In my post “Translation Confusion,” I pointed out that the Bible has word-for-word translations, thought-for-thought translations, and paraphrases (more technically known as “functional equivalence”). These all exist on a continuum, so the lines of distinction between them are blurry.
Here is how Ministry Today magazine recently broke them down:
Popular word-for-word translations are the New American Standard Bible (NASB), King James Version (KJV), and the English Standard Version (ESV).
Popular thought-for-thought translations are the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), as well as the New International Version (NIV) and New Living Translation (NLT), though both those are viewed as more of a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought (hence the aforementioned continuum).
Popular paraphrases are The Message and The Living Bible.
Not included in their list is the Amplified Bible. It is based on the American Standard Bible, which is word-for-word translation.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.