In addition to providing affordable and cheap bibles to all of our customers, we also hope that through our site, you'll be able to find answers to any of your questions you have about bible history, different bible materials (leather, ribbon stitching, padded cover, etc) bible publishers (Cambridge bibles, Oxford bibles, etc), and more. Listed below are definitions and some answers to commonly asked questions:
How We Got the Bible - Ten Key Points
1. The Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
2. The Bible is made up of 66 different books that were written over 1600 years (from approximately 1500 BC to AD 100) by more than 40 kings, prophets, leaders, and followers of Jesus. The Old Testament has 39 books (written approximately 1500-400 BC). The New Testament has 27 books (written approximately AD 45-100). The Hebrew Bible has the same text as the English Bible's Old Testament, but divides and arranges it differently.
3. The Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew, with some Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek.
4. The books of the Bible were collected and arranged and recognized as inspired sacred authority by councils of rabbis and councils of church leaders based on careful guidelines.
5. Before the printing press was invented, the Bible was copied by hand. The Bible was copied very accurately, in many cases by special scribes who developed intricate methods of counting words and letters to insure that no errors had been made.
6. The Bible was the first book ever printed on the printing press with moveable type (Gutenberg Press, 1455, Latin Bible).
7. There is much evidence that the Bible we have today is remarkably true to the original writings. Of the thousands of copies made by hand before 1500, more than 5.300 Greek manuscripts from the New Testament alone still exist today. The text of the Bible is better preserved than the writings of Plato or Aristotle.
8. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the astonishing reliability of some of the copies of the Old Testament made over the years. Although some spelling variations exist, no variation affects basic Bible doctrines.
9. As the Bible was carried to other countries, it was translated into the common language of the people by scholars who wanted others to know God's Word. Today there are still 2,000 groups with no Bible in their own language.
10. By AD 200, the Bible was translated into seven languages; by 500, 13 languages; by 900 17 languages; by 1400, 28 languages; by 1800, 57 languages; by 1900, 537 languages, by 1980, 1100 languages; by 2006, 2,426 languages have some portions of the Scripture.
Source: The World Christian Encyclopedia; Wycliffe, International.
Different Approaches to Bible Translation
With so many translations or versions of the Bible available today, the natural question that arises is this: Why do they all say essentially the same thing, yet read so differently? That's simply because the translators who produced these Bibles used different approaches to rendering God's Word into English.
The formal equivalence, or literal, approach to Bible translation means to translate the text word for word, sometimes at the expense of a word's or phrase's original meaning of intent. The King James Version, the English Standard Version, and the New American Standard Bible are all examples of Bibles that were translated using formal equivalence.
The dynamic equivalence (also called functional equivalence) approach to translation emphasizes the thought expressed in the original Bible texts over the literalness, word order, and grammar used in those texts - in other words, what the original text means over what it says word for word. Many of the more modern translations use dynamic equivalence, including the New Living Translation and Today's English Version.
Some Bible translations are examples of the use of both formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence in translation. Examples of those are the New International Version (as well as Today's NIV), and the New Revised Standard Version.
Finally, there is the paraphrase, which technically isn't a translation. To paraphrase means to say the same thing using different words. The best-known of the paraphrased versions of the Bible are The Living Bible and The Message.
Source: How Did We Get the Bible?; Barbour Publishing.
In order from the highest amount of Formal Equivalence (word-for-word translation) to the highest amount of Functional Equivalence ( thought-for-thought translation).
Interlinear Bible - This bible has the actual text written in Hebrew (OT) and in Greek (NT) with the English translations of these texts next to the original languages.
New American Standard (NASB) - A highly respected, formal translation of the Bible. Purpose of the work was to update the American Standard Version into more current English. Published in 1971. Update in 1995. The most literal is now more readable.
Amplified Bible - A popular translation used to understand the hidden meaning of Greek and Hebrew words. Published in 1964 (updated in 1987). Break through the language barrier.
English Standard Version - A literal update of the Revised Standard Version, seeks to produce formal equivalence correspondence. Published in 2001.
King James Version - Traditionally loved and accepted by all Christians. Purpose in translation was "to deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which then can understand." Published in 1611. Timeless treasure.
New King James Version - A modern language update of the original KJV. Purpose was to update and modernize the original KJV but preserve the KJV as much as possible. Published in 1982.
Holman Christian Standard Bible - A new translation that attempts to combine both formal and functional equivalence. New Testament published in 2000.
New Revised Standard Version - A widely accepted translation in the tradition of the King James Version. Purpose was to "make a good one better." Published in 1990. A Bible for all Christians.
New American Bible - Published under the direction of Pope Pius XII, this Catholic version of the Bible represents more than 25 years of effort by the Catholic Biblical Association of America. All editions include the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal books. Published in 1970.
New International Version - The bestselling translation, widely accepted by evangelical Christians. Purpose in translation was to "product an accurate translation, suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing, and liturgical use." Published in 1978.
Today's New International Version - Remaining faithful to the original texts while using up-to-date language of today's world, the TNIV is a highly readable and highly accurate translation. Complete Bible published in 2005.
New Century Version/International Children's Bible - Based on the ICB (International Children's Bible), it's a readable and simple translation using the thought-for-thought translation methodology. Published in 1991.
New Living Translation - Based on the work of 90 Bible scholars and a smaller team of English stylists. These scholars and stylists went back to the original languages and sought to produce the closest natural equivalent of the message in natural, contemporary English. Published in 1996.
New International Reader's Version - A thorough, scholarly simplification of the NIV, the NIrV was specifically designed to help young children and new readers understand the Bible for themselves and create an easy stepping-stone from a children's Bible to an adult Bible. Published in 1994. Updated in 1998. The NIV for kids.
Contemporary English Version - Written at an elementary-school reading level, the CEV is readable and understandable for the modern reader. Published in 1995.
The Message - This paraphrase was translated using the rhythms and tone of contemporary English to communicate to the modern reader. Published in 1993.
Source: Zondervan Publishing Bible Translation Chart ISBN #978-0-310-940289
Bible Binding Materials and Terms
Bible Paper - A strong, opaque paper used in many low-to-medium priced Bibles.
Bonded Leather or Genuine Bonded Leather - A high-quality material of genuine leather fibers bonded with latex.
Button Flap - The back cover is elongated so that it wraps around the open end of a book. The elongated flap is secured to the front cover by a snap button.
Calfskin - Very supple, luxurious leather made from the skin of young cattle. Characterized by distinctive grain and fiber structure.
Cloth - Standard binding material. Cotton fabric often coated with protective plastic varnish is applied to hard boards, producing a stiff, durable cloth.
Cowhide - A very strong, soft, long-wearing leather made from the hide of a cow.
Divinity Circuit - A flexible binding where the cover edges meet when the book is closed. Originally designed to protect the page edges for clergy traveling on horseback.
French Morocco - A medium-quality leather made from sheepskin. Soft, flexible and attractive. Needs special care to prevent cracking and drying. Can be embossed in various grains.
Half-Circuit - A flexible binding in which the covers slightly overlap the page edges (but do not meet as in the Divinity Circuit binding).
Imitation Leather - A cloth or paper-based material which has been chemically impregnated and grained to look like leather. Imitation leather bibles are an economical alternative for the customer who wants the look, but not the price of a leather Bible.
Leatherflex - A latex-impregnated fibrous base-coated with tough plastic. Resembles leather but is washable and resists soiling, cracking, scuffing and scratching.
Leathertex - Imitation leather.
Limp Binding - A flexible binding with covers projecting slightly beyond the edge of the papers, approximately 1/8 inch. (This does not refer to the flexibility of the cover).
Morocco or Genuine Morocco - Comes from the skins of Indian goats. It is thicker, less apt to dry and longer wearing than sheepskin (French Morocco). One of the most luxurious and durable of all book leathers.
Natural Morocco - Genuine Morocco with a natural grain worked up by hand. One of the very best of all Bible binding leathers.
Padded Cover - A binding using a board and a layer of foam to pad the front and back covers giving it a cushioned appearance.
Ribbon Marker - A ribbon which is bound into the top of the Bible spine to be used as a bookmark. More expensive Bibles often include more than one ribbon.
Semi-Overlapping - Binding style that has covers that overlap the page edge by at least 3/16 of an inch.
Skivertex - A durable latex-based imitation leather.
Smyth Sewn - A binding procedure in which each signature (group of pages) is sewn through its center fold to the next signature as well as to the preceding signature. The result is a great strength and durability.
Soft Cover - A flexible synthetic material that combines strength and durability.
Split-Grain Cowhide - Leather from a lower level of the hide than top grain and lesser quality.
Thumb-Indexing - A method of indexing books of the Bible by attaching tabs to the edge of the pages. Most Bibles may be indexed unless they are so small that the margins will not allow room for placement of the tabs. This process can be done either by cutting into the pages or self-attached to stick out from the pages.
Top-Grain Cowhide - Leather from the top and outside of a hide.
Whipstitching - Side sewing from the center of the first and last section of pages in a binding to give added strength to the parts of the Bible that endure the greatest stress.
Zipper Closure - An overlapping binding with a zipper closure that covers completely. It not only protects the Bible, but provides safe-keeping for notes, etc.
Source: Christian Expressions Superstore