Introduction

  • There are over 100 English translations of the Bible!

  • God intended for us to read and understand His word.

    • Matthew 24:15 – “let the reader understand”

    • Luke 10:26 – “how does it read”

    • Ephesians 3:4

Translating isn’t as simple as it sounds

  • No translation is inspired or perfect.
    • Example: Exodus 20:14 typo in “The Wicked Bible”, 1631 – “thou shalt commit adultery”
  • Languages change over time.
    • When the King James Version first became available, some criticized it for being too easy to understand!
  • There is usually no word-for-word correspondence.
    • Example: “Como se llama?” in Spanish:

      • “How yourself call?”

      • “How do you call yourself?” (Translation philosophy similar to the NASB.)

      • “What’s your name?” (Translation philosophy similar to the NIV.)

  • Grammar and word order are different.
    • Example: John 3:16

Word-for-word

Thought-for-thought

KJV

CSB

NLT

NASB

NIV

NCV

NKJV

NET

GNT

ASV

NAB

CEV

ESV

NRSV

NIrV

Word-for-word translations aim to closely reflect the original.

  • Preserve the Holy Spirit’s phrasing

    • I Kings 2:10 – ASV vs. NLT

    • I Thessalonians 2:12 – NKJV vs. NLT

  • Make it easier to notice repetition

    • “immediately” in Mark

    • “abide” in I John (Compare I John 2:24 in NASB vs. NLT)

  • Let readers interpret for themselves

    • I Thessalonians 4:3

Thought-for-thought translations aim to interpret the meaning of the original.

  • These translations are generally more readable and natural.
  • Acts 27:17 – Compare ESV vs NIV vs NLT.
  • Matthew 23:5 – Compare NASB vs NIV vs NLT.
  • Psalms 23:5 – Compare ESV vs. GNB.

My recommendation: Use several word-for-word translations as your main Bibles

  • KJV, NASB, NKJV, ASV, ESV

Compare some thought-for-thought translations to prompt deeper looks … just know what you’re reading!

  • I Timothy 5:22