If you’re planning to read this post to see if I’m a King James only advocate, I’m not. I like the King James Version for the historic and poetic flow, but I use a variety of translations for Bible reading and study. But I like the newer versions because they are easier to read and understand. Here are a few of my favorites.
Study Bibles: When I’m studying the Bible, these are the translations I use because they are the most exact translations, and are most often used by Biblical Scholars.
- New Revised Standard Version NRSv
- New American Standard Version NASB
- Holman Christian Standard Version HCSB
- King James Version KJV
Other Good Study Bibles: Although these are not the first choice of Bible Scholars, they are directly translated from ancient transcripts and are easy to read. They are thought by thought translations instead of word by word translations.
- New International Version NIV
- New Living Translation NLT
- New International Readers Translation NIrV
Other Bibles: These are two good versions but aren’t direct translations. They are basically translations of translations.
- New King James Version NKJV: This Bible removes the archaic words from the King James Version and make it more modern.
- Amplified Bible AMP: The Amplified Bible takes the NKJV and breaks down certain words into every word the original language could be translated into. Great for word studies but a little too wordy for reading.
Bibles I Won’t Read: Now we come down to modern popular “translations” that I don’t recommend. These Bibles are thought translations but are different from other thought translation Bibles because they change the meaning to reflect the translators perspective. They have some verses that are poorly translated and water down the Word of God. With each Bible, I’ll give an example of a few of those verses.
- New World Translation NWT: This translation was written by Jehovah Witnesses to adhere to their doctrine. It is probably the worst translation.
- The Message MSG: Although this is a fairly accurate paraphrase, it waters down the message in various places especially when it comes to sin. If you like the easy readability of the Message, I suggest the New Living Translation.
John 1:1 (NASB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 (NWT) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
John 1:1 (MSG) The Word was first,the Word present to God, God present to the Word.
Here’s a few more bad translations from the Message.
John 3:17 (MSG) God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
John 3:17 (NASB) For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (MSG) Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom.
I Corinthians 6:9-10 (NASB) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
Genesis 19:4-5 (MSG) Before they went to bed men from all over the city of Sodom, young and old, descended on the house from all sides and boxed them in. They yelled to Lot, “Where are the men who are staying with you for the night? Bring them out so we can have our sport with them!”
Genesis 19:4-5 (NASB) Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”
I like to read a variety of Bible translations. It gives me different perspectives on what I’m reading. The important thing is to choose a good translation that you understand and to read it.