Best Selling Bible Translations – 2010

The Christian Booksellers Association has again published its list of best selling bible translations. Here are the lists for 2010, but keep in mind that the ranking is based only on sales in US Christian retail stores.

2010 – Based on Dollar Sales

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

2010 – Based on Unit Sales

  1. New International Version
  2. King James Version
  3. New King James Version
  4. New Living Translation
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  7. The Message
  8. Other Translations
  9. Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)
  10. New International Readers Version

It is interesting that not a lot has changed from the unit sales list they published for 2006. Here it is for comparison.

2006 – Based on Unit Sales

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

What never ceases to amaze is the staying power of the King James Version. One has to ask why anyone would purchase a contextually outdated Bible written in a 400 year old* dead dialect.

* Its first publication was in May 1611.


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17 Responses to “Best Selling Bible Translations – 2010”

  1. Justin says:

    Yeah the list doesn’t change very much. I wonder if folks will be leaving the NIV upon its full release of its revision this year. I am pretty sure I will. The NET and NLT are my top contenders, followed by the NKJV.

  2. Rick Meigs says:

    Good question Justin. I’ve not had any time to check out the new NIV, but my understanding is that the translation is more “conservative that the TNIV. I tend to use the ESV, but like the NLT and The Message. Have the NET, but only check it from time-to-time for translation insights.

  3. Jordan Doty says:

    The NIV 2011 may have made some good changes, but I suspect that many of the people who did not go with the TNIV will be forced to make another choice when the NIV 84 and TNIV are replaced wi the NIV Update. The most likely candidates seem to be the ESV, HCSB, and NLT, (although the NLT also uses gender neutral language but doesn’t seem to be criticized for it).

    The ESV has a lot of popular endorsements, and I am thankful for it, although it is a minor revision with some inherited archaic English. I have lately really been enjoying the HCSB, trying to be as accurate as the ESV and as understandable as the NIV, with traditional terminology and modern English. Some evangelicals have claimed it to be what they hoped the NIV always would have been.

    I suspect that many out there will not really notice the NIV update changes, while those who know will either applaud them or change. The NIV might lost some ground but will probably keep at least half or more of it’s user base. The rest, as I suspect might go to the ESV, HCSB, and NLT, in that order. BTW, I do really enjoy the NET and it’s notes, but it’s online form might keep it from being a mainstream contender just yet over the next decade or so.

    I am thankful for our many great English translations, and I hope that we can all use them to know, love, serve, and share God more with others!

  4. Rick Meigs says:


    Thanks for dropping by and leading such a good comment. It will be interesting to see how the NIV 2011 is received. I suspect that the average Jesus follower won’t even know there was a revision.

  5. […] of the King James Version in the number two spot, which is free to use by any and all, the top ten selling Bible translations are owned by a company, foundation or individual, all of whom dictate how you can and can’t use […]

  6. Lois Scott says:

    I’d like to respond to your comment about the King James Bible. The reason it has staying power is because it is the pure word of God that God has preserved and protected for 400 years, unlike the NIV and other modern versions that have omitted 17 whole verses, 180 portions of verses omitted and has corrupted numerous texts. I really wonder how people can even read those
    persversion like the NIV. There is a curse on those who add to or delete any words from the Bible in Rev 22: 18&19. Does any one out there care about what God says? Satan is behind the mutilation of God’s Word and just about the whole Christian world readily accepts his dirty work. I’ll stand behind the King James Bible as the only pure Word of God just as the reformers of the Dark Ages did.

    • Nick says:


    • Carlos Reyes says:

      you are talking out of ignorance the NIV omitted thos verses because there are not suppose to exist they dont apear on the Early Greek manuscripts from 6 century a.d to 11 century a.d they appear on leater editions from 12 to 14 century a.d

      • Cory Barnes says:

        The original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts are the pure Word of God. The King James was a fine work of translation considering the manuscripts the translators had available, but we have far more ancient manuscripts today. Believing such doctrine about the KJV ignores the miracle of Pentecost, the gospel is made available in each man’s own dialect. This miracle continues today as the Word of God is continuously preached and translated into relevant language. I greatly appreciate the ESV but realize that when I am 85 I will need to use a more contemporary version. Please look very hard at your belief, such doctrine is causing unnecessary division in our churches.

  7. Steve Hemmerick says:

    The HCSB study Bible is by far the best looking, most inviting and most clear Bible translation I have ever read and seen. That said, I am not a Baptist. I follow the Calvinist tradition, so I probably should spend most time with ESV, particularly for the study notes that go with the ESV Study Bible, which is a beautiful Bible, too. Actually, the ESV version of The Reformation Study Bible, with Sproul as general editor, is the most appropriate Bible for me. I want to say though that the HCSB study bible is the most inviting Bible to look at and to read. I mean it is a pleasure. The production team of the HCSB took away the stern look of the other translations. The HCSB succeeds in making a Bible welcoming, pleasant and beautiful. The HCSB has the best production values. The Presbyterians should look at it to learn what an inviting Bible looks like.

    • Scott Vines says:

      The HCSB is not a “Baptist” translation, and the ESV is not “Calvinist.” The HCSB was funded by Baptists, but they actually had the foresight to hire independent scholars from multiple conservative Christian denominations, most of whom were not Baptist. The ESV Study Bible apparently has some Calvinist notes, but that doesn’t make the translation Calvinist. If the HCSB is “welcoming, pleasant and beautiful,” then why not use it?

  8. Thomas says:

    The KJV translators never claimed divine inspiration and also recommended using other translations along side theirs for study.

    The reason why modern translations have omitted verses (which they footnote by the way) is because the earliest manuscripts don’t contain those verses. The KJV used the Textus Receptus compiled by Erasmus from Byzantine manuscripts (Medieval manuscripts.) Erasmus also back translated some verses in Revelation that didn’t didn’t have in Greek from Latin. Also the Comma Johanneum wasn’t found in any Greek manuscript and he wouldn’t put it in it unless someone found one, then of course the advocates for it produced on.

    Modern translations use manuscripts that are far earlier and closer to when their were written making them more accurate to what they original said. It’s more pure and untainted. The Byzantine manuscripts contain numerous additions and changes to the text.

    Modern translations are far more correct in their reading than the KJV. Why are you so blind that you hold on to a 400 year old English translation. There was other English versions before the KJV like the Geneva BIble, Bishops Bible, etc.

    You are making an idol out of translation. If anything the KJV Only people are dividing the Christian community by saying it’s the only reliable and divinely inspired translation, which is false since the translators never claimed that.

    If you want to know what it really says you should learn Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. Things get lost in translation because languages are different form each other. It’s ludicrous to think God’s Word is only in a 400 year old English translation and all others are ‘Satanic.’ What about translations in other languages like Japanese, Korean, Russian, French, German, Spanish, and so on and so forth. Are they doomed because they can’t read an antiquated English translation?

    Is it any wonder people are leaving the Christian faith when there are modern day Pharisee’s condemning people for reading modern translations. Use your brain, God gave you it to use. Don’t follow so blindly to illogical teachings. Just because you follow the faith doesn’t mean you have to check you brain at the door.

    • Jeff says:

      It should be noted that the bible most likely used and most directly quoted in the NT by our Lord and His Apostles was the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew and Chaldean (bk of Daniel). It is generally considered a poor translation of the Hebrew by today’s standards but that said… there is no discussion in scripture anywhere about translations.

      The reason I believe is because of Psalm 119:89: “Forever, O LORD,Your word is settled in heaven.” Not in any translation… for the reason stated above, it is difficult if not impossible to accurately translate from one language (especially ancient ones) to another.

      I appreciate the insights gleaned from the discussion here. Clearly not all translations are created equal and I have my own personal preferences but the key is that the eternal word of God is revealed even in poor translations by God himself and not commentators or translators.

  9. carlos reyes says:

    the NIV its a Good Bible version. it is very close to the original hebrew and greek texts . now i am Revasing the 2011 NIV to see if it is close to them so fare it seem’s to me that it is but i am not done yet.may God’s will be done

  10. Bill Hope says:

    Well let’s just say this…..I knew as soon as I started reading this it would degenerate into a KJV Only-KJV knocker debate! The KJV has staying power because it’s a beautiful translation. I grew up on the KJV version and love how it sounds BUT yes it’s just one translation amongst others. Now the Bible I use is the New American Standard and that’s the one that I like the best. Alot of people use the NIV (including my pastor) and honestly if someone is a new Christian that’s the Bible I give them so they understand it. I’d rather have someone have a Bible they can actually read and understand over one that’s beautiful poetically. Just remember to do everything in love. If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. –1 Corinthians 13:1

  11. Hey, it’s the same in Spanish–just like the King James, the older translation is more popular. The Reina-Valera 1960 is only a slight revision of the 1909, which is only a slight revision of the 1602, and it remains the most popular Spanish version by far. Like the KJV, there is archaic language, and newer translations have been promoted, such as the Spanish NIV and NASB, as well as updates of the 1960, but I suspect that the readers doubt the fidelity of the newer translations. I think most people would just like to retain the basic structure and modernize the old words and archaic verbs and pronouns (the equivalent of the thees and thous, but, only in the plural) but the translators seem insistent on changing the text in line with modern textual criticism, and there is zero tolerance for that in the Spanish evangelical churches.