The sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible were originally written in three different languages: Hebrew (most o the Old Testament), Aramaic (used in half of Daniel and Ezra), and Greek (all of the New Testament). For those people who do not know these languages, it is necessary to obtain a good English translation of the Bible. The very fact that Godâ€™s word has been translated means that interpretation has already been involved in the process. To read in translation is not a bad thing; it is simply inevitable. What this does mean, however, is that in a certain sense, the person who reads the Bible only in English is at the mercy of the translator(s), and translators have often had to make choices as to what in fact the original Hebrew or Greek was really intending to say.
The trouble with using only one translation, be it ever so good, is that one is thereby committed to the exegetical choices of that translation as the Word of God. Any given translation may be right but it may also be wrong. This occurs because any translator must choose between textual and linguistic translation. Textual has to do with the actual wording of the original text and the linguistic has to do with oneâ€™s theory of translation.
The four top translations that are widely used by people and are easily understood are:
The New International Version (NIV). The NIV is the most widely used and preached from version of the Bible. It is translated from the original language as literally as possible but the ideas are kept in tact so that it the messages still gets across. No meaning is lost in the translation of the NIV because great care was taken to preserve the integrity of the scriptures and what they have to say.
The King James Version (KJV). This is the most traditional version of the Bible that exists today. The text was translated literally from the original Greek and Hebrew with no attention pain to helping the English to make sense. This version is extremely difficult to understand and the language tends to be old style with â€œtheeâ€™sâ€ and â€œthouâ€™sâ€ throughout. This version is great to be used with one of the other more easily understood translations.
The Living Bible. This version of the Bible is more of a paraphrase of the scriptures. The scripture is followed but mainly the stories and events are told without literally translating the text word for word. Many people prefer this version because it is much easier to understand. Many beginning Bible readers will use this Bible at least in addition to their other versions in order to help clarify passages that they have trouble understanding.
The Message. This version is a complete paraphrase of the Bible. There are not even number scriptures or chapters in this Bible. It is put together more as a story book and uses modern day language to tell the stories and events. This version is not recommended to be used alone as a study Bible but is a great supplement to any other Bible you may use.
Some people choose their Bible based on the attractive cover or even the price but there is more that goes into choosing a Bible that will be the best fit for you. It is important to know what you want in terms of something easy to read, made for study or something that is literally translated. Knowing this will help you to choose the translation that will be what you want. It is also a good practice to not limit yourself to just one version of the Bible but feel free to get several different versions so you can compare them and better glean what God would have you learn from your study and reading.
Please use the form below to comment on this page: