Why Do We Need Multiple Translations
When reading a word for word translation, you may read the phrase kill two birds with one stone and think the author is literally talking about killing two birds with one stone, unless you have the background knowledge and understand this phrase is actually a common saying. A thought for thought translation would instead tell you the meaning rather than a literal translation- achieving two things in a single action to explain the idiom.
There are other limitations as well. Other languages such as Greek, have several words for something we only have one word for. The word love, in Greek has many ways to say love.agape, philia, eros, and storge. Each word describes a different kind of love, whereas the English language only has one.
We use the same word to describe a romantic love to explain a friendship kind of love or love for a child. Yet, we can all agree that each of those loves are different.
Did I lose you yet? I hope not!
Bottom Line : Multiple translations primarily exist because of the complexity of language as well as different motives to meet specific needs.
Best Bible Version For Beginners
What is the best bible version for beginners? I have three to recommend! Each of these versions is the best bible to understand and included the New Living Translation , The New International Version , and The New International Readers Version .
Each version presents thought for thought translation and helps to provide in-depth study as well as personal development making each the best bible for beginners to understand!
New Living Translation Version This translation is accomplished by translating entire thoughts into modern English rather than word for word. The result is an easy to understand bible with our everyday language.
New International Version This translation was formed through many bible scholars seeking ways to best capture the original language and context into modern English and continues to be updated. The NIV is the most-read version of the English bible.
New International Readers VersionThis is based on the NIV but offers an even easier version of the NIV to read and understand.
I was introduced to this version when my children received an Adventure Bible For Early Readers with this translation. It boasted at getting kids excited about getting into Gods Word and I can attest that this is true. Yes, there are also NIrV bibles for adults, too!
A proper translation makes a world of difference!
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.
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What Translation Should You Use
What about the New King James Version? It is also copyrighted and cannot be freely distributed and is based on a new Hebrew Bible . Our family used the NKJV when we first stopped using the NIV, but discovered its choices of words at places are even more difficult to understand than the KJV. I had enough questions about the way the NKJV translated words at places and I felt it was best to lead my family to a stable trusted translation. So we switched to the KJV and have not regretted it.
For a more in-depth look at significant problems in the NIV and many of the modern translations, check out our articles:
The NIV Report http://www.biblicalresearchreports.com/the-niv-report/
Which Version Of The Bible Should You Read
The best-selling English translations of all time were as follows:
- The Living Bible sold more than 40 million copies in 1971 alone
- New King James Version has sold over 30 million to date
- Todays New International Version 25 million and counting
The best bible translation is a matter of personal preference, mostly regarding ease of reading or understanding based on ones native language. However, most people prefer versions rooted in Greek and Hebrew, such as NIV, NRSV, NLT, among others, due to their accuracy compared to dynamic equivalence type translations like The Message.
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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.
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.
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What Is Your Favorite Bible Translation Let Us Know In The Comments
|Hot Issue Topic The subject of Bible translation is one that could be considered a hot topic. Here are some more hot issue topic articles that you might want to check out:
Interracial dating and marriage Jack Wellman examines the question of whether or not the Bible addresses this issue.
Politics and the Christian Jeff Telling shares a conversation that he had with a friend on the topic of controversial politics and how a Christian should examine issues before they cast a vote or endorse any one in government.
Is there really a place called Hell? Jack shares some study notes on the existence of Hell which may be a subject argued between believers and non-believers.
- Jack Wellman
So true Ron. It seems that those things that are popular are not right and what is right is not popular but we are such a pragmatic nation and it fits well with our pragmatism . We rather like what we can do than what has already been done for us . I was told that Mormonism was the fastest growing religion in the worldbut so is Islam and so by their standard, that must be true too!
How The Kjv Was Translated
To oversee the translation, James commissioned six committees made up of 47 scholars from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. They were tasked with translating all of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Old and New Testaments into English. It was a complicated and sometimes contentious process that took seven years to complete. Though we don’t have a lot of the records of those committees, “through our best reconstructions, we understand it was a very rigorous debate with everyone committed to the most accurate translation of the Bible,” Gordon said.
Much of the resulting translation drew on the work of William Tyndale, a Protestant reformer who had produced the first New Testament translation from Greek to English in 1525. “It’s believed that up to 80% of the King James Version stems from the William Tyndale version,” Gordon said.
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The History Of Bible Translation
Bible translations arent new. Theyve been around since before Christ. In fact, in the fifth century BC, after the priest Hilkiah rediscovered the book of the law of Moses in the temple , the Levites stood before Gods people and read the Scriptures aloud. Nehemiah 8:8 says:
They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
The New International Version says the priests clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible says they read the book of the law of God translating and giving the meaning. Thus, they were explaining the first five books of the Bible for the people in a way they could comprehend.
They were translating.
In the third century BC, Jews produced whats known as the , a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament for the Greek-speaking Jews living in Alexandria, Egypt. Ron Rhodes writes that this translation solved a big problem because many of the Jews who grew up in these cities could no longer speak Hebrew, but only Greek.3
Bible translation took off in the first century, Rhodes writes, as early followers of Jesus obeyed his words to make disciples of all nations:
And from there? Fast forward to modern-day, where Bible readers can choose among about 10 major English translation options.
Bible Translations To Avoid
The New World Translation is published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society . The five translators had virtually no Hebrew or Greek training. Because Jehovahs Witnesses believe Jesus is not equal with God, they translated John 1:1 as the Word was agod. John 8:58 translates Jesus as saying, before Abraham came into existence, I have been . In Exodus 3, God gave His name to Moses as I am, but because Jehovahs Witnesses dont believe Jesus is part of the Godhead or eternal, they changed the correct translation.
Although many Christians love The Message, an extremely loose paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, its so loose that it significantly changes the meaning of many verses and can be misleading.
The Passion Translation by Brian Simmons is his attempt to include the love language of God, but he significantly adds to and takes away words and phrases in Bible verses, which alters the meaning of the verses.
Recommended Reading: Bible Chronological Order
New King James Version
The New King James Version Bible Translation project started in 1975 by 130 Biblical scholars and was completed in 1982 by Thomas Nelson to update the vocabulary and grammar of the original King James Version while preserving the classic style and literary beauty of the original 1611 version.
The New King James Version was originally known as the Revised Authorised Version.
Updating the English of the King James Version of the Bible had significant changes in words, spelling, vocabulary, and, most importantly, grammar.
One of the most outstanding features of the NKJV was switching early modern second-person pronouns, such as thou and thine. This and other features make NKJV one of the most accurate Bible translations.
Essentially Literal Bible Translations
Essentially literal study Bible translations are those that seek to examine the original Greek or Hebrew word, then translate that word into English as literally as possible.
There are rare occasions when a literal translation will make zero sense to a modern English reader, and in that case, the translation attempts to be as close to the original as possible while still making sense to the reader.
Examples of essentially literal translations are:
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Tip Number Three: Buy A Study Bible
Incidentally, the Lords Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 is not in actuality the Lords Prayer. It is an example or arch-type of how to pray that Jesus Himself gave. The key is where He said, This, then, is how you should pray . The actual Lords Prayer is really found in John 17:1-26 and it is called the High Priestly Prayer because it is where Jesus actually prays. He is not just giving an example on how to pray as in Matthew chapter six. A good Study Bible will point this important difference out.
Paraphrase Translations Of The Bible
A paraphrase translation of the Bible seeks to make the Bible more understandable to the reader.
It may elaborate more on the context in a way designed to help the reader understand the passage better.
To paraphrase means a restatement of a text or passagegiving the meaning in another form, as for clearness rewording.
A paraphrase often uses a lot more words in an effort to more fully describe the meaning of the words coming from the original language.
This helps readers to easily perceive additional shades of meaning they might otherwise struggle to see in a standard translation.
A good comparison can be made by comparing a well-knownpassage like John 1:1 in the King James Version and the Phillips version:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, andthe Word was God. KJV
Atthe beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, waswith God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. Phillips
A paraphrase translation like the Phillips translation uses more words and its easy to see that it is still very accurate and does not add or subtract from the original.
It just helps make it more understandable.
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Why Are There So Many Bible Translations
To understand this question, we can compare it to Shakespeare. Shakespeares English is often called Old English, but in reality, it is early Modern English. In spite of this, it is often difficult for modern readers like us to understand. To get an idea, lets take a look at this couplet which appears in Act I of Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet:
The measure done, Ill watch her place of stand,And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.
What is Romeo talking about here? What does this mean? Why is there a funny accent mark over blessed?
Now lets say you are teaching this to a ninth-grade class. In order to understand these words, you would probably have to write it differently. SparkNotes translates it as, When this dance is over, Ill see where she stands, and then Ill touch her hand with my rough and ugly one.
This is easier to understand, but most of the words are different, the meter is gone, and the rhyme of stand and hand are gone.
And this is just translating English to English.
Bible translators have the difficult task of translating ancient Hebrew and Greek into readable English. Along with that, they have to consider the audience. Is this Bible suited for a seminary professor? A teenager? Children? Families? Anyone and everyone?
Remember, the English language as Shakespeare knew it would not even exist for well over a thousand years after Paul penned his final letter.
Is King James The Original Bible
The King James Version of the Bible was the only Bible people read for many years, making it very popular as over 80% of the text remains unaltered.
The King James Version has been deeply recognized and used globally by English-speaking peoples worldwide, not only for the precision of the translation from the original languages but for the elegant and vintage style, which has greatly influenced literature.
Below is an excerpt from the book The Bible in English: Its History and Influence by David Daniell, published in 2003 by Yale University Press.
The King James Version . . . is greatly cherished. For generations, Christians and lovers of fine English have read the Bible in this version.. . . . The very essence of what Christians believe has been for centuries in the words of that version.
David Daniell, The Bible in English
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Which Bible Translation Is Best For Me
The best translation for you is the one you will read and study faithfully. Try to find a word for word translation with enough readability that youll stick with a daily habit of Bible reading.
If you read the Bible on your phone or device, check out Bible Hubs parallel readings of chapters using the NIV, ESV, NASB, KJV, and HCSB in columns. This will give you a better idea of how these five popular translations vary. Also, with Bible Hub, you can read just one translation, but click on the verse number, and it will take you to a comparison of that verse in numerous translations.
Find a translation you love and let God guide and speak to you through His Word!
The Languages Of The Bible
There are dozens of Bible translations
First of all, the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Much of the OldTestament Hebrew was trans- lated into the Greek called the Septuagint. I received a wonderful gift once. It was a Bible that had four different translations in one edition. This is an exceptional Bible study tool that allows the reader to look at each different translation to extract meaning out of each and every verse you read. I recommend that you own or buy more than one Bible translation and do not depend upon any one single version because different Bibles bring out different areas that can differ in interpretation. I also prefer the Bibles with margins and footnotes where the original Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic is given.
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