Decisions, Decisions… Selecting a Bible Pt. Deux

Selecting a Bible can be a tough decision. What should I look for? Should I ask for a free one or purchase one of the many fine ones on the shelf at my local book store? Last time, we looked over the reasons to exclude certain ones, ex. readability, familiarity, etc. Now we’re going to discuss the different versions. However, since there are over 50 different versions, we will discuss 4. So, without further ado, here are the things I noticed about each different version.

KJV/AKJV: These are the King James Version and Authorized King James Version. Since they are so similar that they might as well be the same translation (actually, they are the same, I was just pulling your leg), I have grouped them together as one. This series is known as the oldest English translation of the Bible that is still in use, and the one trusted by literally millions of Christians worldwide. Its language is old-style (ex. thou shalt not steal vs. you must not steal) among other things. This translation is also known (and drives me crazy) for using the word, “charity,” in place of the word, “love.”

NIV: The hotly-debated New International Version. Published in the 1970s, it is one of the newer versions of the Bible, and thus uses more modern language than the King James. Its main focus is on eliminating sectarian bias (meaning one sect of Christianity essentially creating a slant in the text)–obviously an attempt to maintain the integrity of the original manuscripts, despite popular belief that it was created to avoid offending a particular sect of Christianity. This is also the one that I am most familiar with.

MSG: The Message. It’s a Bible, and a pretty darn good one at that. It speaks directly to the reader, something that I’m not entirely sure that the other Bibles do very well. However, it does have its drawbacks. I feel that some of The Message may be lost in translation if the reader is used to other Bibles. I’m not knocking it, it’s definitely worth a read–and with an open mind and heart, The Message might just provide inspiration to those who are on the fence.

VOICE: The Voice. Created by and for a church in a period of great transition, according to the preface. I have not had the chance to give a good read to too many of its verses, however from the ones that I have read, The Voice literally attempts to speak the voice of God. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it outlines what actual exchanges may have been like. It’s a breath of fresh air to the Bible.

So there you have it. Different strokes for different folks. For example, I have a deep disdain for the King James Version’s writing style, however I will still acknowledge that it is one of the most trusted, oldest and well known translations out there and the NKJV (the King James Version with more contemporary language, essentially) isn’t so bad for me. I absolutely love The Voice so far, and the NIV is most familiar to me.

You may be wondering why no specific examples are given. It’s because I want YOU to read different translations, enrich your life both spiritually and culturally. This article isn’t meant to knock any particular version, just to expose readers to a simple truth. That there are far more than one or two versions of the Holy Bible. If God’s word didn’t speak to you when you last picked up a Bible, there is a chance that one of the 50+ other versions of it will.

By the by, I’m no Bible scholar, so if you would like to know more about any of these versions and more, a pastor may be able to give you better guidance. As always, God loves you!

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