Which Bible translations are there?

· author: Thomas · reading time: ca. 2 min.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. Therefore, there are different translations into English: dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence translations. Interlinear translations, which translate word for word, can also be of help.

The Old Testament of the Bible was originally written down in the language of the people of Israel: Hebrew. The New Testament was later written in Greek, as it was commonly spoken in the Eastern Mediterranean at that time (more precisely, the ancient Greek dialect is called “Koine”). So when you read a Bible in English today, it is always a translation.

Types of Bible translations

There are two main types of Bible translations:

  • Formal equivalence translations attempt to reproduce the original text of the Bible as literally as possible. They are more accurate than dynamic translations but the sentence structure is often more difficult to understand.
  • Dynamic equivalence translations try to reproduce the meaning of the text. They are written in a simpler and more descriptive way, but use additional words that do not appear in the original text.

Examples of Bible translations

Note: This section currently only reflects the situation in Germany. The distinction between formal and dynamic equivalence applies to all Bible translations, though.

Well-known literal translations are usually based on a relatively old Bible translation that has been carefully adapted to the current language over time.

For example, the original Elberfelder Bible is currently published in two variants: One by Christliche Schriftenverbreitung (CSV) Hückeswagen and the other by SCM-Verlag (R. Brockhaus).

The Schlachter Bible is also one of the literal translations. The classic Protestant Luther Bible also keeps close to the original text, but also includes a few special formulations that only Martin Luther used.

Dynamic translations include relatively newer projects such as the Gute-Nachricht-Bibel (“good news bible”), Hoffnung für alle (“hope for all”), or the BasisBibel (“basic bible”). Other dynamic translations often have the word “neu” (“new”) in their names.

Interlinear translations

Another alternative for a better understanding of the original Bible text are so-called interlinear translations, which means “translated between the lines”.

An interlinear translation contains both the original text (Hebrew, Greek) and an English word-for-word translation. The English translation is placed between the lines of the original text.

With a little linguistic skill, one can recognize the original sentence structure with the help of an interlinear translation and thus better understand why different translators have chosen different English translation variants.

A well-known English interlinear translation is available on the Internet at Bible Hub: www.biblehub.com. In addition to the actual interlinear translation, Bible Hub has many additional functions with which you can, for example, display the meaning of individual words.