Many modern English language translations of the Bible are available to us today. You probably own at least one: e.g., the NKJV, ESV, NASB, or NIV. A newer NIV, the NIV 2011, was recently released.
For the past 500 years, many Christians in English-speaking nations have regarded the King James Bible (KJV or KJB) as the "gold standard." It's still popular today. For some, it's considered the most (or only) accurate and reliable English Bible even if its prose (though beautiful) is archaic.
- So why are there are so many modern English versions available?
- How did this happen?
- Is it a blessing or a curse?
- Are they accurate and trustworthy?
- Why do they differ?
I just finished reading a study by Daniel B. Wallace, a Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and I'd like to share highlights with you. What follows are excerpts.
"A History of the English Bible"
by Dan Wallace:
Let me conclude. Are we better off today with all these translations—or worse? What are the real differences?
Except for the NKJV, virtually all modern translations are following the most ancient MSS.
God has preserved his word in such a way that a person could get saved reading the KJV, Tyndale, Bishops’, RSV, NIV, REB or NET.
As for the translation, there are three different flavors:
Each Christian should own at least one of each flavor.
I recommend RSV, ESV, and NASB for accurate, NIV for readable, and REB for elegance.
Or, what tries to combine all of these, the NET. And for study, the NET Bible is by far the best.
Does all this cause confusion? Have we somehow lost the sure Word of God? No, not at all.
Final conclusion: Even with the proliferation of Bibles today, Christians are reading their Bibles less and less.
The four-part study found can be found at bible.org (see link below).
- Part I: From Wycliffe to King James (The Period of Challenge)
- Part II: The Reign of the King James (The Era of Elegance)
- Part III: From the KJV to the RV (from Elegance to Accuracy)
- Part IV: Why So Many Versions?
Read more here: http://bible.org/series/history-english-bible.