I have at least a dozen physical Bibles, in seven different translations, within my reach right at this moment. There are probably at least as many on other bookshelves in the house. If my count is correct, there are fifty-two English versions of the Bible that can be easily accessed at BibleGateway.com. Add to that all of the specially targeted versions like women’s, men’s, student, study, slimline, large print, devotional, children’s, and daily reading Bibles, and there are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of Bibles to choose from.
The choices are endless. It is understandable that publishers try to make the Bible appealing to as many people as possible. (My cynical side, however, notices a blatant appeal to American consumerism in the marketing of Bibles.)
What translation(s) of the Bible do you use? I use several different translations, but I tend to stick with one for general use.
The New International Version, NIV, Bible was my go-to Bible for some of the most formative years of my faith. My study Bible was well used, and I was very sad when Genesis started falling out. I kept shoving it back in, but eventually I had to face the fact that my Bible was coming apart. While the same words of truth can by found in other Bibles, all of my notes and underlined passages cannot. Sigh. I bought another NIV Bible and proceeded to create new notes.
I often read The Message and other paraphrases of Biblical text for added perspective when studying a passage. It’s a good idea to read several versions of a text, and I am amazed how a reliable paraphrase can expand my view.
One day my church and Community Bible Study changed translations. Suddenly all Bible passages were read from the ESV, English Standard Version, instead of the NIV. This was unsettling. There’s something about being told that my trusty Bible was being replaced that makes me a bit feisty. I still primarily use my NIV Bible and consult the ESV when necessary.
A recent addition to my library came from a friend who had a dozen or so Bibles that were given to her daughter, and she asked if I wanted any. Never one to pass up an opportunity for another Bible, I took her up on it. The Voice, a new translation as of 2012 and one that I had never heard of, was the Bible I selected. After reading the NIV for so long, I hope to be shaken out of my familiar by this new translation.
There are dozens of faithful translations and endless target audiences, but God’s Word still speaks powerfully to anyone with the heart to read it.
That’s my story. What’s yours?
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105
What Bible translation(s) do you prefer? Do you use different translations for different purposes?