Choosing A Bible Translation

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Which Bible translation is the best to use? The answer is, "Several." In my opinion, it is good to read from several different Bible translations. It is amazing how easy it is to skim past things once a person has read through the same material several times from the same translation. Many times, reading from a different translation will bring new insights. Even though they often say the same thing, the simple fact that it is worded differently will cast the information in a new light.

However, it is also good to remember that some translations are better than others. Not all Bible translations are translated equally well! I am going to give a brief list of a couple of translations that I recommend, followed by a couple of translations that I do not recommend. Then I will give links to a couple of Web sites that offer excellent information on choosing a Bible translation.

Note: I do not give reasons for why I recommend or do not recommend certain translations. I recommend that a person check out translations for themselves using the resources that I have provided at the bottom of this article.

List of translations that I do recommend:

  1. NASB (New American Standard Bible)
  2. ESV (English Standard Version)
  3. AMP (The Amplified Bible)
  4. HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  5. NIV (New International Version)
  6. NLT (New Living Translation)

List of translations that I do not recommend:

  1. RSV (Revised Standard Version) and NRSV (New Revised Standard Version)
  2. The Message
  3. TNIV (Today’s New International Version)
  4. NETBible

Links to Further Resources:

  1. "Which is the best Bible to use…" – by Bro. Buddy of Christian Challenge
    • This is a blog entry written by Bro. Buddy, and it gives an excellent breakdown of the different kinds of translations that are available.
  2. "The Bible Researcher" – by Michael Marlowe
    • This Web site is an excellent portal to all things related to Bible translation. The "English Versions of Scripture" has reviews of pretty much every major English translation on the market, and many minor ones as well.

7 thoughts on “Choosing A Bible Translation

  1. Bro. Akunne Ben

    Please what do you people mean by Original Manuscripts? Are you telling me that other bible is not the word of God that are writing there?

    1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

      Bro. Akunne,

      You asked a great question. When we talk about the Bible being inspired we are referring to the original manuscripts. However, Christian theology does not insist that every copy of those manuscripts is inspired. None of the original manuscripts exist anymore, and the copies that exist have small differences. It’s important to realize that these differences are small and do not change Christian doctrine in any way, but they are still there.

      One of the challenges that Bible translators face is sorting through these differences and finding which one is correct. There are thousands of manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts available for scholars to use, and more are discovered every year.

      At the end of the day, Godly, intelligent scholars who are experts in their field still have differences of opinion about how some of these passages should be translated.

      Again, it’s important to remember that the differences in our copies of the manuscripts do not change Christian theology in any way.

      I hope that answers your question!

      In Christ,
      Josh S.

  2. James Besuden

    Carole,

    If the KJV is the only word of God, then why does it call itself a “version”?

    And don’t forget that the true KJV includes the deuterocananical books (Apoocrypha). The modernists corrupted the KJV, removing those scriptures from God’s Word. You can’t accept the KJV and reject the deuterocanon.

    James

  3. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

    Carole,

    The only true word of God are the original manuscripts. Everything else are man made translations and copies. God, in His divine providence, has given us tremendously accurate copies of the original manuscripts. Because we have those copies we are able to make very accurate translations of the Bible into any language that is advanced enough to be written down.

    Nevertheless, they are still translations. No translation is perfect.

    If the KJV is the only Word of God then what are we to do with people who don’t speak English? Are we to teach them English to the point of fluency so that they can read the Word of God? (That’s a rhetorical question. I understand that there are those who teach that translations into other languages should be made from the KJV. That, in my opinion, is patently absurd. People who make that claim seem to think that the English language is the only one that matters. It’s ethnocentrism at its finest.)

    I do not attack the KJV, but neither do I recommend it. I think that there are much more accurate English translations available. I also think that there are translations that are far worse.

    The NASB is the English Bible that I use as a study Bible. I often use the NIV and ESV as my primary devotional Bibles. It seems that you hold a different opinion, and that’s well within your rights =)

    The translation that a person picks doesn’t determine their salvation. This brief article is simply meant as a guide to help people who are coming from a primarily KJV-only background but now want something different to read. If a person chooses to stay with the KJV then that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    God bless,
    – Josh S.

  4. Carole

    I have been studying and comparing different versions for many years now. I love the kJV and believe it to be the only word of God. Have not found any inaccuracies yet which even when others tried to point out contradictions that they thought existed I could prove were not contradictions at all. Cannot say the same however for other versions. I find it really funny how much the KJV is attacked. I wonder why? Which version do you use?

    Carole

  5. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

    Because I don’t recommend it =)

    More seriously: It is not a very accurate Bible translation. It was superb when it was translated, but now many more manuscripts have been discovered–such as the Dead Sea Scrolls–that make for more accurate translations. Also, the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages are understood better now than they were when the KJV was translated.

    The KJV is not the worst translation on the market. Far from it! But my opinion is that there are much better ones to choose from =)

    – Josh S.

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