What are the versions of the Bible

Bible editions

Overview of Bible translations

There are very different translations and editions of the Book of Books: From the classic Luther Bible to the Basic Bible, the standard translation or the Good News. The variety of German-language Bible translations alone is great. Here is an overview.

  • Luther Bible

    The Luther Bible is the authoritative Bible text of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and its member churches for worship, teaching and pastoral care. This text is used in the books of worship services, it is needed when the EKD and the member churches speak officially.

    To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the EKD has published a new version of the Luther Bible. Almost 12,000 of the approximately 31,000 verses were changed in the new version. In terms of words, however, that is only eight percent. The changes range from minor adjustments in the punctuation to individual words to the complete new translation of individual verses. The new version is intended to consciously return to Luther's language. The focus of the revision was therefore the connection between modernization and preservation.

    Information about the Luther Bible 2017 on the website of the German Bible Society

  • Standard translation

    The uniform translation is the uniform translation of the German-speaking Roman Catholic dioceses for the entire German-speaking area. In 2003, the three Bishops' Conferences from Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as the Archbishops of Luxembourg and Vaduz, as well as the Bishops of Strasbourg, Liège and Bozen-Brixen, agreed to start a revision of the previous edition. In 2016 the “new standard translation” was presented.

    Information on the new standard translation on the website of the Catholic Biblical Works

  • Good news bible

    The Good News Bible was developed and published jointly by the Evangelical Biblical Society and the Catholic Biblical Works, and it has gained considerable circulation. It is now available in the revised version from 1997. The good news (still) follows the translation principle of the so-called "dynamic equivalence" of Eugene A. Nida. While the so-called philological translation works text-oriented (so that the result could in principle be retranslated), the "communicative" translation works recipient-oriented. d. In other words, it wants to achieve the same informative and emotional effect on the reader and listener today ("dynamic equivalence") as the text did on its listener back then. As a result, entire formulations are exchanged and explanations are introduced into the text that were familiar to the reader at the time, but which should be communicated to the reader today. The 1997 Good News Bible has reverted to a moderate application of this principle compared to the 1982 version. For the introduction to the Bible reading of the individual, also for readings during devotions etc., z. For example, when difficult texts go unexplained, the good news can serve you well.

    Information on the Good News Bible on the website of the German Bible Society

  • The Zurich Bible

    The Zurich Bible, going back to Zwingli's Reformation, was "translated again from the basic text" between 1907 and 1931. The philological correctness of the translation was decidedly in the foreground, no consideration was given to the preservation of the traditional language. A new revision of the Zurich Bible has been on the way since 1987. Again, philological accuracy is the goal of the translation, but a smoother language is sought. Compared to the classic Zurich Bible, the new Zurich Bible, especially in the New Testament, promises a gain. The revision work was completed at the end of 2006, and the new Zurich Bible has been available since summer 2007.

    Information about the Zurich Bible on the website of the German Bible Society

  • Elberfeld Bible

    With the Elberfeld Bible (revised version 1991), Brockhaus-Verlag has published a translation that follows the original text of the Bible with the greatest possible accuracy. Occasionally, linguistic bumps are accepted. So it is a classic "philological" translation. In the hands of theology students, the Elberfeld Bible serves as a translation aid for difficult Hebrew and Greek passages. The Elberfeld Bible is also very suitable as a reference text for church groups reading the Bible, which conveys a great deal of proximity to the original text.

    The translation of the Elberfeld Bible on the website of the German Bible Society

  • The Bible, rephrased in language by Jörg Zink

    After numerous previous publications, Jörg Zink has summarized his typical type of paraphrasing Bible translation in a complete Bible (1998), which, however, is a selection Bible in the area of ​​the Old Testament. The Bible edition by Jörg Zink owes a great deal to both the Luther translation and the standard translation, as can easily be seen. On the whole, coming from the paraphrase, it again approaches an actual translation, which, however, continues to freely set its own accents. With his way of treating the text, Zink reaches many readers who want to be addressed more personally by the Bible text on a sophisticated level than the classic translations do.

    Information about Jörg Zink's Bible edition on the Herder Verlag website


  • hope for all

    "Hope for all" (New Testament 1983, later the full Bible of the International Bible Society, revised version 2002) goes back to the "Living Bible" from the English-speaking world. This translation aims to achieve comprehensibility through colloquial German. She inserts, cuts or circumscribes the biblical text without this usually becoming visible to the reader. In addition, there are incorrect or absurd translations and additions to the text that have no basis. Where the biblical text very deliberately uses the same phrase, the translation is changed in such a way that the German reader cannot recognize the biblical style. Despite some corrections in the revised version, this transfer must be checked on carefully prepared translations. "Hope for All" is unsuitable for use in the church.

    Information on "Hope for All" on the Bibleserver of the website of ERF Medien and the German Bible Society

  • Bible version by Walter Jens

    With his idiosyncratic redesign of New Testament texts (The four Gospels. 2003, The Letter to the Romans, 2000, The A and O. The Revelation of John, 2000) Jens aims to emphasize the rhetorical quality of the text. He largely breaks away from the wording and sentence structure in favor of rhythmic prose. If the sentences are often exclamation-like, short, incomplete, they always have a reference to features that the Greek text has in store for word choice and word order. Transmissions like these are not intended for reading in worship services, but they can convey something of the haunting liveliness of the biblical text to those interested in language.

  • Bible in righteous language

    The “Bible in Just Language” was published in autumn 2006 with a detailed introduction by the ten editors. Your name is misleading. According to the introduction, you do not claim that this translation is 'just' ... but that others are unjust ". Rather, it intends to “correspond to the basic biblical theme of justice in a special way”. Specifically, it is about “a gender-equitable language”, “justice with regard to the Christian-Jewish dialogue” and “social justice”. However, these criteria mean that the translation comes into conflict with the criterion that is fundamental to the Bible translation in the Reformation tradition, namely fidelity to the original text. The “Bible in Righteous Language” is helpful where it takes up the current state of biblical science and thus gives validity to the original text. But it goes astray where it fails to clearly distinguish between translation and interpretation.

    Information about the Bible in fair language on the website of the Gütersloh publishing house

  • Basic Bible

    The BasisBibel is the first Bible translation that does justice to the changed reading needs of the 21st century: closer to the original text than most modern translations of the last 40 years, contemporary German with clear, concise sentences, rhythmic language throughout, numerous factual explanations in the margins and an abundance of background information on the Internet.

    Information about the BasisBibel on a website of the German Bible Society


German Bible translations in comparison on the website of the German Bible Society