The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn't What You Think It Is

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Revmitchell, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    When Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half of them pick up a King James Version (KJV), according to a new study advised by respected historian Mark Noll.

    The 55 percent who read the KJV easily outnumber the 19 percent who read the New International Version (NIV). And the percentages drop into the single digits for competitors such as the New Revised Standard Version, New America Bible, and the Living Bible.

    So concludes "The Bible in American Life," a lengthy report by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Funded by the Lilly Foundation, researchers asked questions on what David Briggs of the ARDA, which first reported the results, calls "two of the most highly respected data sources for American religion"—the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study.

    The numbers are surprising, given the strong sales of NIV translations in bookstores. The NIV has topped the CBA's bestselling Bible translation list for decades, and continued to sell robustly in 2013.

    The high numbers of KJV readers confirm the findings of last year's American Bible Society (ABS) State of the Bible report. On behalf of ABS, Barna Group found that 52 percent of Americans read the King James or the New King James Version, compared with 11 percent who read the NIV.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gl...astest-growing-bible-translation-niv-kjv.html
     
  2. Greektim

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    This is a curious result for 2 reasons:

    1) it lumps the NKJV w/ the KJV (which is funny to me)

    2) how can the NIV be the #1 selling Bible yet only used by 19%? Something doesn't add up. Are those people buying it for a door stop while they read their KJV? Or is this a conspiracy of the KJVonlyist to buy all the NIVs they can, burn them (like we've seen in some videos), all so they can get the KJV into the hands of the people. Of course I jest. But something doesn't sound right here.
     
  3. Greektim

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    The article doesn't give much of the proof and the phrasing is quite strange. It seems that some of their data was confirmed by google searches??? Really?

    Also, are the 55% exclusively reading the KJV and the 19% exclusively reading the NIV?
     
  4. robycop3

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    I believe this 'report' was biased & skewed from the gitgo, kinda like that barna report about the 'reading level' of several popular bible versions. Like that 'report', this'n should be taken with a grain of salt.

    However, the KJV remains the top book of all time in numbers of copies made, with Chairman Mao's little red book of his sayings being #2.

    The most-printed book with the least readership is Hitler's Mein Kampf, which many Germans purchased for display in their parlors to show loyalty to Hitler to any visitors to their homes. Few bothered to read it, or gave up shortly after starting dueta its poor composition and mindless ramblings.

    Unfortunately, many copies of the KJV & other popular Bible versions remain as Mein Kampf...dust-collectors and coffee-table decporations, not read nearly enough.
     
  5. ktn4eg

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    Merely because a Bible may have relatively high sales numbers doesn't mean that this Bible will actually be read, much less practiced.

    I'm sure there are plenty folks out there in "BB Land" who can testify to the fact that they've come across both individuals and/or whole families who have their bookshelves or coffee tables stacked with Bibles who wouldn't darken a church door or attend a regularly-scheduled worship service.

    Whether or not a certain Bible may have a large number of people purchasing it doesn't really mean much to me.

    Now, OTOH, if this very same vast number of people would actually spend some time reading and practicing what their Bible says.......:thumbs:
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    Some folks just cannot stand that their beloved version of choice is not the top version of choice.
     
  7. ktn4eg

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    Merely because a Bible may have a relatively high number of sales does not, in and by itself, mean that this Bible will actually be read, much less practiced.

    I'm quite sure that there are plenty folks out there in "BB Land" who can testify to the fact that they've come across both individuals and/or whole families who have their bookshelves or coffee tables stacked with Bibles who wouldn't darken a church door or attend a regularly-scheduled worship service.!

    Whether or not a certain Bible may have a large number of people purchasing it does not really mean that much to me.

    Now, OTOH, if this very same vast number of people would actually spend some time reading and practicing what their Bible says.......:thumbs:
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    What about the fact that in areas like 'Bible belt", that traditional Bible used was the Kjv, was in the culture, so maybe more an example of many still ingrained to use Kjv , due to traditions and culture?
     
  9. Rippon

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    I agree with GT that something is fishy about the so-called report. First of all the person (or group) doesn't sound very knowledgeable. The New America Bible? The New American Bible is the proper title. And the old Living Bible was brought up. I don't think that has been very popular for several decades. Why even mention it as a competitor? No mention was made of the ESV and NLT which I found strange.

    The NIV lives up to its name. It is indeed internationally popular. Outside America the KJV doesn't do too well. The UK has a small number of Christians and most of them don't use it. Ask Roger about that. And I think the same applies to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Pockets of KJVism thrive in South Korea and the Philippians. However their numbers are very limited.

    The article is a bunch of hype in my estimation.
     
  10. Rippon

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    You're not being logical. The most beloved version is the top version. The one that sells the most is the most popular.
     
  11. go2church

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    Interesting read, 44 pages, plenty of graphs and footnotes. Even included the questions used.

    There was a interesting paragraph on page 13

    The full reasons for the KJV’s enduring popularity remain to be investigated by scholars. Is the version’s appeal mostly aesthetic—a preference for the way familiar passages sound? The archaic diction of the KJV lends a certain grandeur to favorite texts (“behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,” KJV) that may be missing from modern versions (“see—I am bringing you good news of great joy,” NRSV). Or do particular denominational cultures account for much of the KJV’s popularity—its venerable status in black churches, for example? Some groups’ attachment to the KJV may be theologically motivated; witness the “King James Only” movement, which claims that the KJV alone corresponds to the literal words of God.3 Interestingly, of KJV readers, 53% responded that the Bible is the literal word of God, while only 39% of NIV readers agreed with this statement. At the same time, the GSS revealed that people who read the NIV are more likely to have read the Bible individually at least weekly (four days or more in the past 30 days). Of NIV readers, 70% read weekly, compared to 54% of KJV readers

    I hardly ever use the the KJV myself, but each to there own, just read. No translation ensures correct interpretation so I would be more concerned with the conclusions you came to after reading then the translation you read.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    There are several factors not mentioned in the article, nor yet on this thread.

    (1) Many people have had the same Bible for 10-20 years, and thus would not figure in the number of Bibles bought.

    (2) There are many church-based ministries nowadays that print Bibles but give them away or sell them through church bookstores, and do not sell them in stores. This would not figure in the number of Bibles bought, but would usually in the KJV numbers.

    (3) Many people would buy the NIV, say, as a secondary study Bible, and thus would figure in the KJV readers but the NIV buyers.

    (4) It would be interesting to know the figures from the Gideons, who give away millions of Bibles. Some years ago they were distributing a bi-lingual NT in Japan with the English being the NKJV.
     
    #12 John of Japan, Mar 14, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2014
  13. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The KJV is not the current best-selling version. Not according to $$ spent or according to unit sales. From The Christian Post:

    The KJV hasn't been the best-selling version for nearly 30 years. It seems implausible to think it is still the one "most reached for" whatever that means.
     
    #13 thisnumbersdisconnected, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2014
  14. Greektim

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    Some... but not me... I could care less. I don't even have a "version of choice."
     

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