Today I was browsing the website of the King James Bible Trust. Apparently Richard Dawkins has given his support to next year’s quadricentennial celebration of arguably the most influential book in English: “Not to know the King James Bible is to be, in some small way, barbarian.”
John Hobbins over at Ancient Hebrew Poetry has an interesting discussion of the differences between the new NIV, the old NIV and some of the other dynamic equivalency translations, over-against literal translations.
When folks find out that I went to seminary and know some Hebrew and Greek, they often ask me which Bible translation I use. Along with my usual disclaimer that I cannot be considered an expert on translations after three years of each language, I will say that I use different translations for different purposes, along with the original languages. My choice of translation when teaching or preaching is largely dependant upon which Bible the majority of the congregants/participants will be using or familiar with.
My choice in personal study depends on which other resources I want at my disposal. Sometimes I want the original text, and sometimes I want study notes. I grew up with the NASB, but I also memorized quite a few verses in the NIV. However, my New Oxford Annotated Bible, which I enjoy for the study notes, and my Greek-English NA27 critical edition, which I like when I’m working through a less familiar NT passage in church, use the NRSV. I also have a pocket Tanakh published by JPS, which has Hebrew (no Masorah) and a New JPS translation, which is just dynamic enough to keep me from being lazy in my Hebrew, but literal enough so that I won’t be embarrassed if I have to read aloud in church.
I also have a pocket ESV, which is convenient, and an even smaller pocket NASB with a zipper. My OliveTree iTouch app has the KJV and the NET Bible for free, so I use those as well. I will often listen to the ESV at work or on my iPod, since the Good News Project offers free ESV audio here.
Which translations do you prefer? Why, and in which situations?