Why are there so many Bible translations?
Here's the answer:
Mainly, there are different translations so more people can read and understand the Bible.
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, since all the writers came from the Middle East or Europe. Around AD 400, a scholar named Jerome finished work on the first complete translation of the Bible into one language. This language was Latin. Although Latin is rarely used today, it was used quite a bit by scholars back in that time. Because of this, only very educated people could really read and understand the Bible. In fact, not everyone was even able to read back then, so it was up to the scholars to explain or preach the message of the Bible to those who were unable to read it for themselves.
It wasn't until the 14th century that modern, complete Bibles were available. But even these were still hard to interpret, so over the next few centuries people worked hard to complete a copy that would be easier to read and understand. This version was written in the modern English language of the day, so it was easier to understand. But it was still true to the original Latin, and so it kept the original meaning.
Bible translation continued and really made a difference when, in 1611, the first Bible was published under direction of the King of England at that time, King James. Still known as the King James Version, this translation eventually became available to wide groups of people. At last, most people with an ability to read could now own and read their own Bible.
But languages develop and change, and we no longer speak in the way they did in the 16th century. So today, there are even more translations that help people understand the message of the Bible, while still staying true to the original meaning.
The purpose of translation always should be to present God’s Word, the Bible, to average, everyday people so they can read and understand the message it contains. While we may not be able to read or understand the languages of the original writings, we can now read a version we can understand thanks to the continuing work of translators who have worked tirelessly to give accurate translations, true to the original meaning, and available for everyone to read.
"God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right" (2 Timothy 3:16).
"The Bereans were very glad to receive Paul’s message. They studied the Scriptures carefully every day. They wanted to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).