Best Bible Translation for Daily Reading

Best Bible Translation for Daily Reading

The Origins Of Bible Translations

The Bible’s original texts were in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Then, as Christianity spread, so did the Bible. The Bible’s first translation was to Latin during the middle ages called Latin Vulgate. Finally, in 1382 the first English version of the Bible appeared. Other versions followed in 16th century. It was at this time that an English version of the Bible was translated directly from the Greek. As a result of all these translations, King James I had a new version translated under this name in 1604. This became the most widely used English translation of the Bible, The King James Version (KJV). Today, there are are literally thousands of Bible translations. So, how can you choose the best Bible translation for daily reading?

What Is The Best Bible Translation For Daily Reading?

Opinions differ when it comes to this question.

Some would say it is KJV. On the other hand, some would say differently. This debate always sparks controversies, pushing people to use read more than just one version. Therefore, we would say that best way to know which translation is best is to know what you intend to accomplish with reading the Bible.

If you were a new to reading the bible, you should avoid translations with too much technical language. In addition, you should look for a version that gives interprets what the text means. If you want to do an in depth study of passages, look for a version that emphasizes literal translation.

Finally, if you are reading the Bible with a group of people, it is best that you find out what translation they are using. This will help you keep up with the discussion. There is no sense in reading a version that is different with from the one your group reads.

Pros And Cons Of Different Bible Translations

With so many Bible translations available, it can be confusing to choose the best Bible translation for daily reading. Therefore, we would like to help with this comparison of the five most popular Bible translations.

King James Version (KJV)

Date Published: First published in 1611

Description:

  • Translation stays close to the original structure
  • Literal translation. However, changes translation when it compromises meaning
  • Formal Equivalence translation approach*

Average Reading Age: 17 years old and up

Gender Neutral Language: No

Pros:

  • Close to original text
  • Therefore, easy to read and understand
  • Not too many technical words
  • Poetic old English words that influenced modern English phrases

Cons

  • Archaic old English that many find hard to understand
  • Hence, many words in the translation have a different meaning now in modern day English
  • Also, literal translation is based on the Greek and Hebrew texts of 16th century

New King James Version  or NKJV – One Of The Best Bible Translations For Daily Reading

Date Published: First published in 1982

Description:

  • Translation stays close to the original structure
  • Literal translation but changes translation when it compromises meaning
  • Formal Equivalence translation approach*

Average Reading Age: 12 years old and up

Gender Neutral Language: No

Pros:

  • Updated the translation from old English to modern English
  • Maintains the poetic language
  • Same literal version of the original KJV but adapted to modern day English language
  • The update lowered the reading age bracket to 12 years old
  • Therefore, a lot easier to understand compared to original KJV

Cons

  • The literal translation makes it difficult to understand because the meaning changed over time.
  • Literal translation based on the Greek and Hebrew texts of 16th century
  • The translation in original KJV is often a guide. Therefore, no in-depth update of translations.

New International Version (NIV)

Date Published: First published in 1978 with updated publication in 2011

Description:

  • Translation is a midpoint between the original text and literal meaning. It’s easier to understand
  • Combination of Dynamic Equivalence** and Formal Equivalence* translation

Average Reading Age: 12 years old and up

Gender Neutral Language: No (1978 publication), Yes (2011 publication)

Pros

  • Attempts to balance emphasis on word meaning and literal meaning of texts
  • Probably one of the clearest and easiest to understand
  • Emphasizes literary prose. Therefore, good for public reading
  • In addition, the 2011 updated translation became Gender Neutral***

Cons

  • Attempt to balance figurative meaning and literal meaning introduced new words that were not part of the original texts
  • Some find the translation not poetic enough

The Living Bible (TLB) – One Of The Best Bible Translations For Daily Reading

Date Published: First published in 1971

Description:

  • Uses paraphrases
  • The language starts with the text other than the original

Average Reading Age: 12 years old and up

Gender Neutral Language: No

Pros

  • Paraphrase based on the American Standard Version
  • First understandable version of the Bible
  • Hence, careful communication of each passage’s meaning

Cons

  • Some find the language not elegant
  • Also, some of the verses have different interpretations

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Date Published: First published in 1971

Description:

  • Translation stays close to the original structure
  • Also, literal translation but changes translation when it compromises meaning
  • Formal Equivalence translation approach*

Average Reading Age: 16 years old and up

Gender Neutral Language: No

Pros:

  • Many consider NASB as the most literal translation down to the verb tenses
  • Consequently, the closest translation to the original.

Cons

  • Conservative theological approach affecting the translations
  • Also, almost impossible to understand in English

*Formal Equivalence Translation is literal translation of original text down to its grammatical structure.

**Dynamic Equivalence Translation focuses more on the word meaning. Therefore, it is more understandable.

*** Gender Neutral means nouns and pronouns without bias on a specific gender. So, a non-gender neutral would use “man” as opposed to gender-neutral word of “person” or “individual”

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