The translation is secondary to its use
The Rev. Robert Leiste, pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2700 Lawrence Ave.:
There are many translations of the Bible available to us. Most have their strengths and weaknesses. Some try to be very literal like the New American Standard (NASB). Others like The Message try to have the most current language so it is easy to read but may not reflect the meaning of the text accurately or can use short-lived phrases.
Others like the New International Translation (NIV) try to avoid each extreme and come up with the best of both sides but can also end up being neither. And of course, there is the issue of what kinds of help each has such as commentary and references, which is another column.
So which is best? Maybe you need to have a couple of different kinds of translations to meet the need of growing in the faith. One for reading like the Holman Christian Standard Bible (used in the The Apologetics Study Bible), which I find very readable. A second translation might than be helpful for study purposes like the NASB.
The most important point about what of translation you have is that you really do use it to grow in an understanding of God and his message to and for us.
- Send e-mail to Robert Leiste at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When in doubt, ask God for understanding
Dennis Carnahan, pastor, BridgePointe Community Church, 601 W. 29th St. Terrace:
This question often confuses people. If the Holy Bible is the inspired word of God, why are there so many versions? The history captured in the Old Testament began as oral tradition and was later recorded primarily in Hebrew with some parts Aramaic. The New Testament was recorded in Greek. The original languages are very precise regarding the use of specific words. For instance, we use the word love. The Greek uses either Eros (passionate), Philia (friendship) or Agape (unconditional love). By not having specific words in the English language that are exact matches, the Bible translators used words they felt most appropriate. Unfortunately having so many translations is probably the biggest reason for there being so many different Christian denominations today.
So which version is right for you? I would suggest using the same version as your pastor or the teacher at the church you attend, mostly so you can easily follow along as the scriptures are read. Also, hearing and reading simultaneously increases retention. The Bible is loaded with wisdom, and its truths are extremely comforting. Being able to recall those truths makes your Christian experience even richer!
I use the New International Version Study Bible (NIV) primarily, because of the reference material included within. I found it helpful to assist my understanding as a new believer and I have just grown comfortable with it over time. I now own some 30 different versions so sometimes it is fun to compare the original text with the translators conclusions. The best choice, though, is the one you will read. Try several and treasure God's truth. Ask Him to help you understand it. You'll be amazed at how much pleasure you get applying it to your life!
- Send e-mail to Dennis Carnahan at email@example.com.