“Which bible translation should I use?” This question is asked to me often by people just beginning to get serious about studying God’s Word. This is an important question to take some time thinking through. I believe there are some translations that are better than others.
(FYI, here are some of my tips on How to Study the Bible.)
Here are the top sellers of 2015 according to Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
So are there differences between these translations?!?
Yes and no.
While the main heartbeat of the Biblical message is consistent in all these reliable texts, the nature of language translation allowing for a range of meaning in individual words, and the ongoing advances in ancient language understanding, create a scale of wording choice as seen by different translators/editors who publish these varying translations.
When looking at the original ancient languages imagine all those words are square pegs. Then imagine all modern words are round holes. It is impossible to get a perfect fit of the ancient meaning of a word into a modern word format.
Therefore you must choose, do we match as best we can word for word or do we translate the larger thought more smoothly thus loosing some connection to individual words? Here is the scale of where modern bible translations fall on this question. (click the photo for a larger view.)
For some textual comparisons of this challenge, see my Bible Translations Handout. It may help you make an informed decision as you dig deeply into God’s Word.