I hope you have found this series about Bible translations helpful. It is not my intention to tell Christians what Bible versions they should or should not use. What I do want to do is help brothers and sisters in Christ determine for themselves which translation or translations of the Bible will be best for them to use in reading and study of God’s Word.
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
Our Guiding Principles
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3
“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:3-4
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
“… above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:16-17
- Christians should live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God
- The Word of God is living and powerful
- The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow
- The Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart
- The Word of God is the Gospel of our salvation
- The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit
These are our guiding principles when we decide which Bible translation to trust. Its importance is of the highest value we can imagine. There is nothing more important than getting this right. We cannot mess this up; there’s too much at stake.
Selecting the best Bible translation means knowing who translated it and how they did it.
- What Hebrew and Greek texts did translators use? Are those texts the best for the translation task? Are there any reasons to doubt the texts are accurate?
- Were the translators qualified to translate from Hebrew and Greek? Did they handle the translation in a professional and accurate manner? Are there any reasons to doubt the translators?
- Was there any bias toward a particular view of Scripture that would have led translators to change words and meaning in the Bible for the purpose of leading people away from the truth of God’s Word? Was that bias toward a liberal view of Scripture one that would deny essential truths of Christianity?
Because of the importance of deciding the best translation for ourselves, for our family, for our small group, for our church – we need to get good answers to these questions. Selecting a Bible translation is too important not to do that.
We have seen during this series some of the differences among English translations of the Bible. Remember that some translations are word-for-word (Formal Equivalence) and some are thought-for-thought (Dynamic Equivalence).
English-speaking Christians have many, many translations available to them. So, how do we choose which one(s) to use? It depends on how you’re going to use the translation. Is it for personal reading? To take to church to follow along with your pastor? Is it for personal Bible study? Group Bible study?
You may want to consider using a word-for-word translation as your primary Bible. While some Christians will use only the King James Version, the New King James Version and English Standard Version are examples you may want to consider as well.
You may also want to use a thought-for-thought translation during Bible study to see how translators express the meaning for each verse. The New International Version and Holman Christian Standard Bible are examples you may want to consider. You can compare how a thought-for-thought version compares to your primary word-for-word version.
If you are interested in using original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek) in your Bible study, you will find many books and online references available. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for original language reference recommendations.
We don’t recommend the use of paraphrases.
You can read the entire series about Bible Translations by clicking here for a free download.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved..