Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. -2 Timothy 2:15
First and foremost, most of us realize that any Bible we read in English is a translation. Not a copy of the manuscripts, but a translation (and, at best, a more literal translation of copies of copies of the original manuscripts). There are some people who think that the King James Version of the Bible (a favorite of mine) is the infallible, inspired Word of God that has been made available by Him to us. While I agree that it has been made available to us by God and that it contains the inspired Word of God, it is still a translation. I won’t get into a whole big thing on the manuscripts from which it is translated compared to those used by more modern versions, but will put forth the idea that there is nothing I can see that changes any doctrine. I will go on record, however, by stating that I think the manuscripts used to create the English version of the New Testament by the King James translators (and also Geneva, NKJV and MEV) known primarily as “Textus Receptus” are probably closest to the originals and therefore more trustworthy. But, that’s just a feeling I have.
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)
All that having been written, on to what I consider my favorite translations/versions and why. My two most favorite Bibles are the King James Version and the Amplified Bible. There are many other decent Bibles and I adhere to a “to each his/her own” point of view when it comes to picking a translation. I guess if I could only have one Bible, the King James would probably be it. Why? Because it makes me think more, look up words and really ponder the meaning of many verses that I might otherwise skip over or give barely a glance. Moreover, I admire the beauty of the Psalms and many passages in the King James that seem to have been lost over time. Words like “behold” aren’t used much any more and, yet, really grab my attention– as they were designed to. There is also a value to “thee, thou and ye” that many miss (singular vs. plural identification). Furthermore, the deity of Christ and the fullness of the Godhead are made quite clear throughout its pages. Lastly, it is true that memorizing Scripture verses is easier when using the King James Version. I’m not sure the exact reasoning for that, but I know from personal experience that it’s true.
Another Bible I use daily in my personal study and often quote from is the Amplified Bible. I first became familiar with it through watching Joyce Meyer teach from it on television. I find it opens up the meaning of certain passages better than any other translation I use. I also find it to be strong on the deity of Christ, something that should be of the utmost importance to every believer. Is it sometimes very lengthy? Yes. Maybe too lengthy? Perhaps sometimes– but no translation I have used is perfect. It is an invaluable tool for me in personal study. If I could only have one Bible, I stated earlier in this post it would be the King James, but perhaps it would be the Amplified. It would be a tough choice, if I had to choose between the two. Thank God I don’t have to! I can use them all!
Whatever Bible translation you choose, whether more literal or dynamic, pick it up and read it daily. Actually, don’t just read it– study it. You will find a wealth of blessing in its pages just waiting for you to unlock. In the Word there is power beyond imagination!