Picking A Bible That Is Just Right For You
By Dave Harris

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I have never been more excited about the potential of this great tool. I have been working with Michael Logue Web Design - Michael is a nationally known strategic thinker and a Christian brother whom I met when he was mission manager for public affairs in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He will lend invaluable advice to make the website a tool with purpose in bringing men to a joyful relationship with our Lord and, day by day, to take our next steps toward Christ and becoming more like HIm.

Ideas are exploding for the future of the website. We don't intend to put them all on at once, but to provide small bites and to listen to your ideas as well.

One strategic goal is to get all of us more regularly and deeply in God's Word. We have presented a comprehensive reading plan on the website.

But some have expressed inquiries as to which Bible to use. There are a number of free translations and paraphrases available at youversion.com and biblegateway.com

But that doesn't answer the question. Which is best?

You have heard me say, with a smile: KJV. That's for me. Thou and Thee. Behold and Lo. I'll never let go. If you love the beautiful, classic Elizabethan language, you can't go wrong.

But if you stumble over the meaning of some of the archaic words - anon, shew, ague, Alamoth, amerce, beeves, etc. - you may want to compare another version.

Some versions are more lenient, and the various versions progress along a spectrum to strict/stringent adherence to word-for-word meaning in attempting to capture the original intent.

The more lenient versions often are paraphrases, attempting to portray a phrase's concept. They are often more readable. But if you want a deeper study, a more stringent translation may be needed.

I find delight in comparing various versions and prayerfully seeking a better grasp of the intended meaning. I own The New Testament from 26 Translations:  Link

You can say, "I want the precise meaning." OK. Try the Interlinear Greek New Testament. Another strict translation, The New American Standard Bible. Typical NASB expression: "The child of your father's wif'e's sister." A more lenient version says, "your cousin."

If you want to follow along with Pastor Tom Duchemin, choose the New Living Translation (which is readable, but more accurate that its predecessor, The Liviing Bible, a paraphrase, as is The Message).

The fastest-growing church in Indianapolis and many others choose the quite accurate-but-readable English Standard Version.

Another consideration: do you prefer the traditional references to he/brothers, or would you choose a version that tries to be more politically correct with "brothers and sisters"?

Once you decide which version you prefer, then you have to decide if you want a study Bible with commentary. The lighthearted admonition: "The [scriptural] words on top shed a lot of light on the [commentary] words below!"

Some Bible scholars suggest no study Bible and recommend the Thomas Chain-Reference Bible, which provides cross references to words and topics, but no commentary.

The Life Application Bible, The NIV Study Bible and others are very popular. Master Chief likes the Maxwell Leadership Bible.

Me? I just preordered the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible at a reduced price good until Sept. 2.

I'm not promoting one over the other. With the above considerations, pray about it and ask brothers what they prefer.

Dave Harris

P.S. If you want to sample the Gospel Transformation Bible before deciding, see below.

Next month marks the publication of the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible—one of Crossway’s most significant projects to date. Created to help readers see Christ in all of Scripture, and grace for all of life, this all-new content was created by a team of over 50 scholars and pastors and was several years in the making. Dr. Bryan Chapell served as the general editor, with Dr. Dane Ortlund as managing editor.
The Gospel Transformation Bible will be published simultaneously in print form as well as in digital formats, including an online edition hosted on ESVBible.org. You will be able to purchase online access separately, or free access will be available to all who purchase a print edition (access card included with the Bible).
All 9 editions of the Gospel Transformation Bible are currently available at a significant, 50% off rateThis special pre-order sale ends September 2.

To learn more about the Gospel Transformation Bible, a good place to start would be to download the complete book of Jeremiah, prepared by Dr. Graeme Goldsworthy, or the PDF sampler to view other portions of Scripture. Crossway has also produced an introductory video featuring project contributors and a 16-minute interview with Dr. Chapell. 

For a list of the available editions with updated pricing, visit their  editions page.