What is the Best English Bible Translation?

It’s a fact.  There are many, many different translations of the Bible.  Though we may be able to understand why that is the case (for a discussion of that CLICK HERE), we’re still left with trying to figure out which of these is the best one.

As you might imagine, there are several factors that go into making that judgment.  Also–and again as you might imagine–there is no shortage of opinions to be offered on this matter.  It’s the same thing that happens when you start asking around about which car maker is the best.  Not everyone thinks the same thing and not everyone’s ideas are based on the same line of thought. Is it because of what mom and dad drove?  Because of which one is prettiest?  Because of what’s most popular? Because of a recommendation from a reliable source? Because of technical details like horsepower, torque, fuel efficiency, and so on?

The situation is really no different when it comes to deciding which version of the Bible is best. There are lots of reasons why people use the Bible translation they do.  One has been around for so long and used by so many people, especially in previous generations; the King James Version.  Or there is it’s update and revision; the New King James Version. Then, there is the one that is the most popular (the best selling) in more recent years; the New International Version.  There’s the one many label as the most literal; the American Standard Version.  There’s the one touted in scholarly and academic circles, the Revised Standard Version, and it’s revision, the New Revised Standard Version.

And that’s just touching the hem of the garment.  If you go to an online Bible study website that offers a variety to English translations from which to study you find a host of choices.  For instance, one site that I sometimes use offers ten different English translations from which read and study.  The Bible study software installed on my computer offers 14 English translations.

The choices are many.

In this little series of posts, we’re going to look at three specific considerations in thinking about which version is best.  These are:

• what is the starting point from which the translation is made?–many people don’t even think about this important element (to see this post, CLICK HERE),

• the translation philosophy and approach–that is, who did the translating and the balance struck between accuracy and readability (to see this post, CLICK HERE),

• and who the reader is–what is their ability level in reading and comprehension? (to see this post, CLICK HERE)

Now, that just may be more than you want to read through.  So, I’ll go ahead and tell you my choices.  Just know that the explanations for my recommendations are found in the following posts.  I do recommend that you read the reasons why, but if you just can’t wait here they are (yes, “they”–I have two with which I am about as equally impressed)– the English Standard Version (ESV) and the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

You’ll recognize that it’s not the old, standard King James Version.  Neither is it the very popular New International Version, nor the “most literal” American Standard Version.  But there are reasons for these choices.  To learn why, you’ll have to read on.

The next post in this series discusses the basis from which a translation is made–something most people never think about or consider (CLICK HERE).

Have any thoughts or comments?  Please go to the bottom of this page and share those now!

God bless,

No Responses to “What is the Best English Bible Translation?”

  1. […] After all, not all translations are created equal.  For some thoughts on that very idea, just CLICK HERE.  Also, you may be wondering how one should go about selecting a Bible.  There’s more to it […]

  2. […] The Best English Bible Translation (2) Posted by David on Oct 1st, 2011 in Bible | 0 comments […]

  3. […] All translations are not the same.  If you would like to read what is behind translations CLICK HERE.  My basic translation recommendation is the English Standard […]

  4. […] [for further discussion on this matter you can go to a series of blog posts I wrote, the first of which can be found by clicking HERE] […]

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