About Bible versions

About Bible versions

14 Jan 2018

Not only are we blessed these days with ready access to the Bible, we are also blessed with many different versions. While we still like the original King James Version as the basis for our preaching for its overall accuracy, it can be quite hard to just read because of its older language and words that are no longer in common use.

Reading the Bible regularly is vital, and it can be fascinating to read a different version or even compare versions. This page describes some of the more common versions and compares how they present scripture.

Translations of the Bible fall into two main categories: word-for-word (literal), and thought-for-thought (intent).

Word-for-word translations (like the KJV) try to be as technically correct as possible. That can make them harder to understand, but great for study.

Thought-for-thought translations (like the NLT) try to convey the original intent of the scripture in modern English. That can result in sacrificing absolute 'correctness', but make it easier to understand what the writer was trying to convey.

Whichever translation you read, the most important thing is that you're reading God's Word.



Publish date and style

Notes Rom 3:25 Col 3:15
King James Version (KJV)


Word for Word

The original 1611 translation, updated in 1769 and then 1900 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
New King James (NJKV)


Word for Word

The KJV using more modern English whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
English Standard Version (ESV)


Word for Word

Still like the KJV, but a significant improvement on its previous RSV version whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Amplified (AMP)


Word for Word

An excellent study bible, expanding the literal words with additional descriptions and context whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion]
Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]. 
New English Translation (NET)



A version that seeks the best of both styles of translation God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed.
Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful.
New Living Translation (NLT)


Thought for thought

A very readable translation For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
New International Version (NIV)


Thought for thought

One of the early 'thought for thought' translations God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Easy to read Version (ERV)


Thought for thought

Based on an earlier translation for the deaf, this version uses simpler vocabulary and shorter sentences. Like the International Children's bible (ICB), this is good for young people and those for whom English is a second language God gave Jesus as a way to forgive people’s sins through their faith in him. God can forgive them because the blood sacrifice of Jesus pays for their sins. God gave Jesus to show that he always does what is right and fair. He was right in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful.


‘If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret... Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. ’ 1 Corinthians 14:27-29