What is the best Bible translation?

tonychanyt

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There is no best Bible translation in the absolute sense. There are different translation philosophies:

  1. Word-for-word approach: YLT, NASB, ESV, KJV.
  2. Thought for thought, concept for concept, dynamic equivalent approach: NIV, Revised English Bible, NLT.
  3. Paraphrase approach: The Living Bible, The Message (MSG).
Every translation has its advantages and disadvantages.

The ESV is good for general everyday reading. However, it is best to consult multiple versions for Bible studies.

Which translation is the least biased?

One of the literal translations, like Young's.

Which bible translation should you use?

That depends on the person and his purposes for reading. For beginners and non-native English speakers, Good News Translation is a good one. Choose a version that is helpful for you. See Biblehub for different versions. I enjoy reading all of them. I have no favorite, though I use ESV and NIV every single day :)

What about The Message Bible?

It is a paraphrase. As such, it tends to be verbose and lacks certain precision. It is not a good one to use to support a scholarly discussion.

What about the New World Translation (NWT)?

It is primarily used by Jehovah's Witnesses to support their doctrines. At times, it lacks accuracy and objectivity.

Familiarize yourself with the whole Bible with a daily reading schedule.

Instead of hard copies, I prefer to use Bible apps. Save trees. Save money. Also, I can use the search function to find verses faster.
 
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BobRyan

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NASB, NKJV, NIV, KJV, YLT

I read NASB almost all the time -- but I check YLT, NKJV and KJV if I think that NASB has missed something or gotten something wrong.

NIV is in my list because I have found a few cases where its translation into English is better than all of the above - for example in 1 John 2:2 and the same issue in Rom 3 regarding "propitiation" which NIV correctly renders "Atoning Sacrifice" in harmony with the bible teaching on atonement.

But this is rare for NIV so I don't read it as my main one.
 
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Diamond7

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There is no best Bible translation in the absolute sense.
At the Bible college I went to they believe the KJV is the only translation and all the rest are commentaries. We can still read and study them but they are not the authorized word of God like the KJV. By that I mean Jeremiah 1:12 God is alert and active, watching over My word to perform what He says He is going to do. I have a problem with the word "it" so i will change that.
 
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Mark Quayle

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I grew up on the KJV and memorized a lot from it. I like the NIV because the "translators" seemed to relish going out of their way to present alternate renderings where reasonably possible. Take, for example, in Song of Solomon 8:4, the KJV says, "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please." But the NIV says, "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." (And there are a few other versions that render similarly.) This to me is revealing: because it is in keeping with the principle of not supplying addiction, or not letting one's body's desires or passions control oneself.

I particularly like the "literal" versions, because of accuracy. Remarkably, I find them, generally, more than sufficiently readable.
 
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Diamond7

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I grew up on the KJV and memorized a lot from it. I like the NIV
I often quote the NIV because it is easier for people to understand. When God says He watches over His word to perform what HE said, I think this is the KJV that has His authority. If you want to claim the promises of God, we need the KJV.
 
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RoBo1988

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The one you will understand.
I have read the NIV for nearly 20 years, switching over to the NKJV the last 10. My wife of 8 years came from a KJVO background.

I am about to go through the entire KJV Bible for the first time - I've been through the NIV more than a dozen times, the NKJV 4 times. The KJV is definitely a more difficult version to read, since most of us don't speak Shakespearean English, but it's growing on me. Meanwhile, my wife is beginning to appreciate the NASB translation.
 
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Mark Quayle

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I often quote the NIV because it is easier for people to understand. When God says He watches over His word to perform what HE said, I think this is the KJV that has His authority. If you want to claim the promises of God, we need the KJV.
What should people of other languages use?
 
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Diamond7

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What should people of other languages use?
Everyone should learn the original language and not trust anyone to translate it for them. Although I do rely heavy on Strong's. I do not trust his explanation for anything. I also rely on the Rabbi to teach me the Hebrew. I am happy they are willing the teach the "Gentiles" if people want to learn they will work with them to the best of their ability. Again with the Hebrew you have to be careful they get into some very wierd and unchristian teaching. So we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher and our Guide. We can not put our trust in man.
We have to trust in God. It is HIs word so there should be an authorized translation in every language for everyone. There are people who really devote their ministry to making sure everyone has a copy of the Bible.
 
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Mark Quayle

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Everyone should learn the original language and not trust anyone to translate it for them. Although I do rely heavy on Strong's. I do not trust his explanation for anything. I also rely on the Rabbi to teach me the Hebrew. I am happy they are willing the teach the "Gentiles" if people want to learn they will work with them to the best of their ability. Again with the Hebrew you have to be careful they get into some very wierd and unchristian teaching. So we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher and our Guide. We can not put our trust in man.
We have to trust in God. It is HIs word so there should be an authorized translation in every language for everyone.
So why the insistence on the KJV?
There are people who really devote their ministry to making sure everyone has a copy of the Bible.
Yes, I'm related to some of them.
 
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Diamond7

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So why the insistence on the KJV?
My favorite promise is that God will give us the desires of our heart. For me I think we need to purify our Heart before God. I need to know exactly what I need to do and exactly what God is going to do.

The Bible says that God watches over His word to perform what He said He would do. I think this pertains to the KJV. The other translations are good for a commentary or easier for people to understand but the KJV has the full authority of the Bible. Lets look at Isaiah 41:10. A purely random verse. We are told do not be dismayed. But other translations say do not be anxious, do not be discouraged, do not tremble, do not be intimidated;

The Hebrew word rendered “dismay” in the Bible actually means “to look around in fear”. There are three promises here. God will help, God will strengthen, help and uphold with his righteous right hand.

These are five different words: dismay, anxious, discourage, tremble, intimidate and now I am confused as to what I am to do. Because this is a promise from God. If I do my part, He will do His. If I just use the one word in the KJV that makes it easier for me to know what God wants. WE can look at context, we can look at the law of first mention, we can look at the Hebrew.

Remember the promise is God will strengthen, help and uphold. So we want to be sure to do our part, so He will do HIs part of the promise.

There are over 5,000 promises in the Bible. For me it is very important to know exactly what God wants from me and exactly what He will do if I keep my part of the promise.
 
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Diamond7

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KJVO here.
What about the original language? Do you really trust King James to translate the Bible for you?

I have an ancestor that was a part of that.

John Rogers went on to print the second complete English Bible in 1537. What is unique about the work of Rogers is that this is the first Bible completely translated from the original Greek and Hebrew sources. Since it was printed using the alias name Thomas Matthew, it is commonly called the Matthew's Bible. John Rogers’ commitment to making the Scriptures accessible to the common people left a lasting impact on English Bible translation. His martyrdom stands as a testimony to his unwavering faith.
 
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Mark Quayle

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My favorite promise is that God will give us the desires of our heart. For me I think we need to purify our Heart before God. I need to know exactly what I need to do and exactly what God is going to do.

The Bible says that God watches over His word to perform what He said He would do. I think this pertains to the KJV. The other translations are good for a commentary or easier for people to understand but the KJV has the full authority of the Bible. Lets look at Isaiah 41:10. A purely random verse. We are told do not be dismayed. But other translations say do not be anxious, do not be discouraged, do not tremble, do not be intimidated;

The Hebrew word rendered “dismay” in the Bible actually means “to look around in fear”. There are three promises here. God will help, God will strengthen, help and uphold with his righteous right hand.

These are five different words: dismay, anxious, discourage, tremble, intimidate and now I am confused as to what I am to do. Because this is a promise from God. If I do my part, He will do His. If I just use the one word in the KJV that makes it easier for me to know what God wants. WE can look at context, we can look at the law of first mention, we can look at the Hebrew.

Remember the promise is God will strengthen, help and uphold. So we want to be sure to do our part, so He will do HIs part of the promise.

There are over 5,000 promises in the Bible. For me it is very important to know exactly what God wants from me and exactly what He will do if I keep my part of the promise.
Ok. Opinion.
 
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The one you will understand.
Amen, brother. :) For me, as a young guy born in the very late 20th century, the NIV and ESV are the easiest to understand, while the KJV gets all complicated with the 17th century English.
 
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