Thursday, August 30, 2012

Which Bible???

I received a message asking which English bible he should choose as there are so many to choose from and it was confusing. I have answered this question before but it is worth repeating.

Unless you are competent in reading Hebrew and Greek you need to choose a good study bible in your native language. Choosing one is not as easy as it sounds. We need to realize that EVERY translation is the translators’ opinion of the meaning. You just have to look at the variety of English translations to know the truth of that statement. So how do we know which translation will be best for us to use?

First is it a direct translation from the Hebrew and Greek? Some bibles are translations from translations in other languages or versions of the same language.  There are also paraphrase versions like “The Living Bible” that are meant for easy reading not study.

Second is it a translation by a committee or by one person. A single translator can not help but provide you with that person’s opinion. Translations done by committees have the added values of all their opinions being discussed and consensus being reached. It is still opinion but the chances of the opinion being a better choice is greater.

Third is what year was the translation completed? This is more important than you might think. What year was YOUR language skills set? For High School graduates it is the year of your graduation. For University graduates you choose that year of graduation. Then choose a translation done close to that year for the language YOU best understand.

NOTE about margin notes: There is a difference in what is in the “text” of the bible and what is written in the margins. Information in margins and footnotes are OPINIONS! That doesn’t mean they are wrong but they could be so check them out. We all have opinions and I believe mine are correct or I would not hold them. 

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