We left off in the last post with the idea that there are no perfect translations. So if there are going to be some errors in each of the translations, which should I use? Which is the best? Well, the best version is the one written in the original languages – Hebrew, some Aramaic, and Greek. But since most of us don’t have the time to learn these languages, we must use a version that has been translated into the language that we do understand.
There are a lot of English translations available. Some, of course, are more accurate than others. When I am asked the question, “which translation should I use,” my answer is always the same – one that you can understand! I have seen too many Christians become discouraged and not read their Bible at all because the vocabulary or style of writing is not understandable to them. How much sense does that make? The worse part of that is, usually those Christians that give up are kids and teens!
Referring to children, Jesus said “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). I wonder if this will apply to people who insist on a particular translation that a teen has trouble understanding. I’m not going to take that chance only to find out on judgment day that . . . well, you get my point. So the short answer, use a translation that you are comfortable with and can understand. And encourage others to do the same.
There’s the other question still floating out there – which is the most accurate English translation of the original language? Probably the most accurate (i.e. most literal) is the New American Standard (NAS). The English Standard (ESV) is quite accurate (i.e literal) as well (and probably a little more readable than the NAS). These are the two most literal (word-for-word) translations that I have found.