What Bible is best?
Question: “There are many Bibles on the market, what Bible is best?”
What Bible is best for you? That depends on what you want out of a Bible. If you are a child or a new Christian you may want a Bible that is easier to read, while if you are a more experienced Christian, you may want a Bible that is more accurate in its translation.
Translating from Hebrew and Greek into English is harder than we may first believe. Not only do most words have more than one meaning or use, the translators must also determine how the Hebrew or Greek word was used thousands of years ago, and then which of the many modern day English words best represents the original meaning.
The first question each team of Bible translators had to decide was, do we want a translation that is very readable, very accurate or somewhat in between.
The chart below provides guidance to the translation style of many of the more commonly available Bibles, with the Word for Word emphases being more accurate and the thought for though and paraphrase emphases being more readable. The chart also provides the grade level the Bible is written to and those translators who were more interested in pleasing changing social norms than pleasing God by changing God’s Word to make it Gender neutral language.
The interlinear is not so much a Bible than a very accurate word for word study tool.
While the NASB is the most accurate translation, more than 50% of Bible readers reach for the KJV, the most difficult to read, but the most beloved, followed by 13% reading the NIV.
It is suggested that one should consider two Bibles, one to read in church that the pastor uses and one for home study. Having two Bibles also helps provide clarity for difficult verses.
And yet, one will find that many Bibles have numerous verses that are very similar or even identical. Below the chart is a comparison renditions from an interlinear to a paraphrased version.
Sample verse -
Said moreover the Lord if you have faith as a grain of mustard you could say anyhow to the mulberry tree that be up rooted and be planted in the sea and it would obey any how you.
New American Standard -
And the Lord said, If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.
King James Version -
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
New King James Version -
So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
English Standard Version -
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Homes Christian Standard -
If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,” the Lord said, “you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
New International Version -
He replied, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
Living Bible -
If your faith were only the size of a mustard seed, Jesus answered, it would be large enough to uproot that mulberry tree over there and send it hurtling into the sea! Your command would bring immediate results!
While the “thought for thought” Bibles do provide greater ease of reading, the “word for word” Bibles provide greater accuracy of the true meaning of the Word of God.
What then is the best Bible to have? The best Bible is one you will read and that teaches the Word correctly.
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