Tell Me About Your Bible…

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57 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    Thanks for the comments on your Bibles!
    I use the ESV as it is what my church uses, but I still enjoy the NIV for my own reading. For Spanish, I usethe Biblia de las Américas. I actually do a lot of my Bible reading in Spanish.
    I love books of all kinds (that includes Bibles), but with some of my recent vision challenges, I have found my electronic copies help because I can size up the font. It also means that I have an available Bible to read anywhere I am.

  2. Michael says:

    Linn,

    A lot of folks are using the available tech for Bible reading…I just have a mental block about it.

    It’s wholly my problem. 🙂

  3. Officerhoppy says:

    I use the HCSB as my main source. I compare what I’m reading with the ESV then the NLT and finally, the Message.

    When I was teaching, I’d teach from the HCSB

    I like to compare the formal equivalent with a dynamic equivalent of translation.

    But that’s me

  4. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    I found the HCSB a surprisingly good translation…I like the CSB even more…

  5. Jean says:

    I use the ESV for devotional reading and will probably stay with the ESV for no other reason than I am most familar with it, of the verses I have memorized, the memorization is from the ESV, and I have marginal notes and highlights in the ESV Bible. But I would not assert that the ESV is the best translation, although in my opinion it’s good and readable. I like to have a hard copy for personal reading.

  6. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I don’t think there is a “best” translation…at least not for the NT.
    The ESV does retain that ability to memorize passages that others simply don’t…a big plus.

  7. Michael says:

    I should note translations that I have no use for…

    “The Passion” is gnostic garbage.
    Scott McKnights translation is what happens when you get too much applause for other things…

  8. pstrmike says:

    I like all the different versions. I teach from the NASB 2020 and NKJV, and bring in the ESV, CSB and NIV. I have a NRSV that read occasionally. I usually take a peek at he NET. I read Lexham’s LXX for Old Testament reading. I also enjoy reading the Message for devotional use, particularly in reading the Psalms.

  9. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    I was on a NET kick for a while years ago…still reference it now and then. I got everybody in the church one…but they weighed about 20 pounds and the print was minuscule…went to the ESV and now use the NLT…I think it keeps things fresh…

  10. Tim says:

    I’ve taught from the NKJV for nearly my entire ministry and will probably continue to do so unless it completely disappears from the shelves. I prefer the main textual base (Majority Text), so I stick with it, even with the Majority Text has issues (such as the Johannine comma). If I’m using a Bible from the UBS/Nestle text, then NASB ’95 is my go-to. Although ESV is insanely popular, the more I’m familiar with it the less I like it due to its lack of transparency when it comes to filling in words. (Most translations designate its assumed words via italics; the ESV is spotty at best on this.) — For my own personal study, I use a wide range. A typical week has me comparing the passage from NKJV, ESV, NASB, HCSB, NIV’84, and KJV. I’ll also use Amplified and NLT at times.

    My favorite Bible is the one my bride gave me years ago: a wide-margin Cambridge goatskin. It’s a bit heavy to hold, so I set it on the pulpit, but that’s where my notations begin. (It’s pretty filled out by now.)

  11. covered says:

    I started out on a NKJV because I was told to always study from the same translation that the pastor uses. That said, I have gotten into the quality of construction of the Bible more than the translation. There are a couple of amazing “builders of the Bible” that I have started to collect from and these will be handed down to kids and grandkids. In case any of you are interested, check out a Schuyler (pronounced skyler) or an Allan. I also have a Cambridge that is cool. What I appreciate is the quality of the binding and all that goes into building a high end Bible. Finally, my wife blessed me and told me to order a rebind from a small re-binder called, ICA (In Christ Alone). Check out this guys work online it is absolutely amazing what he does with a Bible. Michael, thanks for a great topic on this hot day!

  12. Officerhoppy says:

    I stay away from any bible made by Thomas Nelson. Poorly constructed. I liked the NKJV which TN has or had a monopoly. I complained to them about how mine fell apart after 2 weeks. They advised me to pay more for a Bible. So I did. It fell apart after a month.

    So, I stay away from anything made by Tomas Nelson

  13. covered says:

    Officerhoppy, thanks for sharing. I have a couple Thomas Nelson’s but don’t use them so they are still in tact 😂. Thanks for the heads up.

  14. Michael says:

    Tim,

    “Although ESV is insanely popular, the more I’m familiar with it the less I like it due to its lack of transparency when it comes to filling in words. (Most translations designate its assumed words via italics; the ESV is spotty at best on this.)’

    Exactly…

  15. victorious says:

    CSB has become my favorite and my future for now translation ( still electronic only) , while NKJV I still read on the printed page as I memorized so many passages from it. I have some individual books in the ESV Journal format that I use to stay focused on mediative reading on a specific book ( like Hebrews or Revelation) and often take with me to coffee shops as the artwork opens up some great Jesus conversations.

  16. Michael says:

    covered,

    I can’t afford those fancy ones…but they are beautiful…

  17. Michael says:

    vic,

    The CSB has two votes now…good all around translation…

  18. Elena says:

    At church I take my first KJV, and at home I use MacArthur… it was a gif from a friend (and co-worker) about 15-20 yrs ago… 🥹
    And when I research I’m using the apps BLB, ESV, NIV.
    I’m kind of partial to KJV simply because was my first and the most read, verses memorized…
    But lately was debating on getting one of the newer versions, just not decided yet.

  19. Alan says:

    My Bible is Logos software and the YouVersion app. Haven’t used a paper Bible in 20 years. Yes I know it is kind of sad. But that is the truth.

    I use ESV for slides and many others for comparison and use my software to search the original languages.

    I will regret not having a worn Bible to pass along but that’s the measure of it.

  20. filistine says:

    My old NIV is roughly thirty years old & has most of my notes and comments in it. It is the one I use because I’m familiar with it and I’m kind of lazy about seeking out the best. I used a few others before that and they’re still on my shelf–including the one I read through numerous times when I was in high school, “The Way.” It was a life saver for a teenager plowing through OT books.

  21. Michael says:

    Elena,

    Don’t let my beef with MacArthur deter you…and the KJV is fine if you are comfy with it. Your work friend is a nice guy sometimes… 🙂

  22. Michael says:

    “I will regret not having a worn Bible to pass along but that’s the measure of it.”

    Me too….but they will have computer access to all my notes, for what that’s worth…

  23. Michael says:

    fil,

    I remember that…used to have one when I was in my teens too.

    I don’t think there is a “best” bible…it’s the one you like best…

  24. filistine says:

    I still have a Scofield Reference Bible (KJV of course) with such thin pages it was terrifying to look up a passage. I earned it by Sunday School attendance over the multitude of years of church 3x/wk with doubles on Sunday AM (service & SS) and PM (youth group/service).

  25. Michael says:

    fil,

    Those puppies were expensive back then…in more ways than one… 🙂

  26. filistine says:

    I had my grandmother’s enormous Bible she purchased from a traveling salesman–when it came, it was six inches thick and about 14″x10” but it had the most spectacular etchings in it with the protective paper page over each print. I took it to a bindery to get the cover fixed & never picked it up. It was from 1910 when she was still single.

  27. filistine says:

    I totally get Alan’s sentiments regarding digital vs. paper. I’m a paper guy, but would easily move into digital if I were in professional ministry. I’m quite digital at school–despite my prejudices for paper text.

  28. Pineapple Head says:

    I use the NLT the most and it’s my teaching/preaching Bible.

  29. Terry says:

    For interacting with others I use the NIV. For study I use N.T. Wright’s Kingdom New Testament, and John Goldingay’s First Testament for the OT. That said, I can’t recommend Wright’s New Testament translation because instead of a normal person he sounds like a 70-something Oxford Professor.

  30. Captain Kevin says:

    I prefer paper. That being said, I’m currently renting a small room, and don’t have much space. I have my ESV and NASB journaling Bibles here, and several others in storage. I use YouVersion to compare with a bunch of other translations and paraphrases. I really like NLT.

  31. Officerhoppy says:

    I believe the CSB is the same as HCSB. CSB is Christian Standard Bible.

    the H is for Holman—the publisher.

  32. Josh says:

    Hoppy, CSB is the updated HCSB.

    My favorite bible is a leatherbound UBS 4 new testament with Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Old Testamant. Since I don’t teach anymore, its the only one I’ve opened in the last year.

  33. Michael says:

    Terry,

    I’m a big fan of Wright…but haven’t found his translation any better than a standard one…it pretty ponderous to me.

    However, it’s the original autographs compared to Scott McKnight’s…his literally makes me laugh.

  34. Alan says:

    The dreaded Schofield Bible; even as a new believer God spared me and I bought a Thompson Chain Reference, then a Bible simply called the Marked Chain Reference, in college they had us read the Living Bible in our required Bible classes. So I was reading KVJ and the Living simultaneously. The KJV stuck in my head and I knew the verses. Then traversed to NASV and NKJV before landing on ESV and my computer variations.

    It is the interpretations that filled post 1970 America that chill me and IMO fueled an apostasy that rivals the revival they fueled. No wonder my prof would say again and again in his British accent, “you must have a Gospel!” The indefinite article troubled me but led me to challenge the variations that have filled America and our evangelistic domain.

    He meant you must be sure that what you preach is truly the Gospel. Now when I hear the splitting of the Gospel of the Kingdom from the Gospel of salvation I puke.

    But we were talking about Bibles.

  35. JD says:

    Daily reader: KJV. Best for song inspiration IMO. Mostly use old Gideons until they fall apart.
    Sunday go to meeting bible NASB, my wife gifted me a nice one and I keep one in each car.

  36. Eric says:

    The Good News bible I got when I was 10-11 served be until 25 when the bag it was in was lost. I still remember many of the pictures.

    After that always NIV, including one “backpack bible” until I gave it to one of my youth group kids. I didn’t see many others with them around my city, but when I was on a mission trip with people from interstate, some others had them. Ideal for someone getting around other than by car. I wouldn’t go so well on the small print now.

    These days a normal sized old NIV with contact and sticky tape holding it together. I’ll use my phone if I’m out.

    My church has a pile of NLTs that serve us well.

  37. Muff Potter says:

    I use Bullinger’s Companion Bible (King James Version).
    It has extensive margin notes which refer to its extensive appendices of factual scholarship.
    It has no axe to grind, and provides the reader with the tools to make his or her own decision about what Holy Writ says, or does not say.

  38. Ra's al Ghul says:

    All my theology books and bibles went to the landfill some years ago, so my bible is none.

  39. Michael says:

    Ra’s al Ghul,

    If you have disposed of Christianity…why in the world would you bother to read here…and why do you want people to know your choice?

  40. Nathan Priddis says:

    Was taught to read from the KJV. I would revert to it in adulthood. This includes using the same Bible as a six year old. The condition is pretty bad but only a couple pages are lost.

    The part to remember, KJVwas a governmental effort intended for public reading, not personal study.

    It’s definitely not inerent, but I don’t believe in such rubbish anyway. Its a facsimile. A copy, of a copy of a standardized text that itself may have been a copy,

  41. John in AZ says:

    As a high school kid, I did most of my New Testament reading in the JB Phillips translation. Nowadays, you never hear about it.

    I have some questions as well as comments about it,, but my wife wants us to go to the gym now. More later, hopefully.

  42. Muff Potter says:

    I love the lilting Elizabethan prose of the King James version.
    Psalm 23 just doesn’t have the same ring to it in the ‘newer’ versions.

  43. John in AZ says:

    As a high school kid, I did most of my New Testament reading in the JB Phillips translation. Nowadays, you never hear about it.

  44. John in AZ says:

    Here’s a link to an online version of he JB Phillips translation, along with his notes on each book and other topics:

    https://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/JBPNT.htm

  45. Michael says:

    John in AZ,

    I think the Phillips translation was caught up in the Living Bible and other attempts to use modern language.

    I found it useful at one time…but my guess is that there was no money to be made promoting it.

  46. Officerhoppy says:

    This is just me but part of my hermeneutical is “grammatical” which means, God chose to communicate in words so the words he chose to communicate matter.

    Translating the ancient text to English or what ever, is a skill as well as an art So, I cross reference different translations but my go to Bible is, as I said, is the CSB or HCSB.

    It’s (as far as I know) a pretty accurate translation.

  47. Michael says:

    I think all the main translations are good enough…it really is a matter of preference and small differences at this point.

    I think the OT suffers at the hands of translators more than the NT does…

  48. Shawn says:

    I have been avoiding commenting because I just realized that I have not picked up a print Bible, except to list it on eBay, in almost two years. I usually use a digital version(s) when I read but even that is woefully sporadic). Now to sound super spiritual I prefer using a Greek Text (Byzantine) in Logos. In print I prefer the ESV, NASB, and NKJV. I am not sure how it happened but after 15-17 years of reading the Bible every day I have arrived at my current state. I think part of it is physical health but there is no doubt a spiritual component as well.

    After watching Peter Santanello interview a Hasidic Rabbi, I think I have figured out part of the reason. The Rabbi talked about how the learning process is a funnel or conduit to others. Since I left the CC I was heavily involved with in 2007 I have not had a consistent outlet. I tried getting involved in other churches but there are challenges with being a new person in an established church (some of which I fully understand and others that puzzle the living daylights out of me).

    I have tried doing some online content. Unfortunately, I feel you must cater to short attention spans, presuppositions of mind-numbing simplicity, or the need to entertain people often in a shallow narcissistic and vaguely Biblical manner. Then there are the technical and staging sides. Those last two words walk a thin line between quality aesthetic and fakeness. Plus, I do not feel comfortable in front of a camera.
    In physical churches I never seem to fit in and feel as though I am constantly restrained to follow the denominational line (even in non-denom churches) instead of following the truth wherever it leads. To me it feels like mindless subjugation. If I didn’t know better, I would subscribe to the “simulation theory” of my existence. Lol.

    Even with that said I still try to find an outlet. I do not believe that God saved me and gifted me for the benefit of myself. I have been him hawing about developing a video series for YouTube from an unpublished book I have written called, “Nothing Without Love.” Over the years I spent an inordinate amount of time studying 1st Corinthians 13:1-8. The real highlights are some of the word studies and the final section which is highly reflective and painfully honest about my struggles to live that one verse out. But then the raging torrents of self-doubt, the memories of being discouraged by others hurtful comments, and the fear of failure hit me all at once.

    The point of all this brings me back to your statement/question, “Tell Me About Your Bible.” I started reading again today. I read Psalm 1 in the ESV, NKJV, and Message translations. I felt that the Message was nearly rubbish in this case. Well, all except one verse. Starting my daily reading today felt like reconnecting with an old friend that you know you should call on a regular basis but don’t. You have tons of reasons and excuses some of which are valid and others that are not. Yet, once you call it seems that you pick up exactly where you left off.

    Thank you for asking this simple question/statement. It was the subtle, even gentle, stirring from the Holy Spirit. Even in your infirmities you are still a blessing.

    Sincerely,
    Shawn

    By the way my first Bible, an NIV, was given to me by my mother who was very antagonistic to my faith. I guess she hoped her notes would convince me to turn away. Here I am still almost 25 years later…

  49. Captain Kevin says:

    Shawn, your honesty is refreshing. Blessings to you as you continue to read.

  50. Chris Long says:

    ESV primary for me for years now – I’ve found it overall gives me a more literal translation that I prefer for accuracy while giving reasonable modern English. 2nd would be the NKJV and then HCSB or CSB. The NLT while being very easy to read makes too many assumptions for my taste. I tried to do a Bible study with it on the Gospel of John and I kept running into places where certain phrases the way they were phrased were clearly due to translator assumption/interpretation, but not necessarily what the literal text says. There’s just too much margin for error for me with the thought-for-thought based translations. I like the NET with its many translator notes, but it suffers from the same problem to a degree, although it often lets you see WHY they translated certain passages as they did (even if their explanation doesn’t convince you it was the right call). Can’t stand The Passion though it’s common to encounter in the more charismatic circles I run in. If anyone’s interested, I’ve got a whole article breaking down some of the key issues involved in the various Bible translations and where they fall on the literal vs. non-literal equation. https://bodequip.org/articles/bible-translations-simplified.html

  51. Officerhoppy says:

    Chris
    I hope my question isn’t misunderstood. I mean nothing negative. But are you fluent in koine Greek or even classical Greek to determine the accuracy of a particular Bible translation?

    I and about a first or second year student. I know enough to understand syntax and recognize words but beyond that, it’s over my head.

    I read the version I read because scholars and those who know Greek have recommended it.

    Thanks

  52. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    All of the standard modern versions have excellent scholarship behind them.

    I starring teaching from the NLT because I am familiar with some of the scholars that worked on it, but wouldn’t have an issue using any of the others.

    I cross check them all before I teach anyway…

  53. Josh says:

    Chris’s article is pretty accurate, notwithstanding his personal opinions about best, worst, etc.

    I used to be very interested in bible translation, and still am to a degree. In my more conservative evangelical days, I interpreted “word for word” to mean “better”.

    I don’t see it that way anymore. I’m not sure word for word is ever the standard for any type of translation. Different languages have different sentence structures, different parts of speech, slang, colloquialisms, etc, that aren’t carried over in a word for word translation.

  54. Michael says:

    That’s my understanding as well, Josh.

  55. Chris Long says:

    Officerhoppy, no negative anything taken. I am not. I do understand a few basics but am mostly on the level of just using the tools to dig into specific words/meanings, but not qualified to evaluate sentence structure/tenses etc. I do have a very good friend who is who I pose questions to on specific passages where I’m wondering about something, but that’s the extent of that. I agree with Michael that all the standard translations have good scholarship behind them. As for the HCSB, which I read above is your preferred, I about 15-20 years ago briefly switched to it and was comparing with the ESV as both of those came out around the same time. I like the HCSB more than the CSB that replaced it, but both I like fine. They both try to strike a balance between literal and thought-for-thought. Another good friend of mine who went through Biola and worked there forever loves the CSB (he also likes Michael’s preferred NLT a lot especially for the Old Testament). I went with the ESV because while it’s not as literal as some (KJV/NKJV/NASB), it’s more literal than the HCSB/CSB. To me it just strikes a good balance where it’s default is to be literal but where expressions and the types of things Josh mentioned require, it will go thought-for-thought. I’m totally cool with the HCSB/CSB though.

  56. Chris Long says:

    Josh, thanks. Actually I don’t really have a best/worst opinion so much as just recommendations for certain situations. But I think most all of them have a place and could be the “best” in certain situations. For general adult reading, I do personally prefer/recommend the literal (but not TOO literal) ESV followed by NKJV and HCSB because I’m more comfortable with an approach that tries to stay literal where it can (but not so literal that it is too hard to read) versus one that is more prone to translator interpretation on what they think it is trying to say. I grew up in circles where the NASB was highly touted as the “most accurate” because it is one of the most literal and indeed currently attend a church that teaches from the NASB for that reason, but the NASB is also quite “wooden/stilted” in language and to me just is a bit TOO literal for its own good for general reading/teaching. But like Michael said, the great thing is that it’s easy to compare in multiple translations (especially now with our technology etc). While the pastor teaches from the NASB, I usually read it in the ESV and even sometimes in the NLT to get a different flavor since the NLT is on the other side of the spectrum. On my device right now, when I read/study, I have it set up to show me the ESV, KJV w/strongs, and NET notes all at once as I’m reading, with quick access to the NLT, NET, NKJV etc.

  57. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks for the response Chris.

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