Research Study: Comparing Bible Translations to The Bridge

The Bridge Bible was created to offer an innovative solution for the 21st Century person seeking to understand Scripture. However, after translating several books of the Bible, I wanted to see if the Bridge would actually accomplish its intended purpose. Would the Bridge be an easy to read, easy to understand Bible that actually leads to a better comprehension of the Bible’s meaning? So, I decided to conduct a series of research studies comparing other popular Bible translations and the Bridge.

Over a three month period, I conducted multiple research studies to test the Bridge Bible Translation. I planned and administered three studies comparing the Bridge translation to other learning, modern translations – the NIV, ESV, NLT, and Message. The first study comparing Bible translations was a blind-comparison study of the translations; the second was an actual comprehension test (quiz) of each passage in each translation; and the third study comparing Bible translations gained qualitative data on the perception of the Bridge translation. The key findings are identified below.

Study 1: Comparing the “Easy to Read, Easy to Understand Bible” Perception of the Bridge and Other Leading Translations

The first study conducted was a blind-comparison, experimental study (similar to a “taste test”). In total, 1,061 participants identified their perceptions. They were given one of ten different Bible passages from an unidentified (blind) translation. On a Likert scale, these participants responded to questions that focused on readability, understanding, interest in buying the translation they read, and willingness to recommend to a friend. The majority of participants (~75%) were between the ages of 25 and 44. Over 50% of participants read the Bible 2-3 times per week or daily with ~30% reading it only occasionally or never. After collecting the data, I compared the means for each passage from all translations. The summary results for the four questions are in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Comparing Reader’s Perception of the Bridge to Other Leading Bible Translations

Question’s FocusResult
Easier to readThe Bridge was 5% easier to read than the leading, popular Bible translations
Easier to understandThe Bridge was 6% easier to understand than the leading, popular Bible translations
Interest in buying the Bridge57.3% would buy the Bridge Bible translation (more than 1 out of every 2 persons)
Willingness to recommend to the Bridge to a friend 65% would recommend the Bridge Bible translation to a friend (Also, 4.4% more likely to recommend the Bridge over other leading Bible translations)

Study 2: Comparing Actual Comprehension and Understanding in the Bridge and Other Bible Translations

A blind-comparison experimental study only measures participants’ perception. It cannot reveal whether or not the Bridge actually improved understanding of the Bible. Thus, after completing the first experiment, a second study comparing Bible translations was designed to test the actual comprehension and performance of bible translations. To test comprehension, tests were created for each of the ten individual passage. Each test consisted of seven or more open-ended, short answer questions (to minimize participant’s ability to guess, like they could on a multiple-choice or true/false question). In total, the same 90 test questions were asked. The questions covered the same ten representative passages in each Bible translation. Like before, I used and tested the same ten representative passages in the Bridge and in five other popular Bible translations – the NIV, ESV, NLT, and Message.

In total, 613 participants completed individual comprehension tests (317 for the Bridge; 296 for other translations). Over 60% were female. Nearly two-thirds were between the ages of 25 and 44. Over 70% of participants were from the United States and another 20% from Asia. Over 40% of participants read the Bible 2-3 times per week or daily with ~40% reading it only occasionally or never.

The summary results of the comprehension comparison are below.

Table 3. Comparing Actual Comprehension from the Bridge to Other Leading Translations

Area TestedComprehension Test Results
Overall Bible The Bridge produced 30% HIGHER COMPREHENSION than other leading, modern translations
RevelationThe Bridge produced 51% HIGHER COMPREHENSION than other leading, modern translations

Study 3: Identifying Themes from Participant Qualitative Feedback

The comprehension study revealed how the Bridge improves understanding compared to other translations. While it demonstrates a significant increase in an individual’s actual comprehension and understanding (30% higher!), I conducted a third analysis to gain qualitative feedback data from participants on the Bridge translation. The thematic results (with representative quotes) from the qualitative feedback are below.

General desires for a Bible translation

Table 4. Themes Expressing General Desires for Bible Translations

ThemeRepresentative Quote
To make sense“I wish that the Bible could be translated to make more sense.”
To not be difficult“I’m thinking of buying the bible for dummies because sometimes I find it so difficult to understand the NIV”
To be accurate and faithful
  • “How true is it to original meaning?  Pretty good, I think.“ – Person without a degree in theology
  • Add a statement that it is as close to the original thought of the text as possible so as to allow people to be comfortable with it. But a very nice translation to read.” – A person with a degree in theology

Feedback on the Bridge Bible translation

Table 5. Themes from Feedback on the Bridge Translation

ThemeRepresentative Quote
Easy to read
  • “This translation is very easy to read.
  • “It was awesome reading this passage”
  • “This would make reading the Bible less tedious.”
  • “Easy to read, but Bible’s supposed to be hard to read.”
Useful for understanding“It would be a help as a study Bible, to help people with the meaning in contemporary language.  It seems to be a fine tool….I have used Amplified Bible and The Message for reading comprehension when I was younger, and they were useful.”
Simple and good for beginners“I have read the bible many times over years in 2 different languages (English and Arabic) and different versions and I think this one is simple and could be useful for beginners.”
Clear
  • “I feel somewhat soothed while reading this. I felt everything was clear and presented plainly.”
  • “I could clearly understand it.”
 

 

Contemporary

  • “This sounds like the Message translation.”
  • “It was awesome reading this passage.”
  • “I feel like this is edited for today’s world. It may work for the younger generation but I don’t think I would feel comfortable reading this version.” Note: this person said they would buy it as a gift for a younger person.
  • “I personally liked it!”

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