The Top Ten Best Selling Bible Translations Compared to Ten Years Ago

There is a lot of stability in the preference of Bible translations, at least from the perspective of sales. The latest data I have is from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association as of January 2020. The numbers in parentheses represent the rankings in 2011. As a caveat, I understand that some Bibles may be paraphrases rather than translations.

Rankings as of January 2020 (numbers in parentheses are 2011 rankings) 

  1. New International Version (NIV) (1)
  2. King James Version (KJV) (2)
  3. New Living Translation (NLT) (4)
  4. English Standard Version (ESV) (5)
  5. New King James Version (NKJV) (3)
  6. Christian Standard Bible (CSB) (6)
  7. Reina Valera (RV) (not ranked)
  8. New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) (9)
  9. The Message (Message) (8)
  10. New American Standard Bible (NASB) (7)

 Observations:

    • The rankings are amazingly stable since 2011. One translation dropped three spots (NASB). One dropped two spots (NKJV). No other translation dropped or gained more than one spot. Technically, the CSB was the HCSB (LifeWay) in 2011.
    • The TNIV was discontinued in 2011. It was ranked 10 that year.
    • The NLT is “the quiet Bible.” The translation continues to gain readers without as much attention as other translations. It is now 3 in the rankings. I started reading the NLT this year and I love it.
    •  Obviously, the RV is a Spanish translation.

Posted on June 14, 2020


With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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72 Comments

  • I ask you all with a sincere heart, WHO is the author of confusion? WHO was the 1st one to Through doubt on the WORD OF GOD? WHO’S desire is it to be God, to COUNTERFEIT GOD? Gen3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die
    Do any of you know all the PRECIOUS NAMES OF GOD and their MEANINGS? Psalms 138:2 for thou has MAGNIFIED THY WORD ABOVE THY NAME! Think on that a minute or two! If God’s Word says, if one is to Worship God they must do in in SPIRIT & in TRUTH! HOW CAN THIS BE TRUE IF A WHOLE ASSEMBLY USES WHAT EVER VERSION THE CALL A BIBLE? EITHER GOD’S WORD IS TRUTH OR A LIE! Amos 3:3, can two walk together except they be agreed! All those COUNTERFEIT bible’s are of the Father of LIES! Who has come to deceive & destroy the unity of a local assembly, MAKE YOU DOUBT OR QUESTION THE CHARACTER OF GOD!

    PLEASE ANSWER AMOS 3:3 As You, BELIEVE in the NIV & John BELIEVES IN the NASV & Paul BELIEVES NKJ & I believe the KJ!

    How are we walking together let alone WITH GOD?

    REMOVE WE ARE LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS!

    2 Timothy 3:13 KJV — But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

    YES, THIS MEANS YOU PREACHER, YOUR PARENT, YOUR POLITICIAN!

    1 Pt1:25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.

    • The KJV Bible is more corrupt than many of the Modern Versions that replace it. We find answers through a long personal journey of being led by God’s Holy Spirit. No simple answers, such as, what is the perfect Bible Version, or who is the perfect Bible teacher? Only God is our teacher. Everything else is a parable.

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