Selecting a Bible translation: Which version of God’s Word is best for daily study? Difference between modern translations and paraphrases; archaic language and reference Bibles.
Everyone needs a Bible in their own language.
Translations and Paraphrases
The Bible has been translated into many languages today. You can read the bible online in 35 different languages at BibleGateway.com. Choose a Bible translation that you can understand, but be sure it is an accurate translation.
The King James Version (KJV) has stood the test of time. It is all the English speaking world had for centuries. Because this is the translation that God allowed to be provided to so many for so long, many people feel that we should not depart from it. Its poetical beauty is unmatched by any other translation.
However, because of its archaic language, many people find the KJV difficult to understand in our day. There are several good translations available today.
The New King James Version (NKJV) is very similar to the KJV, retaining much of the poetical beauty and original form. But archaic words are updated, making it easier to comprehend.
The New International Version (NIV) is a personal favorite of mine. (I use the Large Print Thompson Chain Reference Bible-NIV because of it’s excellent study helps and ease of reading. See more about this Bible below.) The New American Standard Version (NASB) is also a good translation. These two translations are easy to understand, yet they retain a formal beauty in language.
The Contemporary English Version (CEV) published by the American Bible Society is another good translation, written in a more everyday language.
If you choose to study from a translation other than the KJV, it is good to use a copy of the KJV alongside your other translation, so that you are always comparing with the translation that God has allowed to be the standard for so long.
Be sure to choose a “translation” and not a “paraphrased version” as your main Bible for reading and study. Translations are translated from the original language in which the Scriptures were written (mainly Greek and Hebrew.) Paraphrased versions are the writer’s paraphrase (rewording) to give what they understand to be the meaning of the text. They can be used as a commentary on the Scriptures, but always alongside a good translation such as the KJV.
Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible
There are many good study Bibles available today. My favorite study Bible is the traditional Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible. I recently ordered the Large Print Thompson Chain Reference Bible-NIV, and I love it. I started with a small print version of Thompson’s about 30 years ago, purchased a larger print about 15 years ago, and now have graduated to the large print version.
Some reviewers have reported poor quality from Thompson’s Chain Reference Bibles published by Nelson. For example, one reviewer says that The One From Kirkbride is the higher quality. He writes, “If you want the quality made one you have to get one that comes from the original publisher Kirkbride Publishing company. They sold the right to Nelson Publishers to publish the Thompson Chain as well at a lower price.”
The Thompson’s Bible I have linked to above as my personal favorite is published by Kirkbride. I’ve only had it for a couple months now, but it appears to be of the same superior quality that my previous Thompson’s Chain Reference Bibles have been. It is a smyth-sewn, red-letter, black bonded leather edition, and all pages appear to be well sewn and intact.
How to Establish a Daily Quiet Time
00. How to establish a daily quiet time – Introduction
01. What is a quiet time, and why do I need it?
02. Finding time for daily devotions and Bible study
03. Selecting a Bible translation for daily study
04. Ideas for daily devotions and Bible reading
05. Online resources for your daily Bible study
Scripture taken from King James Version unless otherwise noted