Bible Reviews · Uncategorized

A Review of the 2015 Amplified Bible in Paperback, from Zondervan

Instead of going through and listing several changes between the older Amplified Bible and the new for 2015 Updated Amplified Bible, I decided just to show one as a brief example.  Then I will explain some pros and cons.  The verse we are going to look at is 1 John 3:9.

First we’ll look at the familiar KJV.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

[1 John 3:9 KJV]

Now the NASB.

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

[1 John 3:9 NASB]

Next, the old version of the Amplified.

“No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and[a]habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.”

The same verse in the 2015 Amplified.

“No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because [a]God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually[live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him.”

SBL Greek, “1 John 3:9 (SBL NT) πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ, ὅτι σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ μένει, καὶ οὐ δύναται ἁμαρτάνειν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγέννηται.” Pas ho gegennamenos ek ton theou amartian ou poiei, hoti sperma autou en auto menei, kai ou dunatai hamartanein, hoti ek tou theou gegennetai.  Anyone having been born of God sin not practices because seed of him in him abides and not he is able to continue sinning because of God has been born.

Now after looking at all of those versions for comparison you might have noticed a few differences.  In the KJV the Greek word, “ποιεῖ (poiei)” is being translated as, “commit” when it more accurately means, “practice.”  So all of the other versions have a more accurate translation of the first part of this verse.  What is inside the []’s in the Amplified translations is added commentary that is put in line with the Biblical text.  It is not the actual translation.  So the added, “[deliberately, knowingly, and habitually]” is intended to help you understand what is meant by, “…practices sin…”  

The KJV renders the next part as, “…for his seed remaineth in him:…”  The NASB is pretty similar with, “…because His seed abides in him;…” And then the old Amplified has, “…for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him];…”  This caused some people to get a bit testy.  I think the 2015 fixed the problem by changing their comments to, “because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose];” but in my opinion added another problem, that being excessive commentation.  Finally, the last part of the verse is the same in the KJV and the NASB.  “…because he is born of God…”  and the old Amplified, “… because he is born (begotten) of God.” 

and the 2015, “…because he is born of God and longs to please Him…”  Now here is a problem that might not be evident at first.  Notice that there are no brackets around, “and longs to please Him.”  These words are not in the Greek, KJV, or the NASB.  They are added as if they are part of the translation.  There is no notation to let you know they are added text.  Now perhaps the people who compiled the 2015 Amplified meant to put them in brackets, but didn’t.  Nevertheless, it is a cause for concern.  

Having brought your attention to these things, I think it is prudent to say that I can give a qualified recommendation for this Bible.  I would recommend it for mature Christians who understand textual criticism, and want some insights into the translation process.  I wouldn’t recommend this for Christians who have no understanding of textual criticism.  False teachers are always going to find some way to twist the Bible around to make it say what they want.  People who say the Amplified version is a responsible are placing the blame on the translation and not the false teacher.  I think the Amplified might be helpful as a side Bible for comparison, but I wouldn’t use it for a study Bible.  I also wouldn’t use it to read from as the added text causes some discontinuity.  

The Bible itself is a paperback with a hybrid binding.  The paper is fairly opaque, for the cost, and the print is uniform and clear.  It is arranged in a double column, paragraph format.  There are notes at the bottom of the page.  The page numbers appear at the top outside corner of the pages with the book name, chapter, and verse range.  There are section headings in bold type.  The expanded text shows up in brackets in line with the text [like this] see how that works?  The hybrid binding and creased cover allow this Bible to open well considering the fact that it is not a sewn binding.  I wouldn’t count on this Bible lasting a long time as a daily reader because of the construction.  It is a value line type of Bible.  The most expensive binding I found this in was an imitation leather, so it isn’t exactly meant to be a durable product.  

Here is a link to the Lockman page for this Bible, The Amplified Bible is a Literal Equivalent translation that, by using synonyms and definitions, both explains and expands the meaning of words in the text by placing amplification in parentheses, brackets, and after key words. This unique system of translation allows the reader to more completely and clearly grasp the meaning as it was understood in the original languages. Additionally, amplifications may provide further theological, historical, and other details for a better understanding of the text.

Here is a blurb from a

Product Description

If you want to get all the rich nuances of the original Bible languages, the Amplified Bible is for you. No working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew is required—just a desire to know more about what God says in his Word. With its unique system of brackets, parentheses, and italics, the Amplified Bible defines and expands key words and phrases right in the text. Verse by verse, the deeper meaning behind the message of Scripture unfolds as you read.

This updated edition of the Amplified Bible is even easier to read and better than ever to study and understand. It includes more amplification in the Old Testament and refined amplification in the New Testament. Additionally, the Bible text has been improved to read smoothly with or without amplifications, so that the text may be read either way. It’s the same feel and style of study material that you expect from the Amplified Bible–now with even clearer wording for deeper understanding

Now available in a more portable size, the Amplified Bible is perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle. Whether you are headed to class, to church, to a coffee shop, or on a trip around the globe, the Amplified Bible can travel with you.


  • Complete Amplified Text
  • Thin, portable size
  • 8.50″ x 5.50″

Product Information

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 1440

Vendor: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2015

Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 X 1.25 (inches)

ISBN: 0310443903

ISBN-13: 9780310443902

Availability: In Stock

Text Layout: Double Column

Text Color: Black Letter

Text Size: 8 Point

Thumb Index: No

Ribbon Marker: No

Spine: Glued

Page Gilding: None

Page Edges: White

18 thoughts on “A Review of the 2015 Amplified Bible in Paperback, from Zondervan

  1. Bob, I received an NRSV French Morocco leather-bound Bible from Cambridge today. Do you have any hints for breaking it in? Thanks.


    1. The best way to break a Bible in is constant use. The oils from your hands will condition the leather. The opening of it and page turning will break the spine in. Never leave it in direct sunlight or heat, like in a car during summer, or on a window sill. The UV will eat the leather up and the heat will loosen the glues.


  2. Thanks for the review.

    Did you notice the gender-neutral language? Looking at the AMP Classic and AMP 2015 side by side:

    Often, as in Romans 1:13, it changes “brethren” to “brothers and sisters”. Other times, as in Galatians 1:11, it changes “brethren” to “believers”. Sometimes it uses just the more modern “brothers”, but the gender-neutral renderings seem most common upon initial scan.

    It makes me a bit concerned about the NASB Update coming out next year, both the AMP and NASB being Lockman. I would hope not, because to do so would completely go against the traditional NASB translation philosophy. I would even be disappointed if they changed “brethren” to “brothers”, to be honest. If they modernize it too much, they will lose what makes it unique, and I might as well just stick with the ESV.

    Maybe I’m silly, but commonly understood, yet archaic words like “brethren” and “tares” instead of “brothers” and “weeds” is something I regret losing in modern Bible translations.


    1. I didn’t notice the gender changes until you brought it up. Thanks for that. You kind of get a sense something is off, but the inline text is a bit distracting, so I didn’t notice it. Looking at Romans 1:13 the Greek word is, “ἀδελφός” adelphos-brothers. In context, of course, it is talking about brothers in the faith. The verse in Galatians uses the same Greek word in the same fashion. The new Amplified fixes some problems and creates others. I am a bit concerned for the new NASB as well. I am pretty sure it is not the same team of people working on it as who worked on the Amplified. I would have to check with Lockman to find out. Zondervan had quite a bit of say in the new Amplified from what I suspect. I could be wrong. I know what you mean about some of the word choices. The younger crowd might not share some of those problems. If it gets too messy, I’ll just use the 1599 Geneva Bible or the ASV and have them rebound by Diego Caloca Jr.


      1. I can tell you authoritatively that Zondervan had no say in the translation process for the AMP. Nor will they have any say in the translation process for the NASB. Zondervan acts solely a commercial publisher, and does not comment on nor influence any of the translations that they publish, including the NIV. This is what sets Zondervan apart from other major Christian publishers who have proprietary in-house translations. Zondervan has none.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad to hear it from someone who works for Zondervan. I get a bit paranoid about people messing with my favorite translation 🙂 I see agendas where there aren’t necessarily agendas. I don’t have any contacts at Zondervan, so it makes it difficult to check things out. I have contacts with almost all of the other major Bible publishers. Thanks for filling us in.


  3. Did anyone notice that the word they is inserted in Romans 5:12? I really like this new update, except for details like this. The verse reads, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned. I have compared this verse in the new Amplified on Bible Gateway to many other versions and none of them add the word they. As a former English major, this bothers me because it implies that I, the reader, am not a part of the sin crowd. I know better. That’s why I needed to get born again.


    1. 5:12 διὰ τοῦτο ὥσπερ δι’ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ἡ ἁμαρτία εἰς τὸν κόσμον εἰσῆλθεν καὶ διὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὁ θάνατος καὶ οὕτως εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὁ θάνατος διῆλθεν ἐφ’ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον
      dia touto hoper di henos anthropou he hamartia eis ton kosmon eisethen kai dia tes hamartias ho thanatos kai houtos eis pantas anthropous ho thanatos dielthen eph ho pantes hemarton Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned


  4. Hello! I am sorry if you have mentioned this in a more recent blog post; I couldn’t find anything, but if this has been covered, I apologize. Anyways, to continue the thread of conversation started in this comment section, the 2020 NASB will increase in gender neutrality. See here Lockman’s Facebook and here:

    Following the types of changes made in the Amplified Bible, adelphoi will now be translated brothers and sisters (with “and sisters” in italics). Micah 6:8 will read, “He has told you, a human, what is good…” I have to say I am disappointed, I would have thought Lockman would stand up to this trend, as they were always (to my delight) “woodenly” literal.


    1. Well, I’m sad to see it, but if it ends up making it into the translation like the previews are showing, I will be moving to the ESV. I’ve might go back to using the Geneva lol.


  5. Although I have different translations of the bible the classic Amplified bible 1987 is my favourite which I’ve always enjoyed using, the wording is so meaningful and personal . I recently bought a new bible and was shocked to find it is no longer Amplified , so much of the wording has been changed and watered down. I am so deeply disappointed with the new revised Amplified bible , its next to impossible to find a replacement for my large print classic edition.


  6. I was looking to buy an Amplified Bible as I never had one. I was really liking it (digital sample) until I read the sex (gender) neutral crap which they have no right altering this stuff. The added text of wanting to please him is also disturbing. I just ordered The Cepher printed that will come later this week. I’ve had the mobile version for a year or so and its really good and solid. It uses all Hebrew Names and Places which can be tough with the printed book but is easier with the mobile App as you can click on some of them to figure out the English terms we’re familiar with. It also uses real names for Yahuah and Eloheim instead of God or Lord. It has 87 books instead of 66 so it’s huge! A free version of the 66 books can be found on Mobile and E-Sword. You have to pay for the 87 book version.

    Oh wow, this 2015 version is bad for adding on. Eve said the serpent beguiled and deceived me. It added “and deceived” as original text while the 1987 version didn’t. The 1987 version had [deceived] where it belonged. This sucks as I really liked the study notes that the 1987 version lacks. To Eve 2015 Adam will rule and be responsible for you. WTH? And be responsible? A lot of added on with my Genesis sample in only a couple chapters. I just deleted this version and it’s a shame what they have done. I will still check out the 1987 version but lacks many things the study version has.


      1. Dear Bob and Roger,

        I have been doing research on the validity of the Amplified Bible’s translation, and I have included Genesis 3:13 (“beguiled and deceived”) and Genesis 3:16 (“rule and be responsible for”) that Roger had brought up. Please see pages 160-164 of “Context is for Kings: Is the Amplified Bible Guilty of Illegitimate Totality Transfer?” which should be the first result if you Google the title. Cheers!


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