There are several hundred translations of the Holy Bible, which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. Have you ever wondered why so many translations and what the difference between them is? We did, so we decided to see what we could find out. There are four general types of Biblical translations; literal, paraphrase, thought-for-thought, and those that are a combination of these or just don't fit any particular category. We've tried our best to put the various translations in the proper category (difficult since a word-for-word translation is almost impossible), and for those that we were not able to categorize or that are poor translations we have an "Other" category. Please email us with your comments and, if you can, to fill in some of the blanks, as we'd like to be accurate. Below you'll see what are call "literal" translations of the Bible, although to be honest almost all of them are not. Greek and Hebrew do not directly translate into English, therefore a word-for-word translation is difficult to read and is almost nonsensical at times. Literal in this sense means as literal as possible and still be readable. There are various levels to this of course, so think carefully and pray before choosing your Bible. Each of these has a little something about the translation and how that translation depicts John 3:16 if we could find it. You'll also find a link to some information on the original texts used in translations and other information on our Bible Translation Information page. Please understand that we did not gather most of this information, and that it came from a variety of sources (with permission). Please let us know if you feel anything here is incorrect so we can check it out.
Interested in learning how to translate Scripture yourself? You can find books on how to translate
|1 American King James Version (AKJV)||27 Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, also known as Green’s Literal Translation (LITV)|
|2 American Standard Version (ASV)||28 Matthew Bible (MB)|
|3 Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT)||29 Modern King James Version (MKJV)|
|4 Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB)||30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)|
|5 The Apostles’ Bible (AB)
6 AV7, The New Authorized Version
|31 The New Authorized Version in Present-Day English (AV7)|
|7 Beck’s American Translation (BECK)||32 New Cambridge Paragraph Bible (NCPB)|
|8 Bishops’ Bible, 1568 (Bishops)||33 New King James Version (NKJV)|
|9 Brenton’s English Translation of the Septuagint||34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)|
|10 Cambridge Paragraph Bible (NCPB)||35 The Quaker Bible (QB)|
|11 Challoner’s revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible||36 Recovery Version of the Bible (RcV)|
|12 The Common Edition New Testament (TCE)||37 Revised English Bible (REB)|
|13 The Complete Apostles’ Bible (CAB)||38 Revised Standard Version (RSV)|
|14 The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)||39 Rotherham’s English Bible (REB)|
|15 A Conservative Version (ACV)||40 Taverner’s Bible|
|16 Darby Bible (DBY)||41 Third Millennium Bible|
|17 Emphatic Diaglott||42 Thomson’s Translation|
|18 English Majority Text Version (EMTV)||43 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)|
|19 English Standard Version (ESV)||44 Tyndale Bible|
|20 Geneva Bible, 1587 (GB)||45 Updated King James Version (UKJV)|
|21 Great Bible or Great Byble (GB)||46 A Voice in the Wilderness Holy Scriptures|
|22 Green’s Literal Translation, also known as Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (LITV)||47 Webster Bible, 1833 (WB)|
|23 International Standard Version (ISV)||48 World English Bible (WEB)|
|24 Julia E. Smith Parker Translation||49 Wuest Expanded Edition (WET)|
|25 King James 2000 Version||50 Wyclif’s Bible|
|26 King James Version (KJV)||51 Young’s Literal Translation, 1898 (YLT)|
1. American King James Version (AKJV) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
A modern language update of the original King James Version (KJV), which was translated from the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus. The purpose of this translation was to update and modernize the original KJV but preserve the KJV as much as possible. This translation was first published in 1999.
2. American Standard Version (ASV) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Considered to be primarily a literal translation of the Bible, the American Standard Version is rooted in the work that was done with the Revised Version (RV), which was a revised version of the King James Version (KJV), which was translated from the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus. In 1870, an invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the RV project. A year later, 30 scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. These scholars began work in 1872, and completed it in 1885. Suggestions by the Americans would be accepted by the British team only if 2/3 of the British team agreed. This principle was backed up by an agreement that if their suggestions were put into the appendix of the RV, the American team would not publish their version for 14 years. The appendix had about 300 suggestions in it, and was published in 1901.
3. Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT) - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, unique] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, _but_ shall be having eternal life!
The Analytical-Literal Translation is, as the name implies, a very literal translation of the original Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Majority Text. It also includes aids within the text to help readers better understand the text. The new ALT is the first New Testament version to be based on the second edition of Byzantine Majority Greek Text.
4. Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB) - John 3:16 not available.
First published in 2006, the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB) attempts to be the most consistent and accurately translated Bible available today. Using technology each time a word is translated one way in the text, it is translated the same way throughout that same text. The idea is to take as much of the guesswork out of the translation as possible. An Old Testament translation only, it is considered a literal translation.
5. The Apostles’ Bible (ABS) - John 3:16 not available.
First published in 2004 as a revision of “Brenton’s English Translation of the Septuagint” by Paul W. Esposito, the Apostles’ Bible is based on the Greek Septuagint and includes only the Old Testament. A later edition known as the “Complete Apostles’ Bible” was published in 2005 that did include the New Testament translated from the Majority Text.
6. AV7, also known as The New Authorized Version In Present Day English (AV7) - For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
This translation follows the traditional English text (KJV) closely, but does so in modern grammatically correct English. Where corrections are made to the text documentation is there to explain the correction, and is interesting in that the translation is checked with a computer to ensure consistent translation of words and phrases. For more see their WEBSITE.
7. Beck’s American Translation (BECK) - God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him doesn't perish but has everlasting life.
First published in 1963 by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Concordia Publishing House, and translated by William F. Beck, Beck’s American Translation is considered a literal translation of the scriptures.
8. Bishops’ Bible, 1568 (TBB or Bishops) - For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleueth in hym, shoulde not perishe, but haue euerlastyng lyfe.
The Bishops' Bible was an English translation of the Bible produced under the authority of the established Church of
9. Brenton’s English Translation of the Septuagint - John 3:16 not available.
A translation of the Old Testament only, this translation of the Greek Septuagint was first published in 1851, and was translated by Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton.
First published in 1873 and translated by F.H.A. Scrivener, the
11. Challoner’s revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible – For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
A substantial revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible and published in 1752, this Catholic Bible was translated by Richard Challoner. Challoner, an English Bishop who had converted from Protestantism, used the King James Version (KJV) extensively in his translation efforts. The Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible is still used today in many Catholic Churches.
12. The Common Edition New Testament (TCE) - For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
First published in 1999 and edited by Thomas Clontz, The Common Edition New Testament (TCE) is a standardized edition made to reflect the common word and punctuation choices of translations most frequently used in English speaking churches. The combination of various literal translations is intended to make it easier for congregations with different translations to follow along, and is in the public domain.
13. The Complete Apostles’ Bible (CAB) - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
First published in 2005, the Complete Apostles’ Bible (CAB) is a revision of the Apostles’ Bible, in that the New Testament has been added after being translated from the Majority Text by Paul Esposito.
14. The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed."
Written for the Messianic Jewish community and first published in 1998, the Complete Jewish Bible was translated by Dr. David H. Stern and consists of both the Old Testament Tanakh and his original Jewish New Testament translation as one book. His goal was to restore God’s Word to it’s original Jewish context and culture, as well as be in easily readable modern English.” The Old Testament is a complete paraphrase of the Jewish Publication Society Version of the Tanakh, and the New Testament is a new translation from the Ancient Greek.
15. A Conservative Version (ACV) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that every man who believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life.
Translated Walter L. Porter and first published in 2005, the ACV is a very literal translation following the formal equivalence translation principles. The author very much disagrees with dynamic equivalence translation, which he considers a euphemism for loose, sloppy translating.
16. Darby Bible, 1899 (TDB or DBY) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.
The Darby Bible (DBY) refers to the Bible as translated from Hebrew and Greek by John Nelson Darby using the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus.. The English version was first published in 1890. Darby also published translations of the Bible in French and German. In his introduction to the 1890 German version he wrote, "In the issue of this translation, the purpose is not to offer to the man of letters a learned work, but rather to provide the simple and unlearned reader with as exact a translation as possible." In the Old Testament Darby translates the covenant name of God as "Jehovah" instead of rendering it "LORD" or "GOD" (in all capital letters) as most English translations do. Among other widely-used and respected translations only the American Standard Version (1901) has followed this practice. For some verses the Darby New Testament has detailed footnotes which make reference to his scholarly textual criticism comparisons, and Darby strove to make the translations as literal as possible, yet still make them readable to the common man.
17. Emphatic Diaglott –
English translation - For God so loved the world, that he gave his son, the only-begotten, that every one believing into him may not perish, but obtain aionian life.
Interlinear translation - Thus for loved the God the world, so that the son of himself the only-begotten he gave, that every one who believing into him, not may be destroyed, but may have life age-lasting.
First published in 1864, this translation is unique in that it is an interlinear translation with the original Greek text and a word-for-word English translation in the left column, and a full English translation in the right column as it was originally printed.
18. English Majority Text Version (EMTV) - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Based on the same Byzantine manuscripts that the King James is based on, the English Majority Text translation seeks to modernize the King James, while still conforming to the original manuscripts. Translated by Paul Esposito, the newest revision became available in 2007.