Literal English translation of Bible

What is a good English Bible translation to use if you are looking for a more literal translation (no inclusive language, etc.)?

I suppose I’m looking for a translation that reflects the Greek text more. I know that multiple Greek words found in the NT that had culturally/time-specific meanings are not always translated this way into English.

The closest I can think of is the New American Standard Bible. I’m more interested in the New Testament since koine Greek is more accessible to me since I don’t really know any biblical Hebrew.

You are not going to find a literal word-for-word translation of the Bible. It would be all but incomprehensible. Your requirement for “no inclusive language” just isn’t realistic either.

If you want to explore some of the original Greek then download the Interlinear Scripture Analyzer or have a look at the online Hebrew and Greek interlinear from They use the KJV and it is interesting to see how an actual word-for-word translation might look.

Tim’s (not me) Catholic Bible Blog recommends the NRSV. It is very literal and uses inclusive language where appropriate but not gratuitously. This is the most widely used Bible in academia.

OBOY: Why I Prefer the NRSV


I would choose the RSV-2CE (no thees or thous) or the RSV-CE (for some thees and thous)!

I agree with CalCatholic - RSV (I read the NT in Greek). It does not try to interpret what can have multiple senses, but allows the multiple senses to show through fairly well. However, there is still something to be said for letting Catholic doctrine be the guide to which sense is the one tradition knows is true. When you have multiple possibilities with tradition alongside, you can reason through to understand what was important to the Church and why it reads a text in a certain way but rejects other interpretations of a text. It can help you in reasoning with people who do not know which way to understand a reading.

I figure I’ll just use my KJV and Strong’s concordance. It’s a shame that next to no *analytical *concordances exist for any Catholic English Bibles that I know of. There is an analytical concordance that exists for the original RSV but it’s not as user friendly as Strong’s is.

When I was at the Christian bookstore I was surprised to find that there are Greek-Hebrew word study Bibles that exist for translations like the ESV and NASB. Though apparently the commentary in them is quite evangelical and even terrible in some cases.

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