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Bible Translations, V: Conclusion: Which is Best for You?
Establishing which Bible is best for you.
First of all, the best Bible for everyone is one which has been translated literally-- not those who have been translated dynamically (the "interpretive" versions). No matter how much difficulty an individual has in understanding the Scriptures, the use of interpretive versions is not justified in assisting him. The Bible should be available in its pure form to everyone.
It is a good idea to use the same version of the Bible as the preacher during worship. It is not a requirement, but a suggestion to facilitate understanding of a lesson: it is hard to follow a preacher when you are attempting to read different words and receive the understanding of the lesson provided. Having the same Bible version will allow you to follow the preacher as he reads more easily, and thus get more out of his lesson.
The serious Bible student should have at least the KJV and the ASV at his disposal in his studies. The combination of these two, with the literalness of translation of the KJV along with the better foundation of the ASV will equip the student with all the information that he needs. The NKJV and the NASB/NASU, RSV/NRSV are decent substitutes for the above.
If you have difficulty understanding the wording of Scripture, it can be good to have an Amplified Bible to study with. The Amplified Bible is like a regular version, but it will give definitions or synonyms of difficult words, phrases, or passages to facilitate greater understanding. The Amplified Bible, however, should never replace any of the literal versions as the main Bible that one would use: it should only be a reference tool or a study guide.
So which is the best Bible for you? Only you can make that decision. If you like the sound of older English, use the KJV. If you wish a good and reliable text to make strong semantical arguments, the ASV or the NASB/NASU are in order. If you want the strongest literal text but yet not the antiquated language, the NKJV is for you. In reality, the best Bible for you is the one which you are comfortable with and that you will use to guide you to Heaven. One thing is certain: every Bible version is worthless if you have them but do not use the message contained therein to make your life right with God.
This concludes our discussion of modern Bible versions. Next week we will begin to examine the history of the Bible text, and how we can be certain that the text we have is accurate and reliable.