2024 Bible Translation Guide

Which Bible Translation Should I Read?

How does the GOD’S WORD Translation Bible compare to other Holy Bibles? Learn about some of the major differences between the clear, natural English of GOD’S WORD Bible and other translations.

GOD’S WORD Bible Is in a Category All Its Own

GOD’S WORD Translation Bible was produced using a theory of translation that combines accuracy with understandability. This theory is called closest natural equivalence. In short, closest natural equivalence concentrates on accurately translating the meaning of the original languages into natural English.

At the same time, closest natural equivalence retains as many of the unique characteristics of the original text as possible without making the English translation unnatural or harder to understand than the text was in the original languages. That’s why you can hear God’s word in clear, natural English.

For more information, download the complete brochure about the translation process of GOD’S WORD.


Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Formal Equivalence

Most well-known English Holy Bible translations were produced using the traditional approach to translation which is called formal equivalence. Most translations of the Bible available in bookstores today use some variation of formal­-equivalent translation.

How does formal equivalence compare to closest natural equivalence?

Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Functional Equivalence

Because of the problems associated with formal-equivalent translation, another translation theory was developed. It is called functional-equivalent translation. Functional equivalence takes the differences between the source language and the target language seriously. The functional ­equivalent theory is not concerned with preserving the maximum number of characteristics (e.g., word order, grammar, syntax, idioms, etc.) of the source language text, because it is often unnatural in the target language.

How does functional equivalence compare to closest natural equivalence?

Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Paraphrase

A paraphrase is a retelling of Scripture using an individual person’s words, in an attempt to make the meaning clearer.

How does paraphrase compare to closest natural equivalence?

Closest Natural Equivalence Maintains the Balance

Closest natural equivalence focuses upon meaning and naturalness in the target language. The goal of closest natural equivalence is to communicate as much of the source text as possible in a way that is usable for the type of readers that the original author targeted.

How does closest natural equivalence maintain the balance?



Would you like to use our comparison chart for teaching or publication? Download the chart (available in both color and b/w) and please use the following credit: Bible Translation Guide, courtesy of God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society, Orange Park, FL 32067.