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In Study Tips

What Bible Translation Do I Use?

Many Christians have very strong views and opinions about which Bible is the best one to use when you study.  “Best” generally has to do with accuracy of translation or the original manuscript that the English Bible is based on.

Let me put your mind to rest.  There is no completely accurate translation.  Ask anyone who speaks more than one language if it is possible to translated from one language to another with absolute accuracy.  The answer is “No” because even easy words like “dog” carry different connotations or feelings from one language to another.

That said, some translations are better than others.  My first rule — if you want to call it that — is to not use a paraphrase for Bible study.  These are fine for reading through the Bible or to get someone else view of a text, but not for serious study.  Just like you would want to hear an explanation of how the heart works for yourself rather than trust to my notes, you should begin with God’s words, not my thoughts about His words. 

Now that you know a bit more about translations verse paraphrases, the other major issue is the original manuscript used as the basis for the translation.  I personally favor Bibles that are based on the Textus Receptus (the Received Text).  My preference is based on years of study regarding the history and development of the English Bible.

For a number of reasons there are variations between the original text manuscripts.  These variation are reflected in the choice of words in the English translations.  You need to understand this when you consult other translations or study in a group where multiple translations are being used.  It is easy to label a version a “bad translation” when it is simply based on a different manuscript.

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