With the coming Book of Faith emphasis you will hear a lot more about Bible study. From time to time people ask me the best Bible translation. Most modern translations are well done and each offers benefits. The back of the new Augsburg Fortress Bible catalog has a nice summary of the different translations. This month I will share some history and thoughts. In the late 1800s an updating of the KJV was undertaken in Great Britain followed by an American edition (the American Standard). In the 1940s and 50s work was done to improve that and the Revised Standard Version was born. By the 1960s the American Bible Society released Today's English Version (the Good News Bible) with a seventh grade reading level. A new British translation, the New English Bible, soon followed. The Living Bible, a paraphrase, was published in those years as well. In 1966 the Jerusalem Bible, a Roman Catholic work (and my favorite for reading and devotions because of the beauty of the language and because it is written to be read aloud.) was published to update their old Douay-Rheims version.
The New American Standard - the most literal translation - was published by the Lockman Foundation in the 1970s. (This is my favorite for study because it is the most literal; though that gives it a 12th grade reading level.) The New International Version was the work of the International Bible Society and has become the most widely used translation in the U. S. The New Revised Standard came out in the 1980s. It is the most universal with a translation committee including Protestant, Jewish (for the old testament), Roman Catholic, and Orthodox scholars. The Contemporary English Version, CEV, from the American Bible Society was an attempt to reach people who had English as a second language. One of its translators goals was to make it easy to understand when read aloud. The New Jerusalem Bible and the Revised New English were published in the 1980s. In the US the Roman Catholic version most used is the New American Bible published about the same time. The English Standard Version is a recent attempt and is the first one to include a CD-ROM with the Bible in most editions. Other newer versions include the New Living, the New King James, the Message (another paraphrase) and an update to the NIV.
Despite ads that imply otherwise these are all the work of people who have tried to faithfully put the words of ancient scripture into modern language. Except for the New American Standard, first edition (which was word for word), all follow the principal of keeping the thoughts as close as possible to the original while using modern grammar rules to improve clarity and understanding.
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