Choosing a Bible can be an overwhelming task with so many different options available on the market. Whatever your preferred way to study the Bible, you can likely find a Bible that matches your interest. Take for example this verse mapping Bible which is perfect for those who love to dig deeper into God’s words through verse mapping.
As you stare at all the Bible options available from your local christian bookstore, you might be wondering:
What is the most accurate translation of the Bible in the world?
What version of the Bible is easiest to Understand?
Which translation of the Bible is closest to the original text?
If you are pondering these questions, then this guide is for you.
In this Bible Translation Comparison, I will discuss the various Bible translations available on the market. I am confident you will walk away better equipped to choose the right Bible Translation to start reading and understanding the Bible for yourself.
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Bible Translation Comparison
The Bible wasn’t written originally in English, but you likely already know that. Portions of the Bible was written in Hebrew, while other sections in Aramaic and Greek. Since most of us can’t read these languages, we have to rely on language scholars to do the translations for us.
Shouldn’t that be easy, you may ask? Well not quite, as there is way more to language translation than just translating individual words.
Things such as grammatical structure and context play a big role in translating from one language to another to help convey your intended message.
In deciding on a Bible, there are three Bible Translations types that you will comes across, these include: word for word Bible translations, thought for thought Bible translations and paraphrase Bible translations.
Types of Bible Translations
If you find that you are struggling to understand what you are reading, I would encourage you to explore different Bible Translations. You can get a feel for different versions by simply navigating to different Bible translations available in the YouVersion Bible app. Try different versions until you find a version that you are comfortable with.
Personally, I use a different version depending on what I am trying to accomplish. For everyday reading I use the New Living Translation or the Christian Standard Bible, however if I am studying a text or want to do a comparative look at a text, I will resort to the New King James Version. You are welcome to do something similar or just choose a version that you enjoy reading. The key is that you are in the word regularly and focusing on building your relationship with God. Let’s take a look at the different types of Bible translations available along with examples of Bible translations that would fall into those categories.
Word For Word Translations
Word for Word Bible translations are also known as Formal Equivalence or literal translation. In Word for word translations, language scholars try to retain the general structure and form of the original language while providing word for word translations as much as possible. By staying close to the original words and grammatical structure, they reduce the human interpretation factor.
Some prominent word for word Bible translations include:
- American Standard Version
- King James Version
- New King James Version
- Young’s Literal Translation
- The Amplified Bible
- New American Standard Bible
Thought For Thought Translations
Thought for Thought translations are also known as dynamic equivalence. Thought for Thought Bible translators try to approach language translation by looking at the essential meaning of text by the original authors. This makes these versions easy to read and understand as lesser known metaphors known to modern readers are usually rephrased. The challenge with dynamic equivalence is that in an effort to convey the meaning of the text, if translators misinterpret the authors original intent then this misunderstanding will also be communicated unintentionally to those who read that translation.
Some prominent thought for thought Bible translations include:
- New International Version
- New Living Translation
- Christian Standard Bible
Paraphrase Translations try to convey the authors intended meaning using modern phrases and metaphors. The aim of this translation is to make it appeal to modern audiences by using modern language that captures the essence of the Biblical text giving the reader clarity.
Some prominent paraphrase Bible translations include:
- The Message
- The Living Bible
- The Clear Word
Which Version of the Bible is the Easiest to Understand?
Now that we have compared different Bible translations lets look at a side by side translation of the different translations using a very famous Bible passage, John 3:16-18.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” ~~The Message
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” ~~New Living Translation
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. ” ~~ New King James Version
From the above verses, you can see that the New King James Version along with the New Living Translation are relatively similar. The Message translation however while easy to read, it conveys a different perspective of the passage.
What Are the Most Popular Bible Translations
Now that you understand what the different Bible Translations are, lets explore some of the most popular Bibles for different Bible Translations on the market.
CSB She Reads Truth Bible
The CSB She Reads Truth Bible is the Bible I use and adore. It is beautifully crafted to encourage women to dive into the word of God. It includes 200 devotionals, reading plans, maps, charts and timelines along key verses beautifully crafted. Beautifully crafted to help women look forward to their time spent in the word. They also have a He Reads Truth Bible geared towards men.
The Holman Study Bible is an award winning study Bible for women and men. It includes book introductions and study notes that helps to give readers context of the book that they are about to read. This Bible also comes with 15,000 study notes. What I really like about this Bible however is that it is filled with illustrations, photos, maps and charts which help to bring your study time to life.
NASB Thinline Bible
NASB Thinline Bible is a literal word for word Bible translation. It comes with a concordance along with articles that dive into the ministry of Jesus, promises of the Bible for various topical life situations.
The Interlinear Bible is a literal translation of the Bible. It includes the Hebrew and Greek text along with the direct English translation. You don’t need to know Hebrew or Greek to read this Bible. The side by side translations however make this perfect for comparative study.
NLT Illustrated Study Bible
The NLT Illustrated Study Bible was awarded Bible of the year in 2016. Similar to other Study Bibles mentioned above, it includes study notes, illustrations, maps and photos to give readers a visual study experience of the scriptures.
NIV Beautiful Word Bible
If you are into Bible Journaling, The NIV Beautiful Word Bible is the Bible for you. It includes ready to color line art that helps you meditate on scripture as you color in the scripture art.
Compare Bible Translations to Find the One That Works for You!
I hope you found this Bible Translation Comparison helpful as well as found suggestions for possible Bible translations that you can add to your quiet time. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below, which version of the Bible do use the most and why?
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