WHAT KIND OF BIBLE SHOULD YOU GET (How they are different)
As if the bible isn’t intimidating enough, with the shear size and small print. It seems like a book that would take forever to read. Add in that there are thousands of options to choose from and it’s a wrap! I get it. Often, the Bible becomes a coffee table decoration rather than a study tool because the lack of understanding regarding what the bible is and how the many options are different.
I understand though. Those concerns were mirrored in my life before learning more about Bibles. Keep reading to find a break down of some of the top Bible options available and how they are different. You’ll also find a chart at the end so that you can make an educated decision and increase your success in studying the bible.
WHAT IS A BIBLE
Before we get started it’s helpful to understand that the bible is actually 66 individual books. The books were originally found written on scrolls, which are considered the original manuscripts. I know it’s big, but essentially, if you can change your perception to view it as many smaller books in one place it helps bring it down to bite size pieces. The Bible is the inspired word of God. In other words, yes the Bible was penned by holy men but the words are from the Lord. He moved these men to write very specific words at specific times. The Bible is the absolute True Words of God.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16
I’ve personally used or own all but one of the following Bibles for study, reference, and paralleling to find the strongest wording. You should get a Bible you are comfortable reading. With maturity, you may seek a more difficult text.
HOW ARE BIBLES DIFFERENT
is the process of reconstructing the original manuscripts into a book that is easily readable and distributed all over the world. Transmission is a very careful process of copying what is written in the original manuscripts into one place.
The transmission process is where the different versions of the Bible stem from. It is by this transmission that the copiers find the best way to copy what is in the manuscripts into different forms of relatable language. For instance contemporary or old century.
is simply the language by which the transmission is written in. This causes some confusion because there are so many different versions of the bible. They are often referred to as translations but a translation is language related. For example, a bible could be translated into English or Spanish, among many other languages.
As I get into the different bibles keep in mind, anybody can read a bible but it’s the application of what is written that makes all the difference. So in choosing one, find one you are able to read so that you can apply what’s learned to your own life. Happy Bible Study!
KING JAMES VERSION
(KJV)I use this bible as my own personal day to day. The King James version is the number one selling version of all time. King James is written in old century English so be prepared for the time it takes to adjust to reading this version. It’s the oldest version available. This Bible is light-weight and a bit smaller than a regular sized Bible. There is not much extra space around the text for notes. You just need to be skilled with writing small. There is no background leading the chapters but I find it encourages action toward searching.
KING JAMES VERSION
(KJV)I added this King James into the mix because it is larger. A Bible you would read during your family study or if you need a larger print. You wouldn’t typically carry this bible around as it’s heavier too. It’s still a King James version so you will get the same old century language. Many let the language detour them from reading this version but with practice, you will see the depth that other versions don’t have. QUICK TIP: Listen tot he audio version and learn the flow of this version. You will be up and reading old century language in no time.
NEW KING JAMES VERSION
Holman’s New King James Version is the Bible I started my Christian walk with. It’s an easier version to read while keeping close to the King James. This version removes much of the old century verbiage like thee, thou, shewest or cometh. Removing those words make the text clean and a nice flow while keeping the nature of the King James. The New King James is a great starter bible with before moving to the KJV. This Bible has the words of Jesus in Red, charts and maps, references, and larger print.
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NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
(NASB)The MacArthur study Bible is one of the best Bibles on the market in my opinion. It has the accuracy of the King James and a high 12th grade reading level. At some points in parallel to King James the NASB packs a bigger punch. I enjoy using this Bible to reference and read commentary when needed. NASB comes with all the extras although you will most likely have to settle for a black, charcoal or brown cover.
NEW LIVING TRANSLATION
(NLT)Not a favorite due to the mellow and easy tone used. Like a few of the other modernized version there are some verses missing out of the NLT. Although the foundational doctrine is not changed. This is an 6th grade reading level so it works great for children just starting out.
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
(NIV)The New International Version is the second best selling version on the market. It is simple to read and flows well. I personally do not care for the accuracy of this Bible as it leaves out 16 verses. Thankfully, the missing verses are usually noted in the footnotes. NIV is a popular version and can be found with all the extras including colors and size variations.
AMPLIFIED BIBLEThe Amplified Bible is an attempt at going into great detail about each verse within the text itself. The idea is to give as much meaning from the Greek and Hebrew language but with that comes a messy and questionable text. In addition to the expansion of the verses, there is massive commentary. I am wary of this version as it adds too much confusion rather than the clean words of God.
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ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION
(ESV)English Standard Version is considered a Bible transmitted word for word from new but older manuscripts found. It’s a well written Bible with a 10th grade reading level so children will have an easier time reading it than a few of the others. This Bible doesn’t come with some of the bells and whistles. It’s a beautiful version to read and study with.
THE MESSAGEUnder no circumstance would I ever own or read this Bible. This version has made the attempt to make the Word of God as “modern” and simplistic as possible while simultaneously losing the meat of God’s Message. The Message Bible is formatted in an odd paragraph form and squishes several verses together at a time. It’s a 4th or 5th-grade reading level but honestly, it’s worth the effort to read a harder version and get accuracy over this.
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