Monday, December 29, 2008

So Many Bibles...How to choose...???

Bluestalking had a great question in the comments of the sign-up post, and I thought I'd take her question and expand it to a post.

Translations--my best advice for people--anyone and everyone--is to take your time when choosing your translation. There are so many choices out there, so many that really anyone can find the one that is right for them and their needs at that time. But if you get in a rush, you might end up frustrated and disappointed with your choice.

Here are some of the more popular, more readily available Bible translations:

NIV = New International Version
TNIV = Today's New International Version
NIrV = New International Reader's Version
KJV = King James Version
NKJV = New King James Version
NASB = New American Standard Bible
HCSB = Holman Christian Standard Bible
NRSV = New Revised Standard Version
RSV = Revised Standard Version
ESV = English Standard Version
NCV = New Century Version (sometimes called ICB = International Children's Bible)
The Message
The Living Bible
TEV or GNT = Today's English Version OR Good News Translation; same translation but two different names
NLT = New Living Translation
CEV = Contemporary English Version
AMP = Amplified

Most Christian stores will have multiple versions available of these Bible translations. (Granted not all are equally popular or plentiful.)

Almost all of these translations are also available for reading and/or searching online. So you can experiment at home (if you have a computer) as well as experimenting at the store if you're looking to buy a Bible.

My suggestion is to try reading in several different places--you might try a Psalm or two (or a chapter of Proverbs), a chapter (or two) from one of the gospels, and at least a chapter (or two) of one of the New Testament epistles (letters) (Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 John, etc.) The Bible has 66 books--they fall into many different types of books--history, law, prophecy, poetry, etc. And so they all 'read' differently.

NASB

John 14
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
1"(A)Do not let your heart be troubled; [a]believe in God, believe also in Me.

2"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for (B)I go to prepare a place for you.

3"If I go and prepare a place for you, (C)I will come again and receive you to Myself, that (D)where I am, there you may be also.

4"And you know the way where I am going."

5(E)Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"

6Jesus said to him, "I am (F)the way, and (G)the truth, and (H)the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

NIV

John 14

Jesus Comforts His Disciples
1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me.
2
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
Jesus the Way to the Father
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The Message

John 14

The Road
1-4 "Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I'm taking."

5 Thomas said, "Master, we have no idea where you're going. How do you expect us to know the road?"

6-7 Jesus said, "I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me.

ESV

John 14
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
1(A) "Let not your hearts be troubled.(B) Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2In(C) my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that(D) I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you(E) to myself, that(F) where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going."[c] 5(G) Thomas said to him, "Lord,(H) we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6Jesus said to him, "I am(I) the way, and(J) the truth, and(K) the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


NKJV

John 14

The Way, the Truth, and the Life
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


NLT

John 14

Jesus, the Way to the Father
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

HSCB

John 14

The Way to the Father
1 "Your heart must not be troubled. (A) Believe [a] in God; (B) believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places; [b] if not, I would have told you. I am going away (C) to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back (D) and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. (E) 4 You know the way where I am going." (F) [c]

5 "Lord," Thomas (G) said, "we don't know where You're going. How can we know the way?"

6 Jesus told him, "I am (H) the way, (I) the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The good news? Translation choices always come down to personal preference. It doesn't really matter if one person likes the NKJV better and another person likes the NASB better. They're both Bibles. And in any passage, the heart of the message is retained--we're talking about small differences of word choice. How much does it really and truly matter if one reads "mansions" or "dwelling places" or "many rooms"??

If you go to a Christian store, don't be afraid to ask for help. Often if you ask, they'll let you remove a Bible from its plastic--if there isn't a copy already open and ready to browse through/read. You can 'try' different ones and see what they're like inside. Something that I don't think you can duplicate on Amazon quite so easily.

One of the things that could be a factor in your decision making are different editions of the Bible--study Bibles.

I'll talk more about study bibles in my next post.

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1 comment:

Lisa Guidarini said...

Becky, I started a separate, new blog for the Bible challenge. It's at:

http://biblicalchallenge.wordpress.com/

I'll post to Bluestalking about the challenge, but the actual full posts will be at Biblical Challenge.

I chose the New Oxford Annotated Bible, by the way. My first post is about that on the new blog.