English translations of the Bible
Bible translators can choose to focus on being very ‘literal’ (word for word) or ‘free’ (translating thought for thought). Literal translations attempt to translate each word of the original language and, with the minimum of word rearrangement, organise them into a coherent sentence in English. Free translations take an idea in one language and express that idea in another. Free translations are easier to read and understand but can be less accurate than a literal translation.
Most translations fall somewhere in between these two extremes as translators try to find a preferred balance between accuracy and understanding.
The diagram shows where some common versions fall on the spectrum.
Click on the image to get the high resolution version.
Which Bible is Best for Me?
This is a common question. The best Bible for you is the one that you feel most comfortable with and speaks to you the best. Try lots of different English versions and let God use the Bible to transform you and bring you into a deeper relationship with him.
"English Translations" and the Translation chart are made and written by the Bible Society in New Zealand. All rights reserved. Used by permission.