How do you find a good Bible translation? Well, it depends on what language you speak. If you speak English, I can recommend the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It’s my choice of the modern translations because it is accurate, it is readable, and it is not as theologically biased as some translations tend to be.
If you aren’t satisfied with my recommendation then I will happily point you to Mark Strauss and Gordon Fee’s book entitled, How to Choose a Translation For All Its Worth.
The problem of choosing a translation in English is a minor problem. If you grab an NIV or an HCSB or an ESV or even the older KJV you will be reading the Truth (just don’t fall into the trap thinking that The Message is a translation!). There are nuances where a word choice could have been more precise or might have captured the original meaning more clearly, but it’s a minor problem that is solved by careful exegesis of the text.
There are bigger problems to worry about.
Bible Translations Needed
What if you don’t speak English? Well, there are Bible translations in 4,516 languages. There are even some languages that also have numerous versions to select from, though I don’t know if it is to the extent of the selection in the English language.
I love this new video from the Broadman & Holman Publishing Group about the HCSB. They highlight the primary reasons why the HCSB is the most readable and accurate English translation available.
- More than 100 Bible scholars from 17 denominations (What!? Not just a bunch of Southern Baptists?) gave several years of their lives to this translation because they felt the advancements in archaeology, linguistics, and Biblical research were so significant that there needed to be a new translation (not just a revision).
- Goal was to be the most accurate and readable Bible in the English language.
- Most translations use the title Lord for God’s personal name. HCSB uses Yahweh over 600 times. Compare Isaiah 42:8 HCSB vs. ESV. (What!? I never knew God had a name!)
- The Greek word doulos is translated more accurately as “slave” over a hundred times in the HCSB (rather than the more common “servant”). Compare Titus 1:1 HCSB vs. ESV.
Translating, studying, and sharing the Bible has never been easier thanks to the technology that is available to us today. There are plenty of innovations out there but in this series of posts I want to share with you some of the tools I’m using and why. Welcome to the 21st century of studying the Bible!
The first part of this series will highlight the translation I use and why I believe modern advancements in linguistics, technology, archaeology, research and collaboration make it the best English translation available.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible is the most balanced version of the Bible that exists today thanks to contemporary scholarship, technology, and archaeology.
21st Century Translation – The HCSB is a contemporary, readable, English translation that is based on the earliest manuscripts. Other popular translations are actually revisions of previous translations (such as the NKJV and the ESV).