The "right" bible translation

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Priscilla Ann, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Priscilla Ann

    Priscilla Ann
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    I read this forum a lot because I am interested in the variety of bible translations.

    I was saved in 1996, having been a Catholic for 38 years. Until about 10 years ago, I knew the bible only from what I heard at Sunday mass. When I finally started to read the bible for myself, I chose the NIV. I read the entire NIV; and for the first time, the bible became alive and relevant for me. I understood my need to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.

    The NIV translation has remained my primary translation; however, I have become concerned by all of the criticism of the NIV. I've tried the KJV, NKJV, the NASB, and ESV, but none of them is as smooth and easy to understand as the NIV. Am I missing out by not studying other translations? If I should supplement my reading of the NIV with another translation, which would be the best choice?

    Thank you for any ideas or personal experience you would be willing to share.
     
  2. LRL71

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    I will answer your question in two ways:

    Short: Yes, you should supplement your Bible reading in other versions.

    Long: The NIV is a great translation, and you will profit spiritually in using it for your studies. The other translations you mentioned (ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV) are also good to read from. As you might or might not be aware of, there are differences in translations. Two major areas to consider are translation 'styles' (dynamic vs. formal equivalency) and textual base. Let's look at each separately:

    A dynamic equivalent translation is one that is not as 'literal' to the Hebrew/Greek text it is translated from. The NIV is a classic dynamic translation, where the translators used more liberties in smoothing out the language to reflect a more modern English usage. Other dynamic translations would be the NLT and the NCT.
    A formal equivalent translation takes the text more literally, and reflects more accurately what the Hebrew/Greek texts state, even in their grammar usage. The ESV, KJV, NASB, and NKJV are good examples of formal equivalent translations.

    The other major consideration is the text types that translations are based upon. This is usually the subject that causes great dissent and is frequently discussed on this board. The Hebrew text is not much of great discussion, as it has been transmitted to us without many errors. Comparing the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Hebrew text of the middle ages shows very little differences. Even when comparing the Hebrew text to the Greek Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew text during the 2nd century B.C.) shows that the text of the Hebrew Old Testament is largely uniform.
    The Greek New Testament has basically two different 'texts', the so-called 'Majority Text' and the Critical Text. The majority of manuscripts that are existant today were written after the sixth century and were written during the medieval period (ca. 550-1500 A.D.). The 'textus receptus' and other Greek texts compiled during the 1500's - 1600's and derive their text from the manuscripts available at that time, primarily those written within a few hundred years prior. Biblical archaology during the late 1800's to the current day have revealed manuscripts written during the second to seventh centuries, and the text types compiled since Westcott & Hort's Greek NT (ca. 1881) have this more updated information on the text of the Greek New Testament. The Nestle-Aland Greek NT and the United Bible Societies' Greek NT are modern compilations of the Greek NT.

    I hope that this information is helpful to you, and continue to make additional posts if you need further study.
     
  3. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Good post by LRL above.

    I would recommend use of a formal equivalent translation to aid in your studies (see LRL's list). Because of the dynamic equivalence of the NIV I could not use it for my own personal primary Bible.
     
  4. TomVols

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    I would agree with what is said earlier. Having said that though, I would keep your NIV primary and utilize the NASB and ESV as study aids along the way. Do not despair.
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Three replies, different views, and no fights yet - I wonder how long this will last ;) ?
     
  6. TomVols

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  7. Priscilla Ann

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    All great suggestions. Thank you! I do have an ESV and NASB that I refer to frequently.

    Maybe this should be in another thread, but what do you think of parallel bibles? Is there one that you would recommend?
     
  8. go2church

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    The NIV is going to be just fine for your needs, anyone's for that matter. I use the ESV mostly because it has a familiar ring to it, growing up hearing the KJV as the primary bible at church. My second bible would be the NIV (TNIV when it comes out soon) followed by the NRSV.
     
  9. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    The KJV (for Ed's info - whatever edition is at hand [​IMG] ) as my primary Bible. I check the NKJV for readablity at times and sometimes look at the NASB.

    Usually I use concordances, Bible dictionaries, and lexicons for my further study.

    For my own personal preference I don't have much use for the dynamic equivalence versions.
     
  10. Jeffrey H

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    Priscilla,

    You have done something that many christians do not bother with - reading the entire bible. It's wonderful to read it and discover it's contents.

    If you like your NIV, stay with it and enjoy it. My wife uses the NIV for study and devotional reading. She sometimes refers to her NASB (New American Standard) for comparision. I personally use the ESV (English Standard) because I prefer a more literal translation than the NIV.

    Generally speaking, the best bible translation is the one that is read.
     
  11. Scott J

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    Ditto. [​IMG]
     
  12. RaptureReady

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    Priscilla Ann, praise God that you have gotten out of a false church and have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.

    I would recommend the King James Bible. It is the Bible that I started out with and it has never failed me one time. Reading it puts my mind at ease and brings me closer to God.

    As you may know, I do not endorse the other versions. Why? Because they differ from the KJB, which to me is scary. This is what I believe.

    I hope the Holy Spirit leads you in the right direction as you grow in the Lord.

    God bless,
    R&R
     
  13. David J

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    Greetings Priscilla Ann!

    I was a blessing to read your testimony.

    I use the NASB for all my study and reading. It's not a smooth as the NIV but the 1995 update NASB is nice. I used to use the KJV a lot, but I have pretty much stopped reading it simply because I like the NASB(95) better.

    If you like the NIV then keep reading it. I just prefer the NASB over the other translations that are on the market.

    I would recommend using the NASB along with the NIV.

    Zondervan makes a parallel bible that has the 1873 KJV, NASB(95), NIV, and NLT.

    http://www.zondervanbibles.com/types-parallel.htm

    That might help you out some. [​IMG]
     
  14. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Okay there is still no fight on this thread [​IMG] .
    Its bed time in this part of Europe - so everyone be good now - please [​IMG] ;) [​IMG] .
     
  15. Scott J

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    I am not trying to be contentious or argumentative at all but if you would actually use MV's alongside your KJV with faith in God's Word- they wouldn't be scary but rather edifying. Faithful versions don't contradict one another. They affirm and clarify one another... not unlike a preacher who tells you what a word or phrase in the KJV means using different words.

    The KJV translators themselves recommended using a variety of translations to discern the true sense of scripture.

    Since I left KJVOnlyism behind and started actually using MV's along with the KJV in my studies, I have found their advice to be very sound.
     
  16. Priscilla Ann

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    David J:

    Thanks for the suggestions. The NASB I have is the 1995 update, and I refer to it often.

    The parallel bible you suggested is one that I have been considering purchasing. I appreciate the input since I am pretty cautious about my book purchases. My "book budget" is rather limited, and I try to choose wisely.

    God Bless!
     
  17. Askjo

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    The KJV is the best translation for English-speaking people available today because of the KJV superiority over modern versions. I do not endorse the other versions because modern versions are dangerous.
     
  18. Marcia

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    Priscilla Ann, it's good to use a variety of versions. Depending on how you read the Bible or do your devotions, you could read through one book in the NIV, then read it again in the NASB, then maybe even in another version like the KJV or NKJV. I do this sometimes though I primarily use the NASB, the NKJV, and the NET Bible (purchased on the Internet and has lot of notes on the grammar and translation - not really a Bible to use unless you are interested on those issues).

    Sometimes if I'm reading a passage that is difficult or a little more complicated, I'll read it in 2 or 3 other versions (and maybe look up commentaries, words, etc.).

    I strongly suggest not using The Living Bible or The Message since they are paraphrases and not translations. The Message has a lot of problems with it.

    I also do not think the Amplified Bible is a good choice because they give several translations of a word that may not be accurate but they put them there as if they are all equally good translations (this advice comes from my hermeneutics prof who thinks the Amplified makes a good doorstop).
     
  19. Marcia

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    Since your book budget is limited . . .Do you know about these links? You can look up verses or chapters in several translations here.

    This one has 18 versions to choose from:
    Bible Gateway
    http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bible

    This one has 10 to choose from and on the side menu you can click on parallel Bibles and choose 2 versions to see side by side!
    Crosswalk Bible
    http://bible.crosswalk.com/

    Site for the ESV (English Standard Version)
    http://www.gnpcb.org/home/esv/

    Modern King James
    http://www.mkjvonline.com/

    NET Bible
    http://netbible.bible.org/

    So you have plenty you can read online without having to buy them, at least for the sake of reference and comparison.
     
  20. LRL71

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    oooooooohhhhhhhh, those eeeeevil modern bible versions. They're daaaangerous! Another spooky KJVO concocted conspiracy. :eek:

    I see modern Bible versions [​IMG]
     

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