Christian Chefs International
Which Bible Should I Use?
I was recently confused on the topic of which Bible version I should use for myself, as the Bible is an important part of the life of any Christian.  People often comment how one Bible version is better than another, but rarely ever is a solid explanation given as to why.  The most common comment is that the King James Version is the most accurate of them all, and some people go as far as to say that it is the only English version that's accurate enough to be used.

Almost all of today's popular Bibles have their good points and some bad points.  Therefore, the only way you could read the best text would be to read straight from the Hebrew and Greek.  And even if you could do that, there's no way of reading the completely inspired original texts, as there are no autographs (the original writings) left, but only copies.  Still, through textural criticism of thousands of copies found, we have 99.9% of the original text, the meaning still being 100% inspired because of this.

To get the most out of the Bible, it's generally best to have a few different versions.  There are the literal ones, consisting of the King James Version, American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New King James Version, and the New American Standard Version.  A couple of these are good for reading and studying what the original autographs truly did say.  Other than that, there are thought-for-thought versions, such as the New International Version.  This method of translation tries to literally translate each thought into modern English.  Slightly differing from those is a functionally equivalent version, such as the New Living Translation, which tries to translate the closest natural equivalent of the message from the original texts to the translated language, both in meaning and in style.  And then there are paraphrases, such as The Living Bible.  As stated in the introduction of The Living Bible, "Since a paraphrase is a complete rewording of the original text into modern speech, one should be cautious that it is possible for the translator to make an error and communicate something the original author did not intend."   Therefore, although it's preferable to use several versions in your study of scripture, the decision about which Bible to use primarily comes down to personal preference.

This article is an abbreviation of a much more in-depth study of Bible versions, including the King James Version along with some older and many more modern English versions, which can be found here:
http://www.ChristianChefs.org/newsletters/2003/05CITK2.html

Ira Krizo
http://www.ChristianChefs.org/about/irakrizo.html


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