d4rksabre, on 16 February 2012 - 05:09 PM, said:
What version are you reading? I was raised athiest but I have always wanted to read it. I just have no idea what the difference is between versions. Crosschecking, maybe you have some input as well?
Excellent question! A part of the issue (I wouldn't say it's a "problem") is that languages change over time. Case in point: look at how many different words have come into the English language just in the past 30 years alone - and the fact that English is one of the most spoken languages in the world
. This is something that Bible translators have to take into consideration. We don't speak the same form of English as the Brits, or even the Australians and Nigerians. The world is a far different place than it was when the King James Version was published 401 years ago. Add to that the fact that the British Empire helped to spread the English language to all the different parts of the world since that time. Thus, while there were not as many translations published between the Wycliffe Bible (which introduced the Bible into English) and the King James Version, there has been an "explosion" in English translations ever since 1881.
I cannot begin to tell you how much work and effort goes into Bible translations. Translation committees need men who have a thorough knowledge (and I do mean thorough
knowledge of the original languages of Hebrew and Koine Greek - since the Greek that is spoken today is not the same Greek as it was written about 2000 years ago.) At the same time, given the amount of material that has been written through various notes and commentaries that have been passed down through the centuries has been a tremendous help to these translation committees. Nevertheless, even as they continue to work on translations, some archaeological discovery keeps being made that further validates the authenticity of the Scriptures. (The Dead Sea Scrolls are an excellent case in point.)
My personal preferences for Bible translations are the 1599 Geneva Bible, the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the English Standard Version (ESV). Just about all of these follow the word-for-word format, as opposed to the thought-for-thought method. I'm going to provide a link
to something that shows not only the format, but also the projected readability of each of these versions that are on the list. As an aside, I actually find the Geneva Bible to be easier to read than the King James Version.
Word to the wise: stay away from The Living Bible and The Message. Both of these are paraphrased "Bibles", which means that they were written in purely idiomatic form and did not have legitimate translation nor scholarship put into them. Plus, both of them were written by one man (Kenneth Taylor and Eugene Peterson, in that order).
I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to hit up either me or Eric in Akron.