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
Nlt Life Application Study Bible
This NLT Life Application Bible is a top-seller for a reason. The Bible is translated in New Living Translation, which adapts the original text into modern English that is easy to understand. The study Bible features introductions and overviews for each individual book of the Bible. There are also maps and charts throughout to provide you with quick referencing and a deeper understanding of the context. One aspect that sets this Bible apart is its application notes that help you apply these learned lessons and teachings to aspects of your everyday life. This study Bible can be great for beginners and those looking for a more in-depth study.
- NLT translation is easier to understand
- Application notes help guide you
- Comes in different sizes and designs
- NLT translation may be too simplified for some
- Print is a bit small
What Is The Best Type Of Study Bible
There are so many different types of study Bibles that it can be confusing trying to determine the best study Bible for you.
There are Bibles for men, women, college students, high-school students, kids, military members, and on and on. Its a flabbergasting, overwhelming blessing.
Generally speaking, study Bibles fall into one of two categories:
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Which Bible Version Is Best For You
We could have a very long conversation about the many different translations and all the technical reasons to read one or another version of the Bible.
And different people may have different reasons for selecting the version they read every day.
There are many good translations. And many people have theirpreferences.
Here are some things to think about and questions to askyourself when deciding which translation to get:
Will I enjoy the translation?
Will it be easy to read?
Will I understand it?
Will I be motivated to read it?
For many folks, just one translation will never do. If you are like me, you will have multiple translations around the house, on your computer and all your electronic devices.
Its a wonderful blessing that we have so many options for enjoying the Word of the Living God.
Who Will Need 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.
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What Is The Purpose Of A Study Bible
A study Bible helps the reader understand the Bible more deeply and more completely. This supports the growing faith of the believer, and challenges the unbelief of a skeptic.
A student of the Bible will grow faster and understand more than he would without the resources of a study Bible.
The student will gain greater understanding from a Bible study or a pastors sermon than he otherwise would, because many answers to common questions will be found right there in the study Bible.
So now theres less need to go searching for answers.
Have you ever had questions about a certain Bible character, place or story? A study Bible usually has the answer.
A study Bible can also open up your mind to questions you would never have thought to ask.
Bible scholars have poured years of their lives into studying every detail of the Bible. They have dug deep for answers far beyond the questions many of us would even think to ask.
Bible scholars have also spent centuries answering the questions of skeptics. This has confirmed the sure foundation of the Christian faith many times over.
A study Bible strengthens the believers faith in this sure foundation.
Now the believer can go out into the world and be more confident and more effective than ever before at fulfilling the Great Commission to preach the Gospel to all Nations.
New Living Translation Study Bible
This study Bible, published by Tyndale, is my favorite study Bible for the New Living Translation . Even though I dont use the NLT, the NLT is a top 5 English translation in the United States based on unit sales in the last few years.
Some will find the NLT even more readable than the NIV . Purchase this study Bible if you are using the NLT as your primary translation. This study Bible will serve you admirably.
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Tony Evans Study Bible
The Tony Evans Study Bible is a great option for those who are looking for a study Bible that can help to put the bibe into perspective. Dr. Evans has authored over 100 books, Bible studies, and booklets. Named as one of the most effective preachers in the English-speaking world he was the first African-American to publish a STudy Bible and Commentary.
The study Bible was developed by over 100 scholars from 17 different Christian denominations. It is accurate and faithful in the way that it captures the original meaning of the Bible and does not compromise the readability. It is designed to help you understand the word of God by making it easier to read and more clear and concise. Based on its translation it is great for all types of readers, from the youngest to the oldest and from new convert to the experienced preacher.
If you are looking for a highly trustworthy study Bible, that features a faithful translation and is easy to read, then look no further than the Tony Evans Study Bible.
Why Are There So Many Bible Translations Out There And Which Should I Use
Does that question sound familiar? Yes? Well, Ill break it down for you. There are three major types of bible translations and each serve a different purpose for us as readers. These include the word for word, thought for thought , and paraphrased Bible versions.
- Word for word follows the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts most accurately. These are direct translations. Examples of these include the King James Version, English Standard Version, and the New Revised Standard Version.
- Thought for Thought versions convey scripture in its most understandable wording. Ancient cultural slang, sayings, and expressions are replaced with modern ones that can be easily understood by todays reader. These include the New International Version and the New Living Translation.
- Paraphrased versions are the least accurate to the original text. Authors are given a great amount of freedom in interpretation, so some passages may stray slightly from its original meaning. However, they are very easy to read in modern language. A popular paraphrased Bible translation is The Message translation.
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The 15 Best Study Bibles For Women To Deepen Your Faith
Are you searching for a great study Bible for women that will radically deepen your faith and understanding of Gods Word? There are so many study Bibles to choose from, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to find the perfect study Bible that will meet your specific Bible study needs.
In this post I cover 15 of the best study Bibles available for Christian women, with all of their amazing features, to help you determine which study Bible will help you deepen your understanding of Scripture each day. Before laying out the best study Bibles out there for women, its important to know exactly what a study Bible is, along with the most common features included in a study Bible.
Best Study Bibles For Evangelical Christians
The best first tool to obtain to study the Bible is a study Bible. Here are the nine best study Bibles available today.
If you only had 50 US dollars to spend on tools to study the Bible, I would recommend getting a free Bible software program and a good study Bible. Study Bibles have several important features features that make it an essential tool for Christians.
- Study notes: study Bibles include study notes which comment on individual Bible verses. Usually the commentary helps readers with the interpretation of the Bible verse. With a study Bible, you are always carrying a concise whole Bible commentary.
- Book introductions and outlines: study Bibles include a 1-2 page introduction to each book of the Bible. This introductory material includes information on the author, date, audience, theme, and purpose. An outline may be included to help you understand the general flow of the book.
- Cross-references: study Bibles include cross references. The crossreferences guide you to other Bible verses that are relevant to the verse you are reading.
- Maps and charts: study Bibles include maps to help you visualize the geography pertinent to the Bible text. Charts help organize information information and help you track it more easily. For example, a chart may show a list of Jesus parables or Pauls different missionary journeys.
Here are the nine best study Bibles available today.
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Bringing It All Together: Best Study Bible Recommendations
Now lets bring it all together. Given all the information above, what study Bible should you choose?
There are certainly going to be elements of preference involved in making your choice. Maybe your church uses one particular translation. Maybe you grew up reading and memorizing the NASB. Maybe you just like the way a particular translation feels.
Additionally, you may be a fan of Sproul or MacArthur or another expositor and want a Bible with study notes written by them.
The point is that youve got a lot of options.
When choosing, I would recommend using this formula :
Preferred Essentially Literal Translation + Interpretation Focused Study Bible + Contributions From Numerous Scholars = The Best Study Bible
I realize that this is an oversimplification, but I believe it gets to the heart of the matter.
What are some Bibles that fit this equation? Here are few:
The Macarthur Study Bible
John MacArthur is a distinguished and influential Bible teacher with decades of ministry behind him. Many people have gained a lot of wisdom and insight by reading his books.
The MacArthur study Bible has been in print since 1997 and has sold over 2 million copies.
It is available in the New King James Version , the New American Standard Bible , English Standard Version and New International Version .
Due to its amazing success, it has also become available in the Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese languages.
MacArthur put a lot of personal effort into this work, writing over half of the 20,000 study notes himself in longhand!
Its no surprise then that hes earned such a reputation as a thorough scholar who shows a great love for Gods word.
The 2nd Edition came out in 2019. You can get a great look at a sample of the book of Ephesians Scripture Journal version direct from Thomas Nelson, and
The only caveat here is that MacArthur is a cessationist. This means he believes that the gifts of the spirit are a thing of the past.
If you believe God still gives spiritual gifts to his people, you could find yourself at odds with John MacArthur.
But you could still find his study Bible a good read because he is so good at teaching other things.
If you are a believer that the gifts of the Spirit are still active today, you could still benefit greatly from the MacArthur Study Bible.
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Different Types Of Bible Translations
There are two primary methods of Bible translation used today in translating the scriptures from the original languages to English. They are called the formal equivalence method, which is sometimes referred to as the literal method, and the dynamic equivalence method, which is sometimes called the functional method.
Each method has its strengths and weaknesses depending on what is trying to be accomplished. If you seek accuracy of direct meanings of words, then the literal method is best. If you seek accuracy of the thought the writer is trying to get across, then the dynamic method is better.
Word For Word Translation Formal Equivalence
If you are looking to do a lot of word study, and dig into the individual meaning of words, then this method is best for you. Popular versions that use this method are the KJV, NKJV, RSV, NASB, and the ESV.
Thought For Thought Translation Dynamic Equivalence
If your purpose for studying the Bible is to understand what the original authors were trying to convey, then this method would be the best for you. Instead of focusing on the individual words, the translators concentrated on the thoughts of the author. Popular translations that use this method are the NIV, NLT, CEB, and the NCV.
Choose The Academic Level Thats Right For You
This can be a tricky one. Some study Bibles are created for people with no formal education in theology, while others assume a baseline level of intermediate or advanced knowledge. It can be difficult to get a straightforward read on a study Bible in this regard, because any study Bible represents a massive academic undertaking. Most study Bibles tout having scholars on their editorial teamsas they shouldbut it can be tough to get an idea of how approachable the articles and study notes will be.
However, too academic is far better than not academic enough. Getting a Bible with articles and notes that are a little out of your depth can be frustrating at first, but eventually you can grow into it.
Thats not the case if you get a study Bible with notes that are already old news to you. Its frustrating when space in your Bible is taken up by information that doesnt help you gain a deeper understanding of the text.
A good way to test if a Bible is academically in your league is to reference a passage of Scripture you know well, or a passage you find intriguing. Look at the notes and articles surrounding that passage. Do you learn anything new? Or do they feel pedestrian to you? Would you want to study with a Bible that brings this level of illumination to the rest of the text?
This can be the difference between finding a study Bible you treasure for decades and finding a study Bible that you move on from within a few months.
SOME NOTABLY ACADEMIC STUDY BIBLES INCLUDE:
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Niv Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Leathersoft Green Red Letter Edition: Bringing Life The Ancient World Of Scripture
Do you often wish you could get all the details in a Bible story? The NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible contextualizes Bible stories by providing a deeper cultural background.
Thus, you can use it to discover the richness of the cultures behind the stories in the Bible. As you turn the pages, you will encounter expert analysis of the culture, literature, and customs of Biblical times.
Every explanation will bring you closer to discovering the true meaning of each passage in the Bible.
The study Bible is based on the New International Version, which is easy to comprehend. Some of the notable contributors include theologians Dr. Craig S. Keener and Dr. John H. Walton.
In 2017, it won the Bible of the Year Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association . It features study notes on most of the verses and at least 300 contextual topical articles.
Some of the illustrations inside include photographs, diagrams, maps, and charts. Words that are directly attributable to Jesus are presented in red print.
Biblical Theology Study Bible
The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible is an ideal choice if you are looking for a means of studying the Bible on your own or planning a message. It is great if you are a beginner or a long-time Christian. The study Bible provides reliable theology thats deeply insightful. The text is faithful while the viewpoints are written conservatively.
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Best Study Bibles For Serious Students Of The Word Of God
I gave my life to Jesus on November 18th, 1979. I was alone, in my bedroom, and couldnt sleep because earlier in the evening I had met a group of Christians who prayed like someone was listening on the other end.
Up until that time, I had never met someone who believed God was listening.
Shortly after that, a beautiful Christian couple gave me my first study Bible.
That simple gift set the stage for a beautiful journey that has now lasted almost 38 years. I have had many study Bibles over those years, all of which have helped train and develop me into the teacher and communicator of Gods truths that I am today.
I am unable to buy each of you your first study Bible but I can at least give you some personal recommendations that will help you start your journey into learning the scriptures and understanding how to apply the Bible to your life and others lives, so you too can be a workman rightly dividing the word of truth.