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What Bible Version Should I Choose?

There are many versions of the Bible to choose from, especially in the English language. If you walk into a Christian bookstore, you might be a little overwhelmed. So, instead of telling you which version is the best, I wanted to take a different approach to this subject.
As of 2023, the top 6 best-selling English Bibles are as followed:
(Click links for Bible suggestions)
1. New International Version
2. New Living Translation
3. English Standard Version
4. King James Version
5. Christian Standard Bible
6. New King James Version
There is also a consensus on how translations are categorized which includes 3 types.
***Please note this visual is just to help you visually understand how translations are roughly categorized.***

Figure: 1
Word-for-Word Translations (Formal)
Formal translations are literal translations that have been translated word for word from the original texts.
Thought-for-Thought Translations (Dynamic)
Dynamic translations are translated phrase by phrase and use contemporary language for ease of reading.
Paraphrase Translations
Paraphrase translations use modern language and try to capture the thought or meaning behind the original text.

Before Moving Forward...

I would encourage you to take some time to start looking into which Bible would be best for you specifically. Once you have the Bible that best fits you return to this section to continue!

Helpful Tips:
1) Take one verse, for example like Matthew 11:28, and read it in several different translations. Try using to explore different translations of the Bible and see what best suits your specific preference.

2) Not only are there many versions/translations, but there are different themes. For example, some themes you might see are men's, women's, devotional, sports, theological, archeological, etc. I would always encourage you to get some type of "study bible" (regardless of the theme) because it will help you to understand deeper theological insights in your reading.

3) If you find yourself stuck, check with your mentor or pastor, see what version they use, and ask them why they use it.

Understanding How To Read Your Bible:

Let's use John 3:1-3;6 as an example:
John (Book)
3 (Chapter)
1-3 (Verses 1 through 3)
; (and)
6 (verse)


Who wrote the Bible?

The simplest way to explain this subject is that the Bible was dually authored. This means that it was authored by God and man. More specifically, it was written by humans but inspired and directed by God.

How Much Authority Should I Give The Bible In My Life?

As Christians, we believe the word of God is inspired by God himself, which gives ultimate authority and direction to the believer in his or her pursuit of a Christ-centered life. We should hold the Bible with the highest regard in our lives and learn to understand and apply it in our lives, giving us direction in our understanding of God's will for our lives. (2 Timothy 3:16)   (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

Important things to remember as you begin reading your Bible.

There are many suggestions on how to read your Bible, but I just want to point out a few helpful ones as you begin. Please understand this isn't an exhaustive list, these are just a few helpful tips and thoughts.

Here are a few examples of Bible-reading methods (there are many types):

     1 - Scripture
     2 - Observation
     3 - Application
     4 - Prayer

OICA+(M) Methodology of Bible Study
     1 - Observation - What is being said?
     2 - Interpretation - What does this mean?
     3 - Correlation - How does this connect to the Bible overall?
     4 - Application - How do I apply this to my life?
     5 - Meditation - Reflection on what you read.

Devotional Study Form  
     1. Pray for insight.
     2. Meditate
     3. Application
     4. Memorization

Helpful Tips:
1) Pray before you read, allow your mind and spirit to get focused on what you are about to read, and ask for help from God who is a good God, who wants you to understand His word deeper to help form and shape you more into His likeness.

2) Historical Context: Know that the Bible was not written in 2021, it was written several years ago, and it's important to remember which audience the text was speaking to. Also, it's key to understand the historical references or people that scripture is speaking about. Even though some verses might be talking about historical events we can see God in the midst of how He has worked in the past and be able to pull lessons, wisdom, and greater understanding from scripture.

3) Metaphoric and/or Exaggerated Language: For example Matthew 5:29 says, "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." This verse is not literal in the sense of plucking your eye out, but a command to remove things in your life that cause you to stumble in your faith.