Modern English Bible Translations

I’m teaching on this subject tonight at the church office.  Here is a short preview of what will be covered in about 90-105 minutes:

– Overview of Modern English Translations since 1950

– A Look at the List of Best Selling English Bibles

– Overview of Modern Translations Philosophies

– A Comparison of the Modern Versions (we will read several passages together from several different versions)

– Recommendations on Which Versions to Use and Why

– The Basics of Bible Design and Binding

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4 thoughts on “Modern English Bible Translations”

  1. Wish I could be there for this lesson; looks very interesting.

    Just curious Brett…

    1) What Bible do you teach/preach from?

    2) What Bible do you do your devotions from? (same one?)

    3) Finally, which Bible translation do you most recommend?

    Looking forward to hearing your responses.

  2. Erik,

    I am tempted to just say “stay tuned” as I hope to make this subject the focus of several separate posts over the next week or so. But since I like your photographic work of Bibles so much…here you go… for what it’s worth:

    1) I teach/preach from the ESV. I switched from the NASB to the ESV maybe 6-7 years ago or so.

    2) I mix it up in my devotions, using mostly ESV, NIV, and NLT, in that order. But I sometimes use KJV, NKJV, TNIV, NASB, and NIrV (no intended order of frequency or importance). No, apparently unlike other conservative evangelicals, I’m not afraid of the TNIV. 🙂

    3) I currently don’t have a version I most recommend…it used to be the ESV, but since I started doing a slight adaptation of Prof. Horner’s Bible reading plan, I have grown to become rather disappointed with the readability of the ESV. The rather frequently used phrase “at table” in the Gospels drives me crazy. I’ve found many other examples of obscure words, and choppy and awkward sentences. What I’ve found is that I like to STUDY in the ESV but the ESV is not my favorite Bible for READING.

    My recommendations for a Bible version are usually tailored to where a person is in their journey: How old? How educated? How mature in the faith? etc.

    I’m curious if the Holman CSB might become that “one” I most recommend. I plan on getting a Holman CSB this summer when the latest update is published. My current copy is a pocket companion and it’s taking some getting used to, but I am impressed with the idea behind the “optimal equivalence” approach. So right now I’m wondering if it might be the ideal balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.

    What about you? I read your reasons for using the NLT, but refresh my memory as to why you wanted to “break up” with the ESV (pardon the relationship reference…but isn’t relationship language rather appropriate for those of us who love Bibles?).

  3. Thanks for the response Brett. I really like your comment:

    “My recommendations for a Bible version are usually tailored to where a person is in their journey: How old? How educated? How mature in the faith? etc.”

    As far as my switch to the NLT, there were two particular reasons:

    1) The readability. I’ve been a Christian for just about all my life and was raised on KJV, then NKJV, then NASB, then ESV and all them can’t hold a candle to how smooth the reading is to the NLT. It just flows a heck of a lot smoother.

    2) It’s not simply just the readability or else, I could have settled with Eugene Peterson’s The Message. The readability mixed with the fact that it is in fact a translation [not a paraphrase] with a top notch translation committee put me over the top.

    Anyhow, HERE is more of my two cents on why I switched to the NLT.

    I still use the ESV every so often, but for the pure enjoyment of sitting in my recliner, sitting in my FedEx truck at lunch, relaxing in my car to read the Bible, nothing beats the NLT. 😉

  4. Brett: Now I know why HCSB is kind of cheap to buy right now (because of an update coming up). My wife and I found Scofield III HCSB for under $13.00… Yes.. a Scofield III!

    I think you’ll like reading through an HCSB; let us know what you think in upcoming posts.

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