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)


    • 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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  • Bruno Spedalieri says on

    Out of so many translations, which is the CATHOLIC OFFICIAL TRANSLATION?

  • 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?


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


    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.

    • This is a great point. How can we walk side by side with people who speak different langauges with us? If I’m reading from the KJB, then how can I possible walk with someone who can’t even read English. I appreciate this point of view. If my KJB says But the word of the Lord endureth for ever, and someone else’s has weird symbols in it and words I can’t even pronounce, then we must be living in the last days.

    • Hi Ty – do you know the history of the KJV – and what ‘back translating’ from Latin into Greek and making up verses means in terms of ‘inspired’. Are we allowed to make up verses? Would you accept that in any translation – of course not
      The KJV does this – it is not perfect – it is indeed a TRANSLATION

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