2018 Market-Share of Bible Translations

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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
NIV - 28.9%

NLT - 15.3%

KJV - 14.7%

NKJV - 11.9%

ESV - 9.9%

CSB - 3.8%

NirV - 2.2%

NASB - 1.9%

The Message - 1.5%

Some thoughts:

(1) The NIV continues as the best-selling translation in the US despite its gag-inducing ultra-paraphrastic nature, among other things.

(2) The KJV is still in third place despite the plethora of recent new translations.

(3) The KJV and the NKJV, combined, have a market-share of 26.6% - more than a quarter of the Bible market in the US.

(4) The ESV, despite (or maybe because of?) Crossway's relentless marketing since 2001, still can't get higher than 3rd or 4th place in these surveys despite the excellence of the translation.

(5) The NASB continues its slide into oblivion.

(6) It's nice to see that few people buy "The Message" - showing that people still have good taste.

(7) The gap between the first five and the last four is pretty steep - 6.1%.

(8) The smallest gaps in market-share are between the NLT and the KJV (0.6%), the NASB and "The Message" (0.4%), and the NirV and the NASB (0.3%). Interesting.

The stats were posted on Twitter by a Christian organization a couple of days ago whose name I've forgotten (that happens when you're 66!). The thoughts are my own.

Opinions?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
The NIV has issues, for sure, but “gag-inducing” and “ultra paraphrastic” are not words I would use to describe it. I know this was likely rhetorical overstatement, but still.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Props for "ultra-paraphrastic," a ten-dollar word if ever there was one. But I too call that an overstatement, better suited for describing The Message.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Freshman
The popularity of the KJV/NKJV really surprises me. Are there large denominations or groups that tend to use these that would account for such a large market share?
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I'm in the top 1.9 percent! :)

Market share suggests volume sold in 2018, right? (As opposed to number of churches using the translation or preferred reading among believers.)
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I unashamedly find the NIV, both 1984, and the 2011, are translations that I like. This year, in the M'Cheyne 1 year reading plan, I'm exclusively using the NKJV. My pastor used to preach from that the first few years I attended our congregation. I've always liked it since I 'cut my teeth' on the KJV.

I never could wrap my arms around the ESV. The fact that it is a revision of the RSV may have something to do with that. I've been blown to and fro by the winds of controversy surrounding the Received versus the Critical Text, but have finally come to be personally reconciled to accepting English translations from both sources.

One thing that the NKJV has helped me with, in coming to that reconciliation, is the footnotes demonstrating that, aside from the large controversies, over the Johannine Comma, and the Pericope Adulterae, most of the differences seem inconsequential to me.To the point where I'd be happy to stick with the Received Text if I could only have one.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The popularity of the KJV/NKJV really surprises me. Are there large denominations or groups that tend to use these that would account for such a large market share?

I think the vast majority of Bibles placed by the Gideons are still those translations. That has to boost the market share.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I think the vast majority of Bibles placed by the Gideons are still those translations. That has to boost the market share.

Gideons are switching to the ESV with a few modifications (they include the longer ending of Mark, and the woman caught in adultery with no footnotes).
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I have the NIV dramatized audio Bible. Honestly, I really love it. I know there are discrepancies over translations, but it's helped me love God's word moreso, and I can't ask for much more than that.
 
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JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I have the NIV dramatized audio Bible. Honestly, I really love it. I know there are discrepancies over translations, but itsi helped me love God's word moreso, and I can't ask for much more than that.
In 1976, at 37 years old, I began reading the Bible for the first time, to prove to myself that it was mystical nonsense. It was a month or two later that I became a believer, through reading the Scriptures.

I bought a New Schofield Reference Bible KJV. I shortly thereafter added an NIV to be better able to understand what I was having difficulty with in the KJV. Such as Romans 5:15 - 19 . I needed the BIble in plain English to translate the KJV in language I understood.

The NIV is the Bible in the pew (1984 version) in the church I attend, and it still is a favorite of mine, though I read all of the main English translations to some extent.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
The popularity of the KJV/NKJV really surprises me. Are there large denominations or groups that tend to use these that would account for such a large market share?

Some people still like a Bible that is translated into English that doesn’t sound like forced slang or a bad George Lucas screenplay.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
In 1976, at 37 years old, I began reading the Bible for the first time, to prove to myself that it was mystical nonsense. It was a month or two later that I became a believer, through reading the Scriptures.

I bought a New Schofield Reference Bible KJV. I shortly thereafter added an NIV to be better able to understand what I was having difficulty with in the KJV. Such as Romans 5:15 - 19 . I needed the BIble in plain English to translate the KJV in language I understood.

The NIV is the Bible in the pew (1984 version) in the church I attend, and it still is a favorite of mine, though I read all of the main English translations to some extent.
I still use and enjoy the 1984 edition of the Niv, but the 2011 revision went way overboard in its inclusive language renderings for my taste.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
NIV - 28.9%

NLT - 15.3%

KJV - 14.7%

NKJV - 11.9%

ESV - 9.9%

CSB - 3.8%

NirV - 2.2%

NASB - 1.9%

The Message - 1.5%

Some thoughts:

(1) The NIV continues as the best-selling translation in the US despite its gag-inducing ultra-paraphrastic nature, among other things.

(2) The KJV is still in third place despite the plethora of recent new translations.

(3) The KJV and the NKJV, combined, have a market-share of 26.6% - more than a quarter of the Bible market in the US.

(4) The ESV, despite (or maybe because of?) Crossway's relentless marketing since 2001, still can't get higher than 3rd or 4th place in these surveys despite the excellence of the translation.

(5) The NASB continues its slide into oblivion.

(6) It's nice to see that few people buy "The Message" - showing that people still have good taste.

(7) The gap between the first five and the last four is pretty steep - 6.1%.

(8) The smallest gaps in market-share are between the NLT and the KJV (0.6%), the NASB and "The Message" (0.4%), and the NirV and the NASB (0.3%). Interesting.

The stats were posted on Twitter by a Christian organization a couple of days ago whose name I've forgotten (that happens when you're 66!). The thoughts are my own.

Opinions?
My favorite, the Nas, seems to getting to the point where only pastors and teachers will be using them, and seems like the Csb is gaining some traction.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My favorite, the Nas, seems to getting to the point where only pastors and teachers will be using them, and seems like the Csb is gaining some traction.

I think the CSB is excellent. I’d think it could gain some traction with NIV fans.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I think the CSB is excellent. I’d think it could gain some traction with NIV fans.
I have been using part of the time now my Csb for reading, and would say that it does not seem to be as bad as the Niv is in making decisions regarding inclusive languages.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I'm a fan of the NIV 84 for its readability while not sacrificing much accuracy. Very often it's not too different in terms of literalness than the ESV. That said, I'm surprised it has not suffered more in sales from the 2011 update, which has been reviewed badly and rejected by many churches. I have a 2011. In much of the OT, it is often quite similar to the 84 with small, good updates. The NT and some of the Psalms are bad, and the aim of being gender inclusive has really messed up an otherwise solid translation. The NIV will never be my study translation for many reasons, but it's my go to for reading large portions of Scripture, especially in the historical books; but I can no longer recommend it because of the 2011 updates.

I'm surprised the CSB hasn't made up more of that market. It seems a lot of people are going from the NIV84 to the ESV instead. I think the forthcoming EHV is the best replacement for the NIV84, but I worry about how well it will be marketed/received. http://wartburgproject.org/
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I was 'turned off' by the concept of inclusive language in the Bible. However, in the spirit of avoiding contempt prior to investigation I read D.A. Carson's "The Inclusive Language Debate, A Plea For Realism." This book brought me to see the issue in a different light, and I still don't like it, but it isn't a deal breaker as far as it has gone.

I'm a fan of the NKJV, and have been for some time, to the extent that I proposed our congregation replace our worn 1984 NIV pew Bibles with new NKJV copies. I looked into it and found that, while you can get case lots of ESV on sale reasonably priced, the NKJV pew Bibles are quite a bit more pricey. Take into account that we need the large print hardback version for whichever we choose.

The NKJV is rated to be as literal, and as accurate, as the NASB. According to Michael Marlow, Bible Research, it is more accurate in some places. The debate between those who hold to the Critical Text, versus the Received Text, probably has something to do with the NKJV being lower on the totem pole than it deserves to be.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I think the forthcoming EHV is the best replacement for the NIV84, but I worry about how well it will be marketed/received. http://wartburgproject.org/

I took a look at the site and read this: ". . .it introduces new terms in those places where the traditional terms no longer communicate clearly." Uh-oh. Possible red flag here.

Looks like it's going to be a translation primarily marketed to the Lutheran Church.
 

BottleOfTears

Puritan Board Freshman
I took a look at the site and read this: ". . .it introduces new terms in those places where the traditional terms no longer communicate clearly." Uh-oh. Possible red flag here.
They said that after talking about how the translation compared to older ones, so I think that's more in the context of not just keeping older language from the KJV for sentimental reasons, for instance.

Later on when talking about formality vs informality, it looks like they intent to include biblical concepts and language, even if some study might be needed for full comprehension.

"The Evangelical Heritage Version is designed for learning and teaching. Our translators assume that their readers have the ability and the desire to learn new biblical words and to deepen their understanding of important biblical terms and concepts. Translators should not be condescending or patronizing toward their readers but should be dedicated to helping them grow. The Bible was written for ordinary people, but it is a literary work with many figures of speech and many rare words. The Bible is a book to be read, but it is also a book to be studied. Our footnotes are designed to assist in the process of learning and teaching. Our translation is in that sense a textbook."

So I'm doubting very much that they are going to take out words like "propitiation" or "justification".
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
The popularity of the KJV/NKJV really surprises me. Are there large denominations or groups that tend to use these that would account for such a large market share?

I was surprised when I moved to SW Virginia that the KJV and NKJV are immensely popular here. I, personally, prefer the KJV for textual reasons, but the region, outside of the urban areas is dominated by old "country Baptists", German Baptists, Holiness churches, and Church of Christ/Christian Church, all of which tend toward the KJV/NKJV. I think that they still have a lot of currency in traditional (especially rural) evangelicalism as opposed to the Rick Warren community church evangelicalism that tends to dominate the metropolitan suburbs.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
For those who missed it, I created a new thread to discuss the EHV so as not to send this thread too far off on a tangent: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/evangelical-heritage-version.97253/

I will note that propitiation is not used by most newer translations. The EHV follows the CSB, NIV, NRSV, etc. here. I personally think "atoning sacrifice" is an acceptable translation of ἱλασμός from what I've read and it or something very similar is used by a lot of translations: https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/1 John 2:2 I'm also not aware of any translations before the KJV that used propitiation (e.g., Tyndale, Geneva, etc. don't use it).
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Maybe this is a specifically English only list, but I had thought a Spanish translation had made into the top ten in recent years. I remember finding it heartening that Protestant Spanish translation was making inroads.
 
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