Frequently Asked Questions
About the bible
This page if for individuals and provides answers to frequently asked questions such as the following questions:
- What is the Holy Bible?
- What is in the Bible?
- What language was the Bible written in?
- What is God's name?
- Why do different versions of the Holy Bible differ in some details?
- Which English translation of the Holy Bible is best?
- Why can't I download some Bible translations?
- What about Bible contradictions?
- Where can I download and read the Bible on the Internet?
This FAQ reflects the author's Christian beliefs, reverence for God, and a great respect for God's Holy Word, the Bible. I believe that the Holy Bible was inspired by God, who had His servants speak, write, and preserve His word. The Bible reflects the style of the many people involved, but it is from God, and should be respected as such.
The Holy Bible is God's written word to mankind. It has been written over thousands of years by many people under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and miraculously preserved until today. There are many ancient documents, but those in the Holy Bible are of great importance to Jews and Christians, because they explain the way to fellowship with God and the way to live.
The Holy Bible is a collection of books. These are arranged in the Old Testament (before Jesus Christ) and New Testament. The Old Testament contains the same books as the Jewish Bible, or Tanakh, and consists of 3 or 4 main sections:
- The Law (Torah), called the 5 Books of Moses. These are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These tell about creation, the patriarchs, the miraculous way that God broke the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and more.
- History. These tell how God has intervened, interacted, and taught people through history. God's mixture of justice, mercy, and love are clearly seen in these books.
- Wisdom literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs), also called the poetic books include prayers, great wisdom, and some prophesy. Many of the things written in the Psalms were fulfilled by Jesus, the Messiah. The history and wisdom literature books combined are referred to as "The Writings" (Kethuvim).
- The Prophets (Nevi'im). These contain God's Word to His people, both in terms of current activities and in predicting future events.
The New Testament consists of 4 sections:
- The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) tell about Jesus' life and teaching.
- Acts records the history of the early church and some of the miracles done by the Holy Spirit.
- The Letters (also called the Epistles) contain important teaching for those who follow Jesus Christ.
- Revelation is a book of prophesy that tells about what is going to happen, as well as sending some warning messages to the current assemblies of Christians.
For more information, open up a Bible or access on our web site choices of Bible Versions click here and please read God's Word daily.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. There are a few passages in Aramaic and Chaldean. Because languages continually evolve, and people speak many languages, the Holy Bible is being translated by many groups, with the goal of providing a copy to everyone in their own language.
Although there is only one true God, He is called by many names in the Holy Bible. In Hebrew, God's most common proper name is represented by the 4 consonants YOD HE WAW HE, which is usually written "Yahweh" in English. Sometimes "Jehovah" is used, which is what you get when you combine the vowels for "Adonai" (Lord) with the consonants for "Yahweh." This name is sometimes rendered "LORD" in English translations, not to be confused with "Lord" (the rendition of "Adonai") -- note the small capital letters in one and not the other. Trust me, God knows who you are talking to when you pray, so please don't sweat this one too much.
Which one do you read and apply to your life?
Here are a few of the best:
- The New King James Version (NKJV) is good for those who are used to the KJV, but want something in Modern English. The New Testament is based on the Textus Receptus, but has footnotes where the UBS and Majority Text differ.
- The New International Version (NIV) is the best-selling English Bible. Its New Testament is based on the UBS Greek text. Its language is easy to read, and its accuracy is well respected. I often read from this aloud to my family. This is the Bible my third grade son reads regularly. It is not widely available on line, due to copyright restrictions.
- The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update (NASB95) is an excellent translation, with wording that is more literal than the NIV, and which holds to the style of the original more closely. The NASB is well known for paying close attention to tenses of words, etc. It is based on the UBS4 Greek text.
- The New American Standard Bible (1977) is almost as good as the NASB95, except that it reverts to archaic English in the Psalms and in the language of prayer, and is a little harder to read. It is not widely available on line, due to copyright restrictions.
- The World English Bible (WEB) is a revision of the ASV of 1901 into Modern English. The New Testament is revised to reflect the Majority Text. God's name in the Old Testament is rendered as "Yahweh" instead of "Jehovah" because that is widely regarded to be more correct. This is an all-volunteer project still in progress. The purpose of the WEB is to put an accurate, whole, Modern English Bible into the Public Domain.
- The Amplified Bible (Amp) is excellent for detailed study of a passage. It seeks to reveal the full richness of the underlying Greek and Hebrew, and often reveals insights that you might miss in reading a more conventional translation. This isn't real good for reading aloud (because of its punctuation and wordiness), but I recommend that you get one for study to set along side one of the above translations. The Amplified Old Testament is not available in any electronic form, because of copyright issues. The Amplified New Testament is available from Logos.
Here are some other translations that are worth considering:
- The English Standard Version (ESV) is an accurate, readable, literal translation based on the UBS4 Greek text. Copyrighted.
- God's Word is a fresh, new translation from the God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. It is easy to read and well done. Copyrighted.
- The New Living Translation (NLT) is a thought-for-thought translation that seeks to retain the readability of The Living Bible, but with greater accuracy. Copyrighted.
- The New International Reader's Version (NIrV) is a simplified (3rd grade level) Bible that is based on the NIV. It is the best limited vocabulary Bible I have seen. Copyrighted.
- Today's English Version (TEV), also called the Good News Bible or Good News for Modern Man, is an older Modern English Bible from the American Bible Society. In some ways, I like it better than the CEV, but it has taken some flak for being too loose of a translation. Actually, I believe that they did fairly well with a limited vocabulary. Copyrighted.
- The Living Bible (TLB) is a paraphrase of the KJV that sacrifices accuracy for readability. Sometimes in makes a point pretty well. The flashlight in Psalms 119:105 seems a bit odd, though. Copyrighted.
- The Message is a paraphrase that claims to be a translation. It is very earthy, and is a great commentary, but not very accurate. Copyrighted.
- The King James Version (KJV), sometimes called the Authorized Version (AV) was quite revolutionary when it came out in 1611 (and was revised a few times to correct its large collection of typos). It is still very popular, in spite of its archaic and difficult to understand language. Indeed, there is a cult-like following of this translation that claim that this is the only true Word of God, superior even to the original languages. While that claim is bizarre, there are a vociferous few people on this news group who hold to that opinion. The King James Version of the Holy Bible is in the Public Domain. You can publish, copy, distribute it for free, or sell it, all without having to ask anyone's permission.
- The American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901 is a revision of the Revised Bible, a revision of the KJV for language and to take advantage of some new (then) manuscript discoveries to allow greater accuracy. The ASV uses "Jehovah" for God's name, instead of "LORD" (which the KJV and many others use). The language of the ASV is less archaic than the KJV, but still far from modern. The ASV is in the Public Domain.
It is probably because they are copyrighted, and the copyright owner chooses not to allow them to be given away freely.
Those who claim the Bible is full of contradictions generally only find them because they don't really read what the Bible actually says in its own context.
To really read the Bible to find out what it means, you need to read with the following questions in mind:
- What does the text say? (observation)
- What does it mean? (interpretation)
- How does it apply to me? (application)
The following guidelines are helpful in proper Bible reading:
- Scripture interprets Scripture. If an idea you get from one verse is out of line with the rest of what the Bible says, you need to reevaluate what you thought that verse said. "Let everything be established by 2 or 3 witnesses" before you make a doctrine of something.
- LIteral where possible -- what it says, it means.
Consider the form of the writing in each section (i. e. historical, narrative, parable, poetry, teaching, prediction of the future, etc.).
Consider grammar and history. This means understanding how natural languages work in general, and at least something of how the original languages of the Bible work. It also means that it is helpful to understand the history, culture, geography, etc., of the original audience.
HOLY BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
King James Bible Online here.
The Children's Bible ( PDF'S file) here.
English - American Standard Version - (PDF) regular print here.
(be patient opening this large file)
English - American Standard Version (PDF) large print here.
French - French Darby Translation (PDF) here.
German - German Luther Translation (PDF) here.
Portuguese - Portuguese Translation (PDF) here.
Albanian - Albanian Translation (PDF) here.
Italian - Italian Translation (PDF) here.
Spanish - Spanish Reina Valera Translation here.
Vietnamese - Vietnamese Translation (PDF) here.
Questions on Opening / Downloading / Saving PDF & Zip Files here.
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The scriptures are perfect, but men are fallible. I prayerfully check all of the material I put on my sites. However, I am quite capable of missing something or making a mistake. If you find anything at all on these pages that is questionable or find any links broken please contact us here.