Bible Translations

There are so many English translations of the Bible available today, you may wonder, "WHY?"
 
Most translations are the effort of a group of people to keep the language of the Bible up-to-date, so the largest number of people will be able to understand it and benefit from reading it.
 
The key to initially choosing the "right" Bible for you is to find the one that is most comfortable for you to read. That way, you won't be disinclined to read it every day!
 
Below is a list of most of the current English versions. Click on a translation name and learn a bit about it, and see how each one renders two verses from Paul's letter to the Romans.
 
If you would like to test drive a whole chapter in various translations, we suggest you start right here with the third chapter of John.

Bible Translation Comparison Chart

resource type: info    
Condensed and adapted from Zondervan.com
 
 
 
Literal translations and word-for-word versions are helpful for people who want to study the Scripture to get the clearest sense of the original meanings of each word.
 
Paraphrases and thought-for-thought versions help people who are new to the Bible to understand its essential meaning more easily.
 

NIV New International Version
Reading Level: About 8th grade.
Readability: A highly accurate and smooth-reading version in modern English.
Number of Translators: 115
Translation Philosophy/Format: Balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(New International Version)
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
 
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright  1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

NIrV New International Reader's Version
Reading Level: About 3rd grade.
Readability: Very easy to read and understand; uses simple, short words and sentences.
Number of Translators: 11
Translation Philosophy/Format: Balance between word translation and meaning, with an emphasis on meaning where necessary for simplification.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(New International Reader's Version)
9 Say with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord." Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved. 10 With your heart you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth you say that Jesus is Lord. And so you are saved.
 
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Copyright  1996, 1998 by International Bible Society

KJV King James Version
Reading Level: 12th grade.
Readability: Difficult to read due to 17th-century English vocabulary and word order. 
Number of Translators: 54
Translation Philosophy/Format: Word-for-word.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(King James Version)
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
 
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

NKJV New King James Version
Reading Level: 8th grade.
Readability: Modern English makes it easier to read than the King James, while retaining the familiarity of the 17th-century sentence structure.
Number of Translators: 130
Translation Philosophy/Format: Communicates the meaning contained in the words and the word order of the original languages.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(New King James Version)
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
 
New King James Version (NKJV)
Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

NLT New Living Translation
Reading Level: About 6th grade.
Readability: A readable translation; uses vocabulary and language structures commonly used by the average person.
Number of Translators: 90
Translation Philosophy/Format: Translators were involved in bringing the classic Living Bible from its status as a paraphrase to a thought-for-thought translation of Scripture.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(New Living Translation)
9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
 
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright  1996 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

NASB New American Standard Bible
Reading Level: 11th grade.
Readability: Formal style, but more readable than the King James Version.
Number of Translators: 54
Translation Philosophy/Format: Word-for-word.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(New American Standard Bible)
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
 
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright  1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

NRSV New Revised Standard Version
Reading Level: About 10th grade.
Readability: Contemporary, dignified with generic language in reference to humans.
Number of Translators: 30
Translation Philosophy/Format: Balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(The New Revised Standard Version)
9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
 
 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

AMP Amplified Bible
Reading Level: Not specified.
Readability: Expanded and "amplified" by means of a system of brackets and parentheses, which sometimes make for fragmented reading.
Number of Translators: Frances E. Siewert, plus 12 others
Translation Philosophy/Format: Word-for-word plus additional amplification of word meanings.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(Amplified Bible)
9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
 
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright  1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

NAB New American Bible
Reading Level: About 6th grade.
Readability: A clear and straightforward translation that reads smoothly. Written in basic American English.
Number of Translators: 55
Translation Philosophy/Format: Word-for-word.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(New American Bible)
9 for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
 
New American Bible Copyright  1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

HCSB Holman Christian Standard Bible
Reading Level: Not specified.
Readability: A highly readable, accurate translation written in modern English.
Number of Translators: 90
Translation Philosophy/Format: Balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(Holman Christian Standard Bible)
9 if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.
 
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright  1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

MSG The Message
Reading Level: About 5th grade.
Readability: An easy-to-read, modern-language paraphrase.
Number of Translators: Eugene H. Peterson
Translation Philosophy/Format: Thought-for-thought. Converts the original languages into the tone and the rhythms of modern-day American speech while retaining the idioms and meaning of the original languages.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(The Message)
9 Say the welcoming word to God--"Jesus is my Master"--embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. 10 With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!"
 
The Message (MSG)
Copyright  1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

CEV Contemporary English Version
Reading Level: About 5th grade.
Readability: Clear, simple English that a child can understand, but with a mature style that adults can appreciate.
Number of Translators: Over 100 (including reviewers)
Translation Philosophy/Format: Thought-for-thought.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(Contemporary English Version)
9 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10 God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
 
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Copyright  1995 by American Bible Society

GNT Good News Translation
(formerly Today's English Version and Good News Bible)
Reading Level: 6th grade.
Readability: Very simple, readable version without jargon. Uses a limited vocabulary.
Number of Translators: R. Bratcher (NT); Bratcher plus six others (OT)
Translation Philosophy/Format: Thought-for-thought.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(The Good News Translation)
9 If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved.
10 For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.
 
Good News Translation - Second Edition
Copyright (c) 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

ESV English Standard Version
Reading Level: 8th grade.
Readability: Literal style, but more readable than the King James Version.
Number of Translators: 100+
Translation Philosophy/Format: Word-for-word.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(English Standard Version)
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
 
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright  2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

NJB New Jerusalem Bible
Reading Level: About 7th grade.
Readability: A highly readable, accurate translation written in modern English.
Number of Translators: 36
Translation Philosophy/Format: Balance between word translation and meaning.
 
Romans 10:9-10
(The New American Bible)
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. 10 It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved.
 
The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.