How do I choose a Bible Translation?

Feel unequipped to sort through the nuances of Bible translation? Pastor Scott has a quick rundown so you can be confident in your choice to get the most accurate and engaging translation for your personal study. 

There have been many translations over the years. All translators concern themselves with accuracy which is critical because we want the truth and original meaning of the text preserved.

Early translations were often “wooden” and so literal that the spirit of the text was not clearly communicated. Or in some cases, used culturally bound words that a modern reader would not understand or appreciate. That’s why most translations have been updated through the years while attempting to preserve the accuracy of meaning.

Bible translations are typically grouped into three classic categories.

  1. Literal translation. Tried to keep the exact words and phrases of the original but sometimes hard to understand. Examples: King James Version (KJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB).

  2. Dynamic equivalent. Translates with a view toward accuracy but updates the writing style and grammar. Examples: New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV).

  3. Free translation. (paraphrase). Translates the ideas from the original text but without being constrained by the original words or language. Very readable but not as precise. Examples: New Living Translation (NLT), The Message.

The ESV and NIV are both great options. ESV, if you want a tad more of a literal nuance. I (Scott) use the NIV in my personal study and teaching.

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