The English Bibles - From the Originals to the Various English Versions
In 1999, I published a public domain paper which represented about 4 years of casual research. It is available here with my complete bibliography in pdf format. The paper was written in order to evaluate various Bible versions, but includes quite a lot of Bible history.
In the very near future, I plan to redevelop my "History of the Bible" section to include the Bible History content from "The English Bibles" (and other content) in the normal website (HTML) content, but for now the information is only posted via my PDF article.
- The Original Writings - Tables, (2 pgs)
- The Identification of Manuscripts - (5 pgs)
- The History of Early English Translations - (3 pgs)
- The English Versions Compared - 18 Versions investigated, (7 pgs)
DOWNLOAD "The English Bibles" (1999) - .pdf format.
Update: English Translations 12 Years Later: (May 24, 2012)
First, I have full confidence in the King James Version (KJV), the American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV), and in the literal translations of Green (MT/TR) and Brenton (LXX).
Unfortunately, the only modern English translation which I can recommend without reservation is the New American Standard Bible (NASB, NASB Update).
The reasons for not recommending any other translations?
- Not a literal/formal-equivalence translation style - mandated by scriptural doctrine of verbal, plenary inerrency of Scripture
- Gender-inclusive language - worse than dynamic/idiomatic because it purposefully changes Scripture
- Denominational bias or poor translation quality
- Not a translation I've reviewed, or that I've reviewed fully
The ESV, HCSB, NET, NKJV, and KJ21 will be evaluated more extensively for the next version, but for now I continue a guarded confidence in those versions.
The New English Translation (NET) of Dallas Theological Seminary, which should have been incredible, turned out to be moderately gender-inclusive, which was a huge disappointment. The finished work is still worth a Bible student's attention due to the prolific translation notes of very specific techical nature.
The English Standard Version (ESV) and Holman (HCSB) Bibles - I have reviewed the ESV and HCSB Bibles only lightly, but am generally optimistic - the ESV being literal, and the Holman being "balanced" literal/equivalent, both reading pretty well so far, without specific evaluation.
Today's New International Version (TNIV) and the latest revision to the New International Version, NIV (2011), are both worse than the 1984 NIV, now going to a fully gender-inclusive edit of God's Word. Verbal, plenary inspiration is out the window with gender inclusion, but many Christians are starting to respond now, including the rejection of both the TNIV and the NIV (2011) by the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Message (MSG) is a worse-than-paraphrase "idiomatic" translation, comparable to The Living Bible.
During 2012, I plan to publish a revision to this document, including the later translations and fresh evaluations on all included versions.