What Bible translation do you recommend?
This is one of the most often questions I am asked. As most of you know, I heavily use two English translations. The first is the English Standard Version, which is the version I use for personal use, scripture memorization, family devotions, and general reading and study. In my opinion, it is the most accurate translation available in English. The other is the New King James Version, which is the version I use in the pulpit. It is a solid, accurate translation, and certainly one of the best versions available on the market today. I also regularly consult the New International Version, which is very good. By God’s grace, I have been some skill in Greek and Hebrew. Therefore, I rely on these more than any English translation for study purposes.
In general, I dislike paraphrases (sometimes referred to as “though-for-thought translations”). However, these can be effective aids in understanding your regular Bible. These versions sometimes drastically change the words to make it more understandable in English. Conversely, more literal versions sometimes are confusing because they try to stay as close to the original as possible. Many people wrongly put the New International Version (NIV) into the former category. In fact, the NIV is about the mid-way point between the two.
American Standard Version
King James/ New King James Version
English Standard Version
New American Standard Version
New Living Translation
Good News Bible
I strongly recommend purchasing and using a more literal Bible translation. This should be your main Bible for general reading and study. Next, purchase a ‘thought-for-though’ translation to assist in your Bible study. This will refresh and invigorate your Bible reading.
In the coming month, I plan on publishing a series of pamphlets called Viewpoints. The first one printed will be A Guide to the Modern English Bible Versions, where I go into more detail on this issue.
If you have a question for “Ask the Pastor”, submit this to Pastor Josh via email (see church website for email & other contact information)