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.

Share this