Bible Translations

How to Choose Your Bible Translation

How to Choose Your Bible Translation

What are the differences between Bible translations? And which Bible translation is the best? If you’ve asked one of these questions before, you’re in the right place. The truth is, there’s no single Bible translation that’s universally better than the rest. Each has strengths which serve different purposes as you study God’s Word. Instead, the better question to ask is: “which Bible translation is best for me?” Let’s dive in.

Before we can answer that question, we need to understand a little bit more about how the Bible is translated. The original text of the Bible was written in ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic—languages many of us cannot understand apart from years of study. So Bible translations make God’s Word available to us in our primary language. 

There are two main translation philosophies when it comes to translating the Bible:

Word-for-Word Translation

“essentially literal” or “formal equivalence” 

Goal: To retain as much of the original sentence structure and idioms as possible 

Pros: Highly accurate to the original text, great for deep study 

Cons: More formal, sometimes a little harder to understand

Thought-for-Thought Translation

“functional equivalence,” “dynamic equivalence,” or “meaning-based”

Goal: To render the original meaning of the text in clear, modern English 

Pros: Easy to understand, great for reading out loud

Cons: Sometimes a little less accurate for deep study

The key to choosing your Bible translation is deciding where on the spectrum you want your text to fall. Take a look at the chart above and click the button below to read our in-depth article to dive into the details. We hope you’re beginning to get a sense of where you want to land with your chosen translation.

Hosanna Revival bibles by Translation

a mini guide

Word for Word

ESV: The English Standard Version

Select My ESV

Word for Word

KJV: The King James Version

Select My KJV

In the middle

CSB: The Christian Standard Bible

Select my CSB

Thought for Thought

NLT: The New Living Translation

Select My NLT

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About Bible Translations

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