Use Translations

I have twenty minutes so this is less than a post and more like a tip. When studying the Bible it is good to have two or three translations on hand in addition to the one you like to read all the time. In reading Romans alternate translations will be a big help. After I read a passage in several translations, several times, I write down my initial thoughts and observations from the text and then build a brief outline.

I primarily read and preach from the English Standard Version. In study I read from the ESV, the American Standard, The Message, and the New Living Translation. The ESV is a modern version that is a blend of literal rendering and readability. The American Standard is a literal translation thus it is not very fluid or readable. The Message seeks the “meaning” of the text over a translation of the text. I really enjoy Eugene Peterson’s style. I would recommend his series of books Christ Plays in 10,000 Places, Eat This Book, and The Jesus Way. The Jesus Way is the best of the three. The series seems to get better with each new book. He has added a new one entitled Tell It Slant. Maybe this will be the best of them all. It is on my shelf but at this time it remains very cold and lonely. The New Living Translation is an all time favorite of mine. Of all the translations I read I get more out of it on first reading than I do from any of the others. Honestly, from what study I have done in Greek it also seems to do the best job at rendering the tense, voice, and mood of Greek verbs.

Translations are a good thing. Inevitably when translating from one language to another meaning will be lost. There are a lot of Greek words and phrases that are simply difficult to render into English. At times it may be that English does not have an equivalent word or phrase that reflects the Greek thought. Other times it may be that there is a dispute about the translation itself. Having a variety of translations on hand helps one to see how translation teams make decisions about the rendering of a phrase or idea.

Online access to translations:

Blue Letter Bible

English Standard Version Online

E-Sword (Mac version Available) This is a must have for your computer. It is a free software program that allows you to download a massive amount of Bible study information. If you have the money to donate to the project it would not be a bad investment. I have sent them a couple of small donations over the years.

Translations I trust and use:

The King James Version
The New King James Version
The English Standard Version – if you want a good study Bible the ESV study Bible is numero uno! See my post on this one.
The New American Standard
The American Standard
The Message
The New Living Translation (I like the first version of the NLT better than the latest one. I wish they would put it back out on the market).
Young’s Literal Translation
Nestle Aland Greek Translation


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