The Word of God presents truth in principle; the Holy Spirit makes the personal applications.”
–H. Maurice Lednicky
“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”
I read, not too long ago, that when people go into a book store to purchase a Bible, they usually come out without purchasing one. Goodness, what version should be purchased? Fifty years ago the King James, or Authorized Version of the Bible was considered by many to be the only reliable translation. Choosing a Bible only was a question of selecting the binding and color. Today, dozens of English translations are available. How in the world does one decide which one is best?
Perhaps the best way to look at it is to recognize that no one translation is the best. There can be no perfect translations, but there are a number that are very good. The real questions are: Which is best for my particular needs and/or who are you buying it for? Do you want it for serious study, grammatically correct and with a good vocabulary, or do you want it for devotional or just to read it through?
I am sure that you have your favorite version, but I’ll pass along the ones I like. I still like to read the King James on occasion, especially some of the poetic books. This Bible is probably the most influential ever published and it had great influence upon the English language. The reading level is now considered to be post-high school There are a couple of problems with it: There have been more manuscripts found since it was written, and much of the English language has changed since it was written.
The two I use most regularly are the Holman Christian Standard Bible and the New American Standard Bible. First, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is most identified as the most accurate of the translations. It is very literal in vocabulary and word order with a reading level of 11.0. I really like the Holman (HCSB) which is also an up-to-date, word-for word translation. It combines accuracy, clarity, and readability with a reading level of 8.0.
Sometimes I will used the Amplified to help clarify passages for me. Today there are two of them available: the Amplified Classic and the new Amplified. It helps to describe words and phrases with a reading level of 10.0. You may have noticed that I often refer to the New Living Translation. I use this most often for devotional reading. I read it when I want to just sit back, relax, and digest some of God’s Word and not for a serious study. Tyndale states that it is “the closest cultural equivalent of the message expressed by the original language text.” It has a reading level of 6.0.
Two more that I like to read for devotional reading are the New Testament in Modern English, translated by J.B. Phillips, and William Barclay’s translation. These can be used for devotional reading or to help support a study of the New Testament.
There are so many more out there and I’m sure that some of you reading this used the New International Version and the 1978 version is very good. Be careful of newer editions for the publishers have become caught up with contemporary thought and changes. It has a reading level of 7.0. The New King James Version is very good also. I use it often go to it rather than the King James. The reading level is 9.0.
Have I missed your favorite? Sorry, but I would like to ask, why do you read the version you read? Be careful in your reading that you do not use God’s Word, but that God’s Word uses you. But let me get one thing straight! The most important thing is for you to read God’s Word. Inhale it, digest it, dissect it, get it deep into your mind and your soul. It is the nourishment that your soul needs to get through each day.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”
–Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)