Which Translation should I use?
I get asked this question regularly, “Which translation should I use?” Although I am not partial to any translation, I do have some words to say on this subject. There are many great English translations and the scholarship for these translations is amazing. We have common usage ones that are great like the NIV, we have super accurate less-well known ones like the NET Bible, we have the Living Bible, TEV, and many others.
The first thing I would say is comparing translations is key. I love to compare different translations because they vary in their translation styles and also in how they might interpret a particular Hebrew or Greek sentence. When we compare translations, we are able to see passages that scholars might disagree on the meaning. One version might choose words in such a way as to imply certain meaning and we will be able to notice in a different translation that there are other scholars who understand the text a different way. We have word-for-word translations and thought-for-thought translations and we have translations that try and stay in the middle.
A literal word-for-word translation would specifically look at the words instead of the purposed general meaning. They would translate the words specifically. They try to stay as close to the original word in the Hebrew or Greek text even if the meaning does not carry over into English. Whilst, a thought-for-thought translation would try and translate the phrase or intended meaning in the passage. The number one advice I would provide is try and stay in the middle AND compare translations. A good translation looks at the word, and the intended meaning of the passage.