Modern readers of the Bible, exposed to a multitude of English translations, find it difficult to determine which translation they should read. Since the Bible is such an important book – in fact, the most important book – readers want to be sure that they are using an accurate and understandable translation of the original text.
It would be wonderful if everyone could read the Bible in the original languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Since so very few have learned these ancient languages, nearly everyone depends on translations.
On this page an attempt is made to give a philosophy of translation, and a brief description of some. By no means! are all of the available versions listed, only those that are in the most popular use today. – See #Note I:
These references are here as a convenience for research, and comparison only. I Do Not, and Cannot recommend any Bible other than the KJV 1769 printing (the Oxford Standard). Two current editions commonly available that follow this faithfully, are the Old Scofield, and Scofield lll Reference Bibles. R.L. Allan publishers also have some good KJV Bibles, like the Oxford Brevier, Longprimmer, and Ruby editions.
Another choice would be the PCE or "Pure Cambridge Edition" printed 1900 – 1970s last printing. But both this, and the Old Scofield are becoming increasingly hard to find. Since the last Old Scofield printing was in 2002. There are however current printings of the Cambridge Cameo editions, that are PCE. Check them carefully! against known PCE text.
Almost all other current printings of the KJV contain some variant readings, and/or word substitutions. And can be damaging! to faithfully accepted Biblical Doctrines. One example is; the KJV 1967 New Scofield Reference Bible, this edition is neither a Scofield or KJV Bible. – See #Note III:
All the information on the Bibles listed below are those of the printer/publishers, and other sources. They have been collected from such sources, and do not necessarily reflect my personal opinion, nor have my recommendation. Other than the printings of the Oxford 1769, and Cambridge text I have mentioned above. Several of the references do! however, have my personal comments added; where I felt it necessary to include them.
A common question is what translation should I use? The cry of the Protestant Reformation was Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone. Many of the Reformers such as William Tyndale, died to bring God's word into the language of the people.
So the translation you use is no trivial matter. We are not talking here about Shakespeare (Shakespeare actually had nothing to do with the language of the KJV), but rather the very Word of God. So following are a few guidelines to use when selecting a translation.
The first thing that should be considered, is how accurate is it to the original languages. You want to be using a faithful translation. So immediately that rules out the paraphrases. How good were the translators at doing their jobs.
You want those who have studied the original languages, and consider the Bible to be inspired and trustworthy.
How easy is it to read? Do you need a dictionary to read it because of all it's sophisticated words, or is it so easy to read that it is an insult to your intelligence or sacrilegious. It must be reverent and dignified English, and at the same time readable.
What helps are in it? Does it have cross references, maps, concordance, footnotes?.
New American Standard Bible (NASB).
King James "Authorized Version" (AV) – See #TR Note.
New King James Version (NKJV) – See #TR Note.
Revised Standard Version (RSV).
New American Bible (Catholic).
Companion Bible (Bullinger).
21st Century King James Version (KJ21).
Dake Annotated Reference Bible (Pentecostal).
Literal With Freedom To Be Idiomatic:
English Standard Version (ESV).
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
Thought - For - Thought:
New International Version (NIV / TNIV).
New Jerusalem Bible (Catholic).
Dynamic Equivalent (Modern Speech):
Today's English Version (Good News Bible).
The Amplified Bible.
Revised English Bible (REV).
The NET Bible.
The Living Bible (Taylor).
The New Living Translation (NLT).
The Message (Peterson).
Authors Closing Comments.
# TR Note: The KJV and NKJV: Were both translated from the "Authorized Received Text" manuscripts (Textus Receptus). While the other versions have been translated form later text, (Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, actually older but unavailable/unused by the 1611 translators, the Sanaiticus not found until 1844) along with reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls, for accuracy of some of the O.T. text (ie. Isaiah).
Some feel that the AV text is the most accurate (Textus Receptus), while others will argue for the latter (Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus). But no matter which you choose, they all remain true to their original manuscripts, with exception of the Living Bible, often referred to as the -- Dead Bible.
However there are serious differences in the text (not just in words used) of the AV (KJV), and those of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (all modern translations). Which you would do well to research, before making any decisions on which version to buy.
While the NKJV is translated from the Textus Receptus it differs in many places, and in doing so is closer to the Alexanderian Text (not a KJV). – See #Note II:
There is a link at the bottom of this page where you can order a small booklet, at a very small price. That will help you, with some of the older words in the KJV.
The Revised Standard Version:
Is much the same as the New Revised Standard Version, with exception of some questionable translation. This has created some serious doctrinal issues with this version. And eliminates its use by those seeking a reliable Bible version. Most of the errors but not all, have been corrected in the New Revised Standard Version. – See "New Revised Standard Version". The term "Idiomatic" means: either differs from the usual syntactic patterns, or has a meaning that differs from the literal.
The King James Version:
The King James Version was an academic tour-de-force in 1611, at which time it was a hotly denounced modern translation. In some quarters today it is the only acceptable translation, even though the translators in 1611 explicitly stated that they looked forward to future scholarship to correct whatever errors they may have made.
The King James Version originated when a group of Puritans ambushed King James while he was on a journey, and presented him with a petition requesting a new translation of the Bible. Since the petition had a thousand signatures, it was called the Millenary Petition. The Puritans wanted a new translation of the Bible, because most of the existing English Bibles were biased and polemic.
To their surprise, the king readily agreed and assembled the brightest, and best Bible scholars in England to undertake the project. The resulting translation was made mandatory for the Church of England, over many protests from the clergy. Because books were extremely expensive in those days, well out of the reach of the common person, the law also required every church to keep a copy on display 24 hours a day, so that ordinary people could come in and read the Bible at any time.
The Bibles were generally chained to the reading desks to prevent them from being stolen when no one was around. The cost of replacing a stolen Bible in those days could easily bankrupt a local parish.
The King James Version is almost incomprehensible to anyone who has not been brought up on it. For example, the word comfort means strengthen, suffer means let, let means prevent, and prevent means precede.
Some verses are completely incomprehensible or misleading; for example, (Psalm 5:6; 1 Kings 11:1; Ezekiel 27:25). The textual scholarship underlying the King James Version has been superseded in the last two centuries.
(I personally do not! find these statements about incomprehensive verses in the KJV, to be true at all. I do admit some words in the KJV, will require the reader to study a bit more; but what is wrong with that?. Psalm 5:6 uses the word "Leasing", which simply means falsehood, untruth, or lie. The other verses mentioned use no archaic words. The Scofield lll KJV Study Bible, has suggested words for the older wording in the page margin notes. But otherwise follows the 1769 Oxford KJV printing, to the letter.)
In spite of all the attempts to discredit the KJV, it still stands as the only reliable, and best translation of the Bible. I find that many new comers to Bible study, find all translations incomprehensible, at least from what I see of their understanding.
No modern wording of the scriptures can replace the Holy Spirits teaching, when we try to become critical of the text of the Bible, we are trying to circumvent Gods revealed knowledge to us. Unfortunately it does not work! many divisive, and heretic teachings are the results of the watered-down critical text, of the modern versions of the Bible. So are the uses of such materials as "Strongs Hebrew/Greek Dictionary," and "Vines Expository Dictionary". Let the Holy Scriptures speak for themselves, the Bible says what it says, in spite of how much we want to change it; to meet our modern fleshly standards of living.
I find plenty of modern words I don't quite comprehend, so I go to the dictionary. Dictionaries are not normally expository, and give only the basic meaning of a word. Expository volumes are usually colored by the authors views, and not always the most reliable. There are links to sources of word meanings, for the older words of the KJV at the "Bottom Of The Page". The "King James Bible Companion", and "KJV Bible Words & Expressions" are good basic word meaning sources, without being expository. The latter is available from my personal down-load site, and is quite extensive; and free!.
Today's English Version:
The Good News Bible is a project of the American Bible Society to render the Bible in a form that unchurched people can understand.
For people who attend church regularly and are familiar with the Bible, the fact that the Good News Bible does not use traditional religious vocabulary is a disadvantage.
Since clarity is the overriding goal of this translation, it often seems to be inaccurate when compared to other translations, but it is in fact an accurate translation. Often referred to as the "The Bad News Bible".
The Good News Bible is written at a very low grade level and is consequently very easy to understand. It is excellent as story book. In fact, the Old Testament can be read from Genesis to 2 Kings as easily as a novel.
The Living Bible:
The Living Bible is the work of Kenneth N. Taylor, who in 1954 began paraphrasing scripture for use in family devotions.
The first complete Living Bible appeared in 1970. It has been revised many times and appears in many different versions.
The Living Bible mixes the author's interpretations with text, making objective study impossible unless you agree with Kenneth N. Taylor's views.
It is strongly tendentious, as the author often inserts wording that has no basis whatsoever in the original text in order to conform it to fundamentalist viewpoints on end-times, sexuality, politics, and social policy.
[ For example; compare Jude 7 in the King James Version with Jude 7 in the Living Bible, and notice how much extra text they inserted.
Jude 7, Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. – KJV
Jude 7, And dont forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, all full of lust of every kind including lust of men for other men. Those cities were destroyed by fire and continue to be a warning to us that there is a hell in which sinners are punished. – LB ]
Depending on your views, you may see the Living Bible as clarifying the meaning that is already present in the text or as imputing meaning into the text that is not there. Essentially, the Living Bible does the interpreting for you. Even some fundamentalists find it controversial. The basis for the Living Bibles Paraphrased interpretation, was the Revised Standard Version, which is one of the most controversial and unreliable translations made to date.
The Living Bible is easy to read and it makes a good story book. Many editions explain the nature and purpose of the paraphrase.
The New American Standard Bible:
The New American Standard Bible was the project of the Lockman Foundation, which sought to produce an accurate, readable translation.
The translators came from a wide variety of evangelical backgrounds.
The New American Standard Bible does not lend itself well to reading out loud to an audience. The drive for accuracy led to some peculiarities in the renderings. There is occasional emphasis on relatively minor grammatical points.
The latest edition 1995, improves readability somewhat, but is not as accurate to the text as previous editions (ie. 1975/77). It leaves the word for word literacy of the previous editions, to follow a more dynamic form of translation.
Excellent for serious study, very accurate. The current edition that you find in bookstores has been updated for improved readability.
The New King James Version:
There is no real connection between the King James Version and the New King James Bible except for the name, the textual basis of the New Testament, and some similarity in the language.
It was the brainchild of Sam Moore, who saw a market for a King-James-sounding modern translation.
The New King James Bible sounds like a modernized King James Version, but it is neither modern nor Jacobean English. The New Testament is based on the Majority Text (also called the Textus Receptus) rather than the current state of textual research.
If you live outside the United States, please note that King James Version is the American name for the Authorised Version. – See #Note II:
Although the New King James Bible, like all other translations, is not perfect, it is a more accurate rendering of the Greek than the King James Version and is less likely to puzzle the reader.
This is an especially good translation for people with a Wesleyan or Eastern Orthodox background. The New Testament of this version was chosen to serve as the basis for an Eastern Orthodox study Bible.
The New American Bible:
The New American Bible is principally a lay-oriented Roman Catholic Bible translation, although some non-Catholic scholars were involved.
It is primarily the outgrowth of an encyclical by Pope Pius XII (Divino afflante Spiritu) which encouraged Bible-reading among Roman Catholics.
The New American Bible is not as good as the Jerusalem Bible for serious study.
The notes have a distinct Roman Catholic flavor, which can be a disadvantage for people who are not Roman Catholics.
This is a very good Bible for the lay Catholic. The notes have a distinct Roman Catholic flavor, which can be an advantage for Roman Catholics or for people who are not Roman Catholics themselves, but wish to inform themselves about the position of the Roman Catholic church on specific passages.
The New Jerusalem Bible:
The (New) Jerusalem Bible is the product of the best Bible scholarship in the Roman Catholic Church.
The (New) Jerusalem Bible's wording is often clumsy and opaque to non-scholars. This is a matter of English style rather than accuracy in translation.
The notes have a distinct Roman Catholic flavor, which can be an advantage for Roman Catholics or for people who are not Roman Catholics themselves, but wish to inform themselves about the position of the Roman Catholic church on specific passages
The (New) Jerusalem Bible is an excellent scholarly work for serious students of the Bible, especially Roman Catholics.
The notes have a distinct Roman Catholic flavor, which can be a disadvantage for people who are not Roman Catholics.
The NET Bible:
The first edition was made available on the internet in 2005, and is also available in a printed version. 23 translators, and a group of theological students from the Dallas Theological Seminary, took part in the translation of the NET Bible. There are a total of 60,932 translator notes, the translators used the notes, to give a translation that is a formal equivalency. While placing a somewhat more functionally equivalent in the text itself, to promote better readability and understandability. The long standing tension, between these two different approaches to Bible translation has been fundamentally solved; or so they say!.
Some NT quotations of the OT make no sense; gender inclusiveness seems to go too far at times: 1 Corinthians 14:26, [ "What should you do then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one has a song, has a lesson, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all these things be done for the strengthening of the church" - NET ], (the chapter verse rendering of the page link is from the KJV). Evangelical bias is a little strong at times, and the Bible has no cross references.
The translation is that of dynamic equivalence, or thought-for-thought, as opposed to a strict word-for-word translation. This provides leeway for idiomatic translation of some of the more complicated passages (i.e. ones own thoughts on the subject), tending toward serious errors.
The translators notes are extremely useful, they are used to combine the readability of a less literal translation, with the notes to show a literal meaning. The translation is most notable for its availability on the Internet, and its open copyright permitting free downloads and use for ministry purposes.
Dake Annotated Reference Bible:
The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, was the first widely published study bible produced by someone from within Pentecostalism. His annotated King James Version of the Bible, took seven years to complete. The 35,000 notes in the Dake Bible are considered by Christian theologians to be personal, rather than a Biblically-based, commentary. Along with Dake's annontated Bible, his other writings have been the source of controversy amongst theologians. While a small number of Christian theologians see his viewpoints on the gap theory and adoptionism to be possibilities, his interpretation of the Trinity is largely considered unorthodox, and is rejected amongst Trinitarians and non–Trinitarians alike.
Finis Jennings Dake (1902-87) was a Pentecostal pastor, teacher, and author whose most influential work is the Dake's Annotated Reference Bible. This study Bible, containing notes on the entire Old and New Testaments, was first published in 1963. The Dake Bible is considered the top "Pentecostal Study Bible" by many. In fact, the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements says, "His 'notes' became the 'bread and butter' of many prominent preachers and the 'staple' of Pentecostal congregations." Dake is very important within Pentecostal/Charismatic circles.
I listed this Bible under "Literal" only because of the KJV text, Dakes comments are anything but! orthodox, or literal. His views of the "Trinity", "Adoptionism" (a blatant heresy: Teaches Christ was Adopted, rather than Gods "only begotten son"), and the highly controversial "Gap Theory", keep me from recommending this Bible, even to Pentecostal's. If you are not familiar with these forms of doctrine; I suggest you research them before deciding to waste money, and buy this Bible. – See "Dake's Dangerous Doctrine".
The New International Version:
The New International Version is the product of evangelical scholars from a wide variety of church backgrounds under the auspices of the New York Bible Society International.
The New International Version has a slight premillennial tinge. For example, the Greek word thlipsis is only translated as tribulation in contexts that fit premillennialism.
However, that is not much of an obstacle. A Lutheran publishing house even issued a study Bible based on the New International Version, even though for the last 400 years Lutherans have considered any form of millennialism to be a heresy.
The New International Version has a number of innovative renderings here and there. For example, a single Hebrew word is rendered valley, gorge, river, ravine, or brook in different passages. Because of its multi-denominational influence, I must consider the NIV to be a Ecumenical (N.W.O) Bible.
THE TNIV: Published January 2005 is twofold the son of perdition, more than the NIV was. The TNIV is not so much a new approach to Bible translation as it is a new vocabulary; a vocabulary very frankly loaded with a political agenda. For example, when Hebrews 12:7 renders the reference to God not as "Father" but makes God a nondescript "Parent". When the Greek is explicit that it is a loving father who disciplines his son – the TNIV has: [ "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their parents" ], there has been something more than "the broader thought expressed in the source" being expressed here.
Zondervan has discontinued the TNIV (2010), for yet another attempt to corrupt Gods word, with another translation of the NIV? due in 2011. Go check out this information, more than I would ever post here on the TNIV. – See "Todays New International Version"
The New International Version is an excellent translation into very good contemporary English, very suitable for study and reading out loud.
The word international in the name means that the translators took pains to make sure that their work would be usable in any English-speaking country on the globe, although it appears in versions with American and British spelling. The Psalms are rendered poetically.
The Amplified Bible:
The Amplified bible, is a product of the Lockman Foundation started in 1958 with the first edition of the Amplified New Testament.
Followed by the first part of the Amplified Old Testament in 1962, with its completion of both Old, and New Testaments in 1965.
The one we are now familiar with the new expanded edition, was published in 1987.
The in text brackets [ ] with their clarifying notes, and comments clutter the text making it confusing to the reader. The notes are of course opinionative, and do not necessarily reflect everyone's view of the verses.
The wording of the text is modern, but with a few not so modern words included for flavour. All together the Amplified Bible does not make a good translation for public reading, or in the larger opinion accurate study. The Revised Standard Version is the basis for the Amplified Bible, which was one of the most unreliable translations made to date. Also note that a Dynamic Equivalence translation, is only one step above a Paraphrase translation.
The text of the Amplified Bible is easy to understand, and is made easier to understand by the inclusion of informative footnotes which give historical background, archaeological information, and solid traditional scholarship, both academic and devotional in character.
The 21st Century King James Version (KJ21):
This is neither a new translation nor a revision, but an updating of the King James Version (KJV) of A.D. 1611. While no attempt has been made to "improve" the timeless message or literary style of the KJV, words which are either obsolete or archaic, and are no longer understood by literate Bible readers, have been replaced by carefully selected current equivalents. Also updated spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphing have been used. These changes have been painstakingly made so as not to alter the meaning or beauty of the King James Version in any way. They simply make the KJ21 easier to read and understand.
Some might not like the page layout. A single column text is used, resembling the NIV. Paragraphing and verses, are sometimes not the best for those used to the conventional Bible page layout. Making it a little difficult in locating familiar versus, and passages. It is advisable for those interested, to follow the link to the web-site, and examine the examples for yourself. – "www.kj21.com" – Although this version is available through some book stores, ordering it directly from the printer is more convenient and economical.
For those who want a modern reprint of the KJV 1611, while retaining the Thee's and Thou's, and some of the more commonly understood older words; this is the one. It is not a completely overhauled English version as some are – as it tries to retain the beauty of the language of the KJV. The text follows closer to the original 1611 AV, than the current KJV printing now commonly available.
All the claims made here, and above are those of the printer/publisher, and do not necessarily reflect my personal opinion. While staying close to the AV/TR, it cannot be considered a true KJV.
The New Revised Standard Version:
The New Revised Standard Version is the direct descendant of the King James Version. But was not translated from the Textus Receptus, some editions contain the Apocrypha and Deuterocanonical books of the original Revised Standard Version.
The initial editions of the Revised Standard Version were controversial and were too liberal for many evangelicals, but questionable renderings have been repaired in recent editions. It has clumsy English syntax in places. The Psalms are not poetically rendered and don't lend themselves well to responsive or unison reading.
The New Revised Standard Version's attempts to be gender-inclusive can lead to occasional problems. In Galatians 3, it changes the Greek word sons to children, paradoxically lowering the status of women. (Changing the word to agents would have been more faithful to the meaning and it would have been inclusive besides.) In Hebrews 2, it pluralizes a passage that traditionally applies to Jesus Christ, forcing it to be interpreted as applying to Christians.
The Revised Standard Version is excellent for study. The New Revised Standard Version is largely successful in removing spurious gender bias without going overboard.
It has fewer controversial renderings than before and has excellent scholarship. It is available in an edition that contains every book that is considered canonical by any major Christian group.
The New Living Translation:
The New Living Translation is a revision of the Living Bible, that claims to transform it from a paraphrase to a supposedly true modern translation of the Bible.
The New Living Translation still interpolates text in places that address or seem to address modern issues, but is not as excessive as the Living Bible. Although it still has a mild tendency in favor of distinctively fundamentalist teachings. When all is said and done, this is not a new or true translation; but a marginal revision of the original paraphrased Living Bible.
The New Living Translation is easy to read, and it makes a good story book. It is considered to be a huge improvement over the original Living Bible ?.
The basis of this study is the English paraphrased text of the New Testament written by Eugene Peterson, called THE Message. Those readers who recognize mystical/occult terminology, will definitely get "the message" Mr. Peterson is seeking to convey within his Bible version. On the back of his Proverbs Version, he writes, "Discover ancient wisdom you can use in your life today." In section IV.C., you will "discover" that "ancient wisdom" is a term that refers to the esoteric wisdom, doctrines, and terminology taught by the ancient mystery religions.
Mr. Peterson goes on to say that his version of "Proverbs makes these words of ancient wisdom accessible to modern generations..." This parrots the remark made by Michael Howard in his book "Occult Conspiracy," where he says that occultist Rudolf Steiner made the esoteric teachings of Ancient Wisdom 'accessible to the average person' - see II.G.. On the cover page of his New Testament, Mr. Peterson writes, "THE Message is a contemporary rendering of the Bible from the original languages, crafted to present its tone, rhythm, events and ideas in everyday speech." Since Masonry refers to itself as "the craft," it's not surprising to -find that Mr. Peterson has "crafted" Masonic initiation practices into his version.
Joh:3:5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. – KJV
Jon:3:5: Unless a person submits to this original creation–the 'wind hovering over the water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life–it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. – The Message.
Ro:9:27: Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.
Ro:9:28: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. – KJV
Rom:9:27–28: Isaiah maintained this same emphasis: If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled "Chosen of God," they'de be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by personal selection. God doesn't count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. – The Message.
English Standard Version:
The English Standard Version uses the same scholarship, texts, and techniques as most other modern translations. It was translated by a group of scholars representing a diverse group of denominations, most of which are conservative on social and political issues. It is published by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers, which is not affiliated with any denomination or Bible society.
The English Standard Version uses archaic constructions to produce a text that sounds more literal than it really is. For example, Hosea 9:1 in the English Standard Version reads, "Rejoice not, O Israel" where the equally conservative Holman Christian Standard Bible reads, "Israel, do not rejoice." The translations are equally literal. So this translation only makes it halfway into modern English. Genesis 12:1 reads, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house," which seems more literal that the same passage in the New International Version, which says, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household"; however in this case, the NIV is actually more literal, because no one seems to have "kindred" these days, and in modern usage, "leaving your father's house" implies that you are living in your father's spare bedroom or basement, which is not what the ancient text means. Most Bible translations cannot resist finding their viewpoints on contemporary social issues in the ancient text. The ESV is not an exception. It is just as circumspect of conservative sensitivities as the New Revised Standard Version is of feminist concerns.
The translators use the best texts, scholarship, and techniques that are available to modern translators. They attempted to be as literal as possible, while still producing a clear English text. They do not render Greek gender-specific words as generic or plural English words, which means that passages such as Hebrews 2 have the same meaning for the modern reader as they do for the ancient reader. The text sounds dignified and biblical. If you consider yourself socially conservative, nothing in this Bible will cause offense.
Revised English Bible:
In 1989 the Oxford and Cambridge presses published The Revised English Bible (REB), a revision of The New English Bible which was first published in 1970.
As with a number of other modern translations, The Revised English Bible contains numbers of passages where the "translation" completely ignores the original to serve the biases of the translators. This procedure is most dangerous, for it gives license to contradict God's precious Word. It can be seen in the foolish effort to remove "sexist" words from the new translation.
As with a number of new translations, the scholars employed in preparing The Revised English Bible included Roman Catholics. Their faith in God's Word is seriously compromised by their conviction that church tradition and papal pronouncements supersede the precepts of Scripture. We can scarcely anticipate a Spirit-filled translation from such deluded men.
The Revised English Bible is a revision of the well-known New English Bible, which takes advantage of nearly 20 years of further Biblical scholarship. It is a dynamic-equivalence translation, though a generally conservative one. It makes use of some textual conjectures in the Hebrew scriptures, but provides adequate footnotes in all cases.
Nearly a century of popularity confirms this Bible's reputation as one of the most complete all-around reference Bibles. The most distinctive attribute? The single-column KJV text is printed parallel to a single column of notes!
A closer look reveals it's not mostly commentary, like a Scofield Bible. But there are also so many word studies, grammatical helps, and historical side notes. It's hard using it as a devotional Bible, because the notes distract at first from the Bible text, yet give you a richer understanding of the original languages, figures of speech and heteronyms. For instance, some words have two or more alternate translations. Are they contradictions?. The notes show which of these are actually a "play on words", because vowel-less Hebrew spells the different words the same.
While claiming to be a King James Bible, the text differs sometimes vastly in reading. And reminds one of the Amplified Bible with it's expanded text (except for the use of old english), with many bracketed [ ] in text descriptions, and comments. Making it at least for me!, very hard to read with comprehension. Mr Bullinger also taught Soul Sleep, which would detract from the credibility of his notes.
The Bible Companion by E.W. Bullinger is simply a King James Version Bible, with a great amount of helpful information in it's 198 appendixes'. It's marginal notes are often more helpful than some full concordances to the Greek, and Hebrew translations. Bullinger clearly proves his appendixes, with a full understanding of the word of God. This is not an opinion Bible, as most study Bibles. Rather a keen reference tool, and KJV in one.
Its not so much a matter of the version you choose, (My personal choice, and the only ones I can recommend are the KJV editions printed by Cambridge, and Oxford Bible publishers) its that you use it.
Carpenter's tools are of no use until the Carpenter takes them in hand. Owning a Bible is not enough you must use it, Hose 4:6 Says it well.
4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. KJV
There are to many Christians today that will fall for any manner of doctrine, when it is not necessary. Even when Paul Preached there were those who sought not to disprove Paul, but to affirm that the things he taught – according to the scriptures (Acts 17:10-11) were so.
Make the choice of your Bible wisely, and use it in the same manner. – See #Note I: below.
# Note I: There are ongoing arguments over which version of the Bible is the most accurate, and which you should use. There are admittedly some versions, that are superior to others. But in the end, the one you can read with the easiest comprehension May ? but not always be, the best one.
My suggestion for a good combination would be the KJV along with the NASB (not the 1995 edition, See * *), for the best of both manuscripts – for study and comparison. The NASB is written in a more modern language form for easier reading, while the KJV should be considered the standard, for all serious Bible Study (and the measure of accuracy for all other versions). Otherwise both the KJV, and NASB are literal translations of their original manuscripts.
* * The recent 1995 edition of the NASB leaves the word for word literacy of the previous editions (ie. 1975/77), to follow a more dynamic form of translation.
# Note II: While the NKJV is supposed to be a modern version of the KJV; it does not follow the TR (Textus Receptus) of the KJV faithfully, but tends to follow the Alexanderian Text (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) in many of its passages. The Old Testament text is that of a later Text version of the Hebrew Old Testament, and not the 1524-25 Ben Hayyim edition of Mesoretic text used for the KJV.
The NKJV uses the 1967/1977 Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica, for the Old Testament. Here is where you will find the biggest differences between the NKJV, and the KJV. The Biblia Hebraica used by the NKJV uses an earlier manuscript (the 1008 A. D. Leningrad Manuscript B19a) than that of the KJV. This going on the assumption of the day, that older is always better – "not always necessarily so".
# Note III: The 1967 New Scofield Reference Edition is also not a KJV, on top of the older word replacement, what was not! mentioned is the restructuring of some verses/sentences (alternate readings). Dr. Scofield would have never allowed such changes, and his name should have never been associated with the 1967 version of the KJV Reference Bible, by Oxford Press.
However; it still remains the better choice of modernized versions. Since it is a version from the TR (Textus Receptus), and does not follow the Alexandrian manuscripts. This is the only Bible I would recommend, to those who feel they must have a modernized version.
In spite of the constant attempts to discredit the King James Version I believe it is still the most accurate, and reliable translation of the Bible we have today. The forty seven translators of the King James Version, took great care to follow the original text (Received Text) prayerfully checking, and rechecking. Such a group of devoted, and scholarly men has never again been assemble to work on a translation to this day. For those who seek to understand the true teachings of Scripture the King James Version is still the most accurate, and reliable translation that you can use.
For those who have trouble with some of the words of the KJV. There is a booklet, that will help with the KJV's older words you may order here – "The King James Bible Companion". There is also an online version available for viewing, and assessment by clicking the "Table Of Contents" tab, located on the description box. It's so very reasonable at $0.49 each; you might even order a dozen or more, and give one to your friends.
I have also added two links to my 4shared.com file sharing site, where you can download a really comprehensive list of 17Th Century Bible words, and expressions. You can save it to a folder on your computer or to a pen-drive, or you can print it out in just 39 pages. Although not every word may be covered most are, and it 's also free. – "KJV Bible Words & Expressions.zip". You might also ocassionally check my personal page for this, and other Bible related down-loads as I find them. As long as they are legally free to distribute, and the Lord, time, and web space permit. – "Samuel's Down-Loads".
In addition to the Prayer request link below, I have also added a link to my personal Guestbook on the Forum. I would really like to see your comments, and suggestions about the website. You do not need to be registered, to comment in the guestbook. Or to make, view, and answer Prayer Requests.