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”
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 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