English Translations of the Biblical Passage John 1:1

As a follow up of my last post, I decided to look up one Biblical passage to see how different English translation Bibles would present the same sentence. I assumed before I began that there would be different translations, but I had no idea which would differ or how. For “Bible Christians” who believe in the literal translation of the Bible, and that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, these various translations may disturb them. On the other hand, they may say that their translation is the correct one and all the rest are wrong. Others may say, “What’s the fuss? They all mean the same thing.” For the literal Christian, the words themselves are sacred and should not be changed.

I used the Bible Gateway for my search and I chose John 1:1 because of it’s profound Christian theology, succinct phraseology, poetry and because of its brevity.

Many Bibles use the same wording, others change the wording. Although all try to convey the same meaning, the words differ. The most common translation of John 1:1 is:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

The following list of English language Bibles (listed alphabetically for easy reference) use the identical wording to the above. Did they all use the same source document for their translations?

The Bibles with the Identical Wording of John 1:1

American Edition (DRA),

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

Christian Standard Bible (CSB),

Common English Bible (CEB),

Darby Translation (DARBY),

Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)

Douay-Rheims 1899

English Standard Version (ESV)

Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB)

Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Modern English Version (MEV),

Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE)

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV),

New Century Version (NCV)

New English Translation (NET Bible)

New International Version (NIV)

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

New King James Version (NKJV)

New Matthew Bible (NMB)

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized (NRSVA)

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

New Revised Standard Version Ca

Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The New Jerusalem Bible

Tree of Life Version (TLV)

World English Bible (WEB)

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

The Bibles with Different Wording of John 1:1

The following are Bibles that have a different wording for John 1:1. Several use the same wording, others change wording and still others add words. Not having the source for the specific translation means no conclusions can be drawn. This is simply one indication of the variety of English translations of the same Bible. Which one is correct? Which used the original Greek as the source documents? Whether anyone can say all these translations are the literal word of God seems unreasonable.

GOD’S WORD (GW):

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Living Bible (TLB)

Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God.

The Voice (VOICE)

Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God.

Expanded Bible (EXB)

In the beginning [Gen. 1:1] ·there was the Word [the Word already existed; the Word refers to Christ, God’s revelation of himself]. The Word was with [in the presence of; in intimate relationship with] God  [the Father], and the Word was [fully] God.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God.

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Before the world began, the Word was there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Good News Translation (GNT)

In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

International Standard Version (ISV)

In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. All creation took place through him, and none took place without him. In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankind. The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.

Living Bible (TLB)

Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God.

The Message (MSG)

The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.

Names of God Bible (NOG)

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The New Word Translation of the Holy Scriptures

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

New Life Version (NLV)

The Word (Christ) was in the beginning. The Word was with God. The Word was God.

New Living Translation (NLT)

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

In the beginning was the Word. The Word was close beside God, and the Word was God.

The Wycliffe Bible (WYC):

In the beginning was the word, and the word was at God, and God was the word. [In the beginning was the word, that is, God’s Son, and the word was at God, and God was the word.]