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What Versions I Use in My Bible Studies and Why

October 9, 2023

Whenever I study the Bible, I find it helpful to use a variety of resources. I believe that God wants us to be seekers. He desires that we know Him and understand His holy Word. While it is true that God has provided us believers with the Holy Spirit to guide us into all understanding, there are many resources available today that have been authored by human agents, by capable men and women of faith. Whenever I study the Bible, I like to use Bible commentaries, a Bible dictionary and, of course, the Bible itself in various translations.

In Christian circles you will find various opinions as to which Bible translation is the best. My personal opinion is that for pure accuracy and completeness of all the text the best English translation is the King James Version. While other translations leave whole verses and phrases out, the King James Version does not. So, I definitely embrace the good old King James as a primary resource. The one problem that I and many others have with the King James Version is that its words and sentence structure are often difficult to navigate through. This is problematic for brand new believers, for younger children and for people of other nationalities where English is a second language. Let’s face it. In the 400 years that has passed since the King James translators first provided the common man with the Bible in his common language – that common language has changed. Some of the words have developed different meanings from what was originally intended and some words have even fallen completely out of use. So, along with the King James Version, I like to use a modern English translation to help clarify the text I am reading. After all, I want to understand!

My personal preference for modern translations is the New American Standard Version for two main reasons: (1) Frankly, it reads the way I think and talk and (2) it is, in my opinion, the most accurate of all the modern English translations. It is the version I use in my personal Bible studies. Other people may prefer the New International Version, the English Standard Version or the New English Translation. The church I attend now has a preference for the English Standard Version, so I teach from it quite a bit. All of those versions I mentioned are good choices. For the sake of accuracy, I would NOT rely solely on paraphrases such as the Living Bible or The Message. They are simply other resources to use.

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