Bible Versions — What’s the Difference?

Trying to pick a version of the Bible to be your go-to-version? It’s a bit frustrating because there are so many to choose from. You also want to make sure you pick the “right” one since presumably much of your Christian growth will be based upon the version you choose.

Here’s my two cents (and since you didn’t ask for it, it’s probably not even worth that much). In my opinion, the single most important aspect to consider when picking a Bible is translation philosphy.

Yeah, I know–sounds boring. But really, it is very important. Basically there are two extremes in translation– word-for-word and thought-for-thought.

The word-for-word translation is just like it sounds. It takes the original text and translates each word into English. It results in a literal version of the the original writings. The downside to this philosophy is it can be difficult to read because a literal translation from another language doesn’t follow the same flow and sentence structure as our own native English. As a result, some of the meaning of the original text may be lost.

Likewise, the thought-for-thought translation is just as it sounds. It takes the meaning of the original text and puts it into English. The extreme version of this is a Bible that is a complete paraphrase of the original writings. The downside to this philosophy is that you the reader are subject to the opinion of the translator(s) as to what the original text really meant.

Have a look at the charts in the link below. Here you can see which versions follow which translation philosophy.

Bible Translations Continuum

My advice – pick at least one version from each philosophy. Then study and compare them both. You’ll be surprised what you can learn.

Live The Mission,
Greg

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