Choose A Bible Translation That Works For You
You have many options when it comes to Bible translationsand while most people have their favorites, each one plays its part when it comes to better understanding the Bible.
The Bible was originally written in the languages of Hebrew and Greek . Over the millennia, these old documents were translated into the dominant languages of the time and place, and then re-translated, and so on.
Translating ancient texts for modern readers is a tough and involved process. There are many ways it can be donebut most English translations of the Bible fall on a spectrum from formal equivalence to functional equivalence.
Formal equivalence translations are sometimes called word-for-word versions of the Bible. While strict word-for-word translation is impossible outside of interlinear Bibles, versions on this end of the spectrum aim to choose words that directly mirror the words the original language uses as well as the structure of the original-language sentences.
This can be helpful when it comes to recognizing and recalling word patterns across the Bible. If youre especially inclined to look up words in their original languages , youll likely enjoy a formal equivalence translation.
POPULAR WORD-FOR-WORD TRANSLATIONS INCLUDE:
- New King James Version
- New Revised Standard Version
- New American Standard Bible , the poster child for formal equivalence.
POPULAR THOUGHT-FOR-THOUGHT TRANSLATIONS INCLUDE:
A Blended Approach
The Bible For Teen Girls: Growing In Faith Hope And Love
The Bible for Teen Girls: Growing in Faith, Hope and Love is designed specifically for girls ages 13- 18. It includes daily readings from popular Christian female authors, character profiles of women in the Bible, and highlighted promises of God.
This Bible is perfect for teenagers as is it packed with daily readings, challenging insights, smart advice, and open discussion of the realities female teenagers may face.
Reading Levels Of The Most Popular Bible Translations
Here are a few things to note about the chart:
These are the top 10 most popular Bible translations based on data from the ECPA Bestsellers January 2021.
The King James Version is great for historical value and poetic language. Its not on my recommended list of easy to read versions because it uses Elizabethan English from the 1600s.
Some of the reading levels have a range because different publishers and groups have different standards for how to measure them.
The 10th on the list is the Message, which is a paraphrase of the Bible and intended for reading, not as a Study Bible. Most paraphrases are influenced by one person and not based on a group of language experts like the other translations on this list.
I dont recommend paraphrases of the Bible for beginners. Paraphrases lean more towards making the original text flow smoother in English. They can also contain biases from one individual translator rather than a team.
This doesnt mean that paraphrases dont have their place as devotional-type reading Bibles. I recommend paraphrases to enhance your understanding, but not to rely on as your main version of the Bible. Most people who are starting out only have one version of the Bible, so I wouldnt recommend a paraphrase to be the one.
Recommended Reading: What Does The Bible Say About Cremation Vs Burial
Which Bible Translation Should I Use
Shopping for a Bible is not for the faint of heart.
If youve ever wondered, Which Bible should I use? and wandered into a Christian bookstore, youve probably been overwhelmed by the rows of Bibles, not only in all colors and sizes but also sporting all kinds of acronyms: KJV, NIV, ESV, NLT, NASB. What do they all mean and how can you pick the best one for you?
To understand where all the translations come from, its helpful to remember that the Scriptures were originally written in Hebrew and Greek. There are several old manuscripts surviving, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, but unless youre skilled in those ancient languages, youre probably relying on a translation to understand the Word of God in your own language.
Now, translations are a tricky thing, as anyone who speaks two languages will tell you. When my family was in Romania as missionaries, wed translate English songs into Romanian, and then our friends translated them into Rroma, the Gypsy language. But no matter how hard you try, a translation cant maintain both the original meaning and the lyrical beauty of the text. Bummer.
But lucky for us we have plenty of translations to help give us exactly what were looking for.
So here are the three main types of Bible translations:
How Can Parents Be Engaged In Their Teens Faith Journey
With small children you can read them the Bible and help set aside time for them to be in Gods word. If you ask your teen if theyve read their Bible today, you will likely be met with eye rolls and sighs.
Just like they are beginning to develop independence in most life skills, this is also the age where they start owning their faith. I know its hard, but you want this! Here are a few ways to be involved in their faith journey without being that parent.
Don’t Miss: What Does Bible Says About Tattoos
Abridged Bibles For Early Readers
As for reading the Bible themselves, weve often not started our kids on complete Bible translations but abridgedBibles. This is a great way to help them start getting in the habit of reading just a little something for their personal devotional time without being overwhelmed.
Here are some of our personal favorites
King James Version : 12th grade
Which Bible Version Is The Most Accurate And Easy To Understand
There are a lot of translations and versions, so how do you know which one to choose? Who should you trust? There are so many opinions and options out there, so I want to explain the reasons why I recommend the NLT, ESV, and the CEV. Then you can make an informed decision that you feel confident about.
Its helpful to know the two major approaches in translating the Bible from the original text.
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek with a little bit of Aramaic here and there.
The two main approaches to translating the Bible are word-for-word and thought-for-thought.
In simple terms: Word-for-word translations try to stick as closely as possible to each word of the original languages. The thought-for-thought translations lean more towards being clear and expressing the Bible in modern English. This doesnt mean that they are not accurate. Its just a different emphasis and approach in translation.
Bible Versions/Translations Fall Somewhere in this Spectrum
Translations like the ESV are more word-for-word. The NLT and CEV are more thought-for-thought. Paraphrases like the Message would be on the far right of that spectrum. Paraphrases take the meaning and express it with words that are not in the original text.
A lot more can be said about Bible versions and translations, but thats the essence of it.
The NLT and CEV are not nearly as far leaning as some other translations like the NIrV . For that reason, I dont recommend the NIrV here.
Also Check: What Is Love Definition Bible
Accurate Bible Translations Compared
Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses.
Bible scholars have to study the original languages for a long period of time in order to develop a high proficiency in the original language.
And these same scholars must be top experts in the target language as well.
Anybody who has learned a foreign language knows there are certain idioms in each language.
These idioms do not always translate accurately from a source language to the target language, so translators must be very careful to make sure the meaning is accurately transmitted.
And the translators do a very good job of it. We can tell, because after hundreds of years of Bible translating, all the major translations are in agreement about the major meanings they are conveying in English.
They differ very slightly in the exact expression of the meanings and the translators take great care to make sure the core meanings are conserved.
This makes the translations very useful in side-by-side comparisons.
Need Some Help Picking Out Your Next Bible We’re Here To Help
on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 9:00 AM
God’s Word changes lives. But how do you know which translation and style is best? Conside these three questions when selecting a Bible for yourself or to give as a gift.
Whether you’re looking for your first Bible, replacing an older one, or giving a Bible as a gift, we can guide you through the Bible selection process.
Recommended Reading: Cremation Vs Burial Bible
Choose An Editorial Team You Want To Learn From
Your Bible translation determines which philosophies are represented in the text of Scripture. But perhaps more important is the philosophies represented in the rest of the text. All the notes, articles, and book introductions come from editors who have particular perspectives. Its wise to choose a study Bible with an editorial team youre comfortable learning from. This way the study aids will actually aid in your study.
You dont have to 100% agree with them. But you also dont want to pay for a study Bible that you dont have confidence in.
Usually you can tell what sort of study notes a Bible will have by taking a look at the general editors. For example, D. A. Carson is the general editor of the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible and also a founding member of The Gospel Coalition. So, you can generally depend on noncritical notes from a Christocentric perspective. On the other hand, Drs. John Walton and Craig Keener edited The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, so you can expect historically-informed notes that help you understand what a passage would have meant to its original readers.
Readers in the Arminian tradition might be confused by Carson-approved notes in the footers of Romans chapter 9. And readers who hold to a literal six-day creation narrative might be uncomfortable with Waltons notes in Genesis chapter 1.
POPULAR STUDY BIBLES BY EDITORIAL TEAM:
The Best Free Bible Study Apps For Busy Women
We may earn money from the products/companies mentioned in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, read our Terms & Disclosures.
Save & Share
Here is an overview of the 10 best Bible study apps available for Android & iPhone in 2021. These Bible apps and tools will provide you with a way to nurture your faith both easily and effectively.
The days of being able to sit down and pour over books or listen to teachings to help grow your understanding of the Bible are long gone. Instead you have a house to clean, kids to care for, a marriage to tend to, and sanity to cling to.
Thankfully, there are some truly fantastic free Bible study apps available for women who are on the move and still want to dive deep in the truths of Scripture.
In fact, there are hundreds to choose from, so how do you choose the right app for your Bible time?
Also Check: What Does The Bible Say About The Vaccine
Faithlife Study Bible App Bible App For Ios And Android
Devotions, groups, news, and moreits all wrapped up in the Faithlife Study Bible app. It puts your Bible study and the Faithlife community on iPad, iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire.
How is your church navigating the wilderness? COVID was a tricky time for churches. Is there a new normal? Download the free eBook, Churches in the Wilderness: Navigating COVID-19 and the New Normal now. In it, youll learn how to plan for a new normal and the changes that came with COVID-19.
Best Bible Apps And Bible Study Apps For Android
Here are the best Bible apps and Bible study apps for Android! We are aware that there are many different faiths that use the Bible and many different versions of the Bible. Again, were not saying any particular version of the Bible is better than any other. Most of these should work for most religions that use the Bible.
Don’t Miss: What Is An Omer In The Bible
Who Will Need A Study Bible
Study Bible is for serious bible readers who want to learn and understand the truth on a deep level.
The study Bibles are not for those who prefer only a superficial knowledge of Gods Word because they are written at a more challenging reading level.
A beginner reader may find them difficult to read, but an advanced student could very much benefit from their in-depth discussions on almost every verse of the Bible.
What Is The Best Bible Translation
People often ask, What is the best Bible translation?
As I indicated yesterday, there really is no best Bible translation. The best Bible translation all depends on what you want to accomplish with your Bible reading, devotional habits, or study plan. Other factors to consider are whether or not you will be preaching or teaching the Bible to others, or whether you are just reading the Bible for understanding and inspiration.
But here is my basic simple guide for helping you pick the best Bible translation for your purposes and goals.
Recommended Reading: Bible Verses About Cremation
Development Of Modern English Bible Versions
The Wessex Gospels were the first translation of the four Gospels in English without accompanying Latin text. The of 1611 was sporadically altered until 1769, but was not thoroughly updated until the creation of the Revised Version in 1885 it was not until the Revised Standard Version of 1952 that a rival to the KJV was composed, nearly 350 years after the KJV was first published. The RSV gained widespread adoption among the mainstream Protestant Churches in America and a Catholic Edition was released in 1962. It was updated as the New Revised Standard Version in 1989.
Despite widespread criticism due to being a paraphrase rather than a translation, the popularity of The Living Bible created a demand for a new approach to translating the Bible into contemporary English called dynamic equivalence, which attempts to preserve the meaning of the original text in a readable way. Realizing the immense benefits of a Bible that was more easily accessible to the average reader, and responding to the criticisms of the Living Bible, the American Bible Society extended the Good News for Modern Man to the Good News Bible by adding the Old Testament, in this more readable style. This translation has gone on to become one of the best selling in history. In 1996, a new revision of Taylor’s Living Bible was published. This New Living Translation is a full translation from the original languages rather than a paraphrase of the Bible.
Interpretation Centered Study Bibles
These types of study Bibles are primarily designed to help you understand the meaning of the text in each book of the Bible. In other words, they want to help you get to the heart of the authors original intent.
Usually, these Bibles have loads of study notes underneath the text, plus maps, diagrams, cross-references, and dozens of other helpful tools.
Sometimes the study notes are written by a number of biblical scholars, such as with the ESV Study Bible, and other times theyre written primarily by a single individual, like the MacArthur Study Bible .
Personally, I believe the best study Bible will have study notes written by a variety of scholars. This allows you to get a variety of perspectives on a variety of texts. If all the notes are written by a single person, youre only getting their interpretation of all the passages. This can get especially dicey if youre getting into more difficult texts, like in the Book of Revelation.
However, this is just my personal recommendation and I certainly wont judge you if youre a fan of the MacArthur Study Bible or Sproul Study Bible.
Read Also: What Does The Bible Say About Mental Abuse
New International Greek Testament Commentary
This five-star commentary helps students of the Bible exegete Scripturewith understanding of the historical, linguistic, and textual context. Even students new to Greek will glean from detailed verse-by-verse commentary and insightful comments about each section of the text.
If you were to scroll through praise of NIGTCs 13-volume collection, youd read comments like this one on Epistle to the Galatians from The Expository Times: Massive learning is combined with an easy style. Students who work carefully through this commentary alongside the Greek New Testament will learn much.
And NIGTC volumes have won multiple awards:
- Academy of Parish Clergy Top Ten Books of the Year 1 Corinthians
- Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion award for Commentaries Galatians
- Academy of Parish Clergy Top Ten Books of the Year Special Recognition Colossians & Philemon
- Christianity Today Number 3 Critics Choice for Commentaries Hebrews
- Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion finalist for Reference/Commentary 1 Corinthians
No wonder NIGTCs The Gospel of Mark, Philippians, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, and The Book of the Revelation are ranked number one at bestcommentaries.com.
Which Is The Best Bible Translation
There is no simple answer to this. Some of this has to do with which part of the Bible you want to read. The Bible is the Word of God, God-breathed and God inspired . It is described as living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword since it can penetrate human thoughts and motives . The Word is the very power of God . Which translation is best? I will answer this question but first, there are five tips that I would recommend before you pick the best.
Recommended Reading: Omer Bible
Objections To Modern Translations
Only the KJV is Inspired
There is nothing in the Bible that would suggest that one particular Bible translation would be superior to others. Neither does it suggest that God would choose one particular Bible translation, in one particular world language, to be the most authentic version. The great majority of Christian denominations do not attribute any special accuracy or authority to the KJV.
Different Hebrew and Greek Manuscripts
The KJV was translated into English from a set of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts known as the Textus Receptus, put together in the 16th century. It was based on seven manuscripts that were available in Basel, Switzerland.
Since that time, the scientific method of paleography has been developed. By analyzing the paper, ink and handwriting, scientists can determine approximately when and where a manuscript was written. Some of the results of paleography have been tested and verified by accelerator mass spectrometry, a form of radiocarbon dating.
It is now known that the manuscripts of the Textus Receptus date to the 10th century A.D. and later. Thus, they have been copied over by hand many, many times since the originals, with a chance of additional compounded errors each time.
New Revised Standard VersionNew International Version