about LIFE and Belief - why are we here?
The Holy Bible
Which version of the Bible?
When you want to read a Bible, which translation should
you go for? It seems as though every publisher under the sun has "its
own translation", doesn't it? And this can be so confusing.
New Living Translation †††
Written in today's English, this is very helpful for someone
who is new to Christianity, and wants to understand what is going on.
It's very readable. To quote one reader,
"I have read the bible for many years in [other]
translations, but never have I been so in love with the
J John, the evangelist, says "I find that, in terms of communicating the meaning of the original text to our world today, it is one of the best versions around."
See the New Living Translation web site for a free online Bible text lookup.
NIV New International Version †††
This is one of my own personal preferences, using the "language of today". Good quality, understandable plain English, and as accurate as English allows it to be. (By that I mean that some words don't translate from the Greek very easily - but that's another story - ask me about it some time.)
RSV Revised Standard Version ††
This version has been praised for its technical accuracy, whilst retaining the "thee", "thy" and "thou" when characters in the Bible speak to God. Personally I find it a bit hard going because of its style. Written a while back - "revised" in 1881-1885, then again in 1901. Updated in 1952, and again with some revisions to the New Testament in 1971.
GNB Good News Bible ††
This is a good translation in what I would call "easy English". Very readable, and easy to follow. Good for beginners to the faith, but later on I would recommend the NIV for deeper understanding and accuracy, or for study.
KJV King James Version / AV Authorised Version (1611) †
This delightful old version has served its purpose for
many years; but is out of date for two reasons.
Jerusalem Bible †
The Jerusalem Bible is a lovely translation and one I sometimes go back to. It has a nice written style, and usually contains those extra books known as the "Apocrypha" - books omitted from most modern translations as not belonging to the "approved canon of scripture" - in other words, their contribution to the faith has been called into question. However, the Roman Catholic church still uses them today (and they are the largest Christian Church in the world).
The Amplified Bible ††
No, this doesn't mean that it shouts at you!
To help you study and understand
A Concordance is a book (or a section of a book) that
contains words from the Bible. You look up the words and it tells you
which verses to find them in. An "exhaustive concordance" is just that
- exhaustive: it tells you every occurrence of every word in the Bible.
Over the top for all but the most enthusiastic word scholars!
NIV Study ††
This is the NIV Bible as above, but with lots of helpful study notes at the bottom of each page, giving explanations of key verses. At the back is a concordance and maps etc.
NIV Thompson Chain Reference Edition †††
I found this very helpful if you want to study the Bible
in more depth, perhaps for preaching, college courses and for essays.
However, if you are doing a college course, please ask them and find
out which version they recommend for that course; the tutor may have
Here are two that I would certainly recommend if you are into preaching or leading a Bible Study Group etc.
1. The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English,
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To show you a detail -
I find it helps me greatly in drawing out the understanding behind the translation. It helps if you also have an understanding of a foreign language or two, so that you can see the shortcomings of English when trying to translate New Testament Greek!
2. Expositionary Dictionary of Bible Words, by W. E. Vine ††
This I found to be a marvellous book - a great help when I want to see the different Greek words that got translated into one English word. It explains the fuller meaning behind the word and discusses alternatives. For example, there are 3 Greek words translated as "Overflow":
Use your Bible! †††††
Please USE your Bible! It does no good sitting
gathering dust on your shelf. Read it and write comments in it.
It is a Handbook, a Manual about God and Jesus Christ.
And, of course, pray before and while you read, asking God "What do you want to show me about this passage, Lord?".
"For God so loved the world that
he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have