A quick Bible Translation Cheat Sheet to help you in your Bible selections-
If you can find a Discipleship Study Bible (they are out of print now) it is PACKED with support for the new Bible student. It was one of the first Bibles I ever read through and it was amazing!
This is a link to the NIV version - which is out of print now, the Bible is printed in the NRV, but I am not familiar with that version's accuracy. Here's what I DO know about choosing a Bible Version:
NAS- New American Standard- the most accurate word-for-word translation
This version is my favorite for FIRST time students because it can be taken at face value. The reading level is more difficult than NIV, Message, or New Living Standard- but the accuracy is worth it for somebody building their foundation for scriptural understanding.
first choice for many private Christian schools because of the lower reading level and accuracy.
NIV- New International Version- most accurate phrase by phrase translation, simplest reading level,
KJ, NKJ- King James and New King James Versions- Good accuracy, uses Old English.
King James is MUCH MORE difficult reading than New King James. This translation is praise for it's age, accuracy, and not evolving with translations that cater to modern common language and culture.
NLT- New Living Translation- This is SUPER fun reading, but it is not exactly a "translation" it is a "paraphrased version" of the Bible.
It's pure inspiration, and a good place to start for somebody who is not into the EXACT translation, but still wants all the meat of the meaning of the Bible. The reading level is EASY- this is a great choice for reading out loud at the table, or with children, or for easy bedtime reading- this is not for the intensely studious academic. I love this translation, as I have already studied the NAS, AMP, NIV through many times, I feel secure in my understanding of the accurate word for word translations and really enjoy the FRESH presentation of the HEART of it all in the NLT. This has been my Bible translation of choice in personal study for the past two years. - It makes really nice quotes too! (as does "The Message").
The Message- This, like the NLT is not an actual "translation" but a paraphrased retelling of the Bible.
It's deeply inspirational, and a fun and easy read I've enjoyed very much.
AMP- The Amplified Version of the Bible takes each main word of each verse and "amplifies" them with the Greek(if it's New Testament verses) or Hebrew (if it's old Testament verses) definitions/ descriptions. This is a VERY WORDY version, used most often for reference instead of reading through the Bible habits. I've read the entire AMP version a few times and really enjoyed learning the deeper meanings of the words and verses. - But this would probably only interest a very motivated student as each sentence is VERY drawn out. :) - apart from the sentence length, it's not hard reading. This version is the LONGEST of all of them.
Parallel Version- The Parallel Bible will take two or more versions and line them up side by side on a page, Chapter by chapter so a student can compare versions.
There are many varieties of the Parallel Version with any combination of the above translations and probably more.
There are a few Online Bibles that offer any translation/ version you prefer, as well as any language.
Are the three I am most familiar with, I'm sure they are all amazing providing ANY translation/version/language along with Bible Tools to help, and reading plans in many varieties.
I currently (and for the past 5 years or so) use Bible.com. I LOVE it. Many of the versions are available for Audio, I enjoy the wide Bible reading plans available there. I've been through a few- read the bible in a year plans, and am currently doing a New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs year long plan.
I enjoy the ability to highlight, create notes, share, copy verses, leave book marks and use it as a social app with my family to check up on their Bible Study discoveries.
I think the Bible Gateway has the added advantage of a Hebrew Greek Concordance, which I don't think Bible.com has.
A Greek and Hebrew concordance is an awesome tool allowing you to look up the original word and it's definitions, synonyms, and antonyms. It's the BEST tool for those who just can't get enough of their Bible Study.- So if that's you, you might want to use the Bible Gateway.com over the Bible.com.
I hope this is helpful! MUCH LOVE to you!
- Angela Schans