How many different versions of the Bible are there?

Like NIV, KJV, etc. And what is the difference between them?

25 Answers

  • John S
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Depends on your definition of "versions" -- MOST historians, theologians, Pastors, Priests, and Scholars wouldn't say versions at all, they would say "translations"

    You see the bible started as a compilation of texts from 2 primary sources.

    1) Jewish historical record, translated from Hebrew into Greek, in what is called the Septuagint

    2) the Compilation of the Gospel accounts of the Apostles which were ALSO in Greek.

    So you see the Bible was, in its rawest form, written in Greek. Before it was canonized and even CALLED "The Bible" it was just a bunch of letters and books by a group of Jesus's followers called "the apostles."

    So GREEK is the original bible.

    Some may say that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew..but that isn't really an accurate statement for a couple of reasons.. For 1 thing, the Jews never referred to their historical record as the Old Testament. Secondily, The bible isn't a Jewish book, it is a Christian book and the Christians based their OT on the Greek translation of the Hebrew history BEFORE it was canonized. The Jew's canonized their history around 100BC, but the Greek Translation was made just before that.

    SO the bible is essentially a Greek document, historically speaking.

    The Canon of the bible was closed off from changes around 397AD, AFTER that time, there has been nearly Zero changes. This is because in many cases originals exist of what was officially canonized and even some before that, therefore Modern bible translators can go BACK to the original Greek and study it to make sure there are no alterations.

    The FIRST major translation of the bible was from Greek into Latin. This was done by the Catholic church and it is easy to see that it was done accurately, because we can go back and compare it to the Greek.

    This was done in after Latin replaced Greek as the major language spoken by most people, especially Scholars and Business men.

    The Bible remained in Latin for many centuries, though "unofficial" translations were made into other languages. Some even done by Catholic monks in the 700-800s. - Such was the case in Romania and Slovakia

    Around the 1300 and 1400s, the New Testament portion of the bible was translated into English.

    Now I said "nearly zero" changes, because there are at least 3 very well documented changes to the official canon of the bible.

    1) around the mid-1500s, Martin Luther added at least 1 word to a few verses in the bible dealing with faith. He added the word "alone" to some verses, making them read "faith alone" - when the original Greek never had that in it. - Luckily Martin Luther's "corrections" have been removed from the bible translations we have today.

    2) Around the 1600s, the Basis for the Old Testament was changed from the Greek Septuagint to the Hebrew Tanakh, thus moving 7 books from the OT to the Appendix in the back of most bibles in the process. The Catholic church to this day, STILL holds to the original canon it created in 397AD, which includes the 7 disputed books.

    3) Those 7 books which hung out in the appendix of most bibles were completely removed from most bibles around the 1800s.

    So these 3 changes are the only alterations to the bible which it has undergone. We haven't really lost anything because the Catholic church still adheres to its original canon, so the 7 books can still be found. AND the alterations that Martin Luther made, have been removed.

    SO, there are Translations of the Bible, but not really different versions, unless you claim the Catholic canon and the Protestant canon to be different versions, in which case their are then 2.

    As far as different Bibles... there are MANY. Each one translating the text slightly differently to make it more clear to the reader, updating the language a bit since few of us speak old-english, latin, or greek.

    All translations can be reviewed by scholars, compared to the original Greek, etc.

    The tranlsations I am aware of are:


    I will say THIS...

    The King James Version is not really a TRUE translation but a compilation of translations, as the people which the King of England commissioned to create it were not Biblical scholars so they stole heavily from the Coverdale, Wycliff, Latin Vulgate, Septuagint, and other sources to create their bible. Scholars have thoroughly picked it apart and found countless translational errors in it. PLUS it is written in old-english, so other then sounding holy, with all its thy and thous, in it, it is a really bad version to go by UNLESS you already KNOW the bible fairly well and won't get tripped up by its awkward wording.

    The Douay Rheims bible is often times overlooked. It is a Catholic translation into English, follows the original canon, which includes the 7 books of the apocrypha, AND pre-dates the King James version, without the same errors and old english writing style. Unfortunately, most people don't know about it.

    • Charles4 years agoReport

      Amazing, the hundred or so English Bibles written since the 1700s, and if they are not different versions but translation? It s amazing considering the Bible is Gods word, and man could not clearly understand so men translated Gods words so we could understand Gods Word.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The New Testament was written in Greek and the old testament manuscripts are in Hebrew. There are many manuscripts with minor variations in them, so it is hard to know which one is accurate and scholars disagree on that. Each translation decides which manuscripts are accurate. That being said, the variations are minor and none of them change the overall meaning of the Gospel. For example, a common variation is "Christ Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" where one manuscript will have it one way with another disagreeing, yet there is no difference in meaning.

    Most translations are simply from different eras using different wording based on the common language of the time. ESV, KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, etc.

    There are other versions that paraphrase or change the words so that it is easier to understand. I would not even consider these the bible, because they have been subjected to the fallible interpretation of men. For example, NTL and The Message make changes to the text.

    I prefer the KJV because of the beauty of the language and the Byzentine texts behind it. However, the ESV and NASB are both very good translations that I often recommend.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1) How many different versions of the Bible are there?

    Dozens in English alone. Probably thousands worldwide. Here is a list of most of the English versions

    2) And what is the difference between them?

    There are several differences. The major differences you will find are

    a) wording - normally, each bible "version" is a translation, and the words used to translate by one translator will be different from the words used by another translator. By comparison: I have 3 English translations of "Around the World in 80 Days".

    b) content - the contents of the bible are very sectarian-dependent. The "minimal canon" includes 66 books, but many bibles include more


  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    How many different versions of the Bible are there?

    Like NIV, KJV, etc. And what is the difference between them?

    Source(s): versions bible there:
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  • 1 decade ago

    There are various different versions of the English language Bible. The reasons for this is that it is impossible to perfectly translate from one language to another so different versions use different attempts. Also, as languages change, the Bible translation needs to be modified in order to be accessible to modern readers. However, as far as the ancient texts are concerned, they are relatively homogeneous, with very few major differences between different sources.

  • There have been many versions and still are. The current bible is only a few hundred years old. And, since there are over 30,000 different christian churches (sects or denominations), the INTREPRETATION is at least 30,000 in number. You'd think the "most important message in the history of the world" would be as clear as water, not as mud.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    there are over 50 different versions of the Bible in English alone each one teaching different things. One version will say it's a sin and another will say it is not. Pick one version and make up your mind.

    • BryanS6 years agoReport

      So in a sense, it is not valid. One thing is how many protestant use the King James and condemn homosexuality, yet have they read the auto bio of King James......

  • 3 years ago

    How many different "modern" versions of the Bible have there been?

  • 5 years ago

    First of all their can only be one historical origin of the Bible and that is written in Hebrew. It is not Hebrew and Greek. Greece which is in Europe did not have religions. They leaned about religion from the Hebrews which are located in the Middle East and North Africa. So to get the truth I will only follow the Hebrew version and translate it for myself. The indigenous Semitic people of the Arabian Peninsula is the Middle East and North Africa not Greece which is in Europe. The Palestinian people are one of true indigenous Semitic people.

    • 5 years agoReport

      Wow -- Don't know much about the Bible, do you?

      The Gospels were originally written in Greek. So were the Epistles. Indeed, so was every book of the New Testament.

  • 1 decade ago

    Of the ancient writings in all of antiquity it is the Judeo Christian scriptures that are by far the most numerous and of which the copies agree with one another. There are no other ancient texts that even come close to the Biblical scriptures in number and redundancy.

    People assume that the Bible is made from error filled copies to yet more errored copies and on and on. Winding up with a hodge podge of what once was the true scriptures. This is far from the truth. There are some 27,000 ancient Judeo Christian texts, parchments and scrolls. There is absolutely no evidence that the Bible has been revised, edited, or tampered with in any systematic manner. The sheer volume of Biblical manuscripts makes it simple to recognize any attempts to distort God’s Word. There is no major doctrine of the Bible that is put in doubt as a result of the minor differences that exist between manuscripts.

    Lastly, when people say that the Bible has degenerated from 2,000 years of recopying they fail to see that the Bible is written in about 200 different languages. And if you retranslated them back into the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic they still agree.

    The Bible is the most attacked book in history. It is the most popular book in history and still is today.

    Matthew 24

    35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my(Jesus)words will never pass away.

    When one asks which Bible version is "most accurate" you need to consider several things.

    The ancient Hebrew and Greek:

    1. Contain words that do not directly translate to English and vice versa. Or words that can be translated but have many confusing alternate meanings.

    2. Contain idioms, sayings and figures of speach that are alien to us.

    3. Are void of many of the little connecting words we have in English.

    4. Have a much different sentence structure with nouns, verbs and adjectives reararranged.

    5. 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person pronouns are gender specific in Hebrew. Masculine and feminine.

    6. And many other stylization issues.

    It is difficult to say which translation is the "best." "Best" would be determined by a combination of the translation method personally considered best and your interpretation of the textual data underlying your translation. For example, the KJV and NAS attempted to take the underlying Hebrew and Greek words and translate them into the closest corresponding English words as possible (word for word), while the NIV and NLT attempted to take the original thought that was being presented in Greek and Hebrew and then express that thought in English (thought for thought). Many of the other translations attempt to "meet in the middle" between those two methods. Paraphrases such as The Message or The Living Bible can be used to gain a different perspective on the meaning of a verse, but they should not be used as a primary Bible translation.

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