Bible Translations

Which Bible Translation is Best?

Over the past several years I have been reading one version of the English Bible from cover to cover every 8 months. I have, with my very limited Greek background, done checking to determine which translations are doing a "literal word for word" translations, which are doing a "meaning for meaning" translation and which are doing a very loose translation (sort of like when a movie is made out of a book.)

There are many versions that I can recommend as high quality and useful. But if you want the summary, I recommend:

If you have never read the Bible from cover to cover before, or you are a young child, or if English is your second language (and you still want to read the Bible in English, not your native language) or your English skills are below average, then I strongly recommend the NLT (New Living Translation.) It is well done and I very much enjoyed reading it. It's simple language and translation of things like "4 cubits" into "6 feet" made it easy to understand. A second best choice is the NIrV.

For other people, or if you have read the Bible at least once and you don't mind a more precise (but harder to read) English, or you want to check out the Bible in a scholarly fashion. I believe the NET (New English Translation, available at is currently the very best English version available. A second best choice is the NIV.

If Price is the main factor (i.e. you are buying a whole bunch to give away) then you may find that the NIV is a good enough translation. But if you can find a good deal or you can afford a little bit more - at least check out the price of bulk copies of the NLT.

Note that the NLT has NOTHING to do with the "Living Bible"

If you want to read all my notes and comments on HOW Bibles are translated. HOW I determine which version I recommend to whom. WHY there will never be "a best" translation. And lots of comments on each of the translations I have read through. Then open up this word document and read it.