Which Bible Translation Is Closest To The Original
Based on what we now know of how difficult translation is, this is also a difficult question to answer, and it leads to comparing two different translation philosophies. The first is formal equivalence, also called literal or word-for-word equivalence. Formal equivalence strives to stay as close as possible to the actual wording of the original language, striving to translate each Greek or Hebrew word to the closest possible word in English. Think of this reading Shakespeare as Shakespeare wrote it.
The second is dynamic equivalence, or thought-for-thought equivalence. This approach attempts to stay as close to the thought the original writer was trying to convey. Think of this as Shakespeare rendered as an easier-to-understand language for modern English speakers.
Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately most translations are a true combination of the two. The versions below are generally considered to be very close to the original.
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.
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:
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What Are The 5 Most Accurate Bible Translations
There are other versions that are worthy of attention, but these five are universally considered great for several reasons. First, they are all translated by respected and diverse groups of theologians. Second, they all stay fairly close to one another in attempting to give the best meaning to what the Scripture has to tell us today.
My top 5 are:
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.
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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.
Which Version Of Bible Should I Read
The New Revised Standard Version is the version most commonly preferred by biblical scholars. In the United States, 55% of survey respondents who read the Bible reported using the King James Version in 2014, followed by 19% for the New International Version , with other versions used by fewer than 10%.
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Nasb Zondervan Study Bible
From the publishers website:
Over 20,000 notes, adapted from the bestselling NIV Zondervan Study Bible, draw on the knowledge of todays leading experts to provide valuable commentary right where you need it. No need to flip pages to obtain important insights on biblical words, verses, and passages. An exclusive, center-column reference system guides your study with over 100,000 references. In-text maps give you an instant feel for biblical geography.
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.
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How Do I Choose My Bible Translation
Many people find that they need more than one Bible and use different ones for different occasions. Due to the large number of translations available online for free it is very easy to have access to a wide range of different translations.
First of all, consider how you’ll be reading the Bible…
I’m new to the Bible
You might like to start with a translation that avoids too much technical language. Look for one described as ‘dynamic equivalent’**.
I’ll be reading the Bible aloud
A translation that focuses more on dynamic equivalence**.
I’ll be reading with other people
I want to study a passage in depth
A translation that focuses on formal equivalence* will be most helpful.
I’ll be reading big sections at a time
A translation that focuses more on dynamic equivalence**.
I want to get a sense of the complexities of the passage and what translators have wrestled with to create their translations
Read a range of translations, choosing at least two formal equivalence* translations.
* A formal equivalence, word-for-word translation gives priority to what the original language says and how it says it. It aims to be a literal translation.
** A dynamic equivalence, thought-for-thought translation gives priority to what the text means. It aims to make the text as readable for a modern audience as possible.
Bible Versions : How Do I Know Which Bible Version To Read
The variety of readers we have participating in the Bible Reading challenge is incredible. From brand new Christians to 50 year veterans, we are covering all ages and stages of life. Isnt that awesome?! I love the precious testimonies from those who have been brave enough to say: Ive been a Christian for years and years, but Ive never read my Bible all the way through. Well, youre doing it! THIS YEAR! ð To help all make sure that we are getting the most out of the reading, lets take a look at a few questions to help make the best decision for our personal, individual reading.
One of the questions Ive been asked frequently since we began the Bible Reading Challenge is:
How do I know which Bible version to read?
Let me preface this entire post by stating that the purpose of this article is to be helpful to those seeking to read the Bible. This is not a historical lesson on the Bible and translations to the English language. That said, lets go to class, shall we?
1. When you read the Bible, you should be able to comprehend it.
If you dont understand what you are reading, then its going to be really tough to do it for a whole year, and then, what would you have gained? If the thees and thous throw you for a loop, then the English Standard Version, New King James Version or New International Version might be the solution for you.
One more solution is using Bible apps- here are 4 fabulous Bible apps that I recommend.
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New American Standard Bible
Poised as the most literal and most readable Bible version, New American Standard Bible has gained such a loyal following through the years. The reason why it is more popular than the other easy to read ones is that it combines the literary beauty of the King James Version Bible, and the simplicity of how verses should be shared in this modern world. Using standard language and simple sentence structure, beginners will have a great start in Bible reading with this version.
Copyright: sidelnikov / 123RF Stock Photo
What Should You Choose
Honestly, that is a decision you need to make for yourself. Look at this chart, and you can see where a version sits on the spectrum. If you are new to the Bible, I would start with the English Standard Version or the Christian Standard Bible. If you are looking for a decent thought-for-thought, I like the New Living Translation. I would absolutely stay away from a paraphrased version, especially if you are a new believer.
If youve been in the word for a while, definitely move on over to a word-for-word translation like the King James or New King James Version. The English Standard is incredible and should definitely be utilized if you havent already.
to download a copy of the Bible Translations Chart.
Once again,the best Bible is the one you read. We are so very blessed to live in a time and place where the Bible is available to us on every phone, tablet, and computer. I hope this post encouraged you to find a translation or two or three and fall in love with the Word of God like never before.
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Best Bible Version For Beginners: Children
Our children are ages 9 and 12 and we have been through several different bibles from the time they were babies until now. When it comes to children and the best bible version for beginners, I have a couple of recommendations.
Currently, my son uses the Adventure Bible NIrV and my daughter has used the NIV Ultimate Bible for Girls this past year and still thoroughly enjoys it. For us, these have been the best bible version for kids their age.
Personal Note: I have loved my bible and getting into Gods Word since I was probably around 10 years old. I distinctly remember why I loved reading my bible when I was younger: I thought it was so beautiful!
My bible had shimmering gold-edged pages, tons of girl-related devotionals, and Fun Facts, and I was given permission to write in my bible to take notes. This has stuck with me to this day.
Those extras are what drew me into reading my bible initially. It didnt take long to develop a life-long love of pouring into the word of God and seeing the bible come to life.
So, I apply the same notion with my children. Whatever age-appropriate bible appeals to them generally because of the extras I make the investment.
Bibles can be expensive but it never ever compares to the eternal value they bring. Consider that when you are shopping for the best bible version for beginners!
How To Read The Bible: Read A Little Every Day
Getting Gods Word into your life doesnt have to take long. Start smallfive or 10 minutes is better than none. Sometimes less is more, especially when reading less means youll actually remember more.
Chose a time and place thats convenient for you. Many people read their Bible first thing in the morning, choosing to spend time with God before daily distractions get in the way. But if mornings arent your thing, dont sweat it. That you read Gods Word is more important than when you read Gods Word. Personally, I love to read my Bible at a local coffee shop, but I once read through the entire Bible while waiting in carpool lines.
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Choosing A Bible Version
There is no one way to translate a book as large as the Bible.
With such a cultural and linguistic distance between then and now, its really more of an art than a science: an art that seeks to communicate the Bibles truth to todays readers. That means that there are a number of different Bible translations out there. Nowadays, they are more commonly called different versions of the Bible. The two words, though meaning different things, are used pretty interchangeably. For ease, Im just going to stick with version.
The big stumbling block for people trying to choose a Bible is which version to pick. There are a lot to choose from. It also doesnt help that they almost all go by acronyms. How would you, as a new Christian, feel if you were asked to choose from NIV, ESV, NRSV, NLT, KJV, NKJV? Daunting, no?
To help you choose with speed and confidence, here is a quick run through four of the most popular versions of the Bible:
The New International Version Bible:Short for the New International Version Bible, the NIV is the most popular version of the Bible. Its written in pretty standard English and is the one youll most likely find in a Church. Its simple text means that it is often given away to new Christians. If you are looking for a first Bible, the NIV Bible would be a solid choice.
Make Sure To Read A Christian Bible
The first thing to do is to make sure youre reading a Christian Bible. The Christian Bible spans from Genesis to Malachi in the Old Testament and Matthew to Revelation in the New Testament. It includes 66 books total, and in the very last chapter, Revelation 22:18-19 says:
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this scroll and if anyone takes away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part of the tree of life and out of the holy city, which are written in this scroll.
Thus, we cannot add to or take away from the Bible. The entire contents of Gods Word, from Genesis to Revelation, comes from God and is divinely inspired. We cant cut out verses, remove chapters, or add books. The Bible is Gods Word and His speaking to man, so we have to make sure that were reading His very word in the 66 books of the Bible.
But there are some bibles that add to or take away from Gods Word. They may add a book or two , or they may alter key verses.
For example, the Jehovahs Witnesss bible translates the last part of John 1:1 to say that the word was a god instead of saying the Word was God. This is grossly inaccurate. The full verse of John 1:1 should be translated this way:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
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Is There A Bible That Is Easy To Understand
The Holy Bible : Easy -to-Read Version is an English translation of the Bible compiled by the World Bible Translation Center. It was originally published as the English Version for the Deaf by BakerBooks. Deaf readers sometimes struggle with reading English because sign language is their first language.
A Readers Guide To Choosing A Catholic Bible
Based on their covers alone, its easy to see that Catholic Bibles come in a wide variety. However, open each one up, and youre likely to find an even greater number of differences that could change the way you enjoy your Bible altogether.
If youre not quite sure how to choose the best Catholic Bible, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Bible Translation. When the Bible was first written, it was in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic. To make it universally understandable, it was translated into English. Because translation can be subjective at times, many different translated versions were created.
The Roman Catholic Bible comes in 19 different English versions. While they all aim to teach essentially the same concepts, minor differences in these translations can make them easier or harder to understand depending on the reader.
For instance, some Bible translations use Shakespearean English. These can be much more difficult for some users to appreciate, especially because of the outdated word usage.
Some Bible translations are approved only for devotional and personal use, which means theyre not used for celebrating the Eucharist. That said, if you want a Bible that translates similarly to the gospel you hear in church, you should choose one that is approved for use in the celebration of mass.