What's The Best Bible
How to Pick The Best Study Bible For YOU!
Is there really a such
thing as the best Bible translation?
When I first got serious about studying God's Word, I
remember walking into the Christian bookstore, heading over to the huge
Bible section, and feeling totally overwhelmed!
Which one was the best study Bible?
Not only were there way too many Bible translations, but each
translation had it's own bookshelf full of various versions to choose
from. I had absolutely no idea
where to start!
When I tried to find out which was the best Bible translation, everyone
had their own opinion.
Some said that the King James Version was the only REAL
translation, and the others were not really the Word of
God at all!
Others said that I had to use the New International Version because
the King James Version was impossible to understand.
And on and on...
Well, if you have ever wondered what the best Bible translation really
is, I have some news that I hope will set you free: There is no ONE
Bible translation for everyone!
The truth is, depending on your personality, your current understanding
of God's Word, and your individual learning style, the best Bible translation for you may not work for me, and vise versa.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular translations, and discuss
their unique benefits. Then, you can decide which one you
think will work best for you!
Picking The Best Study Bible for You
The KJV is what most people consider to be the traditional translation
- It is a very literal word for word translation of the
- It is written in Old English, which gives it the
elegance that we are used to hearing when we hear the Bible read aloud.
- Since it is written with thee, thou and other
words that we no longer use, it can be confusing for some.
- There is a newer version of the KJV Bible called the
New King James Version (NKJV)
that is also a word for word
translation, but is a bit more modern and easier to understand.
The NIV version of the Bible is currently the most widely read English
The NLT Translation is
one of the newest translations of the Bible (1996).
- It is a much more modern translation (1978) which makes it
easier to understand. But, some of the original scriptural
meaning can seem a bit
- It is not as literal of a translation as the KJV because it
thought-for-thought instead of word-for-word.
- The NIV is still considered to hold the
original meaning of the Bible because it attempts to capture the entire
- But, some do argue that certain thoughts in the NIV are
not complete because they omit things that other translations do
not. (For instance, in the NIV, there is no Matt 18:11 or
Acts 8:37, both of which may or may not have been in the
- This is probably the most easily understood Bible
translation, which is why I use it in most of our free Bible studies on this
- But, as with the NIV version, the actual meaning of the
scriptures can sometimes be watered down in an effort to make them
- It is considered to be another thought-for-thought
- The NLT is an excellent version if you are a new Christian
or if you are
just getting into studying the Word for yourself. Even if you have been
studying the Bible for years, you may still enjoy the straightforward
wording of this Bible.
The AMP translation is said to reveal subtle shades of meaning in God's
- It uses the exact word meanings and the context in which
the word was being used to try and give a more accurate Bible
- Since most Hebrew and Greek words do not have exact English
translations, the AMP gives you multiple English words to explain the
Hebrew and Greek words. These extras make this
translation a bit controversial.
- This is more of an advanced translation. The use
of the words in parenthesis and brackets to provide deeper meaning can
confusing for new readers.
- But, if you are looking for a more in-depth look at
specific scriptures, this may be the best Bible translation for you.
The NASB is a VERY literal translation of the original text.
- It is a word for word translation, often even
preserving the original grammatical structure of the text.
- It can be a bit difficult to read, but an updated version
created in 1995 that is easier to follow.
- The NASB is often the best Bible translation for those who are looking for
literal word-for-word translation of the original text.
is the Best Bible Translation for You?
To help you decide,
here is an example of one verse written in each of
the 5 translations:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor
standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
International Version (NIV)
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of
sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
Living Translation (NLT)
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with
sinners, or join in with mockers.
BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who
walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their
advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive]
in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where
the scornful [and the mockers] gather.
American Standard Bible (NASB)
How blessed is the man who does not walk in
the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in
the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Personally, if I were stuck on a deserted island, and I
have one translation of the Bible for the rest of my days, it would
definitely be my Amplified
. The one I have here at home is
literally falling apart at the seams from use!
Over the years, God has
used my AMP translation to reveal some really powerful things to me
about the true meaning of
many over-simplified words (like the word blessed that we see in the
above scripture example).
But, thankfully, I will never be stranded on a desert island, so I
don't have to choose
I really don't think there is one best Bible translation for
me. Most Christians
find that, as their understanding of the Word deepens, they
are able to do more in depth study when they are studying from various
translations, instead of just one translation alone.
It's kind of like being in school - Even if you have a really good
teacher, it's always helpful to have someone else who says things a bit
things to you a second time.
Studying from multiple translations also
opens up the door for the Holy Spirit to use each translation to speak
to you in a different way. In my own study time, I have found
that to be invaluable.
If you are at the point in your Christian walk where you are
looking to really dig into the world, a Comparative
Study Bible that includes several translations in
one can help you take your studying to the next level.
The one that I have linked to above is my favorite
because it includes the NIV, the Amplified, the King James, and the
NASB Bible translations all in one book. In fact, the various
translations are even
on the same page, allowing you to study scriptures in the different
versions all at the same time.
In my humble
is the best study Bible.
this explanation of the
different kinds of Bibles has helped you discover what the best Bible
translation for you really is. If you still have questions
about which Bible is right for you, just ask, and I
will do my best to help you decide!
If you would like to learn how to study your Bible more effectively,
The Hem's free Bible Study Basics course is now available as a free eBook and a free eCourse - Just
choose what's best for your Christian lifestyle.