There is an alphabet soup of Bible translations available today, from the KJV to the NIV and the NASB to the HCSB. This has led some critics to conclude that because there is so much variation between translations, no one really knows what the Bible says.
This attack on inerrancy is misplaced. Keep in mind that the Bible’s autographs, or original documents, are inerrant – not subsequent copies and translations. Even though there are dozens of English translations that differ in varying degrees, we are highly confident that the source documents from which these versions came – more than 25,000 New Testament manuscripts alone – are accurate representations of the autographs.
A more practical question for Christians today is, “Which translation of the Bible should we use?” To answer that question, let’s look at four types of translations, then match our intended use with the translators’ intended goals.