Best General Purpose Bible

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Friend of God, May 14, 2010.

  1. Friend of God

    Friend of God
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    What do you think is the best general purpose Bible? Which version would "fit" your average reader, and be comprehensible to most people as well as being accurate and reliable?

    To be more specific, which Bible would you recommend to your teenage son or daughter, your co-worker or neighbor?

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Phillip

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    This is an interesting question and also difficult to answer.

    If I were on an island with one Bible, which Bible would I want? --- might be an easier question to answer.

    In this case I would pick the NASB or the ESV. Probably, the NASB would be my book of choice in this case, but I must also remember that the NASB is not an easy book to read because the wording is so literal. If I were going on a camping trip which was temporary, I might take the NIV or even the Living Bible (Translation) and read for leisure. On a trip that was temporary, I might get more out of God's word with a less than literal word-for-word style of translation.

    I honestly am not excited about either of those last two translations because I study in detail, but for pleasure reading there is nothing like an Old Testament Bible story of Daniel and the Lion's pit or some other story we grew up with in one of these thought for thought translations.

    You are going to have to make a decision on whether you want word-for-word accuracy and a little more difficulty in reading or less literal translation and an easier read. You can't have you cake and eat it too because translation that is very accurate and thought-for-thought translation style (although I read some in Hebrews and Greek--with textbooks near my hands because I am weak in both languages) are not necessarily compatable. God chose to have the authors write the Bible in ancient languages which are not so easy to translate. Thankfully, the Lord has given our scholars more and more ancient manuscripts so that we can continue to increase our knowledge of exactly what the authors vs. the genre meant during their writing. Compare that to living in a home where the people speak a foreign language and you can learn eactly what they mean through practice. The Bible translators do not have native speakers or writers to learn from, so it makes the translation process harder.

    If you pick any of the main stream Bibles that are on the market from the King James on up through most of the modern translations, you can't go wrong. Pick something that you WILL read and I don't think you are going to go wrong. If you have trouble understanding or getting much reading done with the more literal NASB then pick something easier. I would stay away from paraphrases like the old "Living Bible" and your also probably going to get a better translation if it is done by a committee rather than a single translator.

    In your post you mention a girl or boy, or other person. I would consider the reading level. A young child is going to have more difficulty reading through the NASB than they would with (for example) the NIV. When I was a child I learned to read early and devoured books, but I read very little in my KJV Bible. I just couldn't take in the older English like I can now and even though I have heard a lot of stories about the actual accuracy, I remember ignoring the boring pastor and devoured The Good News paperback NTs that were bought by the small church and given out for anybody who wanted one to read. I LOVED reading the stories. I was only about six to eight, but there were real stories as interesting as the young adult fiction I read that I enjoyed and my mother never told me to put it down and listen to the preacher. I think she knew of my interest in reading and we didn't know how great of a translation it was, but I don't think I read anything in that book that did damage to my theology as I developed it from then on.

    My point is, buy what the person you are witnessing to will read and leave it at that. I would never give a non-Christian adult the King James Version simply because if they didn't grow up in church hearing it read every week there is a good chance that they will struggle through a chapter and lay it down and that's where it will stay. I would rather give them an NIV or Living Translation, and if they become or are a young Christian then they will gravitate towards materials and translations they can understand.

    I highly advise listening to the classes on Biblical translation that can be found on the web for free. Private mail me if you can't find a link.
     
  3. Deacon

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    General Purpose Uses

    1. Self study / critical issues
    2. Group bible study
    3. Personal daily devotions
    4. ?

    Thots:
    • The best one is the one you use.
    • The best one will convey its message clearly to the person/people using it with a minimum of helps.
    • The best one should provoke change in the person/people reading it.

    I find myself using the New Living Translation quite often to help explain harder passages to others in a group setting.
    It often provokes others to read their own personal favorite bible to compare.

    Rob
     
  4. jaigner

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    Most definitely, the TNIV.

    I also use the NASB, but only when studying on a word-for-word basis. The TNIV is about the most accurate translation available.
     
  5. Baptist4life

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    Proof,............................ or opinion?
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    The NIRV if they are ESL readers. I personally use the ESV.
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    General purpose, hmmm, good question.

    For me, if I had to just walk over, pick one out, and use it...NET Bible.

    It doesn't have commentary notes inasmuch as it has textual notes and really insightful bits by the actual translators to help clarify and point out varieties of interpretation.

    And its very readable and clear. I have a hard copy on my self and a digital copy on each of my computers. Its free in the digital form from bible.org.

    If it was any ole joe walking in off the street, that is a bit different. Given that they are your average, just above baby Christian evangelical...I'd hand them a HCSB (Holman Christian Standard) Bible with no commentary or study notes. Just the plain text.

    I'm not a huge fan of study Bibles btw. I think too often the text can be missed as a note is read and taken as inspired (or, shudder, infallible.) Too much stuff in study Bibles need a lot of explanation and is sketchy (depending on who's brain you're studying.)
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    Well, I don't agree with that at all. I used the TNIV in my Greek exegesis course as my in-class English reference translation as we walked through Thessalonians. I just think they punted too often when it came to decisions. The text misses some key points of rich flavor with its approach of plain, nearly tasteless, vanilla translation.
     
  9. Phillip

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    TNIV most accurate translation available?

    Yes, not to be argumentative, but could you please provide any evidence (besides the publisher's own Publicity.) that there is Any truth to the "most accurate translation available" statement?

    Please provide references, too.

    Thank you.
     
  10. Phillip

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    Tniv

    My last post sounded like I was trying to derail the thread, but not so. I simply state that if you can prove the TNIV is the most accurate, we should get rid of all other versions, ragardless of their reading level and use the TNIV without question. Why do word studies with an inferior document?

    Getting back to the subject and first question, I think you are looking for a good general purpose translation for most non-believers or new Christians and you want to make sure that what you offer is something they will and can read and understand----and also be accurate. I would suggest in this order for newbies to the Christian World. Niv, The Living Translation and the ESV.

    With these three you have easy readability, particularly with one and two and accuracy in all three. Plus, even the ESV is not hard to read. I would not suggest either the KJV or NKJV simply because of the sentence structure and ease of reading.

    This mostly depends on availability, cost and I also agree that study Bibles should probably be avoided because new people have a tendency to say, see it says so right here in the footnotes. Of course, if you wanted accuracy you could give them a Greek New Testament with some Biblical Greek textbooks.:tongue3:
     
  11. TomVols

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    NET is growing on me and may get that spot as the one on a desert island. The ESV is good. And the NASB is as literal as they come. It will be interesting to see what the new NIV looks like.
     
  12. saturneptune

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    Where does anyone rate the NKJV as a general purpose Bible? I use it at church and sometimes study the NIV.
     
  13. rsr

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    I agree; it would take several years just to get through the notes. And the maps are really, really cool.

    For a "general purpose" Bible I would consider the Holman or the TNIV. Those are the ones that I usually carry on Sunday.
     
  14. Rippon

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    You keep saying The Living Translation. Folks will think you are referencing the Kenneth Taylor's paraphrase. The NLTse is an entirely different matter. The former cannot be considered accurate by any stretch.

    Perhaps it's less difficult in the Pauline Epistles -- but generally it has some very poor English throughout the text. When will fans of the ESV wake up to this reality?
     
  15. Rippon

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    Finally the TNIV has gained some respectability. The New NIV will garner the same respect. The HCSB deserves a good mention too. But the latter uses TR readings too much -- as does the NASB.
     
  16. Friend of God

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    Thanks everybody for your time and your valuable opinions. Rob
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    I enjoy the NKJV but since it is translated from a weak line of Greek, it has the same deficiencies as others from that line. But it does help to keep the beauty of the Language while updating both words, grammar and syntax.

    I taught Bible to my own children, an hour a day for 4 years through the entire Bible. We used the NIV while they held KJV1769. It opened their eyes to what was truly being said, etc. When they left for college they got parallel Bibles, with NASB on one column and KJV on the other.

    20 years later (today) I would opt for the ESV or Holman.

    (My OPINION only; not for debate)
     
  18. go2church

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    TNIV for english speakers and NIRV for ESL speakers
     
  19. TomVols

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    I am a modest fan of the ESV and freely admit poor wordings, renderings, language uses, etc. I've tried my darndest to give myself whole hog to this translation but can't. One day I'll give you a list of my problems with it. Still, these are not enough to make it less than a good choice.

    I feel the same way re: TNIV, NIV, et.al.
     
  20. TomVols

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    Too little too late for the TNIV I'm afraid.

    I just can't get excited about the HCSB. It has some deficiencies that makes me lukewarm about it. The NET has a few here or there, but overall it's finding a good way to me. However, it's nowhere near pulpit ready yet.
     

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