While there are many English translations and versions of the Bible, each of them have unique characteristics that help its readers understand and engage with the Biblical text.

This answer from the RECORD Magazine of American Bible Society, the publisher and copyright holder for the Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible explained its unique value and contribution in comparison to the older King James Version of the Bible:

The King James Version (KJV) is a very accurate translation of the Bible that was done by an eminent team of scholars 400 years ago (AD 1611) in England. It is what we call a word-for-word translation from the original Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament.

The Contemporary English Version (CEV) was completed in 1995. It is also a direct translation from Hebrew and Greek; however, the CEV is more a phrase-by-phrase rather than a word-for-word translation.

Many words in every language change meaning over time. For example, 400 years ago “prevent” meant “to go before; to go in front of.” That is not how today’s reader would understand “prevent.”

Since language does change with time, having a more recent translation can be helpful. Additionally, some ancient Hebrew and Greek words simply do not have an equivalent in English, so a phrase-by-phrase translation approach can bring clarity to a passage containing such words.

You may find that having two or more translations to compare will aid you in your study of God’s Word.

(photo credit: Oladimeji Ajegbile)