In related form to a previous question, what makes a given translation (or translational family) more likely to be promulgated by a given denomination over others?

For example, the New American Bible is [almost] exclusively used by the Roman Catholic Church.

Whereas the English Standard Version is generally favored by conservative Protestant churches.

The New International Version and New Living Translation tend to be used heavily by middle-of-the-road and/or liberal denominations more than the New American Standard or New King James, which again tend to be used by more conservative congregations.

What about a given translation makes it more apt to be utilized by a given denomination and/or be discouraged/banned by a denomination?

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    The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is most likely going to be used by Jehovah's Witnesses due to the usage of Jehovah in the New Testament instead of Lord. Such translation implicates that that the work supports JW doctrine.
    – Double U
    Jul 17, 2013 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


Below is a list of some widely used translations that were funded by particular denominations. This list does not imply that they were originally (or currently) intended to be utilized only by their parent denomination (with the exception of the New World Translation).



Confraternity Bible

Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition

Jerusalem Bible

New Jerusalem Bible

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

New American Bible

AnglicanKing James Version (KJV)

Christian Reformed ChurchNew International Version (NIV)

LutheranGod’s Word Bible

Southern BaptistHolman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jehovah’s WitnessesNew World Translation (NWT)


The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the only English text currently approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for use in the United States. It is the text found in all current Lectionaries in the U.S. The Holy See accepted some use of inclusive language, where the speaker/author intended a mixed audience (e.g. "brothers and sisters", instead of the older "brethren"), but rejected it in references to God or Christ, and man, where the word has anthropological and theological significance (e.g. Psalm 1:1, with reference to Adam and Christ). Since these Lectionaries have been fully promulgated, the permission to use the Jerusalem Bible and the RSV-Catholic at Mass has been withdrawn.

USCCB states:

Since May 19, 2002, the revised Lectionary, based on the New American Bible is the only English-language Lectionary that may be used at Mass in the dioceses of the United States, except for the current Lectionary for Masses with Children which remains in use.

The 1970 edition of the New American Bible is used in the Scripture readings and canticles of the Liturgy of the Hours (except the Benedictus, Magnificat, and Nunc dimittis.)

It should be noted that the USCCB approves of other translations for personal devotion and study.



Considering the fact that there are over 40,000 different Protestant denominations and sects currently in existence, it is practically impossible to narrow down the answer to your question with specific accuracy. We can, perhaps, pin things down into 4 main reasons.

  1. Tradition – This especially applies to the King James Version. The KJV was the only English translation accepted by Protestants for almost 400 years. Virtually the entire North East United States was founded by settlers carrying the KJV under their arms. Children were educated and sermons were preached almost exclusively from the KJV for the first 200 years of settlement in New England. The tradition of using the KJV translation trickled down through the various branches of Protestantism from generation to generation as denominationalism exponentially flourished. Most conservative Protestant Christians today tend to be raised with a more “traditional” disposition and are taught from a young age that the KJV is the only orthodox translation. “If it’s good enough for Grandfather, then it’s good enough for me.”
  2. Understandability – The main reason why newer translations (i. e. NIV, NKJV, HCSB) came into existence was to replace Early Modern English with today’s English, replacing “thou at saved” with “you are saved.” The King James Version was produced in the Elizabethan period of Early Modern English, and so it uses forms of the verbs and pronouns that were characteristic of that period. The newer translations make it easier to read and understand, especially for younger generations. This can easily be demonstrated by having a 13 year old read a chapter of Leviticus in front of a congregation using a KJV Bible.
  3. Inclusiveness – Translations that employ inclusive language use language that avoids the use of certain expressions or words that might be considered to exclude particular groups of people, especially gender-specific words, such as "man,""mankind," and masculine pronouns, the use of which might be considered to exclude women.
  4. Private interpretation – There is one overarching characteristic of all translations that determines whether or not it is to be utilized or shunned. It is the fact that no translation contains any passages to be translated that remotely resembles any sort of commanding directive as to which translation should be utilized or shunned. The Bible doesn't explicitly dictate how it should be translated. Although certain denominations strongly suggest the use of a particular translation, it is not left to the denominational leadership to decide. The Bible is the final authority within Protestantism. Therefore, in a world of private interpretation, it is ultimately the subjective opinion of the individual that decides which translation should be used.

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