Questions, Insights, & Responses

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Q&A #154 - Bible versions, their textual basis, and their reliability

by Robert Nguyen Cramer (

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.





Where is the best place to learn what original text was used for each Bible version/translation that is available today? All the contention among the modern and historical scholars has become confusing to me, and I would just like to see "which Bible used which text," if you know what I mean. Thanks.



You asked a very good question. There certainly is a lot of confusion over Bible versions and their reliability. Their textual basis is extremely important. So is the translation methodology. With both, it is important that the translation editors and the translators do not allow their theological biases to inappropriately influence their translations.

The textual basis of the translation usually is described in the Preface of that Bible version. Since 1955 the most widely recognized and definitive Greek New Testament (GNT) has been that produced by the United Bible Societies (UBS). It is known both by its UBS name (the most current being the UBS GNT 4th Revised Edition or simply UBS4) and by its Nestle-Aland name (the most current being the Nestle-Aland 27th Edition or simply NA27).

The most widely recognized Hebrew Old Testament is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (or simply BHS), published by the UBS. The most widely recognized Greek Old Testament (Septuagint or simply LXX) is also the one published by UBS. The texts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (or simply DSS) and other ancient manuscripts are also carefully evaluated for their possible contribution in determining the earliest texts of the Old Testament.

The link below lists "Bible versions, their New Testament basis, and their reliability." It also provides various means for determining for yourself which Bible versions are most reliable.

Recommendations for the best Bible versions may be found at:

Especially good choices are described at:


Copyright 1996-2005 Robert Nguyen Cramer