Which Bible do you trust?

A few days ago on E2R’s Facebook page, I posed the following question: “What translation of the Bible do you reach for first?” There are plenty of great Bible versions out there but I wanted to know, which Bible do you prefer?

I had a reason for asking this question which I will get to in a minute, but I thought you might be interested to learn the results of my little survey. Sixty people commented (thanks!) indicating their preferences for the following translations:

AMP: 11
CEV: 1
ESV: 3
GNB: 1
KJV: 10
Mirror: 6
MSG: 15
NASB: 10
NIV: 13
NKJV: 12
TLB: 1
YLT: 1

(Note: The numbers add up to more than 60 because some of the respondents couldn’t pick just one translation.)

What do these numbers mean? They tell us that E2R readers draw from a variety of translations and that a fair proportion of you are fans of Eugene Petersen’s Message Bible. I certainly am. After that it’s a five horse race between the NIV (13 votes), the NKJV (12), the Amplified (11), the NASB (10) and the KJV (10).

But I didn’t ask the question merely to gauge the popularity of different Bible translations. I had a far better reason for surveying your preferences.

For the past few months I have been writing a book about the gospel. I am really excited about it and I will tell you more about it in a later post. I have reached the stage in my writing where I need to settle on a preferred Bible translation. I do quote from a variety of translations in my book but I need to settle on one translation for my bread and butter quotes. But which one? They all have their pros and cons so which translation should I choose?

“Well, Paul, why didn’t you just go with your own preferred choice?” Well, I wanted to but, to be honest, I was a bit embarrassed about my own choice. You see, I have been reading the NIV for the past 20 years.

Straight away I can hear some of you groaning. Really?! The NIV? Are you serious? I know, it’s a flawed translation as I have pointed out elsewhere. But you know what? They are all flawed translations and better the flaws you know than the flaws you don’t.

Warning: What follows is Paul’s biased opinion

The NIV Bible that sits on my desk is dog-eared and highlighted on every page. I know it like the back of my hand. I like it because it’s familiar and the language is simple. (When I was preaching in Hong Kong I found it to be eminently suited for non-native English speakers.) If the NIV was a car it would be the car you use for picking up the kids from school or grocery shopping. Sure, you wouldn’t take it on a date or to a hot-rod show – it’s not that kind of car. It lacks the raw grunt of the King Jimmy and the gorgeous styling of the Message. But for everyday use it works. It gets the job done.

And I should know because I have driven a few Bibles in my times.

– My first real Bible was the KJV. As a kid I read it from cover to cover and it remains a close second choice for me. I love it.

– I have many friends who prefer the NKJV and I have tried – believe me, I have tried – to get on board there. But I find the NKJV neither captures the richness of the KJV nor the plain-speakingness of the NIV. It tries to do two things and succeeds at neither. (Forgive me, NKJV fans!)

– I have not read the NASB but I have read the ASV Bible from cover to cover. I guess they are similar. I mean they both have the word “American” in the title, right? Seriously, one day I plan to give the NASB a closer look.

– I am a big, huge, enthusiastic fan of the synonym-riddled Amplified Bible. It is a great, magnificent, and stately book. However, I find it weakened by some real translation howlers. I’ll gladly, happily [with joy bordering on delight] reach for the Amplified second but never first.

– Young’s keeps it real. I almost never quote a scripture from any translation unless I have first read it in the YLT.

– I happily graze in the chatty fields of the CEV, the GNB, and the NLT (or TLB). But I rarely go to these translations first.

To help me make my choice I also surveyed the preferred Bible translations of other grace preachers. As evidenced by the choices made in their writings, I can tell you that Andrew Wommack and those trained by him tend to be died-in-the-wool KJV readers. Joseph Prince prefers the NKJV, as does John Sheasby, Malcolm Smith, Paul White and my good friend Cornel Marais. Andrew Farley likes the NIV as does Ralph Harris, Jerry Bridges, Wayne Jacobsen, and Rob Rufus. While they were alive Bill Gillham preferred the NASB and Ian Thomas liked the Amplified.

So whatever your choice, you’re in good company.

As I said, I was a bit embarrassed about my own choice. Believe me, nobody knows the NIV’s faults like I do. But I think I will stick with it, at least for now. It is the translation with which I am most comfortable. Plus, I am encouraged that at least thirteen of you will agree with me.

As for those of you who prefer other versions, well you still have a few weeks to convince me of why your choice is better. Feel free to do so!

59 Comments on Which Bible do you trust?

  1. This morning I woke to find several comments waiting to be approved. Most of them you see below. (Thanks for taking the time everyone!) However, a couple went straight to the trash can. So let me just spell out some rules of engagement. Any comment that refers to a particular translation as a Satanic Bible or otherwise attempts to throw stones will not be published. Also, keep in mind that whatever Bible you happen to prefer is also filled with translation inaccuracies. Unless you’re reading in the Hebrew or Greek you are exposing yourself to error and heresy! So calm down, take a breath, and then tell us why you like your preferred choice in spite of its faults.

    I now realize that my last line in the post above invited people to fault-find. Oops. My bad. I’ve changed it. Don’t think of this as a fault-finding witch-hunt but a group of like-minded people discussing the relative merits of their favorite choices. I look forward to hearing from you!

  2. Paul, I don’t do Facebook so was unable to comment there. For me it is the KJV closely followed by the Message; not being nasty here but would not touch the NIV with a barge pole! As I am sure you know, it is riddled with mis-translations and missing verses. Mind you it is always good to have a Strongs Concordance alongside even the KJV!

    I always think of the men who studied together and debated when they created the KJV – an epic and divinely inspired work! But, as you have indicated, each to their own as long as you are aware of the limitations of each translation.

    • Doesn’t matter what translation you use MrDave, being a toffee you’ll get a special place in heaven. 🙂

    • Verses were not left out of the NIV. Verses were ADDED to the KJV. THe manuscripts used for the NIV are much much older than the manuscripts used for the KJV. Also there are plenty of poor translations in the KJV .

  3. Hi Paul, that’s an interesting post 🙂 I use The Message and have done since I first discovered it existed, When I first got saved I read the Good News Bible. I read it through over and over because it was easy, and I had the large hard cover one with wonderful pictures that made it come alive. It was accessible and a quick read. Then I was introduced to the NKJ which I still have and although I love it I didn’t find its faithful reproduction of the ideas implied by the text was clear enough for me. I have to say here that I had tried unsuccessfully to read the KJ from being at school and although English scholars marvel at its poetry and prose it didn’t do what it said on the tin for me. Then I found The Message and have never put it down. I want my bible served up hot and tasty with quick access to its nutrients! I find my religious friend of whom I have previously spoken, despises my Message, and has now bought himself the largest KJ I have ever seen with a beautiful leather case and he is not afraid to use it. That’s one reason why I never use bible verse quotes to another person when making a point. I have found it doesn’t really matter what the bible says when someone knows their bible! Can’t wait for your new book. That’s one of the ways I share the gospel nowadays, by giving friends a good book that we can talk about.

  4. The Holman Christian Standard Bible is a good translation worth checking out.

  5. ESV is very popular here in Illinois, maybe because Crossway is located here. NASB for me all the way, 20+ years. No mention of the NEW TNIV. I would be very interested to see opinions about that from you and others. Not a fan personally. All the best with the new book!

  6. I favor the Amplified. Of course I am biased since the Major was a long time friend (no better book than If I Perish I Perish-btw: if you want the book and dont want to pay $65 at ebay or amazon; go to Touchbearers.Org founded by Thomas 60 years. There it was $6 last year out of their Colorado location; where The Major lived for years before his death. It probably is doubled. Also by all means get the cds or tapes of The Book of Ruth. Remember the First Mention rule? Where this is where the Repetition Rule really brings the understanding of the book. Not a mere love story or shadow of Jesus; but it is the Fall of Man and why and the results and what happens when they hear what has happened in their home town of Bethlehem.
    I got The Message for my wife who wanted a modern version; she did not like it. I do. I read it for my grandchildren and the kids on my block or out, but I study in the AMP and the Hebrew, since Jesus spoke Hebrew and there is a Hebrew translation by a very famous Israeli Rabbi who accepted the call of Jesus. So Prince visits him regularly and uses his translation as do almost all missionaries in Israel.

  7. Paul I asked my pastor a long time back which translation was best and he replied, “The one you read”…

  8. Kathleen Andreae // July 17, 2012 at 10:51 am // Reply

    Hi Paul,
    I agree with your choice of NIV. I like the fact that it is a more “word to word” translation and not a “dynamic equivalent” translation which the Message is. That means it is easier for me to go to the Greek or Hebrew and find out how a word was translated and why… {Having said that, I really love to go to the Message and others like it, almost as a commentary.}
    I too grew up with the KJV and love it, but it has heaps of flaws as well; and the language is no longer accessible to most people, especially to people for whom English is a second language.
    I really like NASB but I live in New Zealand and find that some Christians who live overseas take exception to a Bible labelled “American”. So, just to avoid controversy, I would not choose it.
    The Amplified is great but too wordy when I want to quote a long passage and am not doing a word study. [But really great if you are doing a word study and don’t have time to go to the original languages.]
    I think I prefer the NIV over the NKJV because it is translated from the most extensive set of original manuscripts (manuscripts not discovered when the KJV was translated). But I do often compare the NIV with the NKJV. I do find that it is good to read in many different versions.
    But, in summary, I would choose NIV because it is clear, straightforward modern English and it is translated in a way that makes it easy to compare its translation it to the original languages.

    • The NIV is a dynamic equivalent translation and a word for word all in one. It is a balance between the two. But it is nowhere near as literal as the KJV, the NASB, or the NKJV.

  9. Hi Paul, just wanted to add my two cents. The translation I use the most is probably the NASB, and it is very similar to the NKJV. Of the more literal side of translations, it is usually easy to follow. It’s not perfect either of course. I too like the NIV for the reasons you express but am also leary for the reasons you’ve mentioned previously and others I’ve heard with issues against it also. I like the Amplified for how it helps more with understanding meaning. The Message is good for reasons you’ve already mentioned, but I tend to be a little leary of translations that have a single translator rather than a team.

    Sidenote: I met Ian Thomas when I was a kid. His son Peter Thomas played the role of “Christian” in the movie adaptation of Pilgrim’s Progress, and that was how I got saved.

  10. John Nankervis // July 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul Since being born again near on 30 years ago I have used the NIV and in the last 2 years have switched to the TNIV. Like you I an aware of the NIV’s shortfalls, especially in the translation of “sarx” for example which apparently has at long last been fixed in the 2011 version. I find the language easy to understand and this certainly helps when sharing the Word with others. I also think it is important to use a translation which can be memorized and this is where the free translations become difficult if used as a first choice. Gordon Fee and Douglas Stewart in their book “How to Read the Bible for all its Worth” have a chapter on selecting a translation that looks at all the criteria that translators are faced with. Their conclusion is the TNIV/NIV in consultation with at least one from the following three categories: NRSV/NASU; GNB/NAB; REB/NJB Maybe I am a little biased but I consider Gordon Fee to the best “pentecostal” theologian having all his commentaries.

  11. Hi Paul, I thought my blog gave a great picture of the Gospel of Grace, but I will have to differ to yours and I am glad that I am not alone. Can I ask(if you have time), why not the NRSV, GNT, or the CEB? If I may say, I have put a ridiculous amount of time looking at different versions to see my favorite and came up with this three. Well, just wanted to throw those out there also. An abundance of grace and peace to you and yours.

  12. i use pc study bible and i arranged it in this order kjv, ylt, amp,message then the other translation follows.

    • Rick Shafer // July 18, 2012 at 9:35 am // Reply

      Now that sounds so cool. Is it software that takes all versions and then combines to a different translation? EX: LORD=the Name of God YHWH; Lord=Jesus.
      Where can I get it?

  13. Una in Ontario // July 18, 2012 at 3:54 am // Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for sharing your journey into the depths of God’s grace with the world via E2R. I only discovered your blog about a year ago and have also been blessed by your daily Grace Quotes since then; having shared both with my husband and children and our friends here in Canada. We look forward to hearing more about your book.

    Okay, so here’s where I decide to finally chime into the conversation and share my own Bible translation journey.
    I’ve just discovered the ESV and find it reasonably accurate, easy to read and lyrical. Google ESV + Crossway for more details (they give tonnes). I also grew up with the KJV, then NIV- but always found the NIV somewhat lacking punch (literary strength), routinely referencing the AMP, and then for many years settled in with the NASB (for accuracy) before venturing out with the NLT- which seemed best to read whole books more easily as stories (e.g.: Gen. or 1 Sam.) but alas was not close enough to the original to keep me there as my “go to” study Bible. The MSG is most useful for me as a mixer, to shake things up (despite it’s general popularity, as I see it received a whopping fifteen votes). So it was in my recent search for a closer-to-the-original, but still easy-to-read translation that I happened upon the ESV. But even more recently I have learned of a new version (recommended by Steve McVey, If I remember correctly) called the “mirror” translation which I quite liked, very gospel-centric (I see that it received six votes in the poll). It, however, is not yet complete and is only available online. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on that one.

    May we be blessed by the Word of God when we read the Bible in whatever translation we use with faith!

    Grace and Peace,

  14. Have you heard about the Mirror Bible by Francois Du Toit? It’s a paraphrase translation from the original text. There’s only a handful of New Testament books in it but I am really enjoying it!!

    • Yes. I have quoted it on GraceQuotes.com. However, it was clearly written through a Trinitarian lens, meaning, it pushes historical reconciliation. Quite apart from whether you agree with historical reconciliation or not (and I don’t), I find the slant compromises certain translated scriptures. Check out my Study Notes if you want to see an example.

      • Paul,
        I just found your site and am glad I did as I am concerned about this new Mirror bible. Isn’t the man who wrote it a Universalist/Unitarian???

  15. Just found your website – love it! My research revealed that the NASB is the most literal translation and that has become my first choice. But, like most bible students, I use many different translation when studying. My bible software has 20 or so different translations. As you said, they all have some flaws. I like to do word studies to keep the translations “honest”. But my question to you is – why choose just one? Let the Spirit reveal the truth to you in every situation.

    • Hi Rick, thanks for your comment. I regularly read from many translations and quote from several in the book (including most of those listed above). But as I don’t want to be putting KJV or NASB or MESSAGE after every single citation, it helps to have a simplifying note in the front bits that says, “Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures are from the — translation.” It’s the — translation that I’m trying to settle on.

      • Rick Shafer // July 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm //

        You know Paul, I have just reread this. What you are looking for is what every historical writer craves–an easy way to annotate. Why not simply state in your Forward that verses quoted have come from these translations, which I trust you will verify. Remember, always interpret Bible with Bible. But to help, I have used the follow “code” KJV=K, NKJV=NJ Amplified=AMP Revised Standard=R NIV=N. If not that, just make the quote with * and at the end of the book for each page with * the Version is listed. Book editors do that you know.

      • Thanks Rick. I have pretty much settled on six translations led by the NIV. The other five will be indicated KJV, AMP, YLT, GNB, etc. and will be indicated as such. However, the permission requirements for quoting the Message insist you write “the Message” every time. (I would prefer “MSG” but those are the rules.) See also my new comment below (#21).

  16. Beau Garrett // July 20, 2012 at 2:23 am // Reply

    Hey Paul. First off, want to let you know this blog has been a huge blessing, every time I read through the material it brings me rest and clarity. Recently I led a small group at our church on grace and developed a thirty day devotional series designed to give people daily bite-sized chunks of grace truths. During this process I bounced around from NKJV, to NIV, and finally landed at the ESV. I found it to have the simplicity of the NIV, without as many of the errors. The way I do my bible hunting is perhaps a bit narrow minded, but I focus on a handful of key verses and flip straight to those to see how they are communicated in the translation. If the verse is accurate, concise and easy to understand it gets a positive mark, if not then negative. Based on my small amount of research ESV had more positive marks than any other.

    Look forward to your book. Thanks again for the blog!


  17. Paul, have you read the Wuest? It’s my new favourite!

  18. Hello Paul

    Love the blog, found it after googling Andrew Wommack’s name.

    I like the KJV. Carnal reason: it helped me come top of my year when studying my degree.

    Practical reason: I am KJVJSB cos it just sounds better. Message ok but long-winded. NIV is like nails on a blackboard, the English is so ugly it put the UGH in ugly!!

    Life reason: I became a Christian when I was 18 years old. I started off with the NKJV and alternated it with the KJV. I will be 47 tomorrow. (Happy Birthday to me!) If I live to be 80, I’ve got to read the Bible for another 33 years. I want a Bible that can accompany me through all the ages and stages of my life. I can’t be reading some streetslang thing when I’m 80! I need a Bible that a young lady or an old lady will be able to read.

    PS Bible memory easier in KJV and NKJV

    PPS The Spirit-Filled Bible, which most pentecostal believers have, utilises the NKJV. If you write your book with that version, people could follow along.

  19. Hey brother grace and peace. I like the NLT… I hope this helps I got it from the NLT web site.

  20. Roshan Easo // July 29, 2012 at 11:12 am // Reply

    Paul, I’ve heard of the Cotton-Patch Version and another called the Bible for the Deaf! Haha! Thanks for your very first comment all the way above – that really frees us up quite a bit! Good to know some of the Bible is riddled with heresies! Haha! You mean the Good News can be better than what I read? Here’s an oddball comment – maybe people just need to get away from the Bible all together for a bit. A Bible fast, since life is worth the living because He lives. I will confess, unconditional acceptance changes Bible reading from a project to a marriage – lovely and scandalously easy.

    P.S. I’ve completed a Bible concordance from cover to cover, but not the Bible. I will say, I am AMAZED by the seemingly limitless nuances of sin and good news found in the Scriptures. Honestly, having read the Bible since I was in elementary, until then – I had NO idea! To read that Concordance, I had to push past my bias that the Concordance was legalistic. You never CAN judge a book by it’s cover. I guess the same can be said of GRACE!

    • Rick Shafer // July 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm // Reply

      While I really cannot clearly understand your reply, you did mention a Concordance. Reading the Bible is reading the voice of God; soaking in His Grace and truest love; letting Jesus be your rest, your healing, your circumstances. It is the way the Holy Spirit uses all the promises, all the love, all the freedom, all what Calvary means, how the OT connects and completes in the NT; how the blood line is dots found from Genesis 1.1 through Revelation to seek out, recognize and then connect. You will see Jesus everywhere in everything in the OT. Vs 1 the first word we translate, In the beginning put it into Hebrew (ancient not modern) and it reads God, the Son, the Spirit moved….
      God SPOKE and all was made; but what did God say? In it clearly defined in John I AM the Way, I AM the Truth, I AM the Life. I AM the GREAT I AM.
      So I usually start with my AMP Bible if I want to study (I will have Strong’s every word, adjective, adverb, verb listed in English, Hebrew and Greek along with translations)
      When I need rest or lifting up, I read John–all of his books (yes The Black Horse is Riding). I might use the Message or NISB (not a favorite) just to see another “dot” to note. I am now learning Hebrew all over again (45 years ago in college) simply because I have learned that so many Hebrew words have messages within themselves if you just notice completely such as, taking the first 2 letters and the word means something else, take away another and something else appears! For those of you who have commented here on Joseph Prince; have you ever noticed that 90% or more of each teaching starts in the OT? And it always points to Jesus. Jesus IS the WORD, the WAY, and the LIFE and I cannot get enough; I hunger more each day. It is LIFE to me.

  21. Guys, I thought you might like an update on my preferred Bible translation. In my forthcoming book I will be quoting from six translations to ensure that I really bring out the color of the original text. But for everyday quotes it came down to a choice between the ESV and the NIV.

    To help me make this choice I cut and pasted all the scriptures that I actually quote and compared them side by side. This comparison was based purely on personal preference and my desire to make the book accessible to non-native English speakers.

    To my surprise, I found that for the specific verses going in my book, the NIV says it better more often than the ESV. Consider the following examples:

    – John 5:42: The NIV says “You do not have the love of God in your hearts” while the ESV says “you do not have the love of God within you.”
    – Luke 24:47: The NIV probably translates it wrong by having Jesus say “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in my name” but that sounds better and more personal than having him say, as the ESV does, “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name.”
    – Act 5:31: God exalted Jesus “as Prince” (NIV) vs “as Leader” (ESV).
    – Matthew 6:15: If you do not forgive “their sins” (NIV) vs “their trespasses” (ESV).
    – Romans 1:16: “Jew and Gentile” (NIV) vs “Jew and Greek” (ESV)

    You could argue that these are minor points but having preached with interpreters I know the importance of keeping things simple. Sins is better than trespasses. Having Jesus speak in first person is clearer than having Him speak in the third person. And while it’s obvious that we non-Jews are Gentiles, it can be confusing to say we’re Greek.

    Of course I reserve the right to change my mind in later books!

  22. I was sort of surprised to see so many choose the Message. From what I have read that version does not rank so high. But like anything else you’re reading someone else’s opinions. I grew up with a KJV. Later purchased a NIV. Lately I’ve turned to the NASB and even the MKJV. I think the NASB is looked at as one of the most literal translations but again that’s an opinion. In some of my research I discovered more about the Masoretic Text which the KJV Old Testament is based on. The MT, at least as seen by some, might be a questionable text to use. But it is what it is.
    What I am waiting to see more of is the Septuagent(LXX).

    Unfortunately, in English anyway, it is better to compare to several translations as some scriptures are improperly translated.

    • Rick Shafer // August 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm // Reply

      I can understand wanting “the most reliable Greek or Hebrew translation ever done by man”; therein lies the problem….”by man”. Jesus did not speak Greek so do we have a Hebrew NT translation or has somebody found an Aramaic translation? Everybody looks for Greek or Hebrew! What I do not understand is the impression within the comments of “worry” that “I don’t have the finest or best or whatever”. It is as if Man is looking for the best Man translation of God’s Word as thought by Man. Now granted, The Father nor The Spirit has given us a “translation” upon which “we are going to stake eternity”. Did Paul? Poor Peter! Oh dear my friend John. None had KJV or AMP or even The Message. Bible interprets Bible period. Choose ANY translation. come to a sentence, comment, etc that you have trouble with? See what other translations say or if you can, find the original Aramaic or the Greek letters written by Paul, Peter, John, Matthew (oh wait that probably was Hebrew since the message is clearly to the Hebrews) or Mark (well he was the follower of Peter and spoke Greek because poor Peter uneducated spoke Hebrew and/or Aramaic. Why be so concerned? Rejoice in so many clearly acceptable through the centuries of so many versions that can be compared; and then all you have to do is simply ask The Spirit Who is in you for the very purpose of edification, comfort, assurance. Then just sit back and read and just fall into the words and Arms of Jesus.

  23. Paul, this is such a wonderful post…so refreshing. I’m sick to death of the nastiness and the ‘heretic’ label that’s tossed around simply due to someone’s preference in translation. Personally, I’m a KJV gal, and always have been. I do not consider it to be a perfect error-free translation, or a divinely-inspired one, as many folk claim – I’m a student of Hebrew and Greek, so I’m fully aware of the areas in which it falls short, including the history of the translation (including the translators’ intent for the work). But it is a beautiful and ‘deep’ translation. That’s what gets me. But I also consult other translations freely when I’m trying to nut-out an issue – I love the Amplified, the NASB, ESV and YLT…and have often consulted The Message and others, too. None of them are ‘perfect’, and not everyone can read Hebrew and Greek, and there are some words etc in the original languages that just don’t translate easily…so I love that we have more than one English translation, more chance of finding the Truth through investigation of multiples 😀

  24. What about the NRSV? Doesn’t get a mention in the list. Why??

  25. Because I was wondering about this. It gives good talk about the correct bible translation. Bill Schnoebelen and Jesus-is-savior.com both said to use only the original 1611 KJV I trusted them so that’s what I got. It has an old English feel, and I have to read and really think about what I am reading to get an understanding and sometimes I don’t even understand what the words are saying. So I am glad there were other translations so I can look up and compare to get an understanding. But because they said this was the first, it’s the best of the English speaking ones. And I agree, that even his KJV is not the true word of god, exactly, because it was translated from Hebrew to Greek to English. I would need to read the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek new Testament to get the word of god exactly, and also read the original writings of the books. Or maybe not, maybe God “breathed” into every person who wrote every translation, I don’t know. If that’s the case then reading the Bible should bring you to your knees, but if you don’t get that feeling then it most likely isn’t the case.

  26. The word of God in any translation to me is just a book without the power of the Holy Spirit to bring revelation. My favorite translation has been the Amplified because of the richness and depth of the enhanced meaning fed me well during difficult times in my life. However, most importantly, knowing the heart of the Father, that He is good all the time, loves us and never condemns is the best way I have of identifying scripture that may not be accurately translated…if a verse contradicts my loving Daddy’s heart for me and doesn’t reflect the good news of the gospel it is time to look more deeply to see if there may be some error or misunderstanding there. The more I get immersed in His love and grace the more Holy Spirit reveals the scriptures as a love letter and not a rule book!! So, whichever translation(s) speaks to you it is fine as long as you wear your filter of super-abounding grace! BTW, thanks so much for deepening our understanding of the good news of the gospel and helping us all with some of those troublesome verses.

  27. Love the question. Did not see the Facebook post but here are my 2 bits.

    I was an NIV user for years with my infamous “big blue bible. ” I left it in Canada and at least 4 states I was visiting and it always came back. It had a boomerang blessing on it. Last January my world was rocked and my 30+ years of personal theology was challenged. I spent some serious time digging into the word but have changed my methods. I no longer have a primary version. I have found http://www.biblehub.com to be an amazing resource. I love the multiple versions all on one page. I love the section where you get the verses beforeand after to take context into your thinking. It also gives you other topical references.

    I have also found the Mirror Translation which has given a different vernacular or paradigm changer. Francois du Toit has a way with words to make you think. He also has great commentary that is backed up we with Hebrew and Greek definitions plus.

    I find myself using;

    Cotton Patch

    Personally I feel in your writing use many versions. Change it up. Sometimes the nuances of one version over another can bring out something that by sticking to a single version you would lose.

  28. Years ago when I was in junior high school in Central Illinois, we were able to vote for the translation that we preferred to use for our Bible quizzing program at church. We were sssoooo excited that we could help choose a “new” modern language bible translation instead of the KJV and we picked the new NIV version. I’ve been using it since 1976 and have found it hard to pull away from it being my translation of choice. Occasionally, I really enjoy reading The Message and will check out the ESV or NLT as well. This year, I have decided to read The Story (2011 NIV Update) cover to cover. Call me crazy, but I appreciate being able to read a bible that I can actually understand.

  29. Susan Peterson // March 30, 2014 at 11:30 am // Reply

    Hi Paul, I love the NIV Bible and have had the Lord speak to me personally thru it for 30 some years. Mine too is all colored up. It has been very special to me. But I believe the time has come, for me anyway, to move into study with something much more reliable. Seeing and hearing too many disturbing things about my beloved NIV!!! I will miss using it.

  30. Jane Lockwood // April 27, 2014 at 3:27 am // Reply

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you so much for your helpful notes. What do you think of the New Century Version?

  31. l only just arrived at this thread to find my favourite is not represented. My favourite is the RSV.
    I was given a copy for my 15th birthday and it is still by my bed. It is thumbed and marked and like an old friend.

    I rarely quote without checking in an interliner and when left wondering what a verse could really mean it is the word by word translation of Strong (et al) and the interliner I choose. But for daily reading it is the RSV.

  32. Grace greetings Paul. I have read your post and wish to add my voice.
    I grew up in the KJV. When I read other versions without going back to the KJV, it always sounds like soup without salt. But I also enjoy the AMPLIFIED. It add more meaning to it.

    I think adding the KJV and the AMP makes my bible reading enjoyable.
    Thank you

  33. Billy Graham is still alive!….

  34. Josefina Barr // June 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm // Reply

    Just like you Paul, I’ve read several translation from cover to cover but prefer NIV because it speaks plain English. Everytime I read from another translation (NKJV) I have to reach for my NIV to better understand what it is trying to say….

  35. Ronald Delavega // February 25, 2017 at 5:59 pm // Reply

    Guys I think that besides style and like ability the translation has to be true as possible to the meaning of the original, and I mean the 1st century meaning For that reason, I always ‘test’ Bible translations using interlinears, exhaustive concordance of the Greek text, bible dictionaries and commentaries of the Greek text. I am disappointed with most versions the reason? They ignore the personal pronouns that both the Greek and the Hebrew use both for emphasis and too differentiate a word and to emphasize when a word is used as an agent of the one being emphasized. I know, sounds like a lot work but I rather have a good idea of what is the real meaning of the text

  36. Hello, new here! What about the Greek Interlinear? My husband swears by this one and has a copy from something like the 1970s. I tend to reject it as we go in circles, failing in our attempts of studying together. Mainly because He and his church fellowship believe in the Grace-Sovereignty of God (whatever will be will be, we are basically robots, Gods will) doctrine, which i am NOT a fan or believer of. I am new to Gods grace, but i cannot believe what his church teaches is true. Thank you and bless you for this site!

  37. Jerry Weinhausen // February 19, 2018 at 6:47 pm // Reply

    We all benefit from reading across a spectrum of translations but we all need to have a default translation to work from. I’ve become a huge fan of the Christian Standard Bible. It falls somewhere between the ESV and NIV on the translation spectrum. It reads so smoothly with up-to-date language, you might think you’re reading from a paraphrase. I find it highly accurate and therefore a trustworthy translation.

    My go-to translations for comparison: KNJV, NIV, NLT, CJB, & TLV.

  38. Hi Paul

    Which version speaks of the faith OF the Son of God rather than faith IN the Son of God. HUGE difference in meaning

    The same applies to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ as opposed to take every thought captive to obey Christ. Once again, a HUGE difference.

    Just saying

  39. Lodi Kuijvenhoven // March 11, 2019 at 11:54 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul, totally agree on using different trsl, I love NIV, AMP en KJV as well. Recently bumped into comments from …would love to hear your comments.

    • The KJV is an esteemed and highly regarded English translation. It’s also archaic and a product of its age. Those who revere it as the best English translation would do well to read The People’s Bible by Derek Wilson and learn the story of how it came about. (Short version: there was definitely an agenda, just as there is with most translations.) I maintain that there is no one best translation. While the KJV does some things better than other popular translations, it also does some things worse. Some of its language is sublime; some is so out of date it has become nonsensical (unicorns anyone?). The good news is Jesus does not require us to swear allegiance to any particular translation.

  40. Young’s Literal Translation for sure. But what about Concordant Literal Version?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.