Choosing a Bible

Comparison of James 1:17 translations

Finding an English translation of the Bible that stays true to the original scriptures while being meaningful and relevant to you can seem a little daunting at first – there are so many choices, and evangelical protestants certainly love to flood the world with mass produced translations that aren’t suitable for Orthodox or even Catholic Christians.

For liturgical purposes, traditional language is often prefered – for me, it separates the Divine Liturgy from everyday, mundane language as well as having historical relevance throughout the ages.

For personal use, some people prefer a translation that is closer to current English while maintaining accuracy.

The Orthodox Study Bible is the most popular choice for Orthodox Christians. Featuring the Old Testament with deuterocanonical books translated from the Greek Septuagint; New Testament text from the New King James Version (NKJV); commentary from the perspective of the early Church; Icons; Maps; and liturgical readings – it is a complete copy of and guide to the Holy Scriptures. There is even a Kindle version!

The King James Version (KJV) with deuterocanonical books is considered a timeless standard English translation of the Holy Scriptures; Although it does use traditional language and some word forms unknown to contemporary readers, it’s not too difficult to grasp.

The Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB) is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate; popular among more traditional Catholics – it is also suitable for Orthodox Christians.

Psalm 51:5 Comparison

Psalm 51:5 Comparison

One of the most common translations among modern evangelists seems to be the New International Version (NIV).   Using cheap, mass-produced paperbacks retailing from as little as £0.99 make it an attractive choice for those on a budget, however, the NIV is not merely an English translation of the Holy Scriptures. It translates the thoughts or ideas of the text and rewords them, effectively being an integrated commentary and interpretation.  I wouldn’t recommend this translation for even personal study, and certainly not liturgical use in the Church.  Please invest in a decent bible such as the Orthodox Study Bible and a pocket-sized KJV for emergencies.

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