Wednesday, February 16, 2011

English Bible Versions: Literal/Formal to Dynamic/Functional

List of English Bible Versions (this is the file to download): Abbreviations, Literal to Dynamic, Notes, Recommendations
I have also posted this file as a Google Doc you can view online but not edit. (UPDATE: Sharing has now been enabled.)

I compiled this resource particularly for BibleWorks8 users in mind, but it may prove helpful to anyone who is working with English Bible versions. What I've done is made a listing of about 66 English versions, most of which are available in BibleWorks8. The first two pages of the DOC file pull together all these versions into three groups: those that come standard in BW8, those that are available as user-created downloads for BW8, and other versions for which it is usually possible to create an external link from within BW8. These have been organized alphabetically by their BW8 abbreviation. Since this is just a plain Word DOC, anyone can edit it as they see fit.

Next, I started with a helpful list I found online by Bruce Terry which provides an approximate rating of each version from literal (or using formal equivalence) to dynamic or paraphrase. I edited this list and added a few evaluations of my own. The scale used is where a "1" would be an interlinear Hebrew/Greek to English and a 10 would be a loose paraphrase. (The Cotton Patch Version gets a "10.") 

On the third page, the English versions are organized according to this scale of 1-10.

On the fourth page, you will find the recommendations I give to my students in terms of the versions I think are most helpful for consulting. (The graphic below is from this page.) In addition to the notes on the table, I also provide additional rationale why I think each are worth looking at.

If you are a BibleWorks user, you may be interested in having these texts appear in the program in this order of most literal to most dynamic. For such an ordering, you need to specify a Version Display Order (VDO) file. Save this file in your BibleWorks8/init directory. In BibleWorks, click on the little setup wrench icon, choose "Version Order" on the left, then open this LitDyn.VDO file you just saved. You will need to specify the versions you want to display to see them all visible. You can, of course, also modify this VDO file to something you think is better.

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