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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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  • Raymond Kenneth says

    …I got so-deep into the Biblical chronology (solved it too) that I began to ask why, the versions have birth years differing by 100-years (exactly)—was it checkmark proofing that got misinterpreted—why exactly-100 not “Jubilees” 49 or 98… So—I’ll read this…

  • Bruce says

    I need to get the Bible translated to english from it orginal form is it possible to find?

  • Bethany says

    Yahshua said “I AM the Aleph and the Tau – I am referring to ancient Hebrew where the Tau is written like a Cross or an X – could you explain that please? Thank you.

    • John says

      Jesus never said he was the Alpha and the Omega……it only has reference to God himself.

  • Emily says

    Do we have evidence of when these translation errors occurred and where in the bible things are altered?

    • John says

      I will give you an example Emily throughout the Christian Greek scriptures two words,
      xyʹlon (an upright pale or stake) and stau·rosʹ, (pole) are both incorrectly translated cross…….except at Acts 5:30 where xyʹlon was translated as stake and Acts 10:39 that says Jesus was put to death on a tree (xyʹlon), the same applies to Galatians 3:13, Paul was quoting from Deuteronomy 21:22, 23
      As I said Emily every where that you see cross it should read stake or tree……….
      Here is a copy from an article on this particular point: “Note what W. E. Vine says on this subject: “STAUROS (σταυρός) denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.” Greek scholar Vine then mentions the Chaldean origin of the two-piece cross and how it was adopted from the pagans by Christendom in the third century C.E. as a symbol of Christ’s impalement.—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 256.”
      Here is another sample: In the book The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art, it states: “It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device.”—By G. S. Tyack, London, 1900, p. 1.
      So from this we can see that Jesus was impaled, not crucified……….the cross as a “christian symbol’ is of course from the benefactor of most false religious beliefs, that being Constantine

  • John says

    BAR says: “……………….New American Bible is prepared by and for Roman Catholics, while the similarly named New American Standard Bible is aimed at conservative Protestants?”
    Bibles should be translated correctly from the original manuscripts, without any particular religion in mind, whether it be Catholic, Protestant, etc………after all it is God’s Word and God’s Word should be truth……..and there can only be one truth.
    Example: Matthew 10:29 Different versions state that two sparrows sell for a farthing, or some translate it penny……….I didn’t know the first century Jews traded with £.s.d.
    The actual Greek word used here was ‘assarion’ a Roman coin of small value.

    • John says

      This was just a small example BUT there are more glaring translation errors to found when a Bible translation is altered to back up a false belief.

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