(See also Bible Study)
It is not uncommon to find Christians who firmly believe
that the King James Bible is some way the only
legitimate Bible. It, however, despite its strengths,
has no more claim to legitimacy than most other
translations. It was translated in 1611 by command of
King James of England. At the time of its translation,
few ancient Hebrew or Greek manuscripts were available.
Its language is the English of the early 17th century -
a language which has words and usage not familiar to
most of us today. Nevertheless, it has proven over the
last four centuries a blessing to Godís people and,
because so many reference works are based on it, it is
very useful as a primary study Bible.
Perhaps one thing to consider when choosing which Bible
to use as a primary study Bible is that, because it will
be primary, we get used to its language and we remember
texts by the words of that particular translation. If we
regularly switch translations, it is not as easy for us
to remember or to find texts.
It is wisest to choose as a primary study Bible either
the King James (because of its familiarity and the help
based on it), or some other widely-used translation
which has many reference works based on it. The New
American Standard is the better of such choices.
Remember, however, that regardless of translation, the
good student, after study and comparison, will find it
necessary to make changes to the text. Important errors
exist in all translations. Many FEAR to make alterations
in such a holy book; but it is the Bible which is holy,
not the translation. As more reliable and ancient
manuscripts are discovered and evaluated, it is
NECESSARY for an honest Christian to bring his own Bible
translation as close to accuracy as humanly possible. We
want Godís Words, not the translatorsí!
Even though we usually favor our primary study Bible,
all good students have come to realize the advantages of
comparing translations. Sometimes we are even amazed how
some poor translations are able to clarify some obscure
There are too many translations to list. However, there
are a few translations which are extremely helpful due
to carefulness of the translator or due to his ability
to choose words which best convey the original meaning
best when translated into English. We will list a few
with their strengths.
1. THE EMPHASIZED_BIBLE
by Joseph Rotherham
This is a 19th century translation by a man who was
clearly reverent and conscientious. It is not easy to
read but it does have the mark of honesty.
2. A NEW TRANSLATION
by William Barclay
This 20th century work is excellent for easy reading and
marvelous vocabulary. So frequently, it conveys
accurately the Greek meaning by using a phrase instead
of a single word for translation.
3. THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT
by Benjamin Wilson
Wilson was a Presbyterian who denied the existence of a
personal devil. Nevertheless, his work is accurate and
insightful. Unfortunately, the Watchtower Tract Society,
publisher of this work, is reluctant to let it be had by
the general public.
4. CONCORDANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT
published by Concordant Publishing
This is a 20th century work which attempts,
where possible, to be consistent in the translation of
individual words. This does not always provide smooth
reading, but it often reveals the normally unseen. The
Old Testament is currently in process of translation.
5. TANAKH Ė THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
published by the Jewish Publication Society
This new version of the Hebrews Scriptures is an
invaluable help getting a fresh perspective on Old
6. THE BIBLE IN MODERN ENGLISH
by Ferrar Fenton
Fenton, in this 19th
century translation, is
eccentric to the extreme. His eccentricities, however,
reveal much that may not otherwise be seen.
7. THE NEW TESTAMENT IN MODERN SPEECH
by R. F. Weymouth
Weymouth died before completing this 19th
century work. Others have revised his work through
numerous editions. The first edition is best.
Weymouth seems to have been a reverent man hoping to
provide clarity and readability.
Back to Doctrinal