What translation of the Bible is most helpful for personal study?

  • Dr. Mark Weeter, University Provost and Professor of Ministry: 

“The translation I prefer depends somewhat on the purpose of the study.  If I wish to understand the literal meaning of the text, without looking in the original Hebrew or Greek, I prefer the New American Standard Translation.  I consider its translation the closest to the original text.  I use this translation in teaching Bible classes and have had the same Bible since I was in college, though I’ve needed to have it recovered twice. I rarely use this version in preaching, because it is “too” literal’ and sometimes does not flow as well.  Also, few listeners would have this translation to follow along.  In preaching I prefer the New Living Translation.  It is still a good translation but makes an effort to be more conceptual not literal and uses modern language to make it more understandable to the listener.  For much the same reason I also use the New International Version to preach on many occasions.  I compare the NIV to the NLT to the original test; see which I think conveys the most accurate translation and which conveys the idea in more understandable terminology.” 

  • Professor Monica Epperson, Director of Academic Enhancement and Assistant Professor of Psychology: 

“Bible translations are an interesting thing. Oftentimes, a denomination appears to be collectively supportive of a certain translation. My personal approach to translations works like this….I wake up to my Chronological Bible Plan via YouVersion. The overall translation is New International Version; however, I find myself clicking on a portion of the Scriptures and desiring to see it from multiple translations. For instance, Proverbs 17:17 NIV says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Yet, The Message says, “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” For me, the depth of the meaning goes deeper as I consider multiple ways of hiding this truth in my heart. I want to know Him deeply. I want to understand His heart. Multiple translations help me to grow in my love of His word, and more importantly, in my love for His personality and ideas.” 

  • Dr. Keri Bostwick, Dean of the School of Education and Exercise Science and Dean of Accreditation and Assessment: 

“I grew up using and memorizing NIV and KJV Bible verses.  When I read a verse in another version, I try to recall the pages and pages of memorization we did as a family to align it to the NIV.  In my own study of Scripture, I like to look around at several different versions.  I often use The Message, the New American Standard, or the NJKV.  I like to read a verse in one version and then read it in another version.  I also grew up with the Strong’s Concordance as a companion to my Bible.  It’s how my mom and dad taught us to read Scripture.  When my dad and I talk about verses we are reading or studying, we usually use the NIV.  There are some verses that I quote in KJV in those conversations.  Long story short, I find benefit in reading and rereading various versions depending on what I am studying. Sometimes it depends on what or why I am studying as well.”