What is the most secularly acclaimed Bible translation?

by sabastious 86 Replies latest jw friends

  • sabastious

    I want to start reading the Bible more but I do not want to use the NWT. The fact that the NWT took so many liberties makes me a little gunshy about other translations, which one would you recommend?


  • NeonMadman

    The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a good, literal translation that isn't always easy to read. The New International Version (NIV) is a more fluid translation, but tends to translate thought-for-thought rather than word-for-word. It is, however, highly readable and flows very smoothly. I haven't interacted much yet with the English Standard Version (ESV), but I'm hearing very good things about it - supposedly it is quite faithful to the original words yet manages to be easily understandable to the reader of English. If you want a Bible for study, the NASB would be good; if you just want to read and get the broad strokes, go for the NIV. The ESV may combine the best of both worlds.

  • Gaby Light
    Gaby Light

    Good question. Really good question. Which is the most accurate. I could not get an accurate answer to this myself when I was looking. and I made a few mistakes.

    I bought a NLT - bad idea, and a NIV also bad idea. I've checked certain "jesus is lord" passages in the NASB and was unimpressed. All these bibles take too much liberty in the deity of Christ. Which is important if you are talking to current or exJW's , or even purists. I found although the King James is based on the less popular Majority texts, (in opposed to minority texts of NLT, NIV & NWT) it was the most accurate in word for word translation and intended meaning.

    I have a new testament THE MESSAGE paraphrase which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, I heartily recommend. You can gallop through the NT at breakneck speed, to read it all again sooner. It is NOT a replacement for a bible though okay....

    Bottom Line. NKJ.

  • peacedog
    If you want a Bible for study, the NASB would be good; if you just want to read and get the broad strokes, go for the NIV.

    I second this.

  • donuthole

    My first non-NWT was the NIV. I still read it from time to time but some of its evangelical bias irritates me in the same way that the NWT manifests doctrinal tampering. (A popular example is how "flesh" is translated as "sinful nature".)

    I favor the New King James. As mentioned it follows the Majority texts which I personally think is more accurate than others. Most would disagree with this.

  • PSacramento

    It truly depends on what you are looking for.

    Personally I think an interlinear is a MUST if you are goning to study the bible.

    I think that a few different bibles are good too and you need to realize that sometimes, literal translations can give you a misunderstanding of things if you don't understand th eoriginal language ( the use of Brothers in the NT for example, it is directed towards brothers AND sisters not just the men).

    The ESV is a good one, as is the NKJ as is the RSV or the NRSV as is the Jreuslame bible as is the NASB.

    Perhaps a copy of the NASB, one of the NIV and one of the NRSV.

    OR, you can do it the east way and just read it off Bible.Logos.com and switch the versions to see the different ways they have been translated.

  • Soldier77

    I first bought an NIV bible for reading and I liked it, but I wanted to check out other versions.

    I then picked up an ESV Study bible... I love reading it! Great points to research and study in the footnotes. I did some research before buying it and it has some good reviews and to me, it seemed from reputable sources.

    The ESV is now my go to bible for everything. I still refer to the NIV from time to time and I'm looking for another one for my reference.

  • PSacramento

    There is also a bible that has a whole bunch fof them in one, for every passage it shows the original KJV and then any other verison that are available.

    It can be a bit confusing to read at times, but it is a very good tool for comparing verisons directly.


  • Soldier77

    I also have a bible app on my iPhone that lets you compare 2 versions of a list of a dozen on the screen at the same time if you want. Just look up bible in the app store, it's free.

  • wannabefree

    I have appreciated "Truth in Translation" by Jason David BeDuhn. His examination found The New World Translation (NW) and the New American Bible with Revised New Testament (c) 1986, 1970 (NAB) as the most accurate, bias free modern translations.

    Yes, I can hear all of the sighs and boos out there. But this book, taken in its entirety, actually helped me to see the honesty of the NW and find the inaccuracies taught by the religion despite having their "own" bible. I read the book trying to help prove my faith, it had the opposite affect on me. I ultimately found this to be a relief.

    Here is a small part of the conclusion by BeDuhn ... if you haven't read his book, I think it is a very good read especially as JW's will quote what is convenient from it. Taken in its entirety, it doesn't validate the religion, but it does help you to appreciate the NW itself.

    I hope this is fair use ....

    Truth in Translation, page 165

    ... I have identified a handful of examples of bias in the NW, where in my opinion accuracy was impaired by the commitments of the translators. But the biases of the NW translators do not account for most of the differences of the NW from the other translations. Most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation of the original expressions of the New Testament writers.

    The NW and the NAB are not bias free, and they are not perfect translations. But they are remarkably good translations, better by far than the deeply flawed TEV [Good News Bible in Todays English Version], certainly better as a translation than the LB [The Living Bible] and AB [The Amplified New Testament], which are not really translations at all, consistently better than the heavily biased NIV [Holy Bible, New International Version], often better than the compromised NRSV [New Revised Standard Version Bible].

    I could only consider a small number of examples in this book. Another set of samples might yield some different configuration of results. But the selection of passages has not been arbitrary. It has been driven mostly by the idea of where one is most likely to find bias, namely, those passages which are frequently cited as having great theological importance, the verses that are claimed as key foundations for the commitments of belief held by the very people making the translations. .... Choosing precisely those passages where theology has most at stake might seem deliberately provocative and controversial. But that is exactly where bias is most likely to interfere with translation. Biblical passages that make statements about the nature and character of Jesus or the Holy Spirit are much more likely to have beliefs read into them than are passages that mention what Jesus and his disciples had for lunch.


    I have been heard. I am not a Greek scholar, I have enough struggle with English, therefore I must yield to the input of a scholar, and of course not all scholars agree. But I personally found it very helpful in my mind to be able to see Bible truth from the NW that disproved the religion itself.

  • PSacramento

    Dude, you have to understand Jason's motivation for writing that book and HIS inherant biasis.

    Besides, it's just one man's opinion, take it for what it is worth and realise that it DOESN'T carry any more weight than anyone elses.

  • Will Power
    Will Power

    wannabe.... regarding the book you cite, the chapter I found most interesting was the criticism of using the word Jehovah in the new testament where it should not be.

    If this is where your JW understanding took a turn I can see why. Reading the passages without the J word gives each a whole new meaning that directly contradicts their unique doctrine - wonder why it's unique!


  • wannabefree

    PSacramento ... I understand, my point was how even the NW took on a different meaning for me once the rosey colored glasses of Watchtower bias were removed. This was profound for me as I wasn't trying to prove JW's wrong, my intention was the opposite ... yet it didn't work out that way.

    So, in short, NAB might be a good read. But at the same time, BeDuhn rates that one up there with NW. .... or is he perhaps biased about NAB?

    (edit - and of course when I suggest the NW, it is only the study edition with references, which are a very important part to find balance)

  • wannabefree

    Will Power ... yes, that was major ... surpisingly, so was his take on John 1:1 ... he touts NW as more accurate rendering the term "a god" better than as "God" ... and of course, the JW will stop at that, but his reasoning also shows that it is clumsy to render it that way and he would believe it better to be translated as "divine", which to me, makes the passage more neutral to either side rather than being a proof text.

  • PSacramento

    If I recall correctly, and I may be mistaken, Jason doesn't prescribe to Jesus being God or divine in God's nature ( or something like that), so the NWT that renders John1:1 "a" god was, in his view, more correct.

    Some of his issues with the NRSV I think have to do with its "liberal" use of gender neutral interpretations but to be honest, I think that the NRSV does the correct thing in making it clear when "brothers" means "brothers and sisters", though I think they should have bracketed it as opposed to replaced it.

    You will never find a bible translation without its critics, that is impossible.

    We all have our views of what a translation should say/mean, even more so if we are scholars of the bibel or languages.

    By "WE" I mean THEM not ME ;)

  • digderidoo

    I read the NIV bible. It reads more smoothly than others for me. I think there's bias in all translations, so it's difficult to try to figure out which one is the most accurate.


  • jam

    blue bible on the net is good. Check it out

  • brotherdan

    I think the most universally recognized bible translation that holds the highest critical acclaim is the NASB. I've got a GREAT John Macarthur NASB study bible. The NKJ is also great. However, remember to always refer to different translations when searching for the meaning of specific scripture. We all know that bible translations are not inspired. But we CAN get the correct sense of many scriptures by comparing the different translations.

  • cyberjesus

    I had the same question. The quest for the most accurate bible its what led me to research it, research its origins and ultimately not read it at all.

  • Wonderment

    One big mistake many ex JWs make is to drop the New World Translation at their exit of the Borg. I am telling you this, the New World Translation is a fine translation. Don´t believe all this crap that no one there knew no Hebrew or Greek. Don´t believe this lie perpetraded over and over again from the Walsh case. A lot of people here are so gullilble. I have dozens of translations, perhaps over a hundred of them, and the NW excels many of them in a lot of places. Oh, I hear grumblings that the NW is biased. Hello! They all are! You think that KJV or NIV, or Valera version in Spanish is not biased? They are all slanted! They all reflect their doctrinal bias in their versions. And in many ways they show more tampering with the originals than the NW.

    I, too, have been a victim of shunning by my family and hundreds of "friends." I have a lot of hurt from the Borg. But I have confidence that the NW and the Kingdom Interlinear are good bibles. In fact, the best interlinear in the market of so many are the Kingdom Interlinear and the Paul R. McReynols (Word Study Greek-English New Testament) followed by the Diaglott and the Concordant Greek text. The other interlinears are almost useless. I am trying to be as fair as possible. The NW Reference Bible does not make for pleasant reading, but damn, it is a great study bible. Their two bibles is the best thing to come out of the Society. I can´t say the same thing about some of their other publications. And I can´t stand how the Society distorts the Faithful and Discreet Slave and the House to House expression. Don´t let anger and bad omens from the WT blind you from these two excellent works. I could sit for hours, scripture by scripture, Greek text and all, etc to back up my opinions. I do like most bibles by the way.

    Most suspicions by many folks regarding bible versions is unwarranted. And what do I say of all those "critics" about the NW? They are just plain biased opinions. All translations have faults and biases in their text. It comes with the territory.

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