As those who cannot grasp the Hebrew and Greek languages, our only hope to reading and understanding the Bible rests with the translators. The problem is how to choose the right Bible Translation. I am not talking about private translations by some ‘Christian sects’ such as the Jehovah Witnesses’ New World Translation. Rather, I will be focusing on the mainstream Bible versions you often come across in your local Christian bookshop.
Now, it is true that there are hundreds of English Bible Versions out there. What you may not know is that all these versions only fall under three translation categories. Before we jumped to how to choose the right Bible translation, let’s look at the 3 types of Bible translations:
1. Literal Bible Translation
As the name suggests, the translators using this method use the closest words to preserve the Hebrew or Greek meanings. It is, therefore, the best Bible translation as far as closeness to the original text is concerned. However, it is rigid and ‘hard’ to read at times. Examples of the popular literally translated English versions include King James Versions/Authorized Version, New King James Version and The American Standard Version among others.
2. Dynamic Equivalence Translations
This is where most of the English versions fall. The goal is to translate the original text using modern words. In other words, the translator tries to find a word that a 21st-century reader will relate to without problems. It is therefore easy to read and understand. However, it is far from the original text. Examples under this category include the New International Version, Good News and Youth Bible etc.
3. Paraphrased Bible Translations
This may be a dynamic equivalence or literal translation with additional text. A paraphrased version often has words in bracket or lengthy footnotes. It may also involve rephrasing of verses to make them easy to understand. It is, therefore, the easiest to read and understand of the three translations. Unfortunately, it is the farthest from the original text.
So, which version is best for you today? I mean, how does this knowledge helps us with how to choose the right Bible translation? Well, this is not a complicated matter as some make it. I would suggest that you have the three translations. Use a literal translation as your primary reading and then a dynamic equivalence or paraphrased version for reference purposes.
With this approach, you are always guaranteed to understand the Bible without bias. For example, I have a King James Version (Giant Print), a New International Version with Notes, Life Application Study Bible and The Amplified Bible. So I use King James as the Primary Bible and the rest for reference when doing personal studies or while teaching.
Let me know your views about the Bible translations. Just share with me via the comment box and I will be here to engage you in the most positive way possible.
Now, if you are not born again and would love to; just read “How to become a Christian in 5 simple steps”. You may also want to know the benefits of salvation. God bless you abundantly as you share this post.