What is the best and most accurate Bible translation closest to the original text?

Question by ♥: What is the best and most accurate Bible translation closest to the original text?
Looking for the most literal, accurate, close as possible to the original language, translation possible.

Best answer:

Answer by Gina
Why not just learn Hebrew and Greek?

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Comments (7)

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Jun 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Dear Brethen,
It is nice and blessed to visit your website. I am Majida Saleem from Pakistan ( a christian believer). I do translation of Biblical documents and I request you to have the Urdu translation of whole of your material. I can translate it in low rates and can distribute in my local churches.
In Jesus


Mar 14, 2011 at 2:41 AM

The two best version of the Bible would be the New American Standard Version, and the King James Version.

The important thing to remember is that the KJV and the NASB are what they call a “formal equivalence or literal translation” (1). Therefore, these Bibles will be the most literal and nearest to the Greek and Hebrew

The other type is called a “dynamic equivalence or meaning-for-meaning” translation these are Bibles like the New International Version (1).

In sources is a good site that i found that gives more detail about dynamic and formal.

Dr. Bob

Mar 14, 2011 at 2:32 AM

When you translate anything — a menu, a Bible, or a newspaper — you have to make some choices.

The most literal word-for-word translation has the benefit of being the most accurate, but it also tends to lose the meaning of unique idioms and subtle culturally relevant parts of speech. There’s also the difficulty of having a word for which there’s no clear specific word to translate it into. The King James Version of scripture is a word-for-word translation.

A thought-for-thought translation gives the translator the ability to more accurately render the unique idioms and culturally relevant parts of the text, but it also loses some degree of accuracy. The New International Version of scripture is a thought-for-thought translation.

A paraphrasing gives the translator the most license to rewrite difficult language to more contemporary speech, but this is the least like the original. The New Living Translation is a paraphrasing.

Having said all of that, which translation you use is really up to you. Choose something that’s readable and makes sense to you. There are a wide variety of Bibles available. Pick one you like and will read.

The differences between — for instance — the King James and the New International Version are minor. Though the language differs, both convey the same meaning. You won’t find doctrinal points that are hidden or changed in meaning with one translation or the other.

Now, some people get emotionally attached to their favorite translations. They become loyal to them like some people are loyal to Coke or Pepsi. Me, I’ve always been partial to the King James Version, but I’ve recently started using a New International Version in conjunction with it — I flip between the two quite a bit. Neither one is “wrong” regardless of what some people will say.

When you see a sign that says “Danger” in English and has several other translations for different languages, do you wonder if one of them is translates “Danger” into “Ice Cream?” No! The same meaning is there.

All translation is done “in the open,” that is, the translators of the work can be known so that their credentials can be checked. Additionally, they report exactly which documents they’re translating from. Most of us don’t care about this point, but the purpose is so that you can know the translators are qualified, are translating (and not rewriting or inserting their own opinion), and are using a valid source.

There’s one exception. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower organization produces a translation of the Bible, the New World Translation. The source documents are not known. The translators are not known. Their credentials are not known. And — not surprisingly — the translation produced has some extremely unique “translations” that support Jehovah’s Witness theology only. That’s enough reason to avoid this “translation” like the plague.


Mar 14, 2011 at 2:03 AM

There are several viable candidates. Right now, the consensus seems to be that New American Bible is the best.

The one guy has a point – you could learn the original languages. The problem is that you would have to study Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek for the next 15 years if you want to compete with the teams of scholars who produce most of the mainstream translations. I have been studying Greek for ten years, and I would NOT trust myself to deviate from academic consensus on a difficult passage.

The KJV was a good translation in the 17th century. But it is by no means the closest to the original text. Scholars have learned quite a bit about the subject in the last 400 years.

EDIT – That’s supposed to say that I would not trust myself to deviate from academic consensus…


Mar 14, 2011 at 1:51 AM

I like the KJV – especially since you can use a strongs concordance with it to do word studies in the Hebrew and Greek. Another good version is the updated version of the KJV – the NKJV. Outside of those two, the only other one that I would personally use is a NASB. The NASB is what you are asking for though “most literal” at least. It can be tough to read at times because it is so literal. All three of those translations though are great translations and don’t remove anything, nor are they a paraphrase (stay away from those translations at all costs!!!)

not 2 B fooled

Mar 14, 2011 at 12:59 AM

The King James is the closest, albeit it is still a translation from the original Aramaic and Greek

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