When I was first exploring Christianity many-many years ago, my dad bought me my first Bible, the King James Version (KJV) translation.
I was excited and started going through it, but you know what happened… I didn’t get very far. Why? Because I couldn’t really understand it as I was reading it. Art, thou, thee, it was just really hard to read.
So, it just sat in the corner doing nothing (the worst thing your Bible can be doing).
Eventually I was given another Bible that had the NIV (New International Version) translation. Guess what… I was able to read it! Sounded just like how I spoke. I liked that, so I stuck with it (Today, I enjoy going through other translations, even the KJV, which makes more sense to me today than it did 10 years ago).
Now, there’s a critic for every translation.
Here’s some of the different popular translations:
NIV (New International Version)
KJV (King James Version)
ASV (American Standard Version)
NLT (New Living Translation)
HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
ESV (English Standard Version)
CEV (Contemporary English Version)
and the list goes on.
Some of these are Word-for-Word (Ex. KJV) translations, others are Thought-for-Thought (Ex. CEV), and then you have some that are a mix of Word-for-Word and Thought-for-thought (Ex. NIV).
You can see this pretty cool guide here: www.Mardel.com/BibleTranslationGuide
Everyone has their own preferences on which translation is the best. Some believe one translation is more accurate than another. But, I’ve decided to make it easy on you, especially if you’re just exploring or new to Christianity.
Here’s my advice on which translation is the best:
The best Bible translation is the one you’re going to read!
It’s as simple as that. Get the one you’re going to read and, ultimately, apply!
It won’t do you any good if you don’t read it.
So, don’t worry about which translation is the most accurate or that you should read a word-for-word, thought-for-thought, or a mix of the two.
Just get the one you’re going to read and apply!
And, here’s a quick little tip on how to do that:
Go to the bookstore and review Matthew, chapters 5-7 in the different translations. As you’re reading, see which ones flow off the top of your tongue, and which ones make the most sense to you.
Once you find the one you that wasn’t making you stutter, and the one that you understood the most, then that’s the translation you should get.
As you grow with your walk with Christ you can then study up on the translations you’d like to read.
Just remember, none of us started running when we were babies. We first learned to roll, then crawl, then stand up, then hobble around while holding on to something, then walking, then running.
Same goes with all of the areas in your life. Christianity is know different.
Keep spreading the Word!