Friday, January 22, 2016

A Little Fun: Bible Translation Acronyms

Thanks to reader Chris for this guest blog.

Here's a useful guide to the various acronyms for common Biblical translations. Everyone has a favorite, but it's hard to explain  to others precisely why. Sadly, the full name of a translation rarely helps. That's why I've prepared this handy overview, unpacking the real and unspoken associations baked into each acronym. Something to mock and amuse everyone I hope.

DRC: Dogmatically Right and Correct
KJV: Knights Jousting Version
Knox: Knox
RSV: Real Scripture Version
JB: Just Belgians
NAB: North American Bias
NASB: No Anglicans Should Buy
GNT: God Needs Teens
NIV: Non-Inspired version
NJB: Now Just a Book 
REB: Reserved European Bias
NRSV: No Really Sexist Verses
CEV: Completely Extraneous Version
NLT: No Longer a Translation
ESV: Evangelical Study Version 
MSG: Might Sound Good
HCSB: Heaven Collects Southern Baptists
NABRE: Not All Books Rendered Entirely
CEB: Cool Enough Bible


Anonymous said...

I always heard the NIV as the 'Nearly Inspired Version'.

Anonymous said...

Also, I thought HCSB was 'Hard Core Southern Baptists'

Christopher Buckley said...


Ha! Thanks. I didn't know that was even a thing. I like it.

Feel free to adapt and adopt.


Emilia said...

Why would anyone call the NIV the not/ nearly inspired version? I like it even though it is not my favorite and if is not approved.

Anonymous said...

This deserves a meme Chris!

Emilia said...

How about these:
NEB: New European Bias or Not Embraced By many or 'Nother European Bible
NET: New Evangelical Translation

Biblical Catholic said...

"Why would anyone call the NIV the not/ nearly inspired version? I "

I think the 'Not Inspired Version' is a dig at the KJV onlyists, who despise the NIV, to them the KJV is the 'inspired version' and so the NIV, the main competitor with the KJV for the evangelical/fundamentalist market is the'Not Inspired Version'

Biblical Catholic said...

"Also, I thought HCSB was 'Hard Core Southern Baptists"

It is true that the translation is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, but I've read it from cover to cover, and it just seems to be another evangelical translation, I didn't notice any obvious bias in favor of Baptist theology, such as translating 'baptize' as 'immerse' or anything like that. The only instance of bias that I noticed is that it translated 'bishop' as 'overseer' i.e. 'a bishop must be above reproach', but refusal to use the word 'bishop' is not unique to the HCSB, it is common with many evangelical translations, and ultimately goes back to Tyndale.

Emilia said...

Is there anything to be hyped about the HCSB translation? I'm going to see if I can create a meme out of this, though I won't promise anytime soon since I work as a full-time student.

Biblical Catholic said...

"Is there anything to be hyped about the HCSB translation? "

I don't understand your question.

Tom said...

Knox: Know not other xeroxes

Timothy said...

Bravo Tom!

Emilia said...

I meant, what is special about the HCSB, how is it different from other evangelical bibles? Their website makes a big deal about it.

Anonymous said...

A few more.

HCSB: Here Comes Southern Baptists

NABRE: Not Another Bible Revision Expected

NAB: Need All Believers

NRSV: Not Right Says Vatican

DRC: Doesn't Receive Criticism

REB: Really English Bible

ESV: Entirely Sola Version

John Blake.

Christopher Buckley said...

Although to be fair, there IS a NABRE NT revision under way now.

Biblical Catholic said...

"I meant, what is special about the HCSB, how is it different from other evangelical bibles? Their website makes a big deal about it."

There's nothing particularly special or distinctive about it, despite the assurances of their marketing department.

Christopher Buckley said...

Well it does sort of beg the question: is there any one text feature that typifies each text. You know, that one signature turn of phrase that clearly marks it as a specific translation the instant you hear it?

A few come to mind, though I don't know them all well enough "by ear":

-KJV: "Thou shalt..."
-RSV: "Behold, a young woman shall conceive..."
-JB / NJB: "Yahweh"
-GNT: "Had intercourse with"
-NRSV: "Brothers and sisters"
-MSG: Pretty much any sentence
-NABRE: "Oracle of the Lord"
-CEB: "Human One"

rolf said...

Christopher, you hit the nail right on the head!

Timothy said...

I have grown to like "oracle of the Lord" since 2011. This is very funny!

rolf said...

Timothy, me too!

Michael Demers said...

I sing "oracle of the Lord" out loud almost every time I come across it.

Jason P said...

In the beginning, when God created...


Also in the NT, the NAB 86 use of I AM. Probably one of the best and most unique choices made by the NAB.

Emilia said...

NABRE: "mighty wind sweeping over the waters"
NRSV: "wind from God swept over the face of the waters"; "mortal" (cf. son of man)
GNT: "In the beginning, when God created the universe"; "Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!" (cf. Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you)

Anonymous said...

Funnest post I've seen in a long time, on any site. May I suggest each acronym should have two guides, one for its adherents (eg NIV = nearly inspired version), and one from its detractors (eg NIV - non inspired version).