Choosing a translation of the Bible can be tough. There are an increasingly bewildering number with more coming out every year. But which is the best, and which tranlation should be left on the book shelf?
Choosing a Translation of The Bible: Knowing Which Translation to Use
The first thing that should be said is that no English translation of the Bible is infallible. All are based on people’s opinions of what the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts mean and so it is not possible to say with confidence that one is better than the others. It also depends on the needs of the reader. Does he want an easy to read version that can be picked up and read for a few minutes each day or does the reader want a solid, accurate translation that can be used for in depth study and interpretation.
Choosing a Translation of The Bible: The Authorised Version
The Authorised Version (or AV) is also known as the King James Version (KJV). The Authorised version is based on the Bishops’ Bible which was published in AD 1568 which was in turn based on the Great Bible which was first published in 1539.
Many people have grown up using the AV and the thought of changing to any other version is unthinkable, however many modern readers may find the language of the 17th century confusing and difficult to understand.
Choosing a Translation of The Bible: The New American Standard Bible
A revision of the American Standard Bible, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) was published in 2002 and had updated language and terms.
It has a good reputation amongst Biblical scholars and has very good footnotes and references in the margins. These can help greatly with personal study and devotion.
Choosing a Translation of The Bible: The New International Version
The New International Version (NIV) was first published in it’s entirety in 1978 and was produced by a team of over one hundred scholars. Unlike some other tranlations, it was taken directly from the most recently found documents including the Dead Sea Scrolls.
This has meant that until recently, the NIV was considered the most accurate tranlation of the original Greek and Hebrew texts. A number of study guides and very good study Bibles are available in the NIV format including the Life Application Study Bible.
Choosing a Translation of The Bible: English Standard Version
The ESV was first published in 2001 and has sought to combine accurate translation and simplicity.
This can be confusing at times and does not always make for easy reading, however many regard the ESV to be the definitive translation of the modern times and is used widely by scholars.