Types Of Bible

When exploring the world of theological concepts, you have a multitude of resources at your disposal. The most important of these is the Bible, the cornerstone of the faith and ultimate source when talking about the word of god. However, one might be confused when someone talks about there being different types of bible publications. How can you tell the difference between them and what is their purpose for theological education?

There are different types of Bible Publications available for consumption and educational purposes. These differ because of how the books were translated and can be broadly recognized as word-for-word, thought-to-thought, and paraphrased translations of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. From there, you could then sort them out by their respective versions such as the King James Bible and the New American Standard Bible.

We’ll be taking a deeper look into the types of bible printings that you’ll find all across different bookstores and even online! We’ll also be talking about their differences and why this matters when you’re studying the meaning behind certain passages. Historical context and translation methods matter and understanding these can help clear up the confusion when looking at different versions of the same text.

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Types Of Bible

For this topic, we’ll be focusing more on how bible versions are translated and how they’re categorized into different types. The way that a passage is translated and the style it uses can change the tone of the text dramatically. With the transformation of language over the years, the need for new versions that more accurately portray the meaning of the text grows.


First, we’ll be looking into Bible types that are made to be word-for-word translations of the original texts. These are also known as “Formal Equivalence” translations as they strive for the literal meaning of the texts. These are easily accessible through online bibles and physical versions found within bookstores.

Accuracy is the focus of these translations and is usually the best choice for those just starting their journey into biblical scriptures. Examples of word-for-word translations include the King James Bible and the New American Standard Bible.


Next is the thought-for-thought version that establishes a sort of dynamic or functional equivalence with that of the original texts. These ensure that the text is easier to read and requires less effort to understand. The text themselves are written in simpler terms where the passages’ points are made clearer to the modern reader. Along with that, you may find that these bibles use up-to-date terms and tend to shy away from terms that may be more open to interpretation.

Examples of Biblical Publications that are made with the thought-for-thought translation style are the New International Bible Versions and the New Living Translation Bible. Make sure to get this type of Bible publication if you’re someone who wants to not miss the meaning behind the passages.

Read More: Books On How To Study The Bible?


Lastly, the Paraphrased type of Bible Publication tackles the scriptures in a manner that differs from the last two. Namely, it makes the scripture even easier to adapt to modern times and sees authors exercise a stronger creative hand in translating certain verses. Through liberal use of “creative license”, this type of Bible interjects personal religious beliefs with the bible passages themselves.

This subjective approach to writing bible translations can be a good or bad thing depending on the goal of your studies. You can use these to understand the chronological setup of events in a Bible story. However, we highly suggest you use other versions when looking to the Bible for scholarly references as they aren’t the best when in terms of accuracy.

A quick example of a Paraphrased Bible would be the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Although it’s a good bible to read when first understanding the scriptures, you’ll want to get a more reliable version when studying further.

Why Are There So Many Different Types Of Bibles?

This is a common question we get when it comes to discussing the bible and all its different types and categories. Surely the word of god would be kept consistent throughout the years? In contrast, history shows that texts change throughout every generation and are made to adapt to the language of the time. The important thing is that the message remains the same throughout every version of it.

The number of manuscripts of the Bible also plays a part in the wide range of Bible translations available today. Some of the first ones were written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and other ancient languages. More modern ones, specifically in the English sphere, could have been written in Old or New English with terms differing between both. Thanks to the dynamic nature of language, revisions were made and became the foundation of the many versions we have today.

More Reading: What Does The Bible Say On Forgiveness?

Which Translation Is The Right One For Me?

When figuring out what type of Bible you should use for your studies, you should look into the content that they bring and how they discuss it. Of course, we also note that there are sectarian translations of the bible and are best avoided if you want the true essence of the scriptures. For day-to-day bible usage, you may find that the King James Bible and the New American Standard can be good stepping stones for new believers.

Works such as the New World Translation, created by members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, carry some bias towards the beliefs of their group and are a good example of a sectarian translation. In turn, some passages are twisted and made to be an interpretation of events rather than a telling or recounting. It may also be too literal in some areas which may cause a problem when understanding the gravity of the text.

Recommending a Bible can be difficult, especially with all the different features and translation styles used in its creation. We hope that this article helps you to understand the world of Bible Publications better and the different types of Bible out there.

Keep Reading: Types Of Bible Commentaries

Dave P
Dave P
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