As most people who’ve spent more than five minutes in a Christian bookstore can attest, there are a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing a Bible. If you’ve known me for more than an hour, you’d probably find it pretty easy to believe that I was driven to choose the “right” one – the one that was more correct than any of the others. [Insert chuckles here] You know that somewhere in the virtual history of my laptop, there is a Google search titled: which version of the bible is the best? After hours of research, I can report to you with absolute certainty that the infallible answer to this question is: it depends. It turns out that the different versions are actually used for different purposes and have little to do with the pretty covers. =)
From the limited research I conducted, I learned that the translations can be mapped on a continuum of word-for-word translation to thought-for-thought translation [See the examples below]. What I really wanted was to know God’s instructions for me and my family. So I kinda didn’t care if the words were most closely translated from Greek, if it still sounded like Greek to me. The New Living Translation (NLT) was originally published in 1996 with a goal of being as comprehensible as possible. Ta Da!! While reading this version, the stories came to life in a way I’d not experienced before, scripture was easy to absorb and apply, plus it was an overall more enjoyable reading experience.
While reading, I still had several “huh?” moments. I was thankful I’d selected a study Bible, specifically the Life Application Study Bible. Finally, I felt like I had a better understanding of what it meant when . . . . I especially enjoyed the short biographies throughout. On the downside, I found the footnotes to be repetitive from book to book.
But wait, there’s more! I learned there is a huge secondary market for unused Bibles on Ebay. I bought my brand new, leather bound, Life Application Study Bible for $35, instead of full retail price closer to $70.
If you’ve found the Bible difficult to read or understand, I HIGHLY recommend starting a reading plan today on Bible.com and trying multiple translations until you find one that speaks to you. While over half of all Americans who read the Bible regularly, read the KJV, I love my NLT. Which Bible version is the best? That depends on you!
|More Word-for-Word||More Thought-for-Thought|
|Isaiah 9:6||For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
|For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.||For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.||For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.||For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.|
|John 1:18||No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.||No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.||No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.||No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.||No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. The Testimony of John the Baptist|
|John 8:58||“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”||Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”||Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.||“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”||Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, i am!”|
|Rom. 5:18||So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.||Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.||Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.||Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.||Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.|
|Titus 2:13||looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;||waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,||Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;||while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,||while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.|