Which Bible to read? So many to choose from - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 03-10-2011, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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With my new religious changes, I am looking for plain simple truth. I only had a bible related to my previous religion and now I realized that since I have gotten rid of it, I only have a pocket new testament in the house. I never knew there were so many bibles. Which one do I choose? Which version do you read and why?
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#2 of 25 Old 03-10-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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I know there are so many different versions out there, it's crazy!  I bought a few different ones for my Kindle and some in print, but the two that I use pretty much exclusively now are the Revised Standard Version (not the New Revised Standard Version) and the Orthodox Study Bible which is a New King James Version.  The RSV one I have is the 2nd Catholic Edition that contains the deutorocanonical books (a.k.a. the apocrypha) - it's also known as the Ignatius Bible.  That is my favorite version, although I'm not Catholic.  It's more of word-for-word translation than a thought-for-thought translation, which is what I prefer for finding the 'plain truth'.  Even if you don't think the deuterocanonical books are inspired scripture, it's still good to have them for reference.  I read the Orthodox Study Bible for the footnotes.  My priest was one of the people who worked on the notes (he did the book of Hebrews)...I thought that was pretty cool.  smile.gif

 

I'd personally stay away from 'dynamic equivalence' versions like The Message and the New Living Translation just because I think there's too much of a chance of the translators' doctrinal biases to be written into the text (that's what footnotes are for!).  It's also a good idea to at least know what kind of biases might be present in whatever Bible you're reading by researching the publisher and/or version online.  It's easy to find that sort of information.  You can also compare different versions online at Biblos and  BibleGateway and other sites.

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#3 of 25 Old 03-15-2011, 09:40 PM
 
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I also am not a fan of "dynamic equivalence" translations like the popular NIV. I like the NASB as it is a direct translation, yet easy read. I have this study bible, which I love http://www.amazon.com/New-Inductive-Study-Bible-International/dp/0736900225/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300250078&sr=1-1.

 

One of the most freeing things I have ever done is learn how to study the Bible for myself. I have been to every evangelical protestant church imaginable from Baptist to Pentecostal and in missions organizations, and was so confused by conflicting ideas. Now most recently I don't even identify as an evangelical, nor hold to any systematic theology or dogma. I think I am a mystic. But I have experienced Jesus, and I find life in the Word of God. No one can try to control me spiritually because I know the Bible for myself. I read your other thread: blessings on your journey!


Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.

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#4 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 05:40 AM
 
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I also am not a fan of "dynamic equivalence" translations like the popular NIV. I like the NASB as it is a direct translation, yet easy read. I have this study bible, which I love http://www.amazon.com/New-Inductive-Study-Bible-International/dp/0736900225/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300250078&sr=1-1.

 

One of the most freeing things I have ever done is learn how to study the Bible for myself. I have been to every evangelical protestant church imaginable from Baptist to Pentecostal and in missions organizations, and was so confused by conflicting ideas. Now most recently I don't even identify as an evangelical, nor hold to any systematic theology or dogma. I think I am a mystic. But I have experienced Jesus, and I find life in the Word of God. No one can try to control me spiritually because I know the Bible for myself. I read your other thread: blessings on your journey!



Actually, the NIV is not considered a dynamic equivalence version, but actually is seen as a balance between dynamic and formal equivalence.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_and_formal_equivalence

 

 

This chart might be of help http://www.northwest.cc/uploads/2/1/0/1/210144/bibletranslationchart.pdf

 

My one big recommendation would be to choose a "study" Bible. 


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#5 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! A friend just sent me a Disciples Study Bible and it is great. She was so kind as all I had in the house was a pocket NT. Still I am looking for more. What is considered the purest bible?
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#6 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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What's your definition of pure?  You could probably find a copy of the Rheims-Douay which was translated from the Latin Vulgate.  There are also versions based on the Greek codices.  

 

Most English speaking people look at the King James Version--however, the oldest translation does not necessarily mean its the most accurate.

 

Even if you go back to when the books were written, it's not like any of them were written when Jesus was alive (if you're looking at the NT).  The whole process of canonization didn't occur until the 4th century.   

 

For the OT, I think if you really want to understand it, it pays to study Judaism--and look at Rabbinical commentary on the pentatuch (first FIve books). 

 

It really is quite subjective.  IMHO, any of the major Bible translations out there are good--and will help you increase knowledge about your faith and connect with God.  When I was at seminary (Reformed), the favorite translations were the NRSV, KJV, and to a lesser extent NIV.  Its been well over 15 years though, so I have no idea what the favorites are these days. :)


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#7 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post

Thanks everyone! A friend just sent me a Disciples Study Bible and it is great. She was so kind as all I had in the house was a pocket NT. Still I am looking for more. What is considered the purest bible?


The purest bible...well, there's not total agreement on what the purest translation is.  You have to learn the original languages to get really pure.  The links umsami posted above are helpful in discerning which translations are more literal than others. 

 

It also helps, in my opinion, to know what sources you trust and which ones you don't.  You could just buy a more literal translation like the RSV, NASB, or ESV and then keep in the back of your mind that they may have a doctrinal bias built into the translation, and you can always read multiple versions online of the more controversial verses if you want.  Just keep in mind that no matter how pure the translation is, anyone can interpret the Bible to say pretty much anything they want it to.  That is why I don't adhere to Sola Scriptura...because there is no consensus on all sorts of doctrinal issues among the huge number of denominations (and non-denominations) which all claim to be Bible-based.  Every church has a tradition whether they admit it or not, and the question for me was which tradition do I believe is the truth.  After that, choosing a Bible was simple.  Just throwing that out there...YMMV.

 

 

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#8 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No plan to learn latin or another ancient language anytime soon. lol.

Where I am coming from is I have been taught religiously all my life what "man" wants for your soul/salvation and I had no idea just the plain simple truth of what God has to say. So with all the different types of bibles out there I just don't want to get back into the rut of more of mans teachings. Make sense?
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#9 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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No plan to learn latin or another ancient language anytime soon. lol.

Where I am coming from is I have been taught religiously all my life what "man" wants for your soul/salvation and I had no idea just the plain simple truth of what God has to say. So with all the different types of bibles out there I just don't want to get back into the rut of more of mans teachings. Make sense?

That's my point, though. The Bible itself acknowledges that it is neither plain nor simple (2 Peter 3:16). All scripture is interpreted in one way or another...the question is which interpretation is correct? Which people truly have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give the correct interpretation? Many people/churches make this claim, but they obviously can't all be right. What seems plain and simple to one person often seems plainly wrong to another. Quite a problem for Sola Scriptura adherents.
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#10 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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bluebirdmama1:

 

Honestly, I think any Bible will serve you well.  I bet your library has a few that you can borrow and read.  Maybe take a favorite chapter or verse and read it... read the commentary if there is any.... and see how it sits with you.  Pray before and after and ask God for help in finding the Bible that's right for you. To me, as I said before, most of the Bibles out there have been put out by a committee of scholars who take their task very seriously.  God can use any of them to guide you.  Just find one that you like...that you can see yourself reading and enjoying.  :)


Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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bluebirdmama1:

 

Honestly, I think any Bible will serve you well.  I bet your library has a few that you can borrow and read.  Maybe take a favorite chapter or verse and read it... read the commentary if there is any.... and see how it sits with you.  Pray before and after and ask God for help in finding the Bible that's right for you. To me, as I said before, most of the Bibles out there have been put out by a committee of scholars who take their task very seriously.  God can use any of them to guide you.  Just find one that you like...that you can see yourself reading and enjoying.  :)

 

Good advice.  smile.gif  Sorry I got a bit off topic up there.  redface.gif
 

 

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#12 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Umsami for the great advice!

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Good advice.  smile.gif  Sorry I got a bit off topic up there.  redface.gif
 

 


Purple- you post was great too! I am soaking up everything like a sponge since I have a clean slate of religion that I choose. Off to look up 2 peter...
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#13 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 01:28 AM
 
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That's good you are searching for an accurate bible to read.  As I'm sure you know, many Bibles have their own bias to them.  A book that was recommended to me (which i have yet to read, but I know it got great reviews) is Jason BeDuhn's "Truth in Translation:Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament."  This professor compares 9 major translations (only the New Testament) and shows why some are more poorly translated than others. He takes a hit at all the translations, but he does come to a conclusion as to which ones are more accurate. I am one who likes to read different translations, even the Message Bible sometimes :)  and I find it interesting why some are translated different than others. Many Christian denominations are based off of how a certain Bible verse is translated, so I think it's important that all Christians or Bible readers really research the accuracy of the Bible they are reading.  I'll be adding that one to my library soon.  Hope you find a good Bible to read!

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That's good you are searching for an accurate bible to read.  As I'm sure you know, many Bibles have their own bias to them.  A book that was recommended to me (which i have yet to read, but I know it got great reviews) is Jason BeDuhn's "Truth in Translation:Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament."  This professor compares 9 major translations (only the New Testament) and shows why some are more poorly translated than others. He takes a hit at all the translations, but he does come to a conclusion as to which ones are more accurate. I am one who likes to read different translations, even the Message Bible sometimes :)  and I find it interesting why some are translated different than others. Many Christian denominations are based off of how a certain Bible verse is translated, so I think it's important that all Christians or Bible readers really research the accuracy of the Bible they are reading.  I'll be adding that one to my library soon.  Hope you find a good Bible to read!


Reading the reviews for that book on Amazon, it looks like the two versions he says are the most accurate are a Catholic version (NAB) and the New World Translation which is the Jehovah's Witnesses' bible.  That's interesting because Catholics and JWs are worlds apart in doctrine...

 

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#15 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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that's so true, Purple Sage.  I read in one of the reviews the reason he gave for thinking why those two groups, yet vastly different, were able to come up with a fairly accurate translation. If I had it in front of me, I'd quote it.  Anyway, it looks like most reviews state he's unbiased and logical in his delivery...and that's exactly what I'm looking for --logic.  I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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that's so true, Purple Sage.  I read in one of the reviews the reason he gave for thinking why those two groups, yet vastly different, were able to come up with a fairly accurate translation. If I had it in front of me, I'd quote it.  Anyway, it looks like most reviews state he's unbiased and logical in his delivery...and that's exactly what I'm looking for --logic.  I can't wait to get my hands on it.



I think it just shows that no matter how accurate the translation is, people can still interpret it in different ways.  It's nothing new.  The early Church had to contend with heresies, too, that were all based on Scripture....and these were people who read and spoke the same ancient Greek language that the New Testament was written in.  So it doesn't really surprise me that those two widely differing groups both have a relatively accurate translation, but it also doesn't say much for the accuracy of the translation being the primary means for having the correct doctrine.

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Second vote for the NWT.  I prefer a bible that hasn't removed the Divine Name.  You can read it online, or order a hardcopy for free.


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#18 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 01:20 PM
 
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I think it just shows that no matter how accurate the translation is, people can still interpret it in different ways.  It's nothing new.  The early Church had to contend with heresies, too, that were all based on Scripture....and these were people who read and spoke the same ancient Greek language that the New Testament was written in.  So it doesn't really surprise me that those two widely differing groups both have a relatively accurate translation, but it also doesn't say much for the accuracy of the translation being the primary means for having the correct doctrine.



I have to agree with you; an accurate translation doesn't mean one has an accurate doctrine. But I think it's a good start! One reason is that many doctrines are not fully based on the Bible, but also church tradition.  If I were searching for what the Bible really teaches, I think I'd want to start with a Bible in my own language that most accurately reflected the words used in the orginal Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek.  Now I may reach another conclusion than the next person, but I think a good foundation is necessary.  I would think of it as having a current map to get to your desired destination.

 

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I have to agree with you; an accurate translation doesn't mean one has an accurate doctrine. But I think it's a good start! One reason is that many doctrines are not fully based on the Bible, but also church tradition.  If I were searching for what the Bible really teaches, I think I'd want to start with a Bible in my own language that most accurately reflected the words used in the orginal Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek.  Now I may reach another conclusion than the next person, but I think a good foundation is necessary.  I would think of it as having a current map to get to your desired destination.

 


Actually, I'd say that all doctrines are based on church traditions because one aspect of a church's tradition is how it interprets the bible.  So even churches which claim to base all of their doctrine on the bible alone are still relying on their own tradition whether they admit it or not.  shrug.gif

 

That being said, it would seem to me that the church which produced the bible would have the best grasp on what the correct interpretation of it would be.  Considering that there was only one church in the first millennium, and they are the ones who wrote and canonized the New Testament (and did so based on tradition because they existed for quite a while before the bible as we know it was put together)....well, that would be the place I'd start if I wanted to understand the bible correctly.  IMO, the bible is a product of the tradition of the early church, and all truly biblical doctrine follows the same tradition.

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#20 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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Thanks for  your thoughts on this. I love to hear other people's opinions and see how they reason.

 

According to some research I've done and reading the work of some early historians, it seems as though the "early church" (4th century)  had strayed considerably from what the 1st century Christians did/thought. .... I found one of the quotes I was looking for in that book by Jason BeDuhn. I didn't find the one about the NAB, but I remember it was something to effect of them being the "early church" and not having much to prove as far a slanting their bible. Regarding the NW, he says that the Witnesses approached the Bible "with a kind of innocence, and [build] their system of belief and practice from the raw material of the Bible without predetermining what was to be found there."    Interesting. 

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#21 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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Thomas, I'd love to continue this conversation but I think I've taken this thread off track a little too much, and the Religious Studies forum is a better place for it, anyway.
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#22 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 10:11 PM
 
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There's an interesting article about the new NIV and Bible translation on msnbc http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42138347/ns/us_news/

 

It baffles me that if the original Greek or Hebrew used a word that could mean brothers or sisters, but it was translated brothers... people are now objecting if they want to use brothers or sisters again.  


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#23 of 25 Old 03-18-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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Another vote for the RSV/Ignatius Bible.

I did see a non-Catholic version at Borders the other day.  Personally, though, I like having the extra books :-D


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#24 of 25 Old 03-18-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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Really, whichever one you will read and enjoy will work.  All this talk about translations is purely semantic if your bible just sits on the shelf.  :) 

 

My primary bible is a NIV.  I like it because it is readable, and I don't get hung up on all of the "thees" and "thous".  I enjoy my particular copy because the cover is very soft and feels good in my hand.  The print is large enough to read comfortably, but not so large that the book becomes unwieldy.  I really enjoy reading it. 

 

If you are studying a specific passage you can always go to http://www.biblegateway.com/ and read it in all of the different translations. 

 

I also think The Message has its place.  Yes, it is the work of one man, but if that is the only verision someone is willing/able to read it is better than nothing.  When I am doing a bible study I often enjoy reading The Message version as well to get a particular perspective. 


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#25 of 25 Old 03-19-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Another vote for the RSV/Ignatius Bible.

I did see a non-Catholic version at Borders the other day.  Personally, though, I like having the extra books :-D



 

The Oxford Annotated Study Bible - RSV with Apocrypha has all the "longer canon" OT books, including all those in the Orthodox tradition (the Orthodox recognize a longer "long canon" than the Catholic church does).


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