Choosing the Right Bible

One of the most important things that we can do in our lives is to study the Bible. While devotionals and other books that are written to aid the Christian in his/her walk with God can be very helpful, there is nothing that replaces that of studying God’s Word on a daily basis. Feeding on God’s Word gives life and strength to our Spirit.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3

Many people find it confusing to differentiate between all the versions of the Bible that are now available. The following is brief description of the common versions of the Bible. Each depiction listed below is based upon the publisher’s descriptions The Bibles are listed in alphabetical order.

The Amplified Bible: A modern English translation which attempts to progress beyond the point where other translations have stopped. Its purpose is to reveal the various shades of meaning per each individual Hebrew and Greek word that may be concealed or lost in the traditional word-for-word translation method. This is a very literal translation.
Text Sample: “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words–who listens to my message–and believes and trusts and clings to and relies on Him who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment–does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation–but he has already passed over out of death into life” (John 5:24).

Contemporary English Version: This contemporary translation is a text that an inexperienced reader can read aloud without stumbling, that someone unfamiliar with traditional biblical terminology can hear without misunderstanding, and that everyone can listen to because its style is lucid and lyrical.
Text Sample: “I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life” (John 5:24).

International Children’s Bible: This is the first translation of the Bible prepared especially for children. It was translated by a team of respected and experienced Bible translators and scholars. This version upholds the accuracy of the original text, but simple language and concepts that are easy for children to grasp.
Text Sample: “I tell you the truth. Whoever hears what I say and believes in the One who sent me has eternal life. He will not be judged guilty. He has already left death and entered into life” (John 5:24).

King James Version: Commissioned by King James I of England in the early 1600′s, the King James Version of the Bible has been the World’s most universally accepted translation for almost four centuries! Crafted in the poetic, literary style of Elizabethan English, the King James Version is one of the most distinctive Bibles available.
Text Sample: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

The Living Bible: This Bible is a modern paraphrase of the Bible, not a translation from the original languages. It is written in extremely easy-to-understand modern English. This Bible is perfect for children (in fact, it was paraphrased for the author’s children) and those who do not speak English as their first language.
Text Sample: “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be dammed for his sins, but has already passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).

Modern Language Bible: This is a modern translation from original Greek and Hebrew text that attempts to employ the English language according to its current choice usage.
Text Sample: “Truly I assure you that he who listens to my message and believes him who sent me has eternal life; he comes under no sentence, but has passed over from death into life” (John 5:24).

New American Standard: Based on the American Standard Version of 1901, this version was released in 1971. It aims for very precise and accurate translation as well as modern English idioms (literal renderings are included in marginal notes). All 58 persons on the translation believe that the words of the original manuscripts of Scripture were given by God.
Text Sample: N/A

New International Version: The NIV has established itself in recent years as the most popular modern English translation of the Bible. This version was released in 1978 after ten years of work by an international, transdenominational team of Bible scholars. Readers have appreciated its modern expression which comes without sacrificing accuracy to the intent and meaning of the original texts.
Text Sample: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

New King James Version: This Bible is very similar to the King James in its content and style; however some of the more antiquated words and spellings of the original King James Version have been updated to modern English, as well as other textual variations and improvements.
Text Sample: “Most assuredly, I say to you , he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

New Revised Standard Version: The NRSV is translated from the original languages and takes account of recent discoveries and scholarship. It is as “literal as possible” in adhering to the ancient texts and only as “free as necessary” to make the meaning clear in graceful, understandable English.
Text Sample: “Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

Young’s Literal Translation: This is a strictly literal and idomatic rendering of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, completed in 1862. It is not translated for poetic cadence, but for absolute faithfulness to the original texts, especially concerning tense of the Hebrew verbs. Scholars of Greek and Hebrew will enjoy this text, as well as any Bible student who wishes to refer to the literal rendering of any particular verse.
Text Sample: “Verily, Verily I say to you–He who is hearing my word, and is believing Him who sent me hath life age-during, and to judgment he doth not come, but hath passed out of the death to the life” (John 5:24).