Ask people about their Bibles and you might get some passionate responses! Even if there are multiple copies in the house, a person typically has a favorite…the copy that they almost always reach for.
For one, it might be a translation that they prefer. For another, maybe it’s a well worn Bible full of notes jotted down in the margins. Still others might be particularly fond of the copy that is a family heirloom.
As you’re well aware, there are many English translations/versions of the Bible available today. Of course, there’s the King James Version, with which just about everyone is familiar. Easily the most famous English Bible, it’s basically a revision of earlier translations, including the Tyndale, Coverdale, and Geneva Bibles, and was completed in 1611. But there’s quite a lineup outside of the King James to consider….which can make for a bit of a challenge when you’re at the bookstore!
The New International Version was published as a complete work in 1978. It might have taken getting used to for some people, but it has been quite a success. NIV has outsold the King James since 1987.
The New Revised Standard Version (1990) is actually a revision of a revision! It updated the RSV, published in 1952 – which was a revision of the American Standard Version (1901).
The Contemporary English Version is a recent addition to the mix, with the full Bible published in 1995. The American Bible Society, who began work on the project in the mid-1980s, wanted to create a translation that was biblically accurate, yet easy to read and understand – even for those who were new to the Bible.
Then there is the New Living Translation (1996) and the New King James Version (1982) – and more!
If you visit www.BibleGateway.com , you can type in a verse and then view it in any number of translations/versions of the Bible. It can be an interesting exercise.
Regardless of the translation, it’s important that we spend time with our Bibles every day. Even though we may have read the same passage countless times before, isn’t it interesting how it can speak to you differently from one reading to the next?
Obviously, there are numerous ways to approach Bible study. You might read sequentially, book by book, from Genesis on through to Revelation. For some (myself included), that method can be tough going – at least with some books of the Old Testament.
To avoid getting hung up, a friend of mine reads entire books at a time, but skips around the Bible. You might also take a topical approach: select various subjects and find out what the Bible has to say about each. The concordance can be a great help if you’re trying the topical method; in addition, there are some other good reference tools that can be useful, like Nave’s Topical Bible or Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
What’s your preferred Bible? You can write me directly here: RMetschke@TheChristianGift.com
I enjoy hearing from you.