The Question, “Why are there so many translations of the Bible?”

  • One question that often concerns both Christians and skeptics alike is, “Why there are so many different translations of the Bible?”
  • The issue here is this, Christians claim the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative word of God. If this is the case, why then are there so many versions, or translations, of the Bible?
  • When considering the different versions of the Bible it is first important to recognize that all mainstream Evangelical Bible publications (i.e. NIV, ESV, CSB, NASB, NKJV, etc.) are in agreement on the essential revelation of Scripture. The reality of different translations does not mean they possess wildly divergent revelation and doctrine.
  • Where the various mainstream Evangelical Bible translations differ, it is usually related to stylistic differences (i.e. the degree to which translators seek to emphasize contemporary language) or in their translation preferences in regards to the original languages (i.e. some Hebrew and Greek words and phrases can be translated multiple ways). Even in the latter case, however, the essential revelation of Scripture is upheld in each of these versions.
  • We can be confident in our modern day Bible translations, even with the many different versions, because there exist so many ancient manuscripts from which our modern day translations are derived. For example, there are over 5,500 partial and complete manuscripts of the Greek New Testament dated within 300 years of the time of Christ.
  • At the same time, there are versions of the Bible that Christians must absolutely reject. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own version of the Bible called The New World Translation. This translation contains numerous differences from the ancient manuscripts of the Bible. These differences were intentionally created by the Watchtower Organization to make it appear that the Bible agrees with their man-made theology.

For more information on the nature and history of the Bible, please check out the many interesting articles in the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.