Why Are There So Many Bible Translations?

The very fact that we study the Bible in English implies that someone has already interpreted the original message into our language. Discover the Bible’s organization and its numerous translations to understand some of our interpretive challenges. 

  • The Bible is 1 narrative, 2 testaments, 66 books, 39 Old Testament books, 27 New Testament books
  • 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses, 773,692 words
  • The Bible was written by Kings to shepherds, Scholars to fishermen, Prophets to generals, Tax collectors to doctors, And cupbearers to priests.
  • The Bible was written over a 2,000 year span, On 3 different continents, In 3 different languages 

Biblical Sections

  • Old Testament
    • Law
    • History
    • Writings
    • Prophets
  • New Testament
    • Gospels
    • Acts
    • Letters
    • Revelation

What Scripture Teaches

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

  • Teaching – what’s right
  • Reproof – what’s not right
  • Correction – how to make it right
  • Training – how to keep it right

The Bible Is:

  • Inspired – breathed out by God
  • Infallible – Scripture is incapable of teaching error
  • Inerrant – the original translations contain no error 


  • The very fact that you are reading the Bible in English means that you have already entered the process of interpretation.
  • Someone translated the words that you are reading and they had difficult decisions of which you are unaware.

3 Types of Translations

  • Word-for-Word attempts to keep the translation as close as possible to exact words and phrasing in the original languages.
  • Thought-for-Thought attempts to translate words and phrases into dynamic equivalents in the receptor language.
  • Feeling-for-Feeling attempts to translate the feel of the text from one language to the other with less concern about original wording.