Category Archives: Bible Translations

Best-Selling Bibles (October 2014)

Based on Dollar Sales

1  New International Version (various publishers)

2  King James Version (various publishers)

3  New King James Version (various publishers)

4  English Standard Version (Crossway)

5  New Living Translation (Tyndale)

6  Holman Christian Standard Bible (B&H Publishing Group)

7  New International Readers Version (Zondervan)

8  Common English Bible (Common English Bible)

9  New American Standard (various publishers)

10  Reina Valera 1960 (American Bible Society and licensees)

Based on Unit Sales

1  New International Version (various publishers)

2  King James Version (various publishers)

3  English Standard Version (Crossway)

4  New King James Version (various publishers)

5  New Living Translation (Tyndale)

6  Holman Christian Standard Bible (B&H Publishing Group)

7  New International Readers Version (Zondervan)

8  Common English Bible (Common English Bible)

9  Reina Valera 1960 (American Bible Society and licensees)

10  New American Standard (various publishers)

*This data is from the Christian Booksellers Association (not including sales through or at Walmart and other stores that are not a member of the CBA).

**By posting this data, I am not attempting to persuade readers to choose a translation based upon it’s popularity.

Why I Have Come to Prefer the KJV and NKJV

We are living in an era when, as English speakers, we have a multitude of choices when it comes to translations of the Bible. Throughout the history of my Christian journey, I have used many translations for my daily reading, including the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard (NASB), and English Standard Version (ESV). However, the older I get and the longer I’ve studied the Bible, the more I have grown to prefer the King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV). Here’s why…

I have come to believe that they are based upon the best collection of ancient manuscripts, known as the Byzantine family of texts. I acknowledge that this is the minority position among conservative Bible scholars today. Yet the fact remains that the Byzantine family is that which has been preserved and cherished by most Christians for the entire history of the Christian church.

Hear me clearly: If you are using a Bible based upon the Alexandrian family of manuscripts (like the NIV, NASB, ESV or NLT), you have a Bible that presents the Gospel clearly and has all the major doctrines of the Christian faith. I am not KJVO (King James Version only).

That said, I like having a Bible in my hand that does not omit certain verses or phrases or question the legitimacy entire sections of the Scripture.

Continue reading Why I Have Come to Prefer the KJV and NKJV

Which Manuscript Family is Your English Bible Based Upon?

When it comes to the many thousands of manuscripts upon which our English New Testaments are based, there are basically two major “families” of manuscripts: the Byzantine family and the Alexandrian family.


The predominant view among conservative Bible scholars today is to prefer the ALEXANDRIAN family of manuscripts…

Continue reading Which Manuscript Family is Your English Bible Based Upon?

Best Selling Translations So Far This Year (July 2013)

CBA has released their data regarding the best-selling Bibles so far in 2013…

By Units Sold

1. New International Version (various publishers)

2. King James Version (various publishers)

3. English Standard Version (Crossway)

4. New Living Translation (Tyndale)

5. New King James Version (various publishers)

6. Holman Christian Standard Bible (B&H Publishing)

7. Common English Bible (Common English Bible)

8. Reina Valera 1960 (American Bible Society)

9. New American Standard (various publishers)

10. New International Readers Version (Zondervan)

Based on Dollar Sales

1. New International Version (various publishers)

2. King James Version (various publishers)

3. New Living Translation (Tyndale)

4. New King James Version (various publishers)

5. English Standard Version (Crossway)

6. Holman Christian Standard Bible (B&H Publishing)

7. New American Standard Bible update (various publishers)

9. Reina Valera 1960 (American Bible Society)

10. New International Readers Version (Zondervan)

When I compare these sales figures with the sales figures from September of 2011, I see some significant changes.

Continue reading Best Selling Translations So Far This Year (July 2013)

Coke Classic and the Need for a NIV Classic

Classic Coke and Classic NIV

New Coke/Coke Classic

Most of you probably remember Coca-Cola’s brief foray into changing the formula of the popular soft drink. It was called “New Coke” and it was an attempt by Coca-Cola to gain market share among a key demographic, youth, an age group that was favoring Pepsi. It backfired. Although “New Coke” showed promise in many parts of the country, it was soundly rejected in the South, where Coca-Cola us based (Atlanta).

The strong Southern rejection spread. Comedians mocked Coke, fans at a Houston Astros baseball game booed a Coke advertisement. Within three months, Coca-Cola announced the return of the original formula, in a product called “Coke Classic.” Loyal Coke fans rejoiced. On the Senate floor, Arkansas Democrat David Pryor called the decision by Coca-Cola “a meaningful moment in U. S. history.” I’m not sure what that says about our country; perhaps it says more about the gentleman from Arkansas. Nonetheless, America as a whole must have agreed because the brief “New Coke” fiasco and it’s merciful conclusion thrust the Coca-Cola company into a period of renewed success as king of the soft drink world, a success that has been uninterrupted even to this day.

Biblica and the NIV Translation

Formerly known as the International Bible Society, Biblica is the worldwide publisher and copyright holder of the New International Version of the Bible. A self-governing group of Bible scholars, known as the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) is responsible for the content of the NIV. Originally published back in 1978, the NIV went through an update in 1984, which was followed by a couple of decades of remarkable popularity among English Bibles, even supplanting the venerable King James Version (KJV) as the best-selling English Bible. In 2009 Biblica announced that they would be releasing an update again in 2011, not coincidentally on the 400th anniversary of the KJV. The “new” NIV was indeed released in March of 2011.

“And what does this have to do with Coke?”

Glad you asked.

Continue reading Coke Classic and the Need for a NIV Classic

“The Earliest and Most Reliable Manuscripts…” – What Does This Mean?

I grew up on the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible. The NIV was originally published when I was in grade school and soon thereafter my Mom got me a NIV Children’s Bible. Later on, in my teen years, I got a Ryrie Study Bible (NIV). The thing I appreciated about the NIV was it was very readable for a young person. One thing I started noticing was that in certain places, for example, John 7:53-8:11, there was a disclaimer of sorts inserted between the text: “The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11.”

Most modern versions of the Bible have some kind of disclaimer like this in John’s Gospel as well as the end of Mark’s Gospel (Mark 16.9-20). My English Standard Version (ESV) Reference Bible says “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20” right before the end of Mark (I actually prefer the ESV’s language over the NIV’s because the ESV simply refers to earlier manuscripts rather than making a value judgment regarding their reliability). It’s also set apart in the ESV as different by use of double brackets, like this: “[[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week…worked with them and confirmed the messages by accompanying signs.]]”

So the question is, what does this mean?

Continue reading “The Earliest and Most Reliable Manuscripts…” – What Does This Mean?

The Intent of English Bible Translators

One of my desires here at is to help people not only know their Bibles, but also know about their Bibles. Each Bible translation is the result of diligent work by a team of translators (I prefer to consider translations by one person as paraphrases rather than translations). These teams of translators are guided by a set of translation principles which aim to fulfill the original purpose or intent behind the project. It is usually in the Foreword or Preface that you find such a statement of purpose or intent. I decided to look at each of these in the most popular Bible translations to discover the stated intent of each translation. Here is what I found:

King James Version

“Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new tranlsation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one…but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principle good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark.”

“But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar.”

Continue reading The Intent of English Bible Translators

NBC and Gender-Inclusive Bibles

Being the host network for this year’s Super Bowl afforded NBC the opportunity to showcase the talent of their various shows. They did it in the imitation of a Broadway musical, starting off with the cast of 30 Rock and shifting to the casts of the Office, Community, and other NBC offerings, including nightly news anchor Brian Williams.

What really intrigued me was the lyrics to the song…”The Brotherhood of Man.” It clearly was not a celebration of testosterone or the theme for a men’s conference. It clearly was a song about humanity. ‘Brotherhood’ definitely referred to humanity as a whole and  ‘man’ clearly was used in the generic ‘person’ sense.

So here’s my point…if a liberal, secular television network has no problem using masculine language to refer to men and women in general, as has been the case in English and other languages for millennia, why are some evangelical Christians so convinced it is necessary to switch to gender-inclusive language in some of our English Bible translations?

Tim Challies on the Beauty of the Language in the ESV

A few days ago I posted a negative critique on a translation decision in the ESV. Today I want to emphasize how much I love reading the ESV, pointing to an excellent post by Tim Challies on the beauty of the language found in the ESV. He compares some Old Testament phrases in the ESV with how they are translated in some of the more functional translations. The NIV (1984 edition), by the way, does well, in his brief comparison study. You can read his post HERE.