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essential guide to bible versions
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essential guide to bible versions

This section serves as a guide to the English Bible and English Bible translations. This guide should help you understand key points on some history about important ancient manuscripts and significant English translations that have been made throughout history. The book, by Philip Comfort, Ph.D., can also guide you in your selection of Bible versions and give you direction in using each one. View each of the PDFs by clicking on the links below.

what are the differences in bible versions? do they matter?
where does the bible text come from?
how are bible translations made?
essential guide glossary

This tool will help you understand terms and words used within this reference.
Select a letter below to view all the associated words.

1. The collection of works understood to be authoritative ("the canon of Scripture").

2. A rule or guideline for a particular discipline ("the canons of textual criticism").

canon, closed:
An exclusive list of authoritative works; a canon that is not open for additions or deletions.
catechetical teaching:
Basic instruction in doctrine and the Christian faith, usually given to new church members.
church fathers:
Prominent leaders in the early church, from the second to the sixth centuries (from Ignatius to Augustine).
codex (pl. codices):
A manuscript arranged in the form of a book, with separate sheets bound in a stack at one edge.
The process of comparing and listing the variant readings in a particular manuscript or set of manuscripts.
comparative philology:
The study of a piece of literature by means of comparison with other languages.
compositional-transmissional stage:
The stage in the development and transmission of a manuscript in which the content is still being formed and edited.
The scribal technique of resolving a discrepancy between two or more variant readings by including all of them.
conjectural emendation:
The text-critical technique of making an "educated guess" as to what the original text might have been, without direct manuscript evidence.
consonantal text:
The form of Hebrew text in which there are no vowels.
A language spoken in ancient Egypt.
A collection of writings.
critical edition:
An edition of an ancient text that is based on a collation of variant readings and that includes editorial decisions about which readings are most likely original.
An ancient Near Eastern script written by pressing a stylus into clay, forming a pattern of incised wedges in the clay.

“The NLT second edition communicates the truth of the Gospel in a clear, understandable way that can help bring spiritual seeking people across the line of faith.”

Bill Hybels
Willow Creek Community Church
South Barrington, Illinois

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