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Thursday, April 14, 2005

What is the best English Bible version?

This is a good question and one that is commonly asked, sometimes asked even more personally, "What is the best English Bible version for me to use?"

There is no single answer to this question that works for everyone. When it comes to Bible usage in a language like English where we have so many different English versions and different kinds of people using them, "one size doesn't fit all."

It is helpful to answer this question with several other questions, such as:

1. Do you wish to use a Bible version which is the same as what your church uses as its pew Bible?

2. What will be your primary use for your Bible? For instance, will you use it mostly for detailed Bible study or for devotional reading?

3. Are you part of a faith community which helps explain the meaning of difficult wordings in Bible versions?

4. Do you prefer a more sophisticated kind of English when you read the Bible or do you prefer "everyday" English?

I have posted some ideas about the value of using different English versions on my webpage titled Recent English Bible Versions Compared. This webpage (and others like it; there are several linked from my webpage) will help answer your question, as you think through the followup questions above.

I should also note that I agree with many others who have addressed this question when they say that there is value in using more than one English Bible version, especially, if you use more than one kind of Bible version. For instance, it helps to use a more literal Bible version, such as the NASB, RSV, NRSV, HCSB, ESV with which to do in-depth Bible study, such as word studies (I would include the NIV in this group, although many others do not). Then it is also good to have a more idiomatic ("dynamic"; more easily readable) translation to use along with the more literal version. More idiomatic English versions would include: NLT, REB, TEV/GNT, CEV, NCV, GW, and, as some would analyze it, the NIV (which I consider a more literal translation). More idiomatic translations are smoother for reading and can help us get a better grasp of the bigger picture, an overall view of a chapter or a book of the Bible, and overall themes, history, and logical flow.

2 Comments:

At Thu May 05, 09:19:00 PM, Blogger Aslan_kin said...

When you have a chance, you may want to check out your links on Recent English Bible Versions Compared. The first four were dead links.

Thanks for sharing your research!

 
At Fri May 06, 07:34:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Thank you, Aslan_kin. Yes, there are many webpages on my website that need to have deadlinks removed or updated. I try to get to it periodically, but it often gets crowded out by whatever is more urgent. But usually when I get a heads up like this, I try to repair the links asap. Come back again, there and here!

 

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