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Choosing a Bible (Article)
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Minister Ty Alexander
(Ty Huynh)
  3/1/2010 5:08 PM

There is a confusing array of Bibles in use today. Some of them are good translations of Scripture from the original languages for the most part, but others were not very reliably translated. In fact, some Bibles contradict Scripture and should be avoided altogether. This article focuses on identifying "problem" Bibles and directing you to ones that more closely align with the intended meaning of God's Word.

The first thing we must understand is that there are different kinds of Bibles that can be categorized by Version and Translation.

A Version of the Bible is an edition from a particular sect of Christianity. Examples include the Holy Bible (nondenominational) and Catholic Bible, the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (the Jewish version is basically the Old Testament), the New World Translation (the Jehovah's Witness version), the Mormon Bible (the version used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and the Qur'an or Koran (the version for Islam and Muslims).

Versions should not be confused with Translations, which are versions translated into different languages or using different modes of translation. "Version" is often used in the context of a translation by many publishers, such as the New International Version and King James Version of the Bible are actually different translations and not really different versions by the definition used here.

We can use the main category of Version to quickly narrow our selection of Bibles so that we have Scripture that was evaluated to be authentic (see Errors of Truth1). This authenticated Scripture consists of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments considered as the rule and standard by the early Christian church.

However, Bibles that contradict, add to, change, or omit parts of this standard of authenticated Scripture must be avoided. Bibles that should not be used include the New World Translation, Mormon Bible, and Qur'an or Koran because they contain modified and/or added scripture that contradicts Scripture that was authenticated.

Versions of the Bible that contain the correct foundation of valid Scripture are largely those of the Protestant Reformation, like the New American Standard Bible (NASB), New International Version (NIV), and King James Version (KJV).

Many Catholic Bibles also contain the correct foundation. However, the Apocrypha, which is included in many Catholic Bibles, is not considered authenticated Scripture by the standards of the early church, so I would read it with caution. I have found many writings that are popular in today's church to be influenced by the enemy.

Bibles with authenticated Scripture include the 39 books of the Old Testament, the 27 books of the New Testament. There are many translations of this version, like the NASB, NIV, and KJV, but what I suggest for proper study is to use at least two or three translations, because I have found errors of translation in all Bibles I've read. In my decade of Biblical study, I have not found any single translation to be completely reliable by itself. I even noticed the NIV has changed a lot since I started study and made some interpretations less desirable in the latest prints, so I prefer the 1984 edition of the NIV.

Some Bible translations also use overly "liberal" interpretation to bolster certain church doctrine. This is obviously not true and faithful translation and is difficult for the layman to identify, so this is another good reason to use more than one Bible for study.

To start, you should choose a modern English version like the NASB or NIV for your daily Bible reading, because they are the easiest to read and understand. I often use both of those translations. Your modern Bible should then be supplemented with the 400 year old KJV, which has been a standard for centuries and is the only English translation I know of that is exactly as God wanted it, even though it contains some errors of translation. It is considered by experts today to be a very accurate translation of authenticated Scripture. It often preserves both the literal meaning and intended meaning of Scripture in a way that many modern translations have not matched.

The main problem with the KJV is that it uses archaic Old English, which can be very confusing to read and understand. However, its faithfulness to Scripture from the original Biblical languages is often used as a double-check for modern Bibles.

Another English translation you may want