1. Religion & Spirituality
Mary Fairchild

Tips for Choosing the Best Bible

By August 15, 2007

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If you're having trouble selecting a Bible, you are not alone.
Choosing the Best Bible
With so many versions, translations and hundreds of different study Bibles to choose from, it's hard to know which one to buy. One reader, Jo, offers this advice:
    "The Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation (rather than New International Version, which I also own), is the best Bible I've ever owned. Even my ministers have liked the translation. The #1 on your top 10 list is the Life Application, which I do very much like. But I think the New Living Translation is easier to understand than the New International Version and it costs considerably less. It's put out by Tyndale House Publishers versus Zondervan who publishes the NIV."
I'm actually embarrassed to admit, I own fourteen different study Bibles that I've accumulated over the years. But most of us don't have the budget or the time to build such an assorted collection. Instead, let me present a few tips to help you decide on the best Bible.

Compare Translations

It's a good idea to have at least one Bible in the particular translation that your minister uses to teach and preach from in church. This makes it easier to follow along during the service. But, like Jo encourages, you may also want to have a personal study Bible in the translation that is easiest for you to understand.

Research Before You Buy

Talk to people about their favorite Bibles and ask them to explain what it is they like about them. Carefully consider what's most important to you before you buy. Once you've narrowed down your selection, compare prices, text sizes and preferred cover materials. Often the same Bible will come in different cover formats. Genuine leather will obviously be the most expensive, next bonded leather, then hardback, and paperback as your least expensive option.

Photo: © Bill Fairchild

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Comments
August 21, 2007 at 7:57 pm
(1) Gerry McAuley says:

I bought a Life Application Bible- New Living Translation – last year and found it just the best. This year my wife and I are using ” The Daily Bible in Chronological Order- 365 Daily Readings ‘ edited by F. LaGard Smith and published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene Oregon. That is great since I have a timeline chart when I read. Thanks.

July 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm
(2) Ted Michael Morgan says:

COMMENTS ON ENGLISH VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE AND STUDY BIBLES

STUDY BIBLES seem popular At least, publishers introduce, revise, and re-introduce many editions of them and members of study groups or Sunday school classes to which I belong often have study Bibles with various translations and with commentaries from diverse points-of-view. Barnes and Noble and other book stores display them in large numbers. Some editions seem to me whimsical. Others include commentary by distinguished biblical scholars.

I have worn out several copies of succeeding editions of what is now The Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Revised Standard Version, my old favorite study Bible that I first used in 1964 in classes at university. My parents gave me that first copy for Christmas, 1963. Today, I own and refer to several study Bibles, though they are sufficiently expensive that I recommend readers by only one or two study Bibles.

I do believe that study Bibles help me read and better understand scripture, even though I realize that they have limited application simply because the commentators largely have to gloss the texts, even in these large books. Nevertheless, I think that to a degree the annotations and introductions can help readers grasp important aspects of biblical texts. The Bibles are still small enough to take to services, groups, and classes. Sometimes a simple reference can deeply enrich reading a text in a group or class.

Many of the study Bibles I know use critical-historical methods to explore scriptures. Some others combine these with a canonical outlook that takes into account the way churches have historically understood the Bible. Further, other study Bibles interpret scripture from an evangelical viewpoint. I personally enjoy and frequently use Catholic study Bibles that uses a combination of critical-historical study methods with some general attention to Catholic doctrine and to what my mother names the plan of salvation. Members of the Disciple of Christ edited two of the best study Bibles.

As I indicated, all study Bible necessarily have limitations. One criticism as indicated involves limitations of historical-critical readings of scripture. I do not know one that satisfactorily explores my theological concerns though there are study Bibles that use the teachings of the Reformed tradition as a basis for notes.

A couple of study Bibles I use are devotional study Bibles. One The
Spiritual Formation Bible (NRSV), published by the conservative Christian

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publisher Zondervan and edited by staff from The Upper Room publishers, uses
traditional ways of reading scripture as part of spiritual formation. Another, The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible (NRSV), edited by Richard Foster does much the same thing but from a slightly different outlook with attention to a broad range of matters that concern Christians. A group of editors and commentators from a broad range of Christian points-of-view produced this helpful devotional Bible.

The texts for most of my study Bibles are the Revised Standard Version, its later revision the New Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, and its later revision the Revised English Bible. These are translations from committees of scholar representatives from major Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic and Orthodox denominations. I very much enjoy reading the Hebrew Bible in the Revised English Bible and I find the Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible (REB) with Apocrypha particularly helpful. The 23 articles in this edition are outstanding in their clarity and range for such short articles.

The first two translations are generally one-to-one word equivalent translations. The second two are thought -to-thought equivalent translations. There are formal or technical names for kinds of translations. Formal equivalent is roughly a word for word translation. Dynamic equivalent is roughly thought for thought. There are also paraphrase translations.

These divisions are not absolute. Translations tend to use all these forms because of difficulties transposing meaning from texts in biblical languages to other languages. Interestingly, early Christians, including the Apostle Paul, used Aramaic and Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible.

A Google web search reveals articles about translation and about versions of the Bible. There are also interesting blogs.

No translation is perfect and no Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text is perfect or even original. All translations are in some sense interpretations. There are critics of all translations, including my favorite versions. Many critics offer alternative translations.

Apparently, the best selling modern translation is the New International Version, translated by a committee of conservative Christian scholars, including some Mennonite scholars. This translation is largely a word for word equivalent translation, though some commentators find it a freer translation than the Revised Standard Version and even the New Revised Standard Version. Many critics and
many members of groups and classes in which I take part highly regard the New

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International Version. I know the NIV New Testament well. During the eighties, I
used it as my devotional New Testament. I do not know the Old Testament text. Zondervan, publisher of the NIV offers a wide range of study Bibles that use the NIV text. For myself, I find the NIV New Testament has a bias toward millennialism; however, The New Interpreter’s Bible uses it a one of its two texts and the Norton Critical Edition of the Writings of St. Paul also uses the NIV version.

Another excellent conservative translation is the English Standard Version, which the translators model on the Revised Standard Version with certain corrections and revisions they deem important. These often have to do with translating the Old Testament from the Greek Bible that the writers of the New Testament used rather than the received Hebrew text. Some commentators find some of its rendering unnecessarily stilted. The publisher of this translation will introduce a study edition in October 2008. You can sample sections of it online.

Most study Bibles that I know do not use other translations I enjoy reading. An exception is The Jewish Study Bible, edited by Adele Berlin and March Zvi Brettler, and published by Oxford University Press. This study Bible uses the text of the Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh translation. A positive aspect of this commentary is that it is Jewish and does not interpret the text in terms of the New Testament. Sometimes that is helpful even to Christians because it opens new readings to us and it helps us better and more fairly grasp Judaism for itself.

By the way, I enjoy reading the New Living Translation as well as both the Contemporary English Version, and Today’s English Version from the American Bible Society. My brother David gave me my now well worn copy of the CEV several years ago. Elsewhere I have written my take on various study Bibles. I no longer have a single favorite.

One reason that I use the Revised Standard Version, The New Revised Standard, the New English Bible, and the Revised English Version is that they include the Deuterocanonical (second canon) books. After all, they were part of the ancient Greek Bible in use at the time of Jesus and included in the
scriptures of the early church. Most Christian churches included these books in their canons of scripture and even many Protestants have found reading them worthwhile. They do not change doctrines but they do nurture spiritual formation. Some modern translations do not include them.

I do recommend, if you can afford to buy it, a one volume Bible
commentary. The scope of these volumes let the commentaries explore topics,

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frequently addressed only in abbreviated ways in study Bibles, with sufficient
depth and range for lay readers. For over forty years, I profitably used an edition of Peake’s Bible Commentary as my single one volume commentary.

There are several excellent one-volume Bible commentaries. I use the most recent of them–The Oxford Bible Commentary, The order in this commentary follows Protestant Bibles, but it includes articles on books included in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. I use this commentary rather than The Jerome Bible Commentary simply because it is more recent and up-to-date.

These one-volume commentaries are expensive but often not much more expensive than a study Bible and usually much less expensive than even one commentaries on an individual book of the Bible. The Baton Rouge Public Library offers all of these translations, study Bibles, and commentaries as well as major commentary series such as the Anchor Bible Commentaries.

In addition, I own a copy of The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, edited by several distinguished scholars and published by Cambridge University Press. The text of this work is lucid, the format easy to use, and the commentary scholarly and up-to-date. The bibliographies are evocative and valuable guides to further reading and study.

Study Bibles help me in my studies in small groups, classes, and in private study as well as even in my private devotions. Take a look at some of them the next time you are in the bookstore or library. There are many excellent choices.

August 29, 2011 at 8:32 am
(3) Bill says:

All translations are in some sense interpretations? Really? I am a translator and take great exception to that statement. Translation of the orginals is more than memorizing words, as some seem to do. A true translation of the N.T., for example [Nestle-Aland] is more than just a bunch of “Greek guys” spouting off words. Do you even have an idea of Reflexive and Reciprocal use of pronouns? Do you know what the “imperative mood” is really all about? Until you truly do understand these things, you should not speak of “these things” about translation. Thank you

January 28, 2009 at 9:59 am
(4) AWolf says:

lol – How can “the Bible” be the “Word of God” if there are 100s (if not 1000s) of translations over thousands of years – each different in it’s own way? And the American English versions are a real stretch to anyone who takes the time to compare to a standard(?) King James version. If it is the Word, should not there be ONE version?

April 8, 2009 at 12:13 am
(5) ALBrough says:

To AWolf: You are correct, and the only text that stands the test of time is the KJV. The many versions and perversions that are available is the same old story from the garden of eden. Yea, hath God said?? Satan’s relentless attack on the Word of God is evident when he tries to cause confusion as to what God has said. The many different versions that are available is also a money making scheme by the publishers. Always something “new” to keep people buying. The bible makes it very clear in Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them , O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Now either God did that, or He is a liar, and if a liar, He is not God. The choice is yours, but as for me, the King James Version is the preserved Word of God, and that is what I will hide in my heart that I might now sin against Him!

August 29, 2011 at 8:38 am
(6) BIll says:

KJV best – stamds the test of time – really? That is actually funny. Many like it beacuse the copyright is past and you can copy it for free. I prefer my Biblia Hebraica and Novum Testamentum Graece. KJV – the best – thanks for the early monday morning laugh.

December 1, 2011 at 4:37 am
(7) malibu says:

bill i think your rude and a bit of a know it all actually alot of a know it all .

April 29, 2009 at 7:32 am
(8) JB Dean says:

The King James Version is the Bible to use. It is correct. There is nothing wrong in writing articles from it. Even a study guide is good but always go to the King James Bible for correct information. Today in many churches one can’t follow along in the services because of the use of so many translations. Also remember confusion is not from God.

June 5, 2009 at 11:57 pm
(9) Handyman says:

I strongly agree with JB Dean. The King James
Bible is the only Bible to use. All The other
ones are perversions. And they are not true.

July 14, 2009 at 10:18 pm
(10) Mike says:

The KJV is NOT the only bible to use. That is pure unadulterated nonsense! It’s based on religious tradition and ignorance. Actually, the newer versions use older and more reliable manuscripts. The KJV does NOT. But who cares about accuracy when you can have habit, tradition, and the archaic KJV! So much for new wine in new bottles! Matthew 9:16-17.

July 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm
(11) Helen says:

Mike,I once thought as you did and used an NIV Study Bible for 10 years; however,I finally went back to the KJV. You are misinformed. The KJV is the only Bible based on the reliable Received Text and is a word for word translation. Any added words in the text are in italics. The newer versions are based on corrupt manuscripts. Words have been added and subtracted to suit the translators. Beware! See http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=52006193951 for some insight into this subject. I hope this helps.

August 11, 2009 at 11:44 am
(12) handbri says:

The King James version is good, but it is in no way the only reliable translation. Granted many of the newer versions are perversions in seeking gender equality or more politically correct language and ought to be avoided (TNIV, NRSV, etc). Still if you want the most reliable reading of the scriptures you must learn both Greek and Hebrew. The King James along with every other translation is just that, a translation and can never convey a perfect meaning of the words in the original language. But it is a truth that all people ought to be able to have the Bible available in their own language. The language of the KJV is no longer the English spoken in our day. Ask the average person what it means when Solomon went into the cave to “cover his feet”? Something like the ESV is a modern word for word translation and I find it to be excellent and true to the Greek (have not yet studied Hebrew to give an honest opinion of the OT). Either way the point to say that ALL modern translations are perversions is just silly and ends pressed to hard end up taking the Word of God out of the hands of the people.

August 26, 2009 at 10:06 am
(13) David Murray says:

To say that the King James Version is the only correct version, and that it’s absolutely correct, is complete nonsense. What about the fact that 2,000 plus language groups still don’t have the Bible in their native tongues? When scholars go in and translate the Bible with these groups, should they translate from the King James Version, or should they go back to the original Hebrew and Greek? And regardless does the resulting translation hold less authority than our KJV because it’s not in Old English? Should the word of God not be available to all language groups, for example, those who speak Lusoga, not Swahili, English and not Old English?

September 21, 2009 at 7:25 pm
(14) jan says:

@handbri and david: You’re so right!!! By the way: THe KJV isn’t even one of the best bibles available. Even the German Lutherbible(same manuscripts, even older than the KJV) is better than it, and the Lutherbible even is not the best German Bible. Any of you who can read German: just check out the “Elberfelder 2006″- I know no bible that’s as accurate as this one![expecially the Study bible of this translation -with Key word reference] It is even more literally and informative than the NASB, thes best English bible I know.

March 24, 2010 at 9:03 am
(15) sagedog says:

I used to think the KJV was the only reliable version too, but I mainly use the NLT now. What all these KJV people must realize is that the KJV(a very good bible) is also a translation in itself. If you can’t understand what you are reading then why not use other versions. I don’t see any corruption in them

April 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(16) Rod says:

I’ve been using my NIV Bible since the mid-eighties. It took me awhile to get use to the grammar, but now it’s the only Bible I use. It has MANY footnotes when sources disagree, which I find very useful.

I bought a single column version that has fairly large type. With age, I have “grown” into the larger typeface. And the single column has regular paragraphs like any other book; which I find easier to use and can place verses into better context.

Spend to money and get a leather bound edition. Good luck in wearing it out. :o )

June 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(17) dreamon says:

NIV has deleted scriptures–You might want to Google NIV deleted scriptures to see how many have been altered…As well known as THE OUR FATHER prayer is, in Luke 11 they deleted “deliver us from evil” it is in the footnotes but ??? I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT BUT I WANT TO BE DELIVERED FROM EVIL!!!!

July 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm
(18) Bob Millard says:

I’m an atheist. I enjoy reading the bible in the same way that I enjoy any other writing from antiquity. I like the King James Version best because it is the most poetic. But this thread certainly seems to support my non-belief. Lusoga? Swahili? There are thousands of languages on this small planet, which is perhaps far bigger than the movement of a supposed caucasian God who spoke in 17th century English ; ).

November 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm
(19) customcartoons says:

Try not to rashly assume that we Christians envision God to be an English speaking Caucasian. Thanks.

July 8, 2010 at 1:36 am
(20) An Irish Ironworker says:

Its not that your torch is brighter or better than anyone elses torch . Just maybe you might have the only torch in a dark room , or you are in a place of many torches. whatever your case maybe your torch a.k.a BIBLE is still your light for the path to heaven.

August 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm
(21) Dave says:

Too many people dismiss the King James version, saying it is archaic and outdated. Let’s remember one thing, it is the FIRST translation intro English ordered by King James of England. It was ordered to allow the common parishioners, who could not understand Latin, the opportunity to read the Bible for themselves. If you seek another translation, compare it to the KJV to make sure no verses were left out!

September 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm
(22) Brad says:

Actually, the KJV was not the first version in English nor is the current KJV the same as the Authorized Version that was presented to the King in 1611. There is a good book on the English Bible history by Donald L. Brake called the Visual History of the English Bible. Well worth the read for the English reader just to gain an understanding on were the various English translations came from and why.

November 11, 2010 at 6:01 am
(23) Ronald Mulcahy says:

The KJV is without doubt the most accurate reliable translation in the english language. New versions such as the abomination called the New International Version leave out so many portions of scripture, it’s a very serious matter. God warns in revelation about adding to or subtracting from the Word. For example the verse in I John, there are three that bear witness in earth, is completely left out. This is an attack on the fundamental doctrine of the Trinity. There are many more too numerous to mention, but this makes the NIV the equivalent of the Watchtower bible, used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. What Christian would use a Watchtower bible? Yet so many use these modern translations. There is a reason for these omissions. These new translations are translated from supposedly “older and better manuscripts” than the Textus Receptus which the King James Version is translated from. These manuscripts were found in Alexandria in Egypt, which was a centre of gross heresy and apostatism. It was the stronghold of the Aryans, equivalent of modern day Jehovah’s witnesses who denied the trinity. The manuscripts which the King James Version were translated from came from Antioch, the centre of the true church under Paul’s ministry.

Think about it – which translation is right?

November 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm
(24) David says:

I sometimes think logic and common sense is majorly overlooked when it comes to religion. Let me ask the same argument differently; If you went to the Dr complaining of a headache, and he proceeded to pull out a drill and explain to you how drilling this hole in your head and “letting out some blood” would cure you. Would you be, Ahh okay Doc, thanks! or Are you crazy!? Why are people fighting over versions of the Bible? Do you think translators from the time the KJV was written were smarter than translators now? I’d like to think we’ve learned more in the past 300 years about languages. Verses left out?? Maybe they were translated wrong in the first place, was that ever an option in your mind? I’ve been trying to learn more about how the Bible was written, I need to study some Latin! I agree with the ppl saying that what about the earlier versions of the Bible than the KJV? Wouldn’t the KJV just be a perversion of them? I think the statement made that all versions are teaching the same message is correct, some ppl just cling to believing they are the only ones who could ever be right…lol, “and He decreed, Thou who readeth of my translation of the Bible shall alwayeth be righteth” So a Bible with a mans name on it is #1, how conceited to translate the Word and write your name on it like you own it.

January 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm
(25) nick says:

So you would prefer to be missing around 64 thousand words? why not just turn to the Bible itself. 1 modern versions are translated by nonbelievers so look at Proverbs 1:7 and tell me if they are smarter. 2 Revelation 22:18-19… do you think this was written “just in case” or perhaps that someone would actually do that. Is this not “logic and common sense” so you tell me in your ” logic and common sense” what version do you prefer?

February 21, 2011 at 1:11 am
(26) Kim says:

Wow unless you are reading greek or hebrew you are reading a translation of the bible so why not read what you understand. I tried to read the kjv and was completely lost so I have gotten a few different versions to compare and that I can understand.

March 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm
(27) Braden says:

If you would actually sit down and really TRY to read the King James Bible, and stop thinking about how you “don’t understand it”, it’s really a lot more blunt and easy to follow than most modern Christians think it is! The Authorized King James Bible is the only version I use, because in my opinion it is more reliable, and more easy to understand than any of the “New and Better” versions. Preachers should have never let it leave their pulpits. I’m sure most people have good intentions to help God’s Word survive, but revision isn’t always the answer. So let’stop trying to “improve” God’s Word, stop trying to analyze every single part of it as if it’s still in Greek, and let His infallible Word speak for Itself!

May 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm
(28) anthony says:

Anybody who wants to say that the KJV is the only Bible version that is credible should do research. If you look at how the KJV started you would find that the translators of the KJV actually used the Bishop’s Bible and the Geneva Bible to make the KJV. Plus the original KJV of 1611 included the apocrypha books. Some of the translators of the KJV were actually roman catholic. I will say that i do like the style and poetic way of the KJV. The ESV is one of the best translations in my opinion. Its up to you and God to decide what Bible version that HE would have you to read and study. Blessings.

September 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm
(29) I'm A Saint says:

My five year old daughter(who we homeschool) reads chapters of the AKJV with some help on bigger words. We teach her to use a concordence, and help her use it. She answers questions we ask her about the scripture she’s read, and she answers with full comprehension. I used NASB for years…. but then a nice older man sat next to me on a street bench as I was reading the Word. He asked,”Mind he we study together young man?”, I replied,”Sure.” We began to study in the new testament, alternating who would read. I quickly began to realize my “bible” was much if not, totally different than his at times. I asked the gentleman, “Why his had verses mine did not have, and why words were missing from mine?” He smiled and handed me a paper back KJV from his book bag, got up and said,”Read this bible and compare it to others you use.” Thus, I began a journey of no return. I have lists of thousands upon thousands of verses, and words changed or omitted. When I say changed I do not mean simply the “word” itself (Obviously in new versions it would be), but the meanings of the words are changed… Also, I began to look into who owns these bible publishing companies. If you did deep enough for yourself (not from reading a book, but call and ask), you would be shocked and utterly disgusted. Also, I looked into the “scholars and translators.” Yet again, I say: a real eye opener. I leave you with this question to ponder upon: How many translations did the levites have and use? With love and grace from our Lord Jesus Christ~

January 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm
(30) William says:

Bibles are personal. Who are we to say what is truly the best for anyone but ourselves!

January 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm
(31) Barbara Hill says:

I also have several different versions of the Bible. I do like the NIV very much as well as the Living Bible. Our minister frequenty uses The Message. I do not like this because it is to difficult to follow along with using one of the other versions. I do like the King James version also. The King James can be a little more difficult however many of the popular Bible verses that we learned as children or have heard many times over the years just don’t sound right from any other version.

September 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm
(32) Anjoyla says:

Irsh Ironworker you said it beautifully. Thank you.

Jesus taught in parables when the people didn’t understand he explained them to the people. There are many different translations and types of bible to meet each persons needs. People have diffferent reading comprehension levels and so there is a version to meet their need. Forcing someone to read a version that they don’t understand doesn’t help the person it only alienates the person. The bible is suppose to bring about a relationship to God and Jesus not turn someone away. Hence why there are many translations.

October 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm
(33) Disciple Doug says:

Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you what bible will be best for you.

December 6, 2012 at 9:37 am
(34) Cory says:

I read all this controversy about the KJV. Not saying that its bad just I do believe there are better versions out there. But am I the only one who has Actually reasearched why the King James bible came out? And What King James’ motive was behind it? King James was actually a very evil man. And didn’t not abide or believe alot of what is said in the bible. The KJV bible is based on what the king believed. Now why don’t you all stop arguing and go research Why the KJV was created and Who King James actually was.

December 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm
(35) Schism says:

All these people calling the NIV an abomination are being rude. Speaking from the POV of a lifelong New International Version user, I can say that I love it. I have tried to read the KJV, but found it agonizingly hard to read, on account of it having such old language. I guess what I’m getting at is, this is a Christian site, so please bear in mind other people’s feelings.

March 1, 2013 at 8:35 am
(36) paul says:

I have to confess that I’ve found this thread depressing in places. The way people are speaking of different translations reminds me of the way Americans vote for presidential candidates (read – cheerleaders), or of the superiority of one type of dog over another.

As far as it goes, all translations are just that: translations. I’ve long admired the way Islam keeps the Koran in the original Arabic so arguments over translations are minimized. So are (western) Christian layity just lazy in refusing to learn koine Greek, Aramaic and historical Hebrew? It would almost appear so, at least if Christians are going argue among themselves about translations.

To me it seems that most any decent translation is going to serve one well. The real trick is putting what the Scripture says into practice. Do that and see how trivial the differences become. As to the Francis Bacon…err “King James” bible, I think it’s pretty clear by now that better (i.e.; more linguistically accurate) translations exist.

Bacon revised the KJV for over a year before returning the final draft to James for publication. It’s no accident that it reads like Shakespeare in places! But as with anything else, artistic license often displaces authenticity for the sake of itself. Not saying it does here necessarily, just that knowing the cast helps one better understand the play. After all, we are talking about a book, and Sir Francis’ penned some of the finest. Considering the Shakespeare hypothesis, one would do well to consider his year with the KJV revisions. Just saying.

Or you might pick up a copy of the Nag Hammadi Library which, unlike the Canon, was actually penned at the time of Christ, although most “Christians” appearantly have little use for that sort of authenticity. Still, it’s a library well worth reading, even if it does create panic in the aisles among right-wing Evangelicals. Perhaps precisely so. Nothing like a dose of reality to get people to start seeing things more clearly…

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