Bible Study – English Translations

Bible Study – English Translations

Bible Study – English Translations 1024 683 Andrew Hicks

The most basic tool for the study of the Bible is a quality English translation. Below I will describe Michael Gorman’s suggestions for which translations to use and then offer my own suggestions. I pray that it is a blessing to you!

The esteemed New Testament scholar, Michael J. Gorman, has a section discussing the usefulness of various english translations for serious Bible study in his Elements of Biblical Exegesis (2020). His recommendations are as follows:

Preferred for Serious Study: NRSV, NABRE, RNJB, NIV 2011

Useful for Serious Study (with caution): NET, RSV, ESV, NASB, CSB

Not Recommended for Serious Study, but Helpful in Other Ways: CEB, REB, NLT, CEV, GNB, MSG

Unacceptable for Serious Study (Especially Academic): KJV/AV, NKJV, MEV.

I think, in general, Gorman has a good recommendation here, but this it should be kept in mind that Gorman is primarily recommending translations for the academic student in seminary or a full time minister looking for in-depth study. It may or may not be as useful of a recommendation for lay persons who just want to study scripture for personal enrichment or devotional/small group preparation.

With the average person in the pew in mind, I am adjusting Gorman’s recommendations to what I think would be more beneficial. I also want to remind that one of the best things you can do is use multiple translations in study and inquire about the differences. Also, a good study Bible can go a long way in helping you appreciate some of what was going on in the original language underneath the english translation. My categories are as follows: Full-time use, part-time use, and seldom use.

Full-Time UseNRSV, NRSVue, NABRE, NIV 2011, NET, CSB

Part-Time Use: RNJB, NJPS (OT only), NASB, ESV, NIV 1984, NLT, MSG, CEB

Seldom Use: KJV/AV, MEV, CEV, GNB, REB

You may disagree with my selection, but at the least I hope it would be a provocation to healthy dialogue about the importance of having and using a good English translation of the Bible. Be blessed!

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