Research Reveals Ministers' Favorite Bible Versions

Allie Martin | Agape Press | Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Research Reveals Ministers' Favorite Bible Versions

May 12, 2004

A new study shows that, although there are many different Bible versions available, the market continues to be dominated by just five.

The study by Ellison Research found that the Bible version most likely to be used by pastors in their work is the New International Version (NIV). In fact, 31 percent of pastors favored the NIV, followed by the King James, the New Revised Standard, the New King James, and the New American Standard Version.

The study was conducted among a representative sample of 700 senior pastors throughout the United States. Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, says the survey found that ministers tend to select their preferred Bible versions based on perceived accuracy of the translation and its readability.

Sellers points out that many of the newer versions and translations of the Bible have yet to make significant inroads into the market. Meanwhile, he says, "When you take everything other than those [aforementioned versions], just nine percent of all Protestant ministers rely on anything other than the big five, if you will. So it was a bit of a surprise that other ones have really done very little to impact the clergy market."

The study also revealed that there is "tremendous variation denominationally in what Bibles are used by ministers as well as what Bibles they would recommend to their congregation," Sellers says. He notes that different denominations appear to have obvious favorites.

"Number one among the Pentecostal churches was the King James Version -- it almost wasn't mentioned among Methodists," the researcher notes. "The New American Standard was very popular among Southern Baptists," he adds, "and among Lutherans it was fairly popular, but it was not one of the most popular versions among Methodists and Pentecostals."

Ministers also appear to have strong opinions about which versions they choose not to use. According to the Ellison Research, the Bible versions ministers are most likely to recommend against for their congregations include the Living Bible, Today's NIV, The Message, and the King James Version.


Ellison Research (

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