A question that appears to arise every few years, and whenever a new Bible translation is released is “Is this a good translation?”
There are three things that make a good Bible translation:
- Accuracy to the original text
- Accurate to the original meaning
- Translated by a Group of scholars
The Word of God is what the original author wrote in the first century. The job of the translator is to make it readable to us in english while still capturing what the author originally wrote. If the translator changes the words to something else it’s no longer the Word of God. The benefit of using a group is that they are able to keep each other accountable, and stop any personal preferences from accidentally creeping into the translation.
The ESV does a great job of maintaining the original text. While it can sometimes be a little difficult to read, it is almost a word for word translation. The difficulty can often be a lower understanding of the culture in which the scripture was written.
The Good News Bible or Todays English Version is a fairly good translation that attempts to translate the meaning of the original text into english. The original wording isn’t seen as important as the original meaning of the text.
The HCSB manages to strike a fair compromise between these two methods.
My recommendation is to have two translations: An ESV and an HCSB would be ideal. Reading the ESV as standard, and checking the HCSB for any difficult passages would prove to be a brilliant way to learn to understand scripture and to better understand God’s Word.
A Final Note.
A new book has been released and I’ve noticed several fellow Christians using it. It is known as the Passion Translation. In reality, this is not a translation. It was translated by only one person, which is immediately cause for caution. Secondly, it neither captures the original text nor the original meaning of scripture.
Galatians 6:6 (ESV): “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” This teaches the idea of sharing life and finances with elders and pastors (Those who teach).
Galatians 6:6 (TPT): “And those who are taught the Word will receive an impartation from their teacher; a transference of anointing takes place between them.” This moves away from the original greek text, instead creating an idea of an anointing being given from the teacher to the student. This is not existent in the original text at all, and is a complete fabrication by the apparent translator.
My only recommendation is that Christians stay as far away from this book as possible and stay reading the Word of God.