greek - the original language of the new testament

as a pastor, i am frequently asked “which bible version is best” or “which bible should i use?”. i am partial to the esv or nasb, but i have no qualms with someone who uses the kjv, nkjv, niv, etc. (assuming their translation is that, a *translation* of the original languages- not a paraphrase).
rather than deciding for people which bible translation they should use, i usually offer the following advice:


How Should I Choose a Bible Translation?

  • Should be based on the best available and most reliable
    Greek and Hebrew manuscripts.
  • Based on the latest (most accurate) knowledge of
    language and culture.
  • Maintains a healthy balance of accuracy and
  • Remains dignified. (no irreverence in the way
    content is treated or delivered)
  • Avoids bias – no “agenda” inserted into the text or the presentation/packaging/contents (see the myriad of “genre”‘ bibles)

***types of approaches to translations:

Formal Equivalency – a word for word translation (New King James, New American Standard, English Standard Version)

Dynamic Equivalency – a thought-by-thought translation (New International Version, New Living Translation)

Paraphrase – A translation based on a “how I would say it” approach not usually dependent on original languages. (The Message and the like)

as for me, i most often use the nasb or esv for bible study because i want to know word for word what was said. sometimes meaning can become less clear when translated thought by thought. this does not mean that dynamic equivalency is bad or useless. i will often read parts of the old testament (leviticus through deuteronomy and sometimes the psalms) from the new living translation.

regardless of which translation you use (assuming it is a valid translation-one of the ones mentioned above or based on similar criteria) the point is spending time reading, meditating and applying the scriptures. only then will we be “…transformed by the renewing of our minds”