We are so lucky, blessed even, to live in such a time that we have a myriad of translations of the Bible to pick through. There are so many choices from devotional Bibles which are wonderful to use for quiet times at His feet and others which are filled with study helps and articles to use in personal study. To go deep, one should read both ways.. for devotional purposes but also for study. So many different versions to pick from… from the King James Version which the old English wording to the modern translations or paraphrases such as the Message or the New Living Translations, how does one know which one to pick?
where to start
Before heading out to your favorite Christian bookstore or website, get on your knees! Always start any new endeavour with prayer! God will give you the desire of your heart, especially when it comes to digging into His Word, by answering this prayer request! I promise, you will find the perfect Bible if you start on your knees in prayer.
how to pick a study bible
We must understand the difference between a devotional Bible and a Study Bible. A devotional Bible will have articles geared toward devotional quiet times while a Study Bible will have articles as well but these will have an emphasis on theological studies and discussions. They will have sections for related verses which promote word studies and cross-references for related verses and topics.
A good study Bible does not have to be thick and heavy. Several Bibles come in a thin line option. There is a wide range of translations to choose from as well as Study Bibles produced by renown preachers with commentaries and word meanings.
decide between a translation vs. a paraphrase
A translation is simply said, transferring what was written on the original into another language to be read by others or transcribed for mass publication. Keep in mind, what is most important in picking which translation or paraphrase, one needs to remember that what is most important is the reader understands what God intended in the original text.
There are two different types of translations. These are the literal or formal translation which is a word for word translation and the functional translation which is thought for thought or better said, phrase for phrase.
Examples of the literal or formal translations:
- King James
- New King James
- New American Standard
- English Standard Version
- Holman Christian Standard
Examples of the functional translation
- New International Version
- New Living Translation
What about paraphrases? These are versions which, just like the formal or functional, taken from the original Hebrew and Greek but paraphrased in a modern language. These are good for devotional reading. I would not use these for serious study.
- The Message
- The Living Bible
- The Good News Bible
- The Amplified Bible
What is most important is taking time to study His Word. There is more to reading and studying the Bible then just picking it up and reading. We need to read it for all its worth! Pray, read, read in context and apply. Want to learn how to glean all you can? Join women who are gathering online to study the Word together! Join Our Study! This is the beginning of a new series with an emphasis on learning to Dig Deep into the Word!