Bible Translation Sales Rankings (June, 2021)

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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I disagree. The Christian church in the West was united with one ecclesiastical text, one translation and now there are divisions within over translations. It's difficult to claim the word of God is "kept pure in all ages" and able to settle disputes, when the eclectic text is always changing.
I’m not talking about the text. I’m talking about the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. You’re changing the subject. I actually lean toward the “ecclesiastical text.” But that’s not what I’m addressing.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
@Grant it has to do with the underlying text rather than the translation primarily. I think most of us here on the forum who hold to the superiority of the Authorized Version say so primarily because of the underlying Greek and Hebrew. That and the ability of the translation committee on the AV move us to take more confidence in that translation than others. I'm sure those of us who are TR and/or strongly prefer the AV have varying degrees of how or why we would defend our position. I'm open to updated translations provided they don't have modernist glosses and are based on the Ecclesiastical Text.

@JM has rightly pointed you to @Jerusalem Blade for resources on the topic. It is a defensible position and strongly so. I, for one, was won over by those arguments from a Critical Text position. I think both sides need to calmly and thoughtfully address the claims brought forth. We don't need to dismiss each other because of a few bad players either. I say that about KJVO cults and tinfoil hat wearing types. That's not Confessional Bibliology and nor should it be misrepresented as such.
Firstly, be aware I use the NKJV & KJV. Further I am not on a “side” in this matter and have reservations about the critical approach as well. I am aware of the arguments and have studied them. However I will always speak up when the “kept pure in all ages” is blanketed for the 1611 KJV and that version only. I believe that to be an abuse considering the English translations that existed prior. I give a hardy “Amen” to kept pure in all ages as it relates to original writings . But we do not have those, we have man made copies that I believe our Lord has preserved through the ages for our benefit as well. Claiming the Lord’s promises ONLY for the 1611 King James is very suspect and for me is also not entirely honest/transparent application nor scholarship.

I believe the 1611 KJV to be beautiful, BUT if the rub is truly with the underlying manuscripts, then why not update some of the English? This makes me more suspicious that there is a Nostalgia/romance with the king’s English, that is fine and all, but becomes idolatrous when insisted upon since at best it is still a vulgar translation.
 
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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
@Grant it has to do with the underlying text rather than the translation primarily. I think most of us here on the forum who hold to the superiority of the Authorized Version say so primarily because of the underlying Greek and Hebrew. That and the ability of the translation committee on the AV move us to take more confidence in that translation than others. I'm sure those of us who are TR and/or strongly prefer the AV have varying degrees of how or why we would defend our position. I'm open to updated translations provided they don't have modernist glosses and are based on the Ecclesiastical Text.

@JM has rightly pointed you to @Jerusalem Blade for resources on the topic. It is a defensible position and strongly so. I, for one, was won over by those arguments from a Critical Text position. I think both sides need to calmly and thoughtfully address the claims brought forth. We don't need to dismiss each other because of a few bad players either. I say that about KJVO cults and tinfoil hat wearing types. That's not Confessional Bibliology and nor should it be misrepresented as such.
Of course, we are way off topic now, but I just want to say again that textual arguments have nothing to do with the assertion I have been addressing, which is the argument that the Church's "golden age" existed and was maintained primarily because of the dominant use of a particular Bible translation. This it not a sound argument nor even, dare I say, a Christian one.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
@Grant and @Taylor

We are misunderstanding each other here, brothers. I wasn't defending the AV as being kept pure in the sense that the divines were intending. I also wasn't saying that the AV was the reason for a golden age. I know I was jumping into a different argument here. I'm sorry for the confusion. I was trying to address different things. Perhaps I misread. Carry on!


EDIT: @Grant nor would I defend the AV as the intent of the phrase kept pure. OK. Now carry on!
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
@Grant and @Taylor

We are misunderstanding each other here, brothers. I wasn't defending the AV as being kept pure in the sense that the divines were intending. I also wasn't saying that the AV was the reason for a golden age. I know I was jumping into a different argument here. I'm sorry for the confusion. I was trying to address different things. Perhaps I misread. Carry on!
In your defense I was addressing statements made by JM.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Grant,

This matter of understanding the writing in the WCF (& 1689) at 1.8, as regards "kept pure in all ages", has been a thorny matter in some respects. Here's my take:

"The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages…"​

So how, and what was “kept pure in all ages”? — 1) an entire and intact Greek NT? And that throughout the church age till printing came to be? I don’t think so. 2) Or the pure READINGS of the autographs kept in various Greek mss, and then compiled in an authoritative edition, and then printed? Which edition would that be? I know of none. 3) Or the pure READINGS of the Greek autographs kept in various mss—mostly the Traditional (Byzantine) Greek, but a very few kept in other versions due to attacks and mutilations on the Greek—and then put into print in the Greek Textus Receptus editions (known to and used by the Westminster divines), having also been put into the English, Dutch, and other translations? I hold to the third option. No reconstruction here, but keeping.

This way the WCF / 1689 is not made to bear the burden of asserting there was an entire and intact NT (and OT) extant throughout the church age before the Reformation, but rather the authentic readings were.

When it is asserted that the "singular care and providence" of God's preservation applies to all the extant MSS, and it is incumbent upon the experts and scholars of the Bible industry to sort it all out for us, this misses the mark, for obviously much error was preserved; no, a different method of discernment, based upon different presuppositions, must be applied.

The preserved Hebrew and the Greek will, of course, bear on whatever translation derives from them, and the faithfulness and skill of that translation is also of great importance.

One must note, now in 2021, that it appears Rome's assault against the Protestant Reformation's Sola Scriptura was successful, seeing as the variants they introduced – and continue to introduce – have taken the field. In the minds of so many – Presbyterian and Reformed included – the authority of a preserved and intact word of the LORD, is a myth (or wishful thinking) of the past.

Yes, there are a few, particularly among educated pastors, who valiantly contend for an intact preservation apart from the once-universal text of the TR and its AV translation, but in the pews that skill and certainty are missing, and the foundation of the church is greatly weakened. That's why some of us continue to speak up, so that it is clear that all is not lost – text-wise (as many of the top scholars insist it is) – but God has been faithful to His promise to preserve His word not only in the main, but in the minutiae as well.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
Hello Grant,

This matter of understanding the writing in the WCF (& 1689) at 1.8, as regards "kept pure in all ages", has been a thorny matter in some respects. Here's my take:

"The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages…"​

So how, and what was “kept pure in all ages”? — 1) an entire and intact Greek NT? And that throughout the church age till printing came to be? I don’t think so. 2) Or the pure READINGS of the autographs kept in various Greek mss, and then compiled in an authoritative edition, and then printed? Which edition would that be? I know of none. 3) Or the pure READINGS of the Greek autographs kept in various mss—mostly the Traditional (Byzantine) Greek, but a very few kept in other versions due to attacks and mutilations on the Greek—and then put into print in the Greek Textus Receptus editions (known to and used by the Westminster divines), having also been put into the English, Dutch, and other translations? I hold to the third option. No reconstruction here, but keeping.

This way the WCF / 1689 is not made to bear the burden of asserting there was an entire and intact NT (and OT) extant throughout the church age before the Reformation, but rather the authentic readings were.

When it is asserted that the "singular care and providence" of God's preservation applies to all the extant MSS, and it is incumbent upon the experts and scholars of the Bible industry to sort it all out for us, this misses the mark, for obviously much error was preserved; no, a different method of discernment, based upon different presuppositions, must be applied.

The preserved Hebrew and the Greek will, of course, bear on whatever translation derives from them, and the faithfulness and skill of that translation is also of great importance.

One must note, now in 2021, that it appears Rome's assault against the Protestant Reformation's Sola Scriptura was successful, seeing as the variants they introduced – and continue to introduce – have taken the field. In the minds of so many – Presbyterian and Reformed included – the authority of a preserved and intact word of the LORD, is a myth (or wishful thinking) of the past.

Yes, there are a few, particularly among educated pastors, who valiantly contend for an intact preservation apart from the once-universal text of the TR and its AV translation, but in the pews that skill and certainty are missing, and the foundation of the church is greatly weakened. That's why some of us continue to speak up, so that it is clear that all is not lost – text-wise (as many of the top scholars insist it is) – but God has been faithful to His promise to preserve His word not only in the main, but in the minutiae as well.
Thanks for your explanation Steve. I take zero issue with your line of reasoning. I love the 1611 KJV. However I would love to see the English updated with the same manuscript backing as the KJV. IF the KJV manuscript tradition is truly the only right one, then I believe those gifted in the original languages have a duty to update the English for future generations.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Steve, you say this:
One must note, now in 2021, that it appears Rome's assault against the Protestant Reformation's Sola Scriptura was successful, seeing as the variants they introduced – and continue to introduce – have taken the field.
I guess I would like further clarification as to this claim. As it stands, it would seem to be anachronistic, since "Rome's assault against the Protestant Reformation's Sola Scriptura" has to postdate the Reformation, whereas the vast majority of all Greek manuscripts predate the Reformation by a good margin, even the the majority of the Byzantine texts. At best this could mislead people into thinking that Rome is dreaming up new variants that are not present in any of the Greek manuscripts.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks for your explanation Steve. I take zero issue with your line of reasoning. I love the 1611 KJV. However I would love to see the English updated with the same manuscript backing as the KJV. IF the KJV manuscript tradition is truly the only right one, then I believe those gifted in the original languages have a duty to update the English for future generations.
Some have done what you are talking about, but they have lacked any popular support.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Lane!

You said,

"I guess I would like further clarification as to this claim. As it stands, it would seem to be anachronistic, since 'Rome's assault against the Protestant Reformation's Sola Scriptura' has to postdate the Reformation, whereas the vast majority of all Greek manuscripts predate the Reformation by a good margin, even the majority of the Byzantine texts. At best this could mislead people into thinking that Rome is dreaming up new variants that are not present in any of the Greek manuscripts."​

Why would this be anachronistic, as the counter-reformation assault used textual variants from both Rome's Latin Vulgate and Greek manuscripts (as Vaticanus) to try to weaken the Sola Scriptura doctrine based on the Masoretic and TR MSS? With Michael le Jay's Parisian Polyglot, and Brian Walton's Polyglot, Rome's counter-assault had plenty of ammunition in variants – against which John Owen fought valiantly. They had no need to dream up variants – there were plenty available.

To modern times, and Rome's continuing to introduce variants which undermine Sola Scriptura, the Introduction to the Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th revised edition (2006) explicitly confirms this close relationship between the UBS and the Vatican:

“The text shared by these two editions was adopted internationally by Bible Societies, and following an agreement between the Vatican and the United Bible Societies it has served as the basis for new translations and for revisions made under their supervision. This marks a significant step with regard to interconfessional relationships.” (p. 45)​

See for yourself:
 

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Continued:

Further re Rome and the war against the Reformation's Sola Scriptura in our own day, see below, United Bible Societies welcomes Pope Francis:

As I said, Rome has taken the field as regards its Long War against the Reformation. We have, as a unified Reformed church, had our main armory shattered by the assault – and the pity is, we don't even realize it. Still, there are some outposts which hold fast. It's more like guerrilla warfare these days.
 

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greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Steve, you claimed they were introducing new variants. That would imply variants not seen before in Greek manuscripts, would it not? A revision to the critical text based on manuscripts already possessed or even newly found is not the same thing as introducing new variants. I guess I am balking at the imprecision of language here. I have seen the introductions to the 27th and 28th editions of the NTG, and the revisions are based on old manuscripts, not newly manufactured manuscripts. In other words, the variants have been in existence for centuries. The revisions are then the committee changing its mind on how to weight the evidence. What you seem to be suggesting is a committee dreaming up new things out of their own brains to add to the Greek New Testament.

On the Roman Catholic question, just because the committee is cooperating with Rome doesn't mean that it supports Rome's attack on sola scriptura. Erasmus cooperated with Rome as well, and not just in rejecting Vaticanus readings. He especially cooperated with Rome in the matter of the comma Johanneum. And since his edition is the underlying edition of the Stephanus revision, I would think that would constitute an effective tu quoque.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Lane, I gather you are referring to this sentence from my Post #97, "One must note, now in 2021, that it appears Rome's assault against the Protestant Reformation's Sola Scriptura was successful, seeing as the variants they introduced – and continue to introduce – have taken the field", when you say, "Steve, you claimed they were introducing new variants. That would imply variants not seen before in Greek manuscripts, would it not?"

Given the need for precision in such a discussion I may indeed be guilty of imprecision in not making clear that the variants were known to the scholars, both in the time of the Reformation, and also, in our day, much more widely due to the apparatuses in critical Greek editions – and were not "dreamed up" by Rome! I'm sorry I was not clearer.

In our day, just looking at the significant variants for multiple readings among the plethora of Bible versions is what I am referring to, although this did begin much earlier, that is, according to my present scope, in the counter-reformation.

I suppose it is a matter of one's perspective, the committee cooperating with Rome not meaning it supports Rome's attack on sola scriptura. From my perspective, when it promotes Bibles that attempt to demonstrate a better / more reliable text than the Reformers built their doctrine upon – they are in league. The Westminster Assembly would be in an uproar over such a development, could they see it.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
Just thinking out loud and again I am not advocating CT. Is it possible that kept pure in all ages could also include the Lord preserving and keeping manuscripts away from Rome so that they could be found at a later date with a higher level of accountability?

Whose perspective is “kept pure in all ages”… the Lord’s or man’s?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hi Grant,

Could you elucidate this for me a little, "Is it possible that kept pure in all ages could also include the Lord preserving and keeping manuscripts away from Rome so that they could be found at a later date with a higher level of accountability?"
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Just thinking out loud
Does your thinking process differ when you think quietly? ;)

Whose perspective is “kept pure in all ages”… the Lord’s or man’s?
Some months ago I made these comments comparing the Genevan and KJV Bibles

I have found it interesting comparing two esteemed Reformation Bibles - the Geneva Bible (1599 ed) and the Authorised Version (1769 ed).

The Geneva Bible says Rev 16:5 "And I heard the Angel of the waters say, Lord, thou art just, which art, and which wast: and Holy, because thou hast judged these things." This follows the Greek text.
The Authorised version says "And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus." This follows Beza's conjectural emendation.

The Geneva Bible says 1 John 2:23 "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father."
The Authorised version says "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." In my AV this extra portion is in italics.

Here we have textual variances among two esteemed Reformation Bibles.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Does your thinking process differ when you think quietly? ;)


Some months ago I made these comments comparing the Genevan and KJV Bibles
Not to mention I John 5:7, the famous Johannine Comma, is not present in the first Luther Bible, reflecting the earlier edition of the TR that did not contain it, though the later English Bibles based on the TR did contain it.
 
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Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
Hi Grant,

Could you elucidate this for me a little, "Is it possible that kept pure in all ages could also include the Lord preserving and keeping manuscripts away from Rome so that they could be found at a later date with a higher level of accountability?"
Steve,

You are much more knowledgeable on this subject than I, so feel free to fill in my gaps. When I last looked into these arguments, my understanding was that one of the things that the Exclusive Textus Receptus position holds is that the manuscripts discovered after the 1611, which held a claim of predating the manuscripts used by the 1611, is that the older manuscripts from other areas could not be trusted. Is this correct?

If so, then my question is with regard to the perspective (man’s or God’s or both) of the phrase of “Pure in all ages”. Is it not possible that in the Lord’s providence that he allowed other trustworthy manuscripts to be discovered AFTER manuscripts included in the Textus Receptus. This keeping them from harm that we could never know because we do not know the full counsel of God?

I hope I have not further muddied the water!
 
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VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Although I would wish it weren’t the case, I do wonder how much of the KJV sales and thus ranking are due to its cheapness and availability as a gift Bible and other such uses, maybe purchased by people who really don’t know the difference.
Don’t discount English majors! It’s been 12 years, but I remember hearing some students in an English literature class at UW Seattle saying it was a required text.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I think you may be confusing the RSV (1952) with the Revised Version (1885). Prior to that liberals used the KJV, just like conservatives, though it didn't make them any more conservative....

The RV is also a liberal translation based on the work of the heretics Westcott and Hort. All translations from the RV onwards were the result of declension in the church.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Huh?


Amen. I’m not at all against the KJV. I love it. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing that our Bible translation is the primary mark of a healthy church.

I don't believe I said the dominance of the KJV was the "primary mark of a healthy church". I was responding to numerous comments in which people looked for a reason to explain the continuing popularity of the KJV other than it just being significantly more popular with a very large number of Christians than any of the myriad modern translations which are the pet projects of one publisher or another, or one denomination or another. Of course the rash of comments warning against what each commenter imagined I said is very telling in itself.
 
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alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
To say, “The KJV was the dominant translation during Protestantisms greatest era, and therefore caused it,”

But of course I never said that. But by the way you have written this, writing "to say" and the use of quotation marks, you are saying I did say that, which is a lie, and a gross misrepresentation of what I actually said and is thus a 9th commandment violation.
 
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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
But of course I never said that. But by the way you have written this, writing "to say" and the use of quotation marks, you are saying I did say that, which is a lie, and a gross misrepresentation of what I actually said and is thus a 9th commandment violation.
I never said that was your quote. My initial response to you was a summary of the logic of your post. Everything after that was from using that as a jumping-off point, and from interacting with JM.
 
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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
*Moderator Hat On*

Cool the temp here folks.
Thanks for the admonition. My "hair-trigger" comment was unnecessarily escalating. For that I apologize. I will edit my post to reflect a kinder tone.

@alexandermsmith, to be clear, it was not my intention to make it seem as if the words in quotation marks was something you had said. As I explained, at that point I was already going back and forth with JM. If that's how it came off, then I apologize.

However, I would like to retrace our steps in order to assess whether my initial reply to you reflected the substance of the logic behind your statement. @Pilgrim said, "Usage of the KJV does not necessarily equate with soundness," and, "No version will ever have the dominance that the KJV had until the 1950s," to which you replied, "The best days of Protestantism were also when the KJV was the exclusive English translation. Go figure." It is entirely reasonable for someone to read this comment in that context and gather from it that you believe that the reason for "the best days of Protestantism" was that "the KJV was the exclusive English translation." If you meant something other than that, then you would have done well to clarify, brother. Instead, all any of us had to go on was this short comment, and an appended "go figure," which certainly didn't help us interpret your post as having been made in charity.

Hopefully this will help us have more profitable conversation in the future.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks for the admonition. My "hair-trigger" comment was unnecessarily escalating. For that I apologize. I will edit my post to reflect a kinder tone.

@alexandermsmith, to be clear, it was not my intention to make it seem as if the words in quotation marks was something you had said. As I explained, at that point I was already going back and forth with JM. If that's how it came off, then I apologize.

However, I would like to retrace our steps in order to assess whether my initial reply to you reflected the substance of the logic behind your statement. @Pilgrim said, "Usage of the KJV does not necessarily equate with soundness," and, "No version will ever have the dominance that the KJV had until the 1950s," to which you replied, "The best days of Protestantism were also when the KJV was the exclusive English translation. Go figure." It is entirely reasonable for someone to read this comment in that context and gather from it that you believe that the reason for "the best days of Protestantism" was that "the KJV was the exclusive English translation." If you meant something other than that, then you would have done well to clarify, brother. Instead, all any of us had to go on was this short comment, and an appended "go figure," which certainly didn't help us interpret your post as having been made in charity.

Hopefully this will help us have more profitable conversation in the future.

I was responding directly to this comment by Pilgrim:

"Many of the worst purveyors of easy-believism use the KJV, for what its worth. Many heretics and cults do too. (There are some groups that are widespread in some parts of the USA that are probably unheard of if not nonexistent in the UK.) Usage of the KJV does not necessarily equate with soundness. In the USA, more often than not, it is the opposite."

in which a correlation (not absolute, of course) was being drawn between sects and cults and the use of the KJV. My comment was merely meant to say that during the best days of Protestantism the KJV was the English translation that was used almost exclusively, which I think is an historical fact. I think there is a clear element of tongue-in-cheek in my post, to the extent that I obviously was not claiming that use of the KJV = soundness. Rather it was to argue that if we're going to call attention to the use of the KJV today by heretics and cults, all the more we should draw attention to the fact that the very best of our tradition used the KJV.

I accept that it was not your intention to claim that is what I said. However, more than one comment certainly implied that was the argument I was making when I think it is quite clear, when read in the context of the post to which it was a direct response, I was not making that argument.
 
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