Sunday, February 19, 2006

Which Bible is Best?

Okay, I hate to admit it because it makes me feel like an irresponsible Christian adult, but I've lost my Bible. I kept hoping maybe it would turn up in the flotsam and jetsam of my office, or maybe it was buried in other household debris, or maybe I even left it at church one day ... but it's been over a month now and no sign of it.

I suppose I'll have to go and buy another. So which translation do you like best, and why?

While I enjoy Shakespeare, I'm not overly fond of King James' English in my scriptures. The last two Bibles I've used have been New International Version, and I've been very happy. But now I'm wondering about maybe exploring a different translation.

Maybe an Amplified Bible, so I can gather as much nuance as possible from the text. I've also heard some very good things about "The Message" and the New Living Bible paraphrase translations.

I used to have a "Parallel" Bible, with four translations side-by-side, but that was too large and unwieldy for easy use and transportation.

So which version do you use, and what do you like about it?


Mort said...

What Bible is the best is like asking which oxygen is the best. I have used the NIV, KJV, RSV, NRSV, TLB, The Message and ESV. Acronyms!!! For clarification they are the New International Version, the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, The Living Bible, and English Standard Version. All of the above, except for TLB and the Message are translations of the Bible while the TLB and the Message are paraphrases of the Bible. I would never recommend that TLB and the Message be the ONLY Bible someone has that wants to study the Word because they are NOT translations. However, you can't go too far wrong choosing any of the other versions. I have heard that the NIV is the most accurate for the meaning/sense of the verse while the ESV is stated to have the most accurate word for word translation. The RSV and NRSV translations have been adopted by the Presbyterian church. I have been reading the ESV for about two years now and overall am very happy with it. I tend to read from the ESV but also may read the same text from the NIV for a comparison and the Message for a moderna day feeling of the text. Actually it has been stated that the KJV is one of the poorest translations but being in the King James language makes it easier to memorize.

The conclusion is to take a favorite verse, or chapter, in the Bible, go to your local christian book store and spend some time reading your selection in each of the translations and see what feels comfortable and good for you. I would also recommend reading the front of the Bible, no not the Book of Contents, and check out how they translated that version and what the translators were trying to accomplish.

Personally I have installed the latest version of QuickVerse on my PC which has 13 translations that you can read as well as other study books. Bible software!!! That brings up another whole discussion on what is best.

Be blessed,

Rich said...

No translation is perfect. Get a copy of Novum Testamentum Graece and the Septuagint in Greek and learn Greek. After you're comfortable with your new language, feel free to start you education in Hebrew.

Do I think you'll take my advice? No. Nobody ever does.