The fact that there are so many English Bible translations is both a blessing  and a problem. It is a blessing in that the Word of God is available to anyone  who needs it in an easy-to-understand, accurate translation. It is a problem in  that the different translations can create controversy and problems in Bible  studies, teaching situations, etc. The differences between the translations can  also be a subject of great division within the church body.

It is  probably wise to have access to at least two or three of the major translations  KJV (King James Version), NIV (New International Version), NAS (New American  Standard), NKJV (New King James Version), ESV (English Standard Version), NLT  (New Living Translation), for comparison’s sake. If a verse or passage in one  translation is a little confusing, it can be helpful to compare it side-by-side  with another version. It is difficult to say which translation is the “best.”  “Best” would be determined by a combination of the translation method personally  considered best and your interpretation of the textual data underlying your  translation. For example, the KJV and NAS attempted to take the underlying  Hebrew and Greek words and translate them into the closest corresponding English  words as possible (word for word), while the NIV and NLT attempted to take the  original thought that was being presented in Greek and Hebrew and then express  that thought in English (thought for thought). Many of the other translations  attempt to “meet in the middle” between those two methods. Paraphrases such as  The Message or The Living Bible can be used to gain a different perspective on  the meaning of a verse, but they should not be used as a primary Bible  translation.

There are many more Bible translations than the six  mentions above. It is wise to have a personal method for determining whether a  particular Bible translation is accurate. A good technique is to have a set of  Scripture verses you know well, and look those verses up in a translation you  are unsure of. A good idea is to look at some of the most common verses which  speak of the deity of Christ (John 1:1, 14; 8:58; 10:30; Titus 2:13) to make sure a  Bible translation is true to the Word of God. Despite the multitudes of English  Bible translations, we can be confident that God’s Word is truth, and that it  will accomplish His purposes (Isaiah  55:11; 2 Timothy  3:16-17; Hebrews  4:12).

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