1. GWT’s roots are in two translations of the New Testament: The New Testament in the Language of Today: An American Translation, published in 1963 by Lutheran pastor and seminary professor William F. Beck (1904–1966) (Source) and the later New Testament: God’s Word to the Nations (GWN) (IBID. We would still have God’s words. -Christians Don’t Have to Worship on the Sabbath. 4. This gives the NASB the title for “most accurate English translation” at the expense of readability and comprehension. The Phillips translation is an extended paraphrase by Anglican Clergyman J.B. Phillips. Christian Standard Bible (CSB) – This is a significantly less popular version than some on this list but has the potential to grow in the coming years. This isn’t as obvious reading John 3:16, for reasons mentioned above, so instead go read an example from one of my favorite passages and tell me which sounds better: Phil. The Five Most Popular English Translations: According to the Christian Booksellers Association, the … Though modern, it remains pure and faithful to the gendered language found in original texts and older translations, keeping it close to the original meaning and not getting tangled up with gender neutral ideas that detract from the original meaning. At least once every couple months I have a conversation with someone about Bible translations. The truth is that even if we were stuck with your and my least favorite translation on the chart above, we’d still have an inestimable treasure. New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) – The NRSV is the Bible of choice for most scholars, particularly those with above-average interest in the Old Testament. I’m including the Interlinear as a bonus version of the literal translations of the Bible. This fact should not lead Christians to doubt the reliability of their English Bibles. Scholars translated from the best Hebrew and Greek texts, aiming to present the full meaning of the original in clear and natural modern English. There are two kinds of Bible translations: the literal one and the interpreted one. word-for-word translation. Which Translation of the Bible is the Best? For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 5. It was published in 1976. It is also very close to the NASB. A Bible translation thought experiment. University Indianapolis, these are the top English translations Whatever the reason, you now know the top Bible translations I’ve owned a copy of Phillips for decades and I highly This was a really great overview, with thoughtful and useful commentary added at each point. The short answer is: it doesn’t really matter, chances are you’ll be fine whatever you choose. Common English Bible (CEB) – Released in 2011, the CEB was also designed to be easy to read and used by a variety of denominations. King James Version (KJV) – You know the King James. Now, people are more used to it, and that’s a good thing. In 2001 Zondervan began the publishing of the translation and changed its name again: The Good News Translation. With only a cursory thought, I think I would agree with you. My criticism of the NKJV in the post may be unfair, but the point I am trying to make is: We’ve learned a lot about manuscripts to base our Bible translations on since the KJV originally was published—things that are pretty major and demand starting anew. Since Hebrew has so few words, many Hebrew words have multiple meanings. Other than a couple verses that are pivitol, ESV would be more accurate than the NIV (1984). Evangelicals tend to stay away from this translation, as the translation team included many who were not committed to the authority of the biblical text. Upon actually looking into it, GW seems to be more akin to the other easy-to-read versions. The NW is therefore conspicuous by its absence from your list and graph, why is that? It was designed as a free online version of the Bible for worldwide ministry so that people who do not have access to the Bible could have a high-quality resource for Bible study. It’s really interesting to see what the top-selling Bible versions are –and what Bibles people actually use. In the chapter “A final word”, on page 163, he says “…it can be said that the NW emerges as the most accurate of the translations compared”. I’ve had the same questions Allen raised, so when I researched it (quite a few times, because I have a number of Bibles) I wrote everything down along with the answers I found. God’s own son Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.” How can we possibly sanctify God’s name, as our saviour Jesus instructed, while at the same time refusing to use it? the official version at church for Sunday services. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. Faith Founded on Fact also participates in affiliate programs with Bluehost, Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites. Is the King James Version more accurate than modern translations? Its translation method is partly Word-for-Word and partly Thought-for-Thought, making it similar in concept to the GWT, NIV and some other translations. The Best Bible Translation for Tradition and Religious Tone. They are regarded by scholars as among the best original texts. Since the NKJV was completed in 1975, the translators had access to the most accurate texts –texts that weren’t available to the translators of the original KJV. This makes the translations very useful in side-by-side comparisons. Textual Criticism: Liberal to moderate Bible scholars are trying to use the art and the science of textual criticism to get back to the earliest text possible. If you’re interested in this sort of practical Bible knowledge or any number of theological topics, go ahead and subscribe to Religion & Story! When I'm not writing about it, I'm often enjoying the great outdoors. DECIDING ON THE BEST BIBLE TRANSLATION FOR YOU Centuries of scholarship have gone into the English translations we have today. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns-SWo0d77k), Zero: That’s How Many Contradictions There Are in the Bible, You can buy this highly-rated ESV study Bible on Amazon. When some people discuss English Bible translations, they mainly argue about which is the best and why others are inferior. Maybe you call it the Authorized Version, but you know it. John), it would be simpler. The NKJV –the New King James Version- is a beautifully updated version of the KJV. See this link as a prime example: http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=70138. I’m not sure about the 2015 update, but the original is not working from the best source. A close second was the NAB. When the 2011 version came out, they made it gender neutral, which some like, because it’s more modern. Download Share. Hebrews) the translation would be at a higher reading level, and where it was easier (e.g. The best study Bibles will be essentially literal translations. NWT is no more biased than translations who render “almah” as “virgin” or people who believe in a post-tribulation rapture. It is my own opinion that the best KJV study bible ultimately comes down to the readers preference. But this is one that is worth the read. The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the oldest of Old Testament texts. It should be noted, however, that because that verse is so famous, translators often try to make the verse sound as similar as possible to what we’re familiar with. ISBN-10: 019528478X ISBN-13: 978-0195284782. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was prepared by an editorial board of some of the world's best biblical scholars and many of the errors of previous translations were corrected. The book packs countless features that make it the best study bible in the market today. Imagine there was only one English Bible translation and that it had never occurred to you that there might be another. It retains the beautiful structure and literary qualities of the KJV, but just enough of the antiquated words are changed into modern English words that the reader’s understanding is greatly improved. Thanks Patrick for thorough feedback! When you read it in English, you naturally want it to be the best possible translation. New American Standard Bible (NASB) – A third of my life or more has been spent using the NASB; it’s one of the translations I’m most familiar with. It is a literal translation from the Hebrew and Greek languages that incorporates the scholarship of several centuries of textual criticism conducted since the original KJV. And these same scholars must be top experts in the target language as well. It may elaborate more on the context in a way designed to help the reader understand the passage better. For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. The version’s strict adherence to “grammatical correctness” makes the text wooden, and its ties to Southern Baptist theology are noticeable in scattered verses. The King James Version was originally written in 1611 after King James commissioned … The idea that some are “King James Only” believers troubles me a bit, because even the King James Bible has mistranslations and omissions from the original manuscripts, so the argument that the King James is the best and only translation we should use is false, and I hope to show you why. The NASB is not too easy to read, due to the strict adherence to literalism. New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) – The NRSV is the Bible of choice for most scholars, particularly those with above-average interest in the Old Testament. Related Content: Zero: That’s How Many Contradictions There Are in the Bible. Silva’s mother tongue is Spanish, and when he was a student, one of his professors asked him whether he’d translate a Spanish theological article into English for him. Jesus was Michael the archangel. Different Bibles have different translation styles. The Scholars Bible is a series of volumes on individual books of the canonical and non-canonical bible which includes the original language text presented side-by-side with the translation, along with expert introduction, notes, and glossary. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. First on our list of best and most accurate Bible translations according to scholars is New American Standard Bible. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Many would point to 1 John 5:7 for the ESV leaving out the Trinity that is mentioned in the KJV. Its majestic language and memorable turns of phrase have cemented it in our cultural consciousness. The GNT is a looser, more colloquial version made to be accessible to the greatest number of readers. Other factors to consider are whether or not you will be preaching or teaching the Bible to others, or whether you are just reading the Bible … Thought-by-Thought and Paraphrase are much more readable, but they have been criticized because these translations can begin to interpret the Bible rather than only translating it. This comparison chart is here to help visualize the differences between various Bible translations. I can see that you are familiar with these various translations! This poses a few problems. Cool list. This beautiful KJV Bible is available on Amazon. After watching, read on. New International Version. It’s hard to go wrong reading the CSB -especially this one on Amazon. Whatever you’re looking for in a Bible translation, chances are there is a version for you. also shows up very high on the list of most accurate Bibles. It can help to know a few basic facts about translations... How do I choose my Bible translation? Thanks for bringing it to my attention. As for the NJPS, you’re right that it has no place in Christian devotional study–which I’d imagine to be the default for a personal Bible. There are two methods translators use when putting together English Bibles. The NET Bible is most notable for its tackling of the formal/functional balance by rendering a fairly readable text along with copious footnotes for in-depth and literal translations. I like the NLT for its easy-to-read style without significant sacrifice of the original language. The ESV is guilty of omitting 17 verses. Its clarity and high level of scholarship are the standards by which other versions are judged. Top 5 Best Study Bible Reviews 1. Technically, it’s the most accurate translation of all, but since it ignores the grammar of the target language, readability suffers greatly. The translation philosophy is called “Optimal Equivalence,” which is a middle ground between Dynamic Equivalence (thought-for-thought) and Formal Equivalence (word-for-word). Right? Ecc 12:12 is right. Who wouldn’t? Therefore, any version of the Bible not in the original languages is dependent on the translator to render the sense of the text accurately. Many scholars and commentators. Yet NASB has more up to date language and better sources. There are different degrees of what people call scholars. What’s the difference? The company has been committed to equipping the church in the field of life-changing Bible study since 1992. Christian Standard Bible (CSB) – This is a new translation as of 2017. What Is The Best Type of Study Bible? The Interlinear is a literal word-for-word translation He prepared it originally for his church youth group, but it has become a favorite of Bible students and scholars for decades since it was first published in 1958. Bible scholars have to study the original languages for a long period of time in order to develop a high proficiency in the original language. preferences. I’ve had an NIV (Thompson Scholars regard Word-for-Word as most accurate translation method that leaves the least room for error. We can tell, because after hundreds of years of Bible translating, all the major translations are in agreement about the major meanings they are conveying in English. The translators of almost every translation take their work very seriously, and it’s great to have so many translations to choose from. We would still have God’s words. It’s the perfect blend of the beautiful KJV verses that stream almost like music to the ear –but with greatly improved readability. But the Bible was not written in seventeenth-century Old English. read, but that doesn’t take away from its value as a translation for serious Conservative Bible scholars prefer literal translations, such as the KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB, ESV, LEB, CSB, UASV. "The Annotated," as it's known to scholars and readers alike, is the reigning monarch of scholarly Bible translations. Thought-for-thought just takes the perspective up a level from word-for-word. It was meant to be more readable, and more accessible to a wider audience that wouldn’t relate to all the thee’s and thou’s of the KJV and RSV. In fact, inexcusable. A paraphrase translation like the Phillips translation uses more words –and it’s easy to see that it is still very accurate and does not add or subtract from the original. How do you decide which one is best? The English is 400 years old, dating to the original publishing date of 1611. I have not read that book, but I recognize BeDuhn as a capable scholar. FYI – for comparison with your translations above, here is John 3:16 as rendered by NWT 2013 revision: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”. People might purchase a number of different Bibles, but which one do they actually read? For that reason, it’s usually smart to check out a less popular verse to see the real differences. You can buy this highly-rated ESV study Bible on Amazon. I agree with most everything Mr. Xyhelm says. I’m sure that every translator professes a particular religion. For a more in-depth analysis, see my post on How to Choose the Best Study Bible. To paraphrase country than the US or UK, or might have learned English as a second language. You can buy the NASB on Amazon. giving the meaning in another form, as for clearness; rewording. for the Study of Religion and American Culture, [Must-Have] Children’s Bibles for Every Age and Learning Style. The New International Version is the best selling English Bible version in the world, and for good reason. I’ve looked into the ESV and I cannot find anything in it that gives it an advantage over any other translation. Jonathan Sarna asks if it’s time to revisit the famed work. The vast majority of English translations claim to follow a Jewish tradition (or else site some other reasoning) which prevents them from using God’s own name. Originally published in ‘96 as a revision of a less popular version, it has since been revised in 2007. The New Testament was written in Greek. (None come off unscathed.) A New International Version will do little for someone who is stuck only on the King James and thinks all other translations are inferior (I still don't understand why some people think this, however.) Faith Founded on Fact is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. 2:5-7 in the 1984 text or in the 2011 text. There are some who debate whether the tetragrammaton should be transliterated into English as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Most ESV haters are KJV enthusiasts that are misinformed. It just helps make it more understandable. And the issue of using the divine name in translations isn’t an issue I’ve given much thought. international reader of English who might have learned English in a different Original text Hebrew Bible. I’m surprised to hear you say that. As you might suspect, this version doesn’t have the New Testament, so I’ve included another popular verse for you: When God began to create heaven and earth—the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Overall good list – my only complaint is that you gave into using the trendy name and called what should be the William Tyndale Version (WTV) the King James Version (KJV). You are ranking KJV higher because it sounds better to the ears. Compare the clear, natural English of GOD’S WORD and other translations. It’s a very fresh, easy-to-read Bible, suitable for younger readers. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. These many years later the NIV is still the best-selling English translation of the Bible in spite of the fact that there are other good alternatives out there. The HCSB is my personal favorite, mostly because it is incredible accurate and it reads in the same way as I think. yourself when deciding which translation to get: For many folks, just one translation will never do. 8. Thought-by-Thought and Paraphrase are much more readable, but they have been criticized because these translations can begin to interpret the Bible rather than only translating it. It does clearly lean on the older RSV in places, but generally people’s complaint about the NRSV is that it’s too non-traditional. Even BeDuhn’s criticism about bias probably have some bias to them. However, in several ways, the NIV (or Zondervan, its publisher) has stumbled since its rise to power with the 1984 version (the one many of us grew up with and have old copies of). There’s so much more to the story. passage like John 1:1 in the King James Version (KJV) and the Phillips version: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and This is a revision of the Jerusalem Bible (1966), motivated by scholars to improve accuracy. It … Chain Reference Study Bible) for decades. The NIV watchword is ‘balance’. The “truth” is the bit I’m after- an eloquently written half-truth is halfway to a lie, however well written. I’ve only recently discovered them in the last year and need to incorporate them more into my own study. A story from linguist and New Testament scholar Moisés Silva illustrates this principle. I’m not too familiar with the New World Translation (or the Apostles’ Bible or Living Bible), but it mainly wasn’t included because I already had plenty to work with and was focusing on mainstream or popular versions. Or Sunday? It’s been 50 years since the Jewish Publication Society commissioned a groundbreaking translation of the Bible. exact word from the target language that corresponds to it. You can get this highly-rated NIV Study Bible on Amazon. Asking yourself “which Bible should I read?” or “what Bible should I buy?” Our Bible comparison chart shows where popular Holy Bible translations fit along a spectrum from Word-for-Word to Meaning-for-Meaning to Thought-for-Thought to Paraphrase. The left side is the more literal translations –formal equivalence- and the right side –the paraphrase- is fully into the dynamic equivalence realm. The Bible is an amazing source of knowledge. There are Bibles for men, women, college students, high-school students, kids, military members, and on and on. It’s because of its amazing literary qualities, its memorability, and the fact that many of the Study Bible cross references originated with the KJV. There are 3 main approaches for Bible translations. Another example is John 8:58 when Jesus says that before Abraham was I am, the New World translation says “before Abraham was, I have been” which I consider another sign that Jesus is separated from from the Godhead as a somewhat lesser figure than God, since God used I am as his name when he appeared to Moses in the burning bush. It was originally published in 2001. Their latest version, Tanakh, a looser and less accurate translation, shows influence from modern critical scholarship in its idiomatic rendering. GWT uses the concept of “closest natural equivalence” to translate the original texts into modern English. Originally published in 1971 and revised in ‘95, it is considered one of the more literal translations as well as difficult to read (operating at an 11th grade level). Don’t overestimate your ability to translate the Bible into English. Calvinists are quick to point this one out and they are right to. The best translations of the Bible are mostly well-known, but there are also a few that are not so well-known. the original language into your own language? And for good reason: it, more than any other, comes the closest to striking the perfect balance between formality and functionality, adherence to the holy text and readability for us today. The fact is, Catholic scholars and Bible scholars use multiple translations not just for study but for analysis, private reading and so on. In that sense this is not a work of fiction. 9. students of the Bible. for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue It’s easier to read this kind of translation than the typical That can create extra work for the translator when The Best Study Bible- Special Essays and Articles. I’m fascinated that you chose to include a translation in your list which has omitted the entire “New Testament” from God’s word, yet you acknowledge a bias against a “Jehovah’s Witnesses” translation. I get that it is helpful to provide some updates to those who are used to the KJV, but my thought is, either stick with the KJV (it’s nostalgic and historically important and familiar) or opt for something significantly more up-to-date. But there are so many English translations of the Bible. ), Here’s how GWT renders John 3:16: “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.”. 10. Here is a list: -Thought-for-Thought (Dynamic Equivalence). I’m super glad to see the CSB and HCSB on this list. “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and... Is Sabbath Saturday? Preferred Essentially Literal Translation + Interpretation Focused Study Bible + Contributions From Numerous Scholars = The Best Study Bible I realize that this is an oversimplification, but I believe it gets to the heart of the matter. You can see this by looking at the text and noticing words in italics which were added for grammatical purposes; you can usually take those words out and the text reads just fine (and usually better). (dictionary definition) means a restatement of a text or passage It seems strange to some people that most Christians attend church on Sunday when the Old Testament Law... Hello. But there are other translations that are easier to read than the NASB. hard to go wrong reading the CSB -especially this one on Amazon, Center This helps readers to easily perceive additional shades of meaning they might otherwise struggle to see in a standard translation. I have found it to be surprisingly accurate given its more simple reading level. Contemporary English Version (CEV) – Its aim of being an easy-to-read translation is good, but it doesn’t bring a whole lot else to the table. A new edition was published in 2009 including the Published in 1996. My pastor –and quite a few other pastors- use the NKJV as A paraphrase translation of the Bible seeks to make the Bible more understandable to the reader. Where translation is performed with humility and with love for God, Holy Spirit may guide the translator, just as is guided the original writers. I’m curious about your view of the NKJV. I’ve also included for each a quotation of John 3:16 so you can see some of the different nuances of each version. According to the Center link to Is Sabbath Saturday? with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. Here’s what to do instead—six suggestions. It was designed to be easy-to-read-and-understand for the all of this. Gospels. You can gain a lot by watching Allen Parr discuss the source material for all of today’s English translations of the Bible. Based on Functional Equivalence or Literal (Word-for-Word) Is your Faith is Founded on Fact? 7. One of the most asked questions about the Bible is ‘what is the best translation?’ It all depends on who you are and what you will be using it for. It does a comparable job as the NIV in striking the formal/functional balance (what the version itself calls “optimal equivalence”) while maintaining a level of eloquence in the text. best are still from the KJV. It was translated by a truly cross-denominational committee (including Jews and Catholics and Orthodox Christians alike) and designed to be used for both study and liturgy. So my frustration with the NKJV is, if you’re going to write a new translation, why start with a foundation you know if already obsolete? Phillips had a gift for bringing God’s living word to a new generation. It is written in very modern English, yet readers still find that it reminds them of the KJV and RSV. Another thing that makes it so accurate is the NASB’s use of the text from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum critical text. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The Hebrew Bible was mainly written in Biblical Hebrew, with some portions (notably in Daniel and Ezra) in Biblical Aramaic.From the 6th century to the 10th century CE, Jewish scholars, today known as Masoretes, compared the text of all known biblical manuscripts in an effort to create a unified, standardized text. It’s safe to say they’ve worked out the details. link to Why Was the Bible Really Written? The NIV is also sort of hybrid between word-for-word and thought-for-thought approaches to translation (something like GWT). The NET was first published in 2005, and it is a completely new version. About The Holy Bible archbishop Nathanial (Lvov) 2,3K. You’re right that it is overall a better translation if you’re just measuring how accurately/probabilistically it conveys the original writings of the Bible, but I guess I rank the KJV higher because I valued more its historical importance and its nostalgic/poetic rendering of many verses. The conservative Bible scholars are trying to get back to the original text. The standard English translation used for academic study is the NRSV, in particular the Oxford Annotated Bible is widely used in major universities. And why not? Still, the NASB provides a close examination of the text for those preferring to avoid ancient languages and thus offers an excellent study option. My 5 Favorite Bible Translations. For me, it is dangerous using a Bible translated by someone from a different religion. 5 Best and Most Accurate Bible Translations According to Scholars Published on June 13, 2017 at 9:04 am by Vana Filipovski in Lists Share Tweet Email Faith Founded on fact also participates in affiliate programs with Bluehost, Clickbank, CJ,,! Ve looked into the Dynamic equivalence realm are mostly well-known, but it has... To do so –as i do- draw from multiple translations around the,. Have found it to be the best Bible translation is an extended paraphrase by Anglican Clergyman J.B..... M including the deuterocanonical –or apocryphal- books people that most Christians attend church on Sunday when the version. Improve accuracy my list ” ) is regarded by scholars to improve accuracy of today ’ word... That translation from one language to another isn ’ t originally written in English for ). 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