In the modern world, we have many different translations of the Bible available for us to have. However, it is often questioned which one would be the best for us, in our specific situation. One way of looking at it is by thinking of the stage that you are currently going through in your faith.
If you are a brand-new Christian, than it is probbaly a good idea to read a translation such as the New International version. This was created to be easy to read while still getting the theological and doctrinal values across in a good manner. Other translations that would fit into this category include the New Living Translation (NLT). I would suggest that you put off reading the NLT until you have been a Christian for a while though, as it is something that you need to have a good grasp of some of the theological points in order to completely understand.
If you have been a Christian for a little while and want to move on to the next translation stage, then I would suggest that you try out the New Revised Standard Bible (NRSV) or the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Not only are these translations good for aiding in your spiritual development, but they are also the translations which come the closest to the original Greek and Hebrew texts.
Once you have spent some time with these translations, you may want to take a look at a paraphrase such as The Message or if you are brave, you could spend some time reading the King James Versin (KJV). The Message was written in a form that is similar to a novel, and is not divided into verses. Although this can make it more difficult to read in a formal setting, there are versions such as The Message Reloaded which have added the verses to the text. However, I would not suggest using The Message or The Message Reloaded for anything other that personal study.The Message is not meant to be a direct translation, but is rather what is known as a paraphrase.This allows it to get the point across, and can be used in a variety of uses. However, it’s good to have another translation handy, so that you can compare what you are reading and be sure that you have correctly understood the theological principals.
On the other hand, if you decide that it is time to open up the KJV, then you must be prepared for some funny language. Because the KIng James Version was originally published in the 1600′s, much of the language that is uses is now obsolete or rarely used. If you feel that this translation is the best one for you, but don’t want to have to try and do some translation everytime you read it, there is always another choice. This choice is the New King James Version. Much of the wording has remained the same, but at the same time the translation team have made it accessible to our generation.
So, this article actually came about as a result of one the discussions on a messageboard. Therefore, here are just a few comments that people had to say about translations, and which one to use:
‘Yes, some translations may seem to oversimplify the message. In that case, they may be better suited to a seeker or new Christian, while a more experienced Christian may look for a translation with more complicated language or compare more than one translation for their Bible study.’ (ko chan)
‘The Bible isn’t much different than any other translated work. (Other than in sheer importance value). here are good translastions and their are bad translations. I would suggest getting ahold of as many translations as you can and then comparing and contrasting them. Sometimes what’s unclear in one translation will be obvious in another. Fortunately, due to the Internet, we don’t have to go out and buy multiple versions of the Bible to have them readily available to us either. But if you’re looking for something to buy, I’d highly suggest NKJV, NIV or RSV as good jumping off points. ‘ (nikkiana)
‘Word for word, the best traslation out there is the NASB, while the NIV is gerenally held to be the best idea for idea. But, for our generation, most will find the NLT the most edifying because it’s easier to understand.’ (Little D)
Just in case you were wondering, this is a complete list of all of the translations that biblegateway.com has available to us. I would suggest going there if you would like to get a feel for a few translations before going out and buying one. The translations are as follows:
-New International Version
-New American Standard Bible
-New Living Translation
-King James Version
-New Life Version
-English Standard Version
-Contemporary English Version
-New King James Version
-21st Century King James Version
-American Standard Version
-Worldwide English (New Testament)-Young’s Literal Translation
-Wycliffe New Testament
-New International Reader’s Version
-New International Version – UK
As you can see, there are many different translations out there. And this does not even begin to scratch the surface. Translations such as Da Jesus Book are just now begging to become more and more popular, and each day stuff like that is happening. I myself have a copy of the NIV, NLT, NKJV, and The Message and can say that without them, writing articles for sev-x would be much more difficult. They make it very easy to compare passages, and thus be sure that what I am saying is Biblical.
So whatever you choose as the translation you will use, know that they are all the Holy inspired Word of God and treat it as such. God would not have given us a book with a letter from Himself unless there was a reason.