Do you know how many English Bible versions/translations exist?
Here are a few of them:
AMP: The Amplified Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Lockman Foundation) 1965.
ASV: American Standard Version, (WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
CEV: Contemporary English Version (New York: American Bible Society) 1995.
ERV: English Revised Version (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1885.
ESV: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers) 2001.
GB: Geneva Bible, 1599.
GNB: Good News Bible (NY: American Bible Society) 1992.
GW: God’s Word Translation (Baker Publishing Group) 1995.
HCSB: Holman Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman) 2004.
JB: Jerusalem Bible (New York: Doubleday) 1966.
KJV: The Authorized (King James) Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
MSG: The Message (Copyright Eugene H. Peterson) 2002.
NAB: The New American Bible (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) 1997.
NASB: The New American Standard Bible (Lockman Foundation) 1995.
NCV: New Century Version (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 2005.
NIV: New International Version (Colorado Springs: International Bible Society) 1984.
NIrV: New International Readers Version (International Bible Society) 1996.
NJB: The New Jerusalem Bible (New York: Doubleday) 1985.
NKJV: New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
NLT: New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.
NRSV: New Revised Standard Version (National Council of Churches of Christ) 1989.
NWT: New World Translation (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society) 1984.
REB: Revised English Bible (London: Oxford and Cambridge University Press) 1989.
RSV: Revised Standard Version (National Council of Churches of Christ) 1952.
TNIV: Today’s New International Version (Colorado Springs: Biblica) 2001.
TLB: The Living Bible (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1997.
There are 26 listed above, and there are even more translations I’m sure. The one you read is most likely in this list. The scriptures have been translated and interpreted many times over. Most Christians are set on one version and don’t typically swap back and forth. Some pastors study out of the ESV and preach out of the NIV. Some pastors and churches are set on the KJV forever, no matter what. Some younger generations like the MSG better. Some people prefer the NLT because of the nice thought-for-thought layout of the translation. And even some people (like my mom) quote scripture in both the KJV and the NIV. She will start a verse in the KJV and finish in the NIV. She’s talented.
Despite all these versions, despite which one you read daily, do you realize that you have the responsibility to translate the gospel to someone today?
Yesterday on Jason Stasyszen’s post on the use of social media, Michael Perkins shared a profound comment about something a friend of his says.
His friend says, “Sometimes we are the only Bible people read.”
For someone today, you have the opportunity to be the best version of the gospel. Not the ESV, or the NIV, or the MSG, or the KJV, You. And the way you communicate it will be subject to your specific context and mission. You have the responsibility (and the ability!) to effectively and creatively communicate the gospel. Do it.
- Who will be your audience today?
- What will allow them read your version today?
- How will the gospel be translated from you to them?
YOU can be the best version of the Bible today.*
*Of course, this requires that you are constantly drawing your knowledge, power, and strength from the Holy Spirit. It also requires that you be firmly grounded in Scripture. You can pick one from the list above.