Muslim: Why do you Christians have so many versions of the Bible. Which is the actual version?
Christian: The answer will surprise many Muslims. There is only ONE version!
Muslim: You lie. How can that be? What about the King James Version, New King James Version, New International Version, English Standard Version, etc. Aren’t these all different versions of the Bible?
Christian: No. These are not different versions. These are different versions of TRANSLATIONS of the Bible.
Muslims: What’s the difference?
Christian: These are different English translations of the Bible. Not different versions. The message is the same. Different translations of the same message.
Muslims: Why the need for so many different translations then?
Christian: Good question. The first English Bible used old English. Many words are no longer common usage in our daily language.
Muslims: You mean words like “Thou”, “Thee” etc?
Christian: Correct. Example, The New King James Version for example, simplifies the English of the original King James version for a more modern reading, substituting words like “Thou” with “You”. The message remains intact but the translation makes it easier to read and understand.
Muslim: What about the other versions…I mean….translations… like New International Version?
Christian: That’s just another English translation that tells the same message in a way that is easy for most people to understand. There’s even a translation for those for whom English is their second language using limited vocabulary where the message of the Bible is told in very simple English! The goal is simply to communicate the message of the truth of the Word of God. There are more than 2500 translations in hundreds of languages. Do you know there are more than 6000 languages in the world. Bible scholars produce a new translation somewhere in the world every 10 days!
Muslims: Interesting. I didn’t know that. But how can you mutilate God’s Word like this?
Christian: It’s not mutilating. Nothing is changed or corrupted in the actual message. It’s simply making the Word of God available for everyone to read in the language they understand. Is this offensive to you? Don’t you think someone in Kenya should be able to read the Bible in his own language? Maybe you find this difficult to accept because the Quran should only be read in Arabic. Aren’t you limiting God? The Bible is available in Japanese, Nepalese, Swedish, Indonesian, Hindi…you name it, they have it! These translations are as much scripture as the English translations!
Muslim: Sounds like changing the Bible to me….
Christian: No, not at all. Listen. The Quran has been translated from Arabic to English, German, French , etc. Does this mean the Quran has been changed? Does the change in language change the message of Allah? Of course not. Like I said, the message remains the same in every translation even though different words are used.
Christian: Do you speak and understand and write Arabic?
Christian: That’s not surprising. because only 16% of the world’s Muslims actually understand Arabic. Then how do you read the Quran?
Muslim: Haha! I have memorized it since young so I can recite the Quran no problem.
Christian: Good. But can you UNDERSTAND what it is saying?
Ali: Most of it. Not all of it.
Christian: You say the Quran is the word of God for all people, the final revelation to all mankind, yet when you recite it, you dont understand the message of God? How do you expect someone in Iceland to read the Quran in Arabic? They have to first learn Arabic?
Muslim: Yes…but they can also read the Quran in English but the Arabic is the only true Quran.
Christian: You see, that is one of the differences between the Bible and Quran. God allows the Bible to be translated so everyone can know and understand His message. Does Allah allow that?
Muslim: Well, there are translations of the Quran in English and….
Christian: I know. You have many English translations ~ the Yusuf Ali version, the Pickthall version, the Sahih International version, the Shakir version…Are these many different versions of the Quran?
Muslim: These are not different versions of the Quran. They are different English translations by different translators….
Christian: Exactly! Different TRANSLATIONS. That means different versions of translations. Not different version of the message…..that’s the same with the Bible….
Muslim: OK. I get what you are saying.
Christian: The message of the Bible is the same in whatever translation you use. The only difference is there are different means of communicating that message. For example, the words I use to share a message with you, will be different from the words I use to share that same message with a child. It will also be different from the way I share that same message with my wife, with a stranger, with someone who does not speak English, with someone who is deaf, and so on. The words used may be different but the message remains the same. That is why there are different translations to cater for everyone.
Muslim: So which English translation of the Bible should I read?
Christian: You can read ANY translation. This chart may help. As you can see King James Version (KJV) might be the hardest to understand for most people. I recommend New Living Translation (NLT) for easy reading.
You can go online to BibleHub where you can read the Bible in different English translations that you are most comfortable with.
And here’s a link to online Bibles in over 70 languages, where you will probably find a Bible translation in your own native language.
16 thoughts on “How Many Versions Of The Bible?”
Why is the examples using a muslim person to ask these questions? Would be more inclusive if the faith of the person asking is not displayed.
This site is Christian-Muslim apologetics.
What exactly is the ‘message’ that you propose remains unchanged despite the many translations….you are being naive if you do not acknowledge that such transfers from language to language do not in many instances alter the very foundational points being made by anonymous authors with numerous agendas depending upon the time period, the geographical location, the geopolitical circumstances, the cultural influences etc…even the most conservative of knowledgeable agree that portions of the scriptures have been intentionally and unintentionally….some would argue that significant portions have been forged , accidentally mis-written and in many cases entire sections have been added or deleted….as we do NOT have the original texts we can only base our beliefs upon the reading of copies of copies of copies…to say that there have been NO changes is intellectually dishonest….why not argue for simply better behaviour rather than lobby for a type of fundamentalism…..previous philosophies are usually replaced by newer thinking and conclusions …NOTHING remains static despite wishes that they should/might…..move on and embrace the here and now rather than cling to an unknowable past…far more potentially productive….just say’in…..JB
Sounds like you’re just regurgitating the Islamic narrative.
You argue the Biblical message is changed because of translations, circumstances, etc.
Tell me exactly what part of the message has been changed? Show me which doctrine is affected. Until then, all you have are the usual claims made by skeptics. What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.
You mention variants. We are well aware of variants. These have been studied and well-documented. That’s why you even know about it! Variants in the text do not mean the message has been corrupted. Variants do mean contradictions either. The very fact that we have thousands of manuscripts ensures we can have a very accurate re-construction of the original.
In Islam, Uthman burned all variant manuscripts. While we can study our variants, you cant even tell if the actual koran went up in smoke.
You said, “Why not argue for better behaviour.” Sure, I agree. But based on what standards? Based on whose morals? Yours? Muhammad’s?
The guy indulging in pedophilia? Bestiality? Who gets to say what is moral or immoral?
This is insightful but Quran has different transactions as well
I’m a bit disturbed by both the contents of the blog, as well as the comments from admin. Versions and Translations are two definable terms which were obfuscated in this blog to illustrate a particular individuals viewpoint. A translation I can understand – one language into another, in a concise as possible manor to present original content. Even KJV to NIV is a translation… Or is it a “version”? (I cite these two because they were mentioned directly in the blog post.)
Lets define a Version as the Oxford dictionary would: A particular form of something differing in certain respects from an earlier form or other forms of the same type of thing.
Given that definition we can safely call the NIV to be a true Version, and not a full literal Translation. Siting several verses which were omitted from the NIV version here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_verses_not_included_in_modern_English_translations
Feel free to verify many of these yourself at: https://www.biblestudytools.com/parallel-bible/passage/?q=Matthew+18%3A11&t=kjv&t2=niv
One of the most famous bibles for partial missing verses, full missing verses, and even entire sections (specifically Mark 16:9-20 and John 8:1-11), the “New World Translation” completely omits these sections and many others. This is not by definition a translation, but a completely separate version. Sure, most of the other verses, chapters, and books are there, but context is missing when entire verses or sections are completely omitted. They are versions because they suit the viewpoint of the translators.
In your response to JB you said:
“Tell me exactly what part of the message has been changed? Show me which doctrine is affected. Until then, all you have are the usual claims made by skeptics. What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
Well, I’ve shown you what has been changed, and I’ll remind you of Revelation 22:18-19
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
While I can’t say “doctrine” has been changed, as you asserted, I can and have proven that words have changed. And as the last few verses of the bible has stated, changing words has damnable consequences.
Again, in response to your reply to BJ:
It has now been asserted With Evidence – please do us the pleasure of trying to dismiss it with evidence, and become a co-author of those who have changed the words (not doctrines but words) of the bible; then let your final judgement be that of the warnings of Revelation.
Our Scriptures were originally written in (mainly) Hebrew (the OT) and Greek (the NT). Our Bible in English is a TRANSLATION.
One reason there are different translations is because there are different translation philosophies ~ basically, word-for-word (formal equivalence e.g. KJV), thought-for-thought (dynamic equivalence e.g. NIV).
This is what is meant by VERSIONS. It is an ENGLISH version. [There is also a Hindi version, a French version, a Mandarin version…; that does not mean they have different versions of the message!]
There is no such thing as a “different” version of the Bible, like what you insinuate using the fallacy of equivocation, as though one version communicates one message and another version gives a contradictory message.
There is only ONE message – the atonement, redemption and salvation of mankind though Jesus Christ.
Neither you nor JB have shown evidence that there is a “different” version. What you have done is recycle the old claim that different words are used in different translations and/or there are missing verses.
Firstly, it is not a problem that different translations use different words. (Do you think it is a problem that KJV uses “Thou” while NIV uses “You”? Oh no! Words have been changed!!! Beware the warning of Revelation!!?)
Another example: the word “charity” in the KJV 1 Cor 13 is “love” in the NIV. Why? Because the word “charity” today means something completely different back in the 17th century when the KJV was translated! The NIV correctly updates the accurate meaning of the original text.
Secondly, the “problem” of “missing” verses. I looked up one of the links you quoted above and it highlights Matthew 18:11 – “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” This verse is found in the KJV but not in the NIV. What exactly do you think this actually means? Does it mean the verse is missing? Does it mean the verse is lost? Does it mean the verse has been changed/corrupted? Does it mean Jesus did not say those words? Does it mean Jesus did not come to save the lost? What?
I don’t want to go into detail about the study of textual criticism and the abundance of manuscript evidence and that such variants do not mean that there are different “versions” or that verses are missing or corrupted. The very fact that you can quote the verse proves the verse is not missing! Suffice to point out that the very same verse is found in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (KJV) ; For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (NIV)”
Thus proving my point again that the MESSAGE that Jesus came to seek and save the lost is not missing!
In closing, let me reiterate WHY you and muslims have a problem with these “issues” in the Bible.
The Quran’s inspiration is tied to specific WORDS in one human language, Arabic. This means that any translation retards the words of Allah and is in fact, no longer Allah’s exact speech! You, therefore think you can project this handicap of the Quran to the Bible. This is a fallacy!
The Bible is NOT a word-for-word recitations of an alleged deity. The words of the Bible constitute a MESSAGE. Although words are important, it is the MESSAGE that is paramount. Hence, the Bible can be translated into any language, so that the MESSAGE of salvation remains intact and can be conveyed to man, whatever language he speaks.
Wow the writer is so dishonest. The different versions are not the same with other explanations or translations, but SOME HAVE VERSES THAT OTHERS DON’T HAVE. So basically you can find some verses missing or maybe added. That’s why muslims believe that the Bible is parts word of The Creator, but because throughout history people have tampered with it we don’t know anymore which ones are truly from The Creator and which ones are fabrications added by humans.
Please be honest, even if you have a feeling of partizenship, please do not alter the truth by deceiving people with smooth words.
Question: Where is the original Bible today?
Have you ever considered that it is you who have been taught to believe in misconceptions about our Scriptures by your teachers?
What do you believe about the Bible?
You believe the Bible is supposed to be the exact words of God. It was supposedly sent by him. Like your quran.
It isn’t and it didn’t. The Bible was written by men inspired by God. God didn’t write anything himself. He is not a book writer that you believe your god to be. Neither did He recite the words of the Bible to anyone.
This is why your arguments are all straw man fallacy, things like “we dont know anymore which ones are truly from the Creator.” This is an issue for the koran. Not for the Bible.
You and your scholars apply koranic thinking to our Scriptures! Our scriptures did not come from the recitations of one man stumbling out of a cave!
Muslims have been taught by their dishonest teachers that the Bible has been tampered with. But no muslim can provide a shred of ACTUAL evidence. Your best “evidence” is:
i) to point out differences in translations (which I addressed in this article)
ii) to point out missing verses. (these are well documented and known as variants; the very fact you know about them shows they’re not missing! You can find the “missing” verses are always included in footnotes.)
But neither of this is evidence of tampering! In fact, it is impossible to tamper scriptures because of the existence of thousands of manuscripts! How can someone change all the ancient manuscripts? At least the early muslims scholars were honest unlike the modern charlatans that you learn from.
… the charge of corruption of the Biblical texts makes no sense at all. It would not have been possible for Jews and Christians everywhere to agree on changing the text. Even if those in Arabia had done it, the difference between their book and those of their brothers, let us say in Syria and Europe, would have been obvious…We believe that these Gospel accounts are the true Gospel.
[Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) ; Jacques Jomier, “Jesus, The Life of the Messiah”, C. L. S., Madras, 1974, p.216]
Your Question: Where is the original Bible today?
The Bible is a collection or compilation of books spanning 1500 years! We have thousands of manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek and multiple translated languages. Your question proves my point about your misconceptions about the Bible. In any case the oldest collection of the complete Bible dates to the early 4th century and is virtually the same as today’s Bible.
Where is the original Koran? Do you know who compiled the first mushaf? Not Zaid Ibn Thabit. It was Salim. Where is that koran? Uthman destroyed numerous copies of the variant koran including Salim’s. Why? I know muslims like to say koran has been memorised perfectly. If it had been memorised perfectly there would not have existed numerous variant korans that needed to be destroyed!
Please learn more about the development of your koran. Learn also about the development of the Bible. Dont confuse or mixup one with the other.
Here is the root of your misconceptions about the Bible.
You believe the inspiration of the koran is tied to exact words in one language. So you look for this limitation in the Bible as well.
The Bible is not handicapped by this problem that the koran has. The Bible constitutes a message and is not limited in one human language like the koran.
So you dont belive in bible bec. Of different words? But if you are really annoied with that you can transelte the arabic bible bec.we have only one and no one is playing with words or meanings and you wont find mistakes and it is 100% right
Side note, even though we Muslims and Christians we have our disagreements. In my humble opinion we should stand together against evil and the rise of the System of the Antichrist. We muslims and christians both LOVE Jesus (peace be upon him and his Mother) and we both believe that HE WILL COME BACK AND DEFEAT THE ANTICHRIST.
We should support each other and build bridges because there are people who promote wickedness and evil, example: Satanists, Pagans, Atheists, New Age Religions etc.
Christians – believe in Prophet Jesus, but disbelieve in Prophet Muhammad
Jews – disbelieve in Prophet Jesus AND Prophet Muhammad\
Muslims – believe in Prophet Jesus AND Prophet Muhammad (and also Prophet Moses)
Muhammad contradicted the revealed covenants of God. He didn’t even know what they meant.
That’s why we believe he was a false prophet.
His lifestyle and superstitions prove it.
They used a muslim because they can’t find a single mistake in their Quran and whatever they pointed so far it has been answered.
So there’s no other way to attack muslims but this now , this us how low they became😂 When muslims asked questions on the Bible christians felt offended and instead of answering them , they started quoting some false stories of the prophet that are not found in any book.
Who used a muslim? Where?
How is this article an attack against muslims?
This article answers common muslim questions about the Bible, in a friendly conversation between two people. Does that offend you? How?
It has noting to do about mistakes in the Quran. Neither does it even mention your prophet.
Stop using the same old victim card, Alexandra.
Now please tell us why you are really so offended.
I believe the underlying question “Which bible?” is a valid question for any Muslim, Christian, Atheist or other religious believer to ask.
The undeniable truth is that all bible versions are not the same! The very words used in a message are very critical to the meaning of any message. For example, consider the word “not”. If you add or remove this one little word from any truth statement, the meaning is critically changed. That is not to say that the same meaning can’t be conveyed in an equivalent way using different words or sentence constructs. But let us be honest, “Which Bible?” is important.
If you consider who God is, you know He is eternal. This character is also consistent when applied to the Word of God. And that means His word never changes. The Holy Bible says this of the Holy Word of God: Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
So when you read John 1:1 in a freshly printed and updated NWT bible, it is not a true translation of the true Word of God because of a simple letter ‘a’ which was added, as in “a god”. The meaning is changed from the original meaning of the one and only God Almighty to merely a god among many lesser gods.
The answer to “Which Bible?” has to be one that is a Holy Bible. It has to fill the reader with the belief it is perfect. The answer must, without question, be the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Today, we only have one English Holy Bible in which we can believe that it is a settled text, one that is based on a consistent and trusted Christian church text throughout the centuries. The only bible that answers this question is the King James or Authorized Bible.
All of the many English bibles printed since the 1800s are not the same. Almost all of these modern bibles today unequivocally use a different base text from which they begin their translation into English.
In most cases their text is an unsettled text that dynamically changes from one revision to another. For example, the critical texts (USB5 and NA28 identified by version number are now the same text), are an eclectic or synthetic Greek text which does not actually depend on any actual extant Christian manuscript to exist to support it.
In contrast the Traditional and consistent Christian text that the KJV Bible is based on, in almost all cases is supported by the majority of all historical Christian textual evidence and has been in continuous use for thousands of years.
If the best answer to the question is not the consistent Word of God found within the KJV Holy Bible, then of any other bible being promoted one should naturally ask, “Which of the many versions of the other (NIV, NAB, ESV, NWT) is the correct Word of God?”. Will this be the same answer tomorrow?
It is interesting to now see the academic textual critics of the day who were once enamoured by Westcott and Hort are now fleeing in an attempt to distance themselves from their debunked theories; theories which were flawed by their initial bias and supported only by their own subjective statements which were conjectural and founded without evidence. Their end is to be similar to the same fate of the highly corrupt, erroneous and variant Greek text of the Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus codices they based their text upon, which after 200 years found no consistent continuance within the Holy Christian faith.