Saturday, 23 June 2007

Bible Translations

New American Standard Bible
(NT 1963, OT 1971, 1995 updated edition; Lockman Foundation, revision of ASV)
While no translation is perfect, the NASB is the best overall version widely available. It barely edges out the ESV, primarily because it is slightly more literal. More than any other modern version, the NASB avoids restructuring the text or interpreting passages for the reader. The NASB also makes concordance a priority, but does not go overboard in doing so. Its textual decisions are in accord with the best manuscripts. The Updated Edition is consistently contemporary in its language but maintains a good balance of reverent formality and natural readability. The NASB is a conservative translation and thus upholds the central teachings of the Bible. This version's layout is helpful and creative, with its indications of historical presents and a combination of paragraph and verse-by-verse format. One improvement for future printings would be separating the footnotes from the abundant cross-references.

English Standard Version
(2001, Crossway Bibles; revision of RSV)
The ESV has the same general strengths as its cousin, the NASB: it is a conservative, literal translation from the oldest manuscripts, presented in contemporary English. The ESV handles difficult textual decisions slightly better than the NASB, and the real paragraph format may also make it more attractive to some people. It is, however, somewhat less literal than the NASB, and occasionally is too interpretive. The editors have done an excellent job of retaining the best of the RSV while ridding it of its liberal biases. The ESV is theologically the strongest version out there. It would be nice, however, to see pronouns referring to God capitalized.

New International Version
(NT 1973, OT 1978, 1984 edition; Committee on Bible Translation)
The NIV is the most popular and one of the most conservative Bible versions. Its textual decisions are very good, slightly better than those of the NASB, and it balances literalness with readability to produce what many seek in a translation. This balance is not perfect, however, as the NIV sometimes oversimplifies the text–missing the nuances of verbs, deleting conjunctions, and often undertranslating. As an "international" version, it avoids regionalisms and may be read with equal delight across the English-speaking world. For those who find the NASB too stilted, the NIV is the highest-rated choice among the ten best-selling translations, and it is much better than either of its two revisions, the NIrV and TNIV.

Bible Translations

English Versions of the Bible

Comparing Bible Translations - Analysis

Comparing Bible Translations - Conclusions

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