Yes, I know, I haven’t written since…who knows when.
But I have recently been prodded by a reader to get back to blogging about the things I spent most of my time blogging about before, apparently that’s mostly Bible translations.
If you have spent much time at all reading my “stuff”, you know I almost constantly struggle with the different English Bible translations. And even though it’s been quite a while since I last wrote a post about that, the fact is that I still do it, and it’s probably about a weekly thing for me. Now I haven’t received any new translations in quite a while, either from a publisher or buying it myself, so I’m still struggling with the same ones. I own NIV (1984, 2011, and TNIV), NASB (1977 and 1995), ESV, NKJV, HCSB, and NLT (both original and NLT2). Yeah, there isn’t a whole lot of variety there, I know. But I have online study tools as well for the purpose of comparison.
But there’s just something about a Bible you can hold in your hands, the smell of the leather, the feel of it in your hands, even the feel of the paper as you turn the pages. I simply prefer a “real” Bible over a “virtual” one.
You may remember my greatest struggles were so often between the NASB and the ESV, and maybe the NIV. Believe it or not, I have finally drifted away from the NASB a bit, even though I still like it a lot for its rendering of certain idioms from the original languages, and I trust it for a faithful rendering as much as any other translation.
I had moved towards the ESV strongly for a while, but I have been put off it a bit recently because in my comparison studies I find it a bit wordy and awkward compared to most of the others, even the crusty old NKJV! In fact, one thing that has endeared me to the NKJV is its conciseness. I think a big part of that is that they don’t shy away from using a full vocabulary. They don’t dumb it down. If one word will suffice, then that’s how they say it, instead of trying to explain theological concepts.
At the same time that I’m starting to use the NKJV more and more, I find myself also struggling with the NIV. The NIV is an easy read, and let’s face it, the NKJV often is not. Even so, they both have things that commend them.
Since my thinking about translations has changed, even evolved, over the years, I think this would be a good time to do yet another review of translations, and so I will begin by writing separate reviews of the NKJV and NIV, followed by reviews of the other translations I own and use.