The End of the Age of Great Bibles? | First Things

Growing up in the 1980s, it seemed there were a few basic Bible translations different Christians in my circles used. My Evangelical friends had the New International Version (NIV), we Lutherans had the Revised Standard Version (RSV), and my fundamentalist friends had the King James (KJV). My Catholic friends had their own various translations, either the official New American Bible (NAB), the Jerusalem Bible, or the Douay-Rheims. Many people also had the paraphrase The Living Bible on hand. Looking back now, that’s a lot of Bibles compared to what prior generations had. But it’s nothing compared to the profusion of Bible translations we have today. Mainliners revised the RSV into the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), conservative Evangelicals bought the rights to the RSV and revised it into the English Standard Version (ESV), and evangelical Catholics have issued a Rome-compliant version of the RSV in the Ignatius Bible—Second Catholic Edition. The NIV was issued in a couple “inclusive language” editions (the TNIV and NIVI) and now finally the revised NIV of 2011. The NAB has been undergoing needed revisions. And we now have the ecumenical Common English Bible (CEB), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), and the New Living Translation (NLT). The word of God as alphabet soup.

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