Resolve to Read the Bible—Which Translation Should I Choose?


This is the time of year when people typically set goals for the new year. One goal people often set is to read the Bible more, or try and read the Bible in one year (more on that goal in another post). In my next few posts I’m going to share some ideas about Bible reading and Bible study.

When someone approaches reading the Bible the first question usually is, “What translation should I choose?” Bible purchasing can be confusing. I’ve lost count on how many English translations there are and many times people just don’t know how to choose one over the other.

Here’s some thoughts:

  • Four translation make us about 75% of the market. Yes, there are well over 50 translations available, but four are the most popular. The New International Version (NIV), The King James (KJV), The New King James (NKJV) and The New Living Translation (NLT).
  • Any of these four will help you get started. You may like the language of the KJV or NKJV, or you may prefer the simpler language of the  NIV or NLT. If you go to my “Resources” Tab you can download a Translation Guide for all major translations.
  • A good question to ask is, “What do we use in church?” It may help you to use the same translation as your teaching pastor.

Here’s the most important point to remember—the best translation is the one you will actually read

Reading it and applying it to your life is the bottom line.

So choose what you feel most comfortable reading and enjoying. Don’t start your reading with the books of Leviticus or Job. Start with the book of John, or a reading plan offered by your church or the introductory notes in the Bible may offer good beginning plan.

Whatever the plan, start reading and begin to listen to God speaking directly to you from His Word. It’s a life-changer!

I’ll share some additional thoughts in my next post.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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