So it happens that at present time I am Bible-less. Don’t have Bible one. Which bothers me because I am constantly wanting to reference it while I’m going about my day to day business.
So I started looking on Amazon to see what I could find, and it turns out there is quite a variety. Different sizes, shapes, smells, but more importantly, translations.
I was thinking about getting a standard King James version, but now I just don’t know. (Too many choices paralyze me. I have panic attacks at Starbucks. Thank God for In-N-Out Burgers.) Anybody have recommendations on any good bibles?
King James Version can get an “oooh… pretty” at first glance, but it’s easy to get lost in the midst of “thee” and “thou”.
Some of the newer translations, IMHO, suck the poetry out. “The Lord is my Leader. I don’t need anything. He makes me rest in fields.” Sound familiar? (It’s a fake example, but I’ve seen versions that do use very smiliar awkward phrasing.)
Student Bibles can be quite nice. Here at school I’ve got a New Revised Standard Version called “The Spiritual Formation Bible” that my minister gave me. It’s very nice- it has quotes from famous students of religions, discussions, and other lessons. I also have a King James version. I use them both. I’ve found I like NRSV- it is a nice compromise between archaic language and watered down words. To go back to an earlier example, the 23rd Psalm goes “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…” In the KJV, it is “maketh me to lie down in green pastures, leadeth me beside the still waters…” The extra “eths” can get a bit distracting.
You might want to consider going to a bookstore and examining their selection- find a translation that it accessible to you and one which you will enjoy.
As a (slightly) devout Neopagan, I’m not really qualified to make a recommendation, but I’ve heard good things about the New Revised Standard Version (even before andygirl’s post). Some versions are translated by people who tend to be unduly influenced in their interpretations by the teachings of their denominations. The NSRV may be a bit less biased. The newer versions do tend to suck the poetry out of it, though.
Mainly I’m posting because I found the thread title irresistable.
The text of the New International Version is considered easier to read (personally, I find it a little bit too easy), but it varies somewhat more substantially from the original Greek, than say, the New Revised Standard Version.
The NRSV varies, I believe, from the RSV in its use of inclusive language.
There’s a New King James translation, which I believe modernizes the language while maintaining most of the phrasing.
The New Jerusalem Bible was translated from the French, which was translated from the Greek … some of the phrasing does sometimes remind me of the French, but that might be a learned response.
The New American Bible is the one currently reccomended by the Catholic Church, I believe. I can try to find out why that is if you’re curious, or just go here.
That brings us to the next topic: You know different Bibles have different books, right? The Catholic Bible has about 12 more books than the Protestant Bible, and some of the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic versions have even more.
As always, I’m sure someone like tomndebb might have more to add.
When I went to Catholic school, we would occassionally have raffles. I won an “utterly astounding and incredible” glow-in-the-dark rosary. It was a horrible olive-y green color- I just couldn’t bring myself to pray with it.
You could cheat and get one of those CD-ROMs that have several different translations all on the same CD. Prices on those vary wildly, according to which “helps” they include (if any).
I have a NIV and I like it pretty well, even though I was raised on the KJV. What I suggest is that you go to http://bible.gospelcom.net/ and take a look at some familiar passages as rendered by each version. See which one feels most comfortable. One of my faves is Moffat’s, which ain’t available at that site (it is entirely possible that his family/heirs are still maintaining a copyright). 'Course, ya can’t find Moffat’s in stores down here in the Bible Belt, where I currently reside, either. :mad: I know; mine grew little legs and walked away, and I’m looking for a replacement.
Next question, after you’ve decided which translation you want, is what “helps” you want. The Thompson Chain Bible is one of the oldest sets of “helps” around (IIRC, only Scofield is older), and it’s quite good. My NIV Bible is a “Life Application Bible”, and I really, really like that set of helps.
My (second) suggestion is, after you’ve looked at the different translations at the site above (unless you decide to just go there when ya wanta look up something, or elect to get a CD-ROM) and decided on which translation you prefer, that you go to a Xian Bookstore and just ask the clerk for help. They will be delighted to show you all the different kinds and, unlike Amazon’s (now truncated, or switched to India) customer service, they will be knowledgeable.
Don’t tell me there ain’t no Xian Bookstore near you, 'cuz I won’t believe it. Big cities abound in them, but there’s always at least one in driving distance, even if you live on the back side of nowhere. Or, if you prefer to buy online, try http://www.christianbook.com/ They’re a discount Christian bookstore. I suspect you might be able to save money over Amazon’s prices on Bibles (and other Xian publications, for that matter).
Give us a little hint on what you’re looking for in a Bible, Mofo! As someone who’s done some work on early English Bible translations, the one thing I’m certain about is that no one Bible will suit everyone. I personally prefer the Tyndale translation (1535) but I highly doubt that many would agree with my choice! From an objective standpoint, I’d tend to eschew the more obscure Bibles, despite my own obscure preference. It does help to read the same Bible as an established community of believers.
If it’s not too much to ask, what “flavor” Christian are you? Most evangelicals I’ve met seem to prefer the NIV, and the more “traditional” denominations tend to prefer the older translations.
Oh, sorry but I’m not really a Christian, per se. I was really looking for a Bible for reference, as I find it almost as mandatory as the dictionary next to me when I am perusing any learned web page.
When I hear anybody use a Bible quote, I always want to check the context surrounding it. I was also looking for a Bible that didn’t toss the poetry of the original for a “contemporary” reading. I’d also like to sit down and make my way through the whole thing, at least eventually.
I’d like to thank tygerbryght for the bible comparison link. I was hoping to start up a discussion of the various translations compared to each other. I’m also interested in the fact that different Bibles don’t have the same number of books. Why don’t some Bibles have the same books as others. Are some books considered more “valid” than others?
But the main thing I was looking for was an understanding in translation from the original language. I freely admit that I know next to nothing about serious Bible scholarship, so I wanted to hear what you learned scholars have to say.
As a last aside, I don’t want to offend anyone. I am genuinely interested in what people have to say about the Bible. I’m not a Christian, but I don’t toss Christianity out of hat. I am just at present feeling that a lack of a Bible in my surroundings is definitely hampering my education.
I’m going to look at different Bibles tomorrow at the library, but I still want to hear what people who know what they’re talking about think of different translations.
Considering that we’re discussing a rather ancient document, I’d worry less about the particular translation and more about how well annotated it is. Any translation will necessarily be an interpretation: good footnotes and commentary can give you a clue about some of the choices that were made.
I understand that Oxford has a decent annotated version, judging from the Amazon reviews.
Well, um, depnds who you’re talking to. =) The “deuterocanonical” books of the Catholic Bible are: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and parts of Daniel and Esther. They were removed by Martin Luther, and you can find out more at this (biased) site.
I can’t find any more links at the moment, but I’ll try again tomorrow if I have time. Good luck.
It’s an assumption, but when I looked at your pseudo, Xian is not what I thought.
That’s one of the things I like so much about Moffat’s. His translation of the poetry (Psalms & Isaiah, e.g.) is one of the best, IMO. He was at least as much concerned about linguistic correctness and detecting and dating textual emendations as about theological authenticity - maybe more. Most devout Xians don’t care for it because he shows that (frex) the two different accounts of Creation at the beginning of Genesis are from different sources.
BTW, although I don’t consider it to be the best available in that regard, the NIV doesn’t mutilate poetry the way some other modern English versions do.
You’re very welcome. I believe that there is rarely any harm in a surfeit of information. I’m game to discuss this stuff. And, as much as a newby can ever understand the rules of a mature community such as this, I think it’s prolly fine to do it in this section, so long as nobody gets excited. Am I right?
Since StephenG gave you the “short answer” on the different views of canonical, I’ll leave that alone unless/until it comes up again.
ROFL I’m not a learned scholar, especially not of the Bible. I’m considerably more knowledgeable than your average Bible reader/student, (she said modestly) :rolleyes: but I don’t have the knowledge of the original languages. I can sorta kinda make out the sense of Greek and Latin, but a scholar needs much more than that.
As I said, if (a) I understand the rules and (b) nobody gets excited, we should be fine here. But maybe we should ask the moderator whether it Really Belongs in the BBQ Pit?
Well, as a kid I was about as fond of the Douay version (then the authorized Catholic translation for American Catholics) as the KJV. I was, however, raised Pentecostal. If it matters to anyone, these days I’m a member of a Presbyterian denomination. The primary Catholic translation used by American Catholics today is, I believe, the Jerusalem Bible. I haven’t used it extensively, but the language seemed to flow nicely, the times I’ve read briefly in one.
Caveat: I assume Amazon will have that, but I don’t know how many different translations your library is going to have. If they don’t have the Catholic Bibles you want to see there, you may have to go to a Catholic bookstore, as opposed to a Xian bookstore. :rolleyes: Maybe not, though.
In any case, you’ll be hard put to find a Douay version if the library doesn’t have it. AFAIK, they stopped publishing it when the Jerusalem Bible came out.
As I said before, reading for pleasure, I like the Moffat’s. The Tyndale is lovely, but I don’t think I’d recommend it for your purposes. Given that a lot of Bible use that you want one for checking on is likely to be from religious conservatives, I really think I recommend you stick with the KJV. If budget’s not a problem, I’d recommend a hard copy of the KJV, and a CD-ROM with a buncha different versions. And someday, just so you know how beautifully he rendered the poetry, take a look at Moffat’s.
I’ve pretty much decided to buy the NIV version of the Bible, although I am interested in furthering the discussion of Bible translations. What do you think, would it be more productive in General Questions or Great Debates?
I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned The Good News Bible yet. (It’s also published as the “Today’s English Version”, or TEV translation.)
So what if one of their objectives was to use 5th grade English reading vocabulary? It’s nice in that it has footnotes for all the passages that have an ambiguous translation. Plus it has those line-drawing pictures.
Both translated by Everett Fox from the Hebrew, with copious footnotes about the writing conditions, back story, jokes, puns, allusions, etc. Indispensable for anyone interested in the bible. Granted, they only cover the Pentatuech (Genesis, Exodus, Levitics, Numbers and Dueteronomy) and Kings I-II, but they’re an ongoing project.