BR 21:04, Fall 2005
The Holy Bible: A Buyers Guide
Walk through the religion section of any major bookstore, and youll see an amazing array of Bibles. The broad selection of translations (also called versions)and the seemingly endless ways in which they are packagedis without historical precedent. But for many people, it is also bewildering, if not frustrating. Rather than the blessing it could and probably should be, it may be off-putting. When faced with a host of adjectives like new and revised, thoughtful buyers might well ask, What was wrong with the old or traditional or, dare I say it, the original?
And it doesnt stop there. How can a buyer tell when a Bible is a different translation (or version) or the same old text in a new coat? Some publishers put out several translations. Oxford, for example, prints copies of the New Revised Standard Version, the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, the New American Bible, the New King James Version, the old King James Version and more. And several publishers put out the same translations: Eight different publishers have been given broad licenses to publish the New Revised Standard Version, for example. And sometimes publishers put out one translation under numerous different titles. Zondervans Devotional Bible for Dad, Revolution: The Bible for Teen Guys, and True Images: The Bible for Teen Girls all contain the same translation (the New International Versionthe most popular translation today) with distinctive covers on the outside and different annotations, devotional aids and interpretive materials on the inside.