No, I’m not talking about a new fishing technique!
You may have noticed that there are a very large number of Bible translations out there today. They range from the venerable old King James Version and the old American Standard Version, through other “middle-aged” versions like the RSV, NKJV, the original NASB, and even the still-popular NIV, up to the very newest translations of today.
Most of the older versions used a “word-for-word” translation philosophy and sought to be as accurate to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts as possible. Then came the “thought-for-thought” translations, of which the NIV became the most prominant. The idea behind these versions was that the most accurate translation was the one that got the idea of the original manuscript across most clearly. There is something to be said for both these philosophies.
In recent years we have seen the proliferation of versions, like the NLT and the TNIV, as well as the NRSV, to name only a very few, in which the editors have undertaken to advance a certain agenda, that being to change the scriptures so as to not offend certain liberal “scholars” and use language that would include various groups of people, even in passages where they were specifically excluded. This is mainly seen in the inclusion of women in all passages which are addressed to any church or assembly of Christian believers. While this change is legitimate in some cases, this blanket change is improper and regrettable. The translators are asking for trouble by presuming to re-write scripture in order to advance their own political agenda.
At any rate, that is just background material, and not what this post is really about.
What I do want to bring to your attention is this: There is a new translation out there now, which has been ten years in the making, that is proving to be something special. I believe that, if it is marketed properly, it will come to be known as the benchmark translation of this generation – the NET Bible.
The NET Bible is completely readable online, is downloadable for free, and is meant to be a “ministry-first” Bible. It is also available in leather-bound printed versions, all this at http://www.bible.org. The NET Bible First Edition contains over 60,000 translators and study notes, making it an outstanding study Bible. That alone makes it desirable. But when one takes the translation itself without all the notes, one discovers that this version is good enough to stand on its own. In fact, I believe it is the equal to the finest translations available today, and superior to most. And one of its strongest points is the fact that it is not translated into “Bible-speak”, but into modern, contemporary, American English as we speak it today. And it comes without the gratuitous inclusive-language changes we find in nearly all of the latest translations. Any inclusive language you find is the way the original manuscripts were written, and this is all explained in those wonderful notes!
I believe the NET Bible is the preeminent Bible translation into English in the world today, and so that’s why I am pushing it. Go to Bible.org and check it out. Take some time, in fact take a lot of time, and read it carefully. Study the notes. See if you don’t agree. And then buy it, for yourself and for your family and friends. Buy it for your church. Read it and use it. It’s available in both the complete NET Bible First Edition, with the 60,000+ notes, and in the NET Bible Readers Edition with approximately 7000 notes and larger type that’s easier on the eyes. Both are available at reasonable prices, and I expect to see even less expensive versions in the near future as they start pushing this translation to the common people.
The NET Bible is arguably the best, at good prices, and deserves to become well known and well loved.