Which Bible?

This is a half silly, half serious post. Half silly because it is somewhat ludicrous that I have such a collection of Bibles (I’m a seminary student, its ok, right? RIGHT?) and half serious because I think Bible selection is an important task.

So if you are curious, on with a look at a wide variety of Bible selections (images are clickable)…

(l. to r.)

  • The Message: a New Testament and Pslams pocket version of the Eugene Peterson translation.
  • The Promise: Some random King James pocket NT, this was given to me, but not sure why or by who.
  • New Believer’s Bible a NT that people were handing out at UW once, I hoped, and still hope, to give it to a good friend from high school.
  • New American Standard: A pocket NASB that I usually carry with me as the NASB is my preferred translation.
  • New King James: The first pocket Bible I picked up although I am not really impressed by the translation.
  • The Recovery Version: A group was handing this NT out at the UW once, it isn’t a good translation as it has much of Witness Lee’s commentary throughout the text, I’m not really sure why I still have it, I guess I just think it is funny… in a sacrilegious way.
  • Amplified Bible: this is a fairly literal translation that tries to add nuances from the original Greek and Hebrew, it isn’t the best tool, but can be helpful.
  • UBS4 Greek New Testament: This was given to my Greek class by the Canadian Bible Society, it includes critical apparatus.
  • Nestle-Aland 27 Greek-English New Testament: I picked this up for use in my Biblical Exegesis class as it contains the Greek, English, additional critical apparatus and it also coincides with Metzger’s Textual Commentary.
  • New Revised Standard: This was needed for my New Testament Foundations class and is a solid translation that is good for both study as well as reading aloud.
  • New International Version: This is my “Goodwill” Bible, I forgot my Bible at home when I went on a retreat so I picked this NIV up at Goodwill.
  • New American Standard: this is my first NASB that was given to me by Jae Choi and Daryl Jump in a UCF Core.
  • Today’s New International Version: this was given out at Regent’s Tradition Conference (a few of the Regent College faculty have had a hand in the new translation so I am not too concerned about all the controversy).
  • Good News Bible: This is my very frist Bible that was given to me by Skyline Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, WA. Okay translation for kids, but not a big fan in general.
  • Today’s New International Version: Some group was handing this NT out at UW a few years back.
  • Abundant Life Bible - New Living Translation: The NLT isn’t a favorite as I usually don’t use paraphrase Bibles but this was given out at Regent by Tyndale to promote it (again, a few of our faculty were involved with this version).
  • New Jerusalem Bible: This was required for a NT class I took at UW, the translation didn’t really jump out at me, included the Apocrypha.
  • NIV Study Bible: This was my first primary Bible used for both study and devotion throughout high school and some of college, still one of my preferred translations. The NIV is also one of the better versions for reading aloud.
  • NASB Study Bible: This is my current primary Bible used mostly in study, but also in devotions. The literal, word-for-word translation is one that I greatly appreciate but makes reading it alound not quite as smooth.
  • The Message: The Prophets was one of Peterson’s first releases after the NT and I really enjoyed his thought-for-thought translations, especially of Isaiah, the imagery and language is extremely vivid. The full version, in my opinion, is a must have for Christians. As I said, I am not a big fan of paraphrases, but I think Peterson (oh, did I mention he is Professor Emeritus at Regent? Heh) did a wonderful job. He has a thorough grasp of the original languages and was able to carry that over in to the English. Of course, I would NEVER recommend using this for study, but it is great for devotional readings or for public readings.
  • The Comparative Study Bible: This is a useful study tool that contains the NIV, NASB, Amplified, and KJ versions. Parallel Bibles can be quite helpful when trying to get a sense for original meaning and intent as well as seeing where translation issues come up.
  • The Layman’s Parallel Bible: This Parallel Bible was my grandother’s (from 1974) and contains the KJ, Modern Language, Living, and Revised Standard editions.
  • Interlinear NASB/NIV/Greek-English New Testament: Another helpful too to compare my two preferred translations with the original Greek (with literal Greek translation).
  • Interlinear NIV/Hebrew-English Old Testament: Another great study aid to get a feel for the original language, helpful for beginning Hebrew students!
  • See, they all have their purpose… for the most part. :)

    Also, as a guide, IBS has provided a “map” of Bible translations that shows where the different versions fit on a scale from “thought-for-thought” to “word-for-word”

    Do I have too many? So what is your favorite and why?
    Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.

    UPDATE: I have added three more.

    Three more Bibles!

    The top is “The Books of the Bible” from IBS press. I picked it up after some discussion here: The Books of the Bible: De-Versify: Organic References? The translation itself is the TNIV (which I comment on above) but the difference here is that they have removed all versification. Their claim is that it makes it more readable and more true to the original intent. Check out that post for additional discussion there.

    The bottom two books are the English Standard Version. The black one was my introduction to the translation and I have since picked up the bottom one which is the ESV Study Bible. The ESV has become my primary Bible; it is a revision of the RSV (noted above) and follows a quite literal translation style but has also focused on make the text flow better than some (like the NASB). I have really appreciated the version and their study Bible has copious notes that reflect diligent scholarship. I’m sold!

    Categories: Regent College, Religion
    1. October 19th, 2005 at 12:03 | #1

      No you don’t have to many Bibles. You can never have too many Bibles, or any type of Book. In the case of a Bible (or most holy books) is that they’ll always be different, even it’s something like a comma placed somewhere else or a drastically different language/interpretation. I still remember comparing an excerpt on homosexuals from the regular Bible and like some New Age Neo-Con Bible, the original is very peaceful but provides the right message the other one said something along the lines of “God Hates Gay People” It was funny and sad at the same time.
      I don’t have a favorite Bible, and you know why.

    2. October 19th, 2005 at 12:59 | #2

      Biblical translation is a very complex process. Using either the UBS4 or the NA27 (the most accurate original Greek texts) there can either be literal or paraphrase translations. As a translation moves farther and farther away from the original text and intent, it becomes less and less reliable.

    3. October 19th, 2005 at 21:03 | #3

      Dude!!! I thought I had heaps of bibles! Haha that’s great!

      I actually did something on this early this year at the Bible College of New Zealand, where I’m currently studying. I use an NRSV for college because it’s gender inclusive and nice and PC. I’m not actually too worried by these things.

      As for my favourite version…
      ummmm I don’t think I have one. I generally use an NIV (because I’ve been using it since forever), a TNIV (because it’s compact and fits anywhere) and an NRSV (for reasons previously stated). I sometimes use the KJV but because it’s a translation of a translation, I’m quite wary of it. I don’t really do paraphrases. I think I’d rather go with the word for word but then paraphrases do have their place.

      I need to learn Greek. Perhaps in my final year…

    4. October 19th, 2005 at 22:27 | #4

      I also have similar reservations about the KJV (as mentioned at O Theophilus). I think the KJV can be good in some situations, but generally translations that aren’t based on the original languages are not the best.

      The NIV seems to be a staple with most people as it is a good mix of “word-for-word” and “thought-for-thought” so it is quite readable while still maintaining a close connection to the original.

      Learning Greek would always be good. I am totally forgetting all that I learned last year. I reall hope to keep up with it although it is difficult when I am tryin to learn Hebrew and have all my other classes! I am good at excuses, eh?

    5. JillW
      October 20th, 2005 at 08:07 | #5

      I think I have almost as many, haven’t counted them. I love my NIV study Bible because I have a lot of favorite passages marked, but I also really like my newer Message/NIV parallel Bible that some relative (:>)) gave me last Christmas.

    6. October 20th, 2005 at 11:20 | #6

      Yeah, the same is true with my NIV and NASB study Bibles, so great to have those! I like the idea of the Message/NIV parallel Bible, I think it gives a really good mix. Good selection indeed! :)

    7. Moose
      November 4th, 2005 at 11:30 | #7

      Try the “Refromation Study Bible”. Especially if you think the way I may think that you think.
      Moose Pierce
      VA by way of SC by way of CA

    8. November 4th, 2005 at 12:49 | #8

      Humm,I haven’t heard of that one, but looks like one to check in to! Thanks!

    9. Ehrfurth
      August 3rd, 2006 at 03:41 | #9

      I ran a google search on Bible translations and ran into this blog entry. That’s quite a nice collection of Bible translations!

      NASB is one of my preferred Bible translations as well.

      But how much of the Recovery Version have you actually read? I received a free RcV in Fall 2004 and have read the entire thing almost twice. The translation itself is very close to the NASB and the footnotes are often excellent, pointing to Christ and written from a unique devotional perpective of living the Christian life and enjoying Christ.

      Footnote to Hebrews 12:2:

      Footnote to 1 Peter 1:5:

      Footnote to Romans 16:1

      Also, have you checked out the NET Bible at all since writing this entry?

    10. August 3rd, 2006 at 12:46 | #10

      I haven’t actually read much of the Recovery Version, but what I have read, as you suggest, seems to be a pretty decent translation. What I don’t like at all and what makes me mock this version is the commentary. The footnotes are not footnotes in the sense that the NIV or NAS study Bibles use footnotes. Their footnotes generally try to provide historical context or nuances of the translation. The footnotes in the Recovery Version are commentary. Not only that, but it is commentary written by one person. Commentary should never be placed along side the Bible like that. There are pages where the commentary is 90% of the page. Aside from all that, personally I don’t think the commentary is written very well. It seems to be a lot of fluff and not extremely well written. If Witness Lee wants to have a commentary, that is fine, but leave it out of the Bible. That would be my take on the Recovery Version.

      I am not familiar with the NET. Their website doesn’t seem to mention the use of the NA27, which I would like to see. But overall it appears they have a pretty extensive list of translators and their use of notes to provide insight into why translations were made is a good thing. In the brief look I have had at the translation itself I find it a little too modern for my taste. I think that modern translations can stick to the Greek a bit better, but I suppose if they are looking for a newer NIV type translation, it seemed pretty good.

    11. Steve Herr
      April 17th, 2008 at 15:19 | #11

      Nice selection. Hey, I know you’re ok, because you “prefer” the NASB. I am currently on the home stretch on a small pamphlet I’m writing about the Bible, and found your page while doing a search under “Bibles” for a graphic to put on the cover. Would you mind if I included your comments about the various versions?

      Keep the Faith, Brother.


    12. March 5th, 2009 at 16:40 | #12

      Please, can you PM me and tell me few more thinks about this, I am really fan of your blog…

    1. April 4th, 2007 at 17:32 | #1
    2. February 13th, 2008 at 19:16 | #2
    3. October 19th, 2005 at 13:05 | #3
    4. October 19th, 2005 at 14:28 | #4
    5. October 19th, 2005 at 18:46 | #5
    6. August 23rd, 2009 at 19:29 | #6

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