Which Version of the Bible?


Olive Tree Bible Software
People often ask me which version of the Bible I use.  My answer is that I use different versions for different purposes and I often use more than one at a time.
I usually read my Bible on my iPad using my logos / faithlife library.  Faithlife is linked to our presentation software at church - so if a Bible verse appears on the slides - it could also appear on your phone :)

I also use Olive Tree; and I often use https://www.biblegateway.com/.  All of these programmes make it very easy for me to switch between versions and quickly search for scriptures using key words or phrases that I remember.  They also keep my place from one device to the next which is useful - I can do sermon prep at a moments notice and keep notes using Google Docs and Google Slides.

For my own personal devotions and reading I prefer to use the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible:

New Revised Standard Version (From Wikipedia 2019-06-03)

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The New Revised Standard Version(NRSV) is an English translationof the Biblepublished in 1989 by the National Council of Churches. It is a revision of the Revised Standard Version, which was itself an update of the American Standard Version.[2]The NRSV was intended as a translation to serve devotional, liturgical and scholarly needs of the broadest possible range of religious adherents. The full translation includes the books of the standard Protestantcanon as well as the Deuterocanonical books traditionally included in the canons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern OrthodoxChristianity.
The translation appears in three main formats: an edition including only the books of the Protestant canon, a Roman Catholic Edition with all the books of that canon in their customary order, and The Common Bible, which includes the books that appear in Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox canons (but not additional books from the Syriac and Ethiopian traditions).[3][third-party source needed] Special editions of the NRSV employ British spelling and grammar.[4]

From the pulpit I usually use the NIV Bible; this is a very popular version published by Zondervan - which if you enjoy conspiracy theories is owned by Harper Collins, owned by NewsCorp, controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch :) - Bible Sales is big business!

New International Version (From Wikipedia 2019-06-03)

The New International Version (NIV) is an English translation of the Bible first published in 1978 by Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society). The NIV was published to meet the need for a modern translation done by Bible scholars using the earliest, highest quality manuscripts available. Of equal importance was that the Bible be expressed in broadly understood modern English.
A team of 15 biblical scholars, representing a variety of denominations, worked from the oldest copies of reliable texts, variously written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Each section was subjected to multiple translations and revisions, and those assessed in detail to produce the best option. Everyday Bible readers were used to provide feedback on ease of understanding and comprehensibility. Finally, plans were made to continue revision of the Bible as new discoveries were made and as changes in the use of the English language occurred.
The NIV is published by Zondervan in the United States and Hodder & Stoughton in the UK. The NIV was updated in 1984 and 2011,[3] and has become one of the most popular and best selling modern translations.[4]

My favourite Bible despite its inaccuracy and paraphrased translations is the Good News Bible; I think its my favourite because I grew up with it - and it is the easiest to understand.  Translators emphasised producing a Bible in very simple English with limited vocabulary to make it easy for second language speakers to read and to hear.  As I've learned more and more about Theology and the Bible I've spotted some upsetting mistranslations.  For example when the Greek says something like: "and then they will die" the Good News tends to say: "and they will go to hell."  I've learned to spot these phrases that are differently translated and glad that I am able to read more than one version at a time.
The Good News Version is the version I prefer for the daily Read Think Pray readings.

The Good News BIble (2016-06-03 - Wikipedia)

The Good News Bible(GNB), also called the Good News Translation (GNT) in the United States, is an English translation of the Bible by the American Bible Society. It was first published as the New Testament under the name Good News for Modern Man in 1966. It was anglicised into British English by the British and Foreign Bible Society with the use of metric measurements for the Commonwealth market. It was formerly known as Today's English Version (TEV), but in 2001 was renamed the Good News Translation in the U.S., because the American Bible Society wished to improve the GNB's image as a "translation" where it had a public perception as a "paraphrase".[1] Despite the official terminology, it is still often referred to as the Good News Bible in the United States. It is also uniquely a multi-denominational translation with editions popularly used by every major Christian denomination. It is published by HarperCollins, a subsidiary of News Corp.
For some poetic variation - and hopefully a new angle on some subjects or passages I will also refer to the New Living Translation and The Message; both of these versions of the Bible stray too far from the original sentence constructions and language for me to be completely comfortable; but they are useful in helping to gain better understanding.
The King James and New King James Bibles are also useful and they're not bad translations; they're also cheap to buy and readily available in the shops; I suppose they're royalty free.  I think the best way to use a Bible for serious study if you are not able to read in the original languages is to have multiple translations available and try to understand something of the philosophy that went into translating them.  When people translate books of the Bible they always make interpretative decisions and those decisions will always be influenced by their doctrinal inclinations and cultural context.
Joking I said to my minister - "OK I've read the whole Bible a few times - what next?"  And smiling he responded:  "But has it read you?"

So - if you're going Bible Shopping at a local book store you should be able to find the NIV quite easily - avoid the King James versions because they're hard to read - but nice to have for the olde worlde feel.  The Good News should also be quite easy to find but it isn't as popular as it used to be.  The New Living Translation is helpful for easy reading; but not necessarily the best for academic study.

If you buy a Study Bible - remember the study notes will come from a specific perspective; I prefer to go with perspectives I understand even though I might not agree with them - that way I'm able to recognize why an interpreter will say what they have to say; the NIV Study Bible is fairly middle of the road conservative; the ESV Study Bible is more conservative but has lots of lovely maps and charts; Life Application Study Bibles etc. are useful but I think they go a bit too far in doing the work of interpreting... thats your job!