With a variety of Bible translations on store shelves and in the hands of pastors, professors and small group leaders, a disconnect from variations in style and commentary can be felt.
119 California Baptist University students were surveyed about which translation they use. The disconnect is shown in the results:
40.3% New International Version (NIV)
31.9% English Standard Version (ESV)
10.9% King James Version (KJV)
2.5% American Standard Version (ASV)
2.5% New Living Translation (NLV)
1.6% Holman Christian Standard Version (HCSV)
.8% The Message (MSG) .8% International Standard
Version (ISV) 8.4% Translation not listed According to the Christian resource website www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com, there are five things to keep in mind when considering what translation to use: popularity does not mean accuracy, mod- ern translations can be mistranslated, use a study Bible, research different translations and keep in mind that the “best” is subjective.
“I study from the New American Standard Version because it is closer to the original language, but I preach from the New International Version because the language is more familiar to my people. It reads more like how we use English today,” Dan Murray, adjunct professor of oral communications and pastor of Corona Valley Friends Church, said.
Murray is joined by 42.8 percent of the student population in his choice.
“I use the New American Standard Bible and sometimes The Message,” sophomore Kathryne Adaire said. “Both are easy to understand, the NASB seems to stick more to the original translation and The Message is easy to understand if I can’t grasp something.”
While the survey did not account for the use of multiple translations, Murray deems the practice advisable.
“I think it is advisable to be familiar with multiple translations because it raises the question of why these translators choose this word and why these translators use different words. That then causes the student to go back to the original language and commentaries to find out what the original language uses and what the reason they chose different terms in modern English. It think it helps to reinforce, not to distract,” Murray said.
Certain Bible applications on tablets and smartphones allow readers to view multiple translations and compare verses. With over 200 Bible applications for the iPhone alone, Apple’s App Store provides various translations as well as reference tools.
Junior Aubree Worrell uses the ESV application on her smartphone. “I can have multiple devotions all in one place and it just quick clicks back and forth from scripture and devotionals,” Worrell said.