I recently switched Bible translations for my primary study Bible and was wondering which one other people like best.


7 thoughts on “I recently switched Bible translations for my primary study Bible and was wondering which one other people like best.

    • I just recently purchased a bunch of $11 ESV bibles for my family at home. I’ve read that the ESV is a more readable version of the NASB for those who like literal translations. Will be comparing over the coming weeks…

      • I’d be interested in hearing what you think about ESV, Kevin. I don’t study any one particular translation to the exclusion of others, but I recently switched from NIV to ESV for day-to-day use. I have found that I prefer more of a word for word translation of the original Greek than a paraphrasing (or thought for thought) translation. Given that I’ve personally never been quite as comfortable in reading the KJV for study purposes due to being unfamiliar with the Old English (although it is very poetic and pleasing to the ears), I have found that ESV suits me pretty well.

  1. I know Pastor Dale Thompson (Ft. Smith FBC) prefers NKJV. I enjoy Psalms and Proverbs in KJV because it reads very poetic and authoritative. I read everything else in NKJV. I do all my Bible reading on BibleGateway.com so you can switch versions easily. You can also add parallels, meaning that you can have 2 or 3 versions on screen at the same time.

    I’ve been listening to some people talk about the different translations (Chuck Missler, Kent Hovind) and they make a strong argument for KJV. First of all, there are mistakes in KJV, but all the mistakes are well known and documented.

    Secondly, KJV (and thus NKJV) is translated from the Textus Receptus. Most (all?) modern versions are translated from the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. These manuscripts are older than Textus Receptus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. Here’s a short article detailing some of the errors in Sinaiticus:


    • I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about comparing the translations. I think serious Bible study, especially on a passage we may be having some issues with, should involve reading multiple translations (formal and functional) and we thankfully have those tools at our fingertips in the modern age.

      That is an interesting article you shared and I’m somewhat (vaguely) familiar with the ongoing argument concerning the Masoretic/Textus Receptus vs. C. Sinaiticus/C. Vaticanus texts. My understanding is that about 80% of the NT manuscripts pretty much agree with KJV and the argument is that, if these weren’t truly the earliest text-forms, they would not have survived in such a high number. But most of these manuscripts were from the Byzantine family of texts. The geographic origins and similar readings of these manuscripts suggest they may have come from only a few exemplars and they were naturally widely copied and well-preserved because they were associated with the world power that ruled from Constantinople during the period.

      The oldest manuscripts (most discovered after KJV translation of 1611) do not come from this tradition. I agree that oldest doesn’t necessarily mean best but if the large number of Byzantine texts did originate mostly from only a few originals, it might dilute the importance of their majority status.

      I realize that there are loyalists on both sides of the argument and, truly, a good case can be made for either. I think personal preference, whatever one feels most comfortable with, is fine for regular reading and reflection. Deeper study, though, should involve (in addition to prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance) a look at multiple translations.

      Btw, have you checked out http://www.olivetree.com/bible/index.php?

      They also have a great side-by-side comparison where you can have many versions on the screen at the same time. I use BibleGateway quite often in looking up verses individually but for some reason I ended up using olivetree for parallels.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I enjoy getting to hear different people’s opinions on this, often touchy, subject.


  2. I switched from NIV to ESV myself a while ago. I agree with you in preferring the word for word versus thought for thought style of translation. (I really enjoy the NASB as well) Having said that, I feel as though I appreciate the NIV more than I used to after using ESV. As there are times when the NIV uses words that, while technically not as accurate, bear more weight in my mind. And as a side note, I think the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is the translation that lifeway uses.

    • Yep, HCSB is the translation of choice for Lifeway. From what I’ve seen, it follows pretty closely with ESV but with just a touch of paraphrasing and some alternative (and in my opinion strange, at times) language.

      I can understand where you are coming from wrt NIV. Whereas many “grew up” with KJV, by the time I started truly studying the Bible, it was the NIV. So, the NIV is my KJV, if you know what I mean. It took me awhile to get used to ESV and I still enjoy (and remember) some passages better in NIV. Sometimes the word used in the more “commentary” type of translations are words we can more closely identify with.

      You may already have a favorite, but if not, check out http://www.olivetree.com/bible/index.php for parallel study of multiple translations. You can get your NIV fix at the same time you study ESV.

      Thanks for the comments!

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