, and instruction. However, with many different versions of the Bible available today, it can be challenging to choose the right one for your Christian education. Should you stick with the King James Version, or is a modern translation like the New International Version more appropriate? 

Global University provides a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the different Bible versions and select the best one for your Christian education.

The Origins of the Bible

The Bible is a collection of books that form the basis of the Christian faith. It consists of the Old and New Testaments, with a total of 66 books written by various authors over the course of centuries. However, it is important to understand that the Bible that we have today did not exist in its current form from the beginning.

The Old Testament was primarily written in Hebrew, while the New Testament was written in Greek. These original texts were hand-copied by scribes over time, resulting in errors and discrepancies in the various copies. In the fourth century AD, St. Jerome translated the entire Bible into Latin, which became the standard version used by the Catholic Church for many centuries.

During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the Bible was translated into many other languages besides Latin. As a result, we have multiple versions of the Bible available today in different languages, translations, and interpretations.

The Importance of Translation

When reading and studying the Bible, translation is crucial in understanding the intended message.  The significance of translation lies in the fact that language is often fluid and complex, with certain words or phrases carrying multiple meanings. 

For example, the Greek word agape, which is frequently translated as “love” in the Bible, has a broader and deeper connotation than the English word “love” can capture. This highlights the need for translators to not only find the correct translation but also to convey the meaning and intent behind the original text.

Additionally, translation also ensures that the Bible remains relevant to modern audiences and their language usage. Languages evolve over time, and the words and phrases that were used in the past may no longer be understood or used in the present. Therefore, updated translations are necessary to ensure that the Bible can continue to be understood by contemporary readers.

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Common Bible Translations

With so many different Bible translations available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your Christian education needs. Each translation is unique in its approach to translating the original Hebrew and Greek texts, with some being more literal and others being more interpretive. 

Here are some of the most common translations and types of Bibles available:

King James Version (KJV)

This is one of the oldest and most popular translations, with its language and phrasing having a strong influence on the English language and literature. It is a literal translation, but some of the archaic languages can make it difficult for modern readers to understand.


New International Version (NIV)

This is a popular modern translation that is widely used in churches and Bible studies. It is a dynamic equivalence translation, meaning that it focuses on conveying the meaning and intent of the original text rather than a strict word-for-word translation.


New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is a highly accurate and literal translation, which makes it a great choice for an in-depth study of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. However, its strict adherence to literal translation can make it somewhat difficult to read for some readers.


The Message

This is an interpretive translation that aims to convey the overall message and tone of the original text rather than a literal translation. It is often used as a devotional Bible for personal reflection and inspiration.


Amplified Bible

This translation includes additional words and phrases to help clarify the original text, making it a great choice for those who want to delve deeper into the nuances of the original Hebrew and Greek.


English Standard Version (ESV)

This is a modern translation that combines both the literal and dynamic equivalence approach, making it a great choice for both study and devotional purposes. It seeks to provide accuracy in translation while also being readable and accessible to modern readers.


The New Living Translation (NLT) 

This is an interpretive translation that is easy to understand. It uses a thought-for-thought approach, conveying the message of the original text in a contemporary language that is easily understood by modern readers. It is an excellent choice for new Christians or those who are just starting to explore the Bible.


The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

This is a revision of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) that is a highly accurate translation while also being more inclusive in its language. It is often used in academic and theological circles due to its accuracy and adherence to scholarly standards.


Each translation has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best Bible version for you will depend on your preferences and goals for your Christian education. It is important to do your research, read samples of different translations, and seek advice from trusted pastors and scholars.

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Biblical Education at Global University

At Global University, we offer Christian education programs you can complete completely online and at your own pace. Contact Global University today for admissions information.