What Bible translation is best?
We all ask that question. But the answer isn’t as straightforward as one might think. One must ask, “Best for what?” For reading in church, for study, for new believers, for children, for people whose second language is English, etc. On this page, we are going to talk about how to think about English Bible translations, about the issues involved and what questions we should ask in evaluating them. I don’t so much want to answer the question about which is best as to help you know how to answer it for yourself.
Our theme verse, Nehemiah 13:24, “Half of their children . . . did not know how to speak the language of Judah,” is a teaser. Of course, within its context it refers to the results of intermarriage between the Jews who returned from exile and the unbelieving people of the land. We will play off of it in several ways:
- It reminds us of contemporary wide-spread Biblical ignorance.
- It reminds us that language changes and so translations must update to reach a new generation.
- It also has more subtle nuances that we will explore. If you are interested in Bible translations, keep your eye on this page!
Oh, and if you haven’t seen the 2011 move KJB: The Book that Changed the World, its well worth watching. You can see a trailer here.