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Which Bible Translation Should I Use?comment (0)

May 16, 2013

By Martine Bates Sharp


Andreas J. Köstenberger and David A. Croteau, Eds. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012. 204 pp. (Paperback).

How do you decide which translation to use? Do you take the easy way out and choose whatever version your pastor preaches from, or do you make your decision a different way? The editors of this book have provided a wealth of information to help you decide from among four of the most popular translations. 

The book begins with a short history of Bible translations, explaining how several pre-English and English translations came to be. After describing the differences between translations and paraphrases and what goes into each, the authors present a graphic that shows where a dozen of the best-known English Bibles lie on the spectrum between the two. Interesting information.

The rest of the book is devoted to four modern versions of the Bible: the English Standard Version (ESV), the New International Version (NIV), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and the New Living Translation (NLT), with a chapter devoted to each. Each of the four chapters, written by a scholar who served on the translation committee for that version, describes the history of the version and the philosophy behind the translation process, sharing details of problematic and/or controversial passages and why they were handled as they were. 

While the book may not tell you which translation is the “right” one, it will certainly help you become better informed about the four versions examined.  

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