Top Ten Bible Translations in the United States


The Christian Booksellers Association has published its list of bestselling Bible translations in 2012 for the United States.

2012 – Based on Dollar Sales

  1. New International Version
  2. King James Version
  3. New Living Translation
  4. New King James Version
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  7. New American Standard Bible
  8. Common English Bible
  9. Reina Valera 1960
  10. The Message

2012 – Based on Unit Sales

  1. New Living Translation
  2. New International Version
  3. King James Version
  4. New King James Version
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Common English Bible
  7. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  8. New American Standard Bible
  9. Reina Valera 1960
  10. New International Readers Version

Are there any surprises to you? How many of these translations have you read?



Posted on March 19, 2013

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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  • Matthew Ray says on

    I find it strange that the New Revised Standard didn’t make it onto either list. Perhaps the CEB and ESV are shifting sales away from it? For my personal use, I have an NRSV Access bible, the NRSV Oxford Annotated bible, and for comparison, a hardback CEB pew bible, a Message Remix/TNIV parallel Bible, and a CEV large print bible. My church has a set of NRSV “Green Bibles” for our earth care ministry. So at the top of my list are the NRSV, and the CEB. The CEB has the readability of the Message, with better scholarship.

  • Roz merryman says on

    I like the amplified or AMP version and not one person mentioned it !??

  • What a great post, and loved reading all the comments. I have read all the translations listed, with the exception of the Reina Valera. I am blessed to have many versions. A couple years ago I was looking to replace an old NIV84 and new I didn’t want the newer version of the NIV… so I tried a number of them…. I settled on the HCSB for my go to, and study bible… and use the others for reference. While doing bible study and laying alll the bibles out and reading each one, more often than not the NCSB spoke to me better. The study bible is a big bible, but I like the 2 column -vs- the single column… the colors photo’s, the opening info on each book of the bible is colored differently… the bold lettering of OT references… so much to like….the leather is soft to the touch… I also purchased the HCSB Women’s Study Bible. I also recommend the HCSB to others… hoping it continues to gain in usage…

  • I was born in a muslim Family, raised in Atheist country.
    Born again Christian, when I come to U.S.A 1991

    The best book that helped me to understand better and grow in faith is KJV

  • Peter Millist says on

    “Both the HCSB and ESV are young as far as translations go. They are doing well at this point.”

    So is the the NLT, yet it is outselling them both! What do we make of this phenomenon?

  • Ron Taylor says on

    I prefer the NKJV or KJV because they are the two which have all the words in all the verses unlike the modern translations taken from the Alexandrian tradition. The modern versions have few manuscripts that support them while the NKJV and KJV have thousands that support them. It also appears from history that the early church knew about these other transcripts and did not consider them to be as reliable. Having said that, there is about 85% agreement between the manuscripts, Alexandrian tradition and Byzantine. Vaticanus, one of the relied upon manuscripts for modern translations other than NKJV, has serious omissions or so I have read. The other Sinaiticus, has differences that cause me to want to look elsewhere. I just like what I consider to be most accurate (and to have all the words and all the verses.) Dynamic equivalence is far less than trustworthy in my view which rules out NIV though if one must read NIV, 1984 is far superior to 2011 for accuracy. Side note: Never was I more disappointed in Lifeway than when against the recommendation of the Convention that Lifeway purports to be a part of, they chose to keep the NIV 2011 on the shelf and sell them putting profit above principle since they had previously rejected TNIV. Sorry for the long post. Got started and could not stop.

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