The first thing you need to do is find a Bible for yourself. You can’t pour the Bible into your kids if you’re not filling yourself with it.
There is no perfect Bible for everyone. Each person has their own needs and styles of reading. Also each person has their own doctrinal beliefs and some translations will affect what the verse says. To help in finding the right Bible for you, I’m going to cover some of the more common Bible translations.
Jeff pointed out to me as I read him the post that I need to explain a few terms.
Terms to know when finding the right Bible for you
- translation- a Bible that is taken straight from the Greek and Hebrew into the language you’re reading it in. This is usually done by a team of people
- paraphrase- a Bible that is taken from an English (or other langauge) translation to its own version
- word for word- the Greek or Hebrew is translated word for word to maintain original intent as close as possible
- thought for thought- the Greek or Hebrew is translated phrase by phrase to smooth out grammatical differences.
What are the most common translations on the market right now?
King James Bible
This is your Grandmother’s Bible. Authorized in 1611 by, you guessed it, King James, and has been in use for 400 years.
– reads like poetry and has a very majestic feel
– some phrases are very familiar because it’s crept into the vernacular
-older grammar and word choice could be a stumbling block
-archaic phrasings make it more of a struggle to understand
The most common Bible currently in use.
-very accurate translation, it uses a combination of thought for thought and word for word translation to make it more readable
-some Christians have doctrinal issues with the most current translation.
The scholar’s Bible, most commonly used for in-depth Bible studies.
-word for word translation is one of the most accurate translations available
-because it is a literal word for word translation there is less chance of the translator inputting their doctrinal views
-because it is word for word, it can be a little clunky to read
-wording can be awkward for some people
New kid on the block in the word for word translation
-combines the word for word translation with the readability of the NIV
-there are some times where sentence structure is a little clunky
“The Bible in modern English”
-it’s in common language of today
-not as accurate, it’s not thought for thought or word for word, but a looser translation
-it’s closer to a paraphrase than a translation
-there is more chance of the translator to put in his viewpoint
New Living Translation
a storyteller’s Bible
-like the more recent NIV translations it has some doctrinal issues with its translation
-it’s a bit looser of a translation than NIV, not to the extreme of The Message, but it’s not as close of a translation.
So which do I use?
I actually own all of these, and a few more esoteric translations. Currently I use the ESV translation. I like the combination of the readability of the NIV and the accurate translation of the NASB. If I’m looking for a different viewpoint I’ll read the Message. Since it’s in modern vernacular it phrases verses in ways that gets me thinking, and brings up new ideas.
My best friend enjoys using King James version because it’s poetic. Up until the update to the NIV, my church used NIV in services, but with the new translation they’ve changed to HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
If you want to try reading some of these online or get more information I’d suggest going to Biblegateway.com, it holds most of the translations online that are well known and lets you get an idea of what fits you. I frequently go to this site when I’m working on Bible study at my computer. I enjoy being able to read different translations.
If you want a more thorough and professional analysis than mine with actual verse comparisons I”d suggest going to Mardel’s Bible comparison site.
So what translation do you use? Do you like it?
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