Apologetics Index

Bible – Research Resources


Bible Versions

  • Why are there so many versions of the English Bible? Which is the best one? By the International Bible Society.

    Would you believe that there are literally hundreds of different translations of the Bible into English? For many people this huge variety is totally confusing and they just don’t know which Bible to choose. How did we get into this situation anyway?

    At the heart of the problem are two views as to what a translation should be. On one side are those who feel a translation should stick just as closely as possible to every word of the original Hebrew and Greek. They want the translation to be a literal transfer, word for word, of the original words into English.

    Unfortunately, that approach encounters real problems. Some words simply don’t have an exact equivalent in English. The word order and the entire sentence structure just don’t match from one language to another. So these word-for-word translations are wooden and unnatural. They may be used for close study, but they often fail in terms of comprehension and readability.

    On the other side are those who feel a translation should transfer the message, that is, the exact thought and emotion of the original text. To do this, it should use as many words as are necessary to reproduce the idea precisely in English. You don’t really obtain accuracy, they contend, by a word-for-word translation, but you do when you convey the concept, the message, of the original, so that the reader understands it. In the end, they say, a thought-for-thought translation is actually more accurate as well as more understandable.

  • Bible versions compared

    This dated graphic shows the translation philosophy of various Bible versions

  • The Jesus of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible by Jeff Spancer. See also the introduction to his article, from which we quote:

    The fact is clearly seen that Mr. Dake put much work into this reference tool. However, there are severe problems with the theology contained in this work. For instance, heresies abound concerning subjects such as the nature and attributes of God, Soteriology, and Christology–just to name a few. Furthermore, many Word-Faith teachers, such as Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland, have verifiably used Dake as a source of their quizzical doctrines. The scope of this paper, however, is not a complete, systematic analysis of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible, but an analysis of what it says about Jesus.

    …[M]uch of the teaching in Dake’s Bible is considered cultic because it falls far outside the walls of orthodox Christianity. To be sure, there are many heretical claims concerning Jesus found in this study Bible.

  • New Age Bible Versions: A Critical Review of G. A. Riplinger’s book, “New Age Bible Versions: An Exhaustive Documentation Exposing the Message, Men and Manuscripts Moving Mankind to the Antichrist’s One World Religion.” By Bob and Gretchen Passantino.

    There is hardly a page of this book that is free from error. Riplinger does not know Greek, Hebrew, textual criticism, linguistics, principles of translation, logical argumentation, proper citation and documentation standards, competent English grammar and style, or even consistent spelling. This book would never have done more than use Riplinger’s savings and fill up her garage if Christian “celebrities” such as Texe Marrs and David Hocking had not promoted it. That Riplinger invested so much time, effort, and misguided zeal into this disaster is regrettable. That Marrs promoted it to his nationwide radio audience, that Hocking promoted it to almost 300 Calvary Chapel pastors, or that Jack Chick promoted it to his many thousands of catalog recipients is reprehensible. These irresponsible celebrities should remember James’ warning: “let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1 NKJV).

  • New World Translation: is it a valid version of the Bible? by GotQuestions.org

    The New World Translation is unique in one thing — it is the first intentional, systematic effort at producing a complete version of the Bible that is edited and revised for the specific purpose of agreeing with a group’s doctrine. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Society realized that their beliefs contradicted Scripture. So, rather than conforming their beliefs to Scripture, they altered Scripture to agree with their beliefs.

  • Translating the Bible “Scholars are still laboring to produce a contemporary English version of God’s Holy Word.” By Barry Hoberman, The Atlantic, February 1985
  • What’s Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?
  • Which Bible is the Word of God? Elgin L. Hushbeck, Jr. addresses KJV-only objections to new(er) translations
  • Why are there so many Bible versions? (And which translations is best?) by Daniel B. Wallace.
  • Why Respond to Gail Riplinger? James White addresses Gail Riplinger’s 1993 book, “New Age Bible Versions.”

    Gail Riplinger’s works have been reviewed, and rejected, by numerous Christian leaders and scholars. For most, it’s a waste of time to even discuss the issue, since it’s so obvious that she is a troubler of the brethren, a woman who is out of control, setting herself up as an expert on topics about which she knows nothing at all. Her inability to function as a scholar is plain to anyone who wishes to see. The impact she has had in disrupting churches, damaging missions work, and in generally causing trouble, is hers to answer for.

  • Inerrancy

  • The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
  • Is inerrancy necessary? by Greg Koukl, of Stand To Reason
  • Inerrancy: Its Meaning and Application for the Inspiration of the Biblical Texts
  • Inspiration & Inerrancy by M. J. Sawyer, Ph.D
  • The Text of the New Testament Discusses the textual evidence for the New Testament and demonstrates why we can have confidence that what we read in the Bible is what the original authors wrote.
  • What is the difference between verbal plenary inerrancy and non-verbal plenary inerrancy?

    Verbal plenary inerrancy means that one believes all of the Bible is inspired down to the very words of Scripture. The belief in non-verbal plenary inerrancy would mean that one believes all the Bible is inspired, but only as to its concepts–not all the words–meaning that it might contain historical errors.

  • Inspiration

  • The History of the Doctrine of Inspiration From the Ancient Church Through the Reformation by M. J. Sawyer, Ph.D.
  • What does it mean when Christians say the Bible is inspired? by Greg Koukl
  • Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Philosophy? by Ronald Nash
  • Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions? by Ronald Nash
  • Interpretation

  • The Eight Rules of Biblical Interpretation Nearly all false doctrines taught today by Christians and cultists alike can be traced to the distortion of the meaning of Biblical words. These eight rules are prayerfully offered in the hope that they may help many come to the truth of what God says in His Word.
  • Lost Books

  • Books with Their Pictures on Milk Cartons by James Patrick Holding
  • How Many Books Are in the Bible? by Erwin W. Lutzer. This is Chapter 8 of his book, The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians

    Occasionally we hear references to the so-called lost books of the Bible, books that some people think have been hidden from the general populace. In 1979, Bell Publishing Company of New York came out with a book entitled The Lost Books of the Bible. On the flyleaf it says that these books were not among those chosen to comprise the Bible, and “They were suppressed by the church, and for over fifteen hundred years were shrouded in secrecy.”3

    These books are not really as secret as the authors imply. New Testament scholars have been well aware of their existence throughout the centuries, though perhaps these books were not accessible to the common man. Their credibility is rejected by both Catholics and Protestants. … These books never even vied for a place in the canon.

  • No Lost Books of the Bible by Greg Koukl
  • Why these 66 books? Because Jesus affirmed the Old Testament canon, and He authorized the New Testament canon.
  • Other

  • Word used to describe the Bible An explanation of words like “authentic,” “inerrant,” “inspired,” etcetera.
  • “You Can’t Trust the Gospels. They’re Unreliable.” by Paul Copan. A chapter from his book, “True For You, But Not For Me.”


Books – Online

  • Bible Translation Differences by Leland Ryken
  • The Historical Reliability of the New Testament by Darren Hewer

    Christianity is a historically based religion. Its impetus was not merely a person’s sudden enlightenment. It is instead based on events that occurred in history: history centered, and not merely a philosophy of life. It is for this reason that Paul states “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:17)

See Also

  • Bible Contradictions and Other Difficulties. This is one of the most popular entries in Apologetics Index.

    It is not surprising that non-Christians point out seeming contradictions in the Bible, nor is it wrong for them to do so. Even Christians who are thoroughly familiar with the Bible sometimes are stumped by what at first glance may look like inconsistencies.

  • Bible Statistics Number of books, chapters and verses; and what is the “middle verse” of the Bible”?
  • King James-Onlyism The aberrant teaching that considers the King James Version – specifically the ‘1611 Authorized Version’ – to be the only legitimate English-language Bible version.


Can I Trust Bible Translations: Evidence for the Bible pt17
Is it a conspiracy? Do translations intentionally change the Bible’s message? Is the NIV a “gay Bible”? Is it the “Not Inspired Version”?
There has been a lot of false information floating around out there about how the Bible has been translated. Many people are confused about the difference between textual sources and translational methodology. Many are under the false impression that newer translations are “taking out” various passages that belong in the Bible. However, there are some genuinely bad translations. This video is an attempt to bring clarity and rationality to the discussion and leave you with a general understanding of Bible translations.

By Mike Winger, Associate Pastor at Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California.


  • BibleGateway Online Bibles and study resources
  • Bible Study Tools Online Bibles and study resources
  • NET Bible The New English Translation, with translators’ and study note
  • The Unbound Bible Collection of searchable Bibles. Interesting feature: Choose any 4 versions and display them in side-by-side view for easy comparison.

Article details

Category: Bible
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First published (or major update) on Tuesday, August 5, 2008.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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