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The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide

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Trying to make sense of all the different versions and translations of the Bible?

This free eBook guides you through 33 different Bible versions and addresses their content, text, style and religious orientation

Featuring additional reviews of six Bible versions by Leonard J. Greenspoon

Updated Fall 2013

Walk through the religion section of any major bookstore, and you’ll see an amazing array of Bibles. The broad selection of translations (also called versions)—and the seemingly endless ways in which they are packaged—is 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 the ‘original’?”

In the free eBook The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide, expert Bible scholars Leonard J. Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff answer these and other important questions about different Bible versions.

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. Zondervan’s 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 Version—the most popular translation today) with distinctive covers on the outside and different annotations, devotional aids and interpretive materials on the inside.

Some Bibles are aimed at specific religious groups, but this is not always clear from the title. How is a Bible buyer to know that the New American Bible is prepared by and for Roman Catholics, while the similarly named New American Standard Bible is aimed at conservative Protestants?

Let expert Bible scholars Leonard J. Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff guide you through the content, text, style and religious orientation of different Bible versions.

The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide provides straightforward, objective and succinct information on 33 Bible versions or families of versions. The updated edition of The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide includes additional reviews of six Bible versions (published through 2013) by Creighton University scholar and BAR author Leonard J. Greenspoon. Organized as Literal Translations, Non-Literal Translations (with Extended Vocabulary), and Non-Literal Translations (with Limited Language), these updates fit in seamlessly with the earlier format.

After providing extended quotations from the introductions, Greenspoon presents the first two verses of the first chapter of the first book of the Hebrew Bible (that is, Genesis 1:1-2) in the words of each version before providing his own observations about each translation. In his introduction, he writes: “To a large extent, I am guided by the translators themselves; that is, my primary focus is on how well the translators carry out the goals they themselves have set. At the same time, I do have views of my own, which I readily offer without (I hope) clouding the reader’s vision of an assessment of each version on its own terms. This is not always an easy task, but it is one that I think is important.”

The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide is far from the first such effort, nor will it be the last. What distinguishes this Bible guide from others is that it allows each Bible version to speak on its own behalf.

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  • Mary says

    Does this come with a study guide I can use with grandchildren??

  • Reader says

    MaraNatha. Well done, as we must allow evidence to show up the works of Scholarships!!!!!

    • John says

      May I suggest Reader, that you also read my comments that I made to Mara, and using God’s Word please point out to me where I have erred!!!

  • MaraNatha says

    Check out this table:

    The New World Translation should be added to that table as it is more corrupt than the NIV. In fact, any translation that uses Westcott and Hort (like the NWT and the versions in the table) needs to be burned! Westcott and Hort used the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus for their translation. It is all Catholic/Freemason dogma.

    @Kurt: The Tetragrammaton is not in the New Testament. Your translation, the NWT, has erroneously added it 237 times where it is never found.
    “Jehovah” is just a guess. The name is a combination of YHWH and Adonai.
    The five people who translated the NWT had the help of a Catholic mystic named Johannes Greber, who used necromancy for his NT translation. THAT is where your translation gets it’s influence to call Jesus “a god” in John 1:1.

    • John says

      You obviously have not read the NWT and compared it with other translations of the Bible, all you have managed to do is to go to some web site and read what someone else has said, that , for some reason has “an axe to grind” with the NWT..
      Before you start “casting stones,” may I suggest you do some personal comparisons with other Bible translations, with the assistance of some reputable Bible encyclopaedias that do push a particular belief…..e.g. Catholic Encyclopaedia.
      That reminds me, many years ago, I looked at the previously mentioned, and under the 10 Commandments it said………from memory……..Thou shalt not kill: except in the following circumstances (there were 6 or more circumstances), the only one I recall was if your country goes to war ……….I am sure that Jesus would have approved…..NOT.

    • John says

      The name of God, Jehovah, in the Christian Greek Scriptures (NT) is only found where direct quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures are used.
      “Dr. P. Kahle says: “We now know that the Greek Bible text [the Septuagint] as far as it was written by Jews for Jews did not translate the Divine name by kyrios, but the Tetragrammaton written with Hebrew or Greek letters was retained in such MSS [manuscripts]. It was the Christians* who replaced the Tetragrammaton by kyrios, when the divine name written in Hebrew letters was not understood any more.” (The Cairo Geniza, Oxford, 1959, p. 222)”
      * so called Christians, not real Christians, as were the 1st century Christians.

    • John says

      “THAT is where your translation gets it’s influence to call Jesus “a god” in John 1:1”
      You really will say anything to protect the false teaching of the trinity:
      The trinity:
      1. Is a mystery…….and boy, what a mystery by simple mathematical calculations
      1 + 1 + 1 = 1, when I went school it was 3.
      2. John 1:18 states that no man has seen God, the Word [who became flesh – this
      being Jesus (the only begotten son of God) – verse 14] has explained God
      3. Philippians 2:5-11 here we see Jesus did not regard himself equal to God and in
      verse 11 it says that we should acknowledge Jesus as Lord, to the glory of God.
      4, Many times whilst on earth prayed to his heavenly Father or God…….do you think
      that he was praying to himself
      5. If Jesus was God, when Jesus was put to death…….who resurrected him. If you
      believe Jesus was God. God was dead – how did he resurrect himself…..or didn’t
      he really die? If that was so how can this be a life saving sacrifice.
      6. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the SON of God, NOT god.
      You should be able to see from this that at John 1:1 it states correctly that the Word was “a God” NOT God
      If I am incorrect in what I have said above please use the Bible, to prove what I have said, is wrong!!!

    • John says

      Yes Mara you certainly know what you are talking about:
      J1 Gospel of Matthew, in Hebrew, edited by J. du Tillet, with a Latin translation by J. Mercier, Paris, 1555. *
      J2 Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, incorporated as a separate chapter in ʼEʹven boʹchan [“Tried Stone”], by Shem-Tob ben Isaac Ibn Shaprut, 1385. Edition: The Gospel of Matthew According to a Primitive Hebrew Text, by George Howard, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A., 1987.
      J3 Gospel of Matthew and Letter to the Hebrews, in Hebrew and Latin, by Sebastian Münster, Basel, 1537 and 1557 respectively. *
      J4 Gospel of Matthew, in Hebrew, by J. Quinquarboreus, Paris, 1551. *
      J5 Liturgical Gospels, in Hebrew, by F. Petri, Antwerp, 1581. *
      J6 Liturgical Gospels, in German, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, by Johann Clajus, Leipzig, 1576. *
      J7 New Testament, in 12 languages, including Hebrew, by Elias Hutter, Nuremberg, 1599-1600. *
      J8 New Testament, in Hebrew, by William Robertson, London, 1661. *
      J9 The Four Gospels, in Hebrew and Latin, by Giovanni Battista Jona, Rome, 1668.
      J10 The New Testament . . . , in Hebrew and English, by Richard Caddick, Vols. I-III, containing the Gospel of Matthew to 1 Corinthians, London, 1798-1805. *
      J11 New Testament, in Hebrew, by Thomas Fry and others, London, 1817. *
      J12 New Testament, in Hebrew, by William Greenfield, London, 1831. *
      J13 New Testament, in Hebrew, by A. McCaul, M. S. Alexander, J. C. Reichardt, and S. Hoga, London, 1838. *
      J14 New Testament, in Hebrew, by J. C. Reichardt, London, 1846. *
      J15Bible books of Luke, Acts, Romans, and Hebrews, in Hebrew, by J.H.R. Biesenthal, Berlin, 1855, 1867, 1853, and 1858 respectively. *
      J16 New Testament, in Hebrew, by J. C. Reichardt and J.H.R. Biesenthal, London, 1866. *
      J17 New Testament, in Hebrew, by Franz Delitzsch, London, (1981 Edition). *
      J18 New Testament, in Hebrew, by Isaac Salkinson and C. D. Ginsburg, London, 1891. *
      J19 Gospel of John, in Hebrew, by Moshe I. Ben Maeir, Denver, Colorado, 1957. *
      J20by Missionary Dispensary Bible Research, 1970. *
      There are actually 73 instances mentioned – (and that is not all of them), where other Greek Scripture (NT) translations use the name Jehovah in one or several more places. Do you have any more ‘gems’ Mara……..I wait with bated breath!

      • John says

        I almost forgot Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6 uses the word “Hallelujah.” which is a contraction of the phrase, ‘praise Jehovah’……..I wonder how many times you may have said or sung that word????
        Interested in your reply Mara!!

    • John says

      Mara, i would take a guess that you do not use names like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Ahithophel, Jehoshaphat, Jehoichin, Barzilia, etc., etc.because it is highly unlikely the you would how to pronounce those names in the Hebrew language, and you should not mention those names if you do not know how to pronounce them
      The objection of ‘not using God’s name because we do not know how to pronounce it does ‘not hold water’ I am afraid. Jehovah may not be the EXACT pronunciation of God’s name, the important thing is that we do USE it. In Jesus model prayer at Matthew 6:9 Jesus said to sanctify or make holy God’s name……….also Acts 15:14; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13
      Jesus at John 17:6, 26 makes a definitive reference to God’s name.
      Does it not seem strange that when reading a Bible the names of other gods are included, but omits the name of the creator of all things, just calling him God or Lord, which are just mere titles, NOT names.

    • John says

      Just another little gem for you Mara: Wescott and Hort were consulted by the British revision Committee, (Wescott and Hort were members). This text was also used in the translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures of the following Bibles: The Emphasised Bible, the American Standard Version, An American Translation and the Revised Standard Version.
      The NWT Translation Committee also used Nestle’s Greek Text, José M. Bover (1943), Augustinus Merk, (1948), the United Bible Societies text of 1975 and the Nestle-Aland text of 1979…….also used were about 30 fragments of old Latin.
      Versions and thousands of manuscripts of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, as well as Coptic, Armenian and Syriac versions.
      Mara says: “THAT is where your translation gets it’s influence to call Jesus “a god” in John 1:1.” Interesting that you should mention John 1:1…….the catholic church teaches the trinity – correct? Interesting that in the Emphatic Diaglott, (catholic), in the word for word translation of John 1:1, it shows that the word was ‘A GOD’ – NOT God…….and in the English translated column it reverts back to the error, calling the Word God……..really clever…….NOT.
      You also need to get a little more up-to-date in your information Mara……..you may be quite surprised as to what you might find out!!!!

  • William says

    Let one see some examples of this before downloading and using up gigabytes of which I have only a few

  • Kurt says

    A Bible Exhibit That Glorifies Jehovah’s Name

    Since the Bible exhibit opened at our world headquarters in 2013, many rare and valuable Bibles have been donated to enhance the collection. These include the Complutensian Polyglot and first editions of both the King James Bible and Erasmus’ Greek “New Testament.”

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