Monday, January 14, 2008

Translations 2 - Study Bibles.

The question of which translation is best is somewhat sticky, because there are so several good ones. I always tell anyone who is studying the Bible they should eventually have at least two translations. Since a Bible you don't read and understand is less than helpful, one of those translations should be chosen for ease of reading. The second translation is to compare wording in case you have a question about the meaning of a passage.

In addition, at least one of them needs to be a "Study Bible." A Study Bible is one of three basic tools to help you understand the Bible. These tools are very helpful in comprehending the time, places, and social differences the Bible discusses. They should also help with fitting some of the various pieces together to get at the understanding of the Bible.

If you have a translation that is easy to read, and is a word for word translation, and is a Study Bible, there is absolutely no hurry to get a second translation.

The following are a few Study Bibles any of which I would recommend.

The NIV Study Bible by Zondervan is one I have reviewed myself, and it is a good one, both from the standpoint of easy to read and having an abundance of good notes. It is made for beginners and fairly middle of the road theologically.

The Scofield Study Bible was an old and trusted source for many conservatives in the past. There is a newer version, and also a Scofield III version today. The Scofield III is available in some newer translations, such as NKJV, NIV, NASB, and Holman translations.

The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version by R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison is likely to be a good one. I haven't reviewed it, but I have read some of Sproul's other work, and it is good.

The Holman Illustrated Study Bible: Holman Christian Standard Bible has had several good reviews. I have seen some other Holman Bible products and they are good, so I would trust this one also.

It is important to note that any study reference is going to have their own slant as to the interpretation of some particular doctrine. The ones above are fairly middle of the road, from a Baptist point of view.

UPDATE: A friend pointed out to me that I didn't discuss "Life Applications Study Bibles," and she is correct. I have not yet really looked at any Bibles in this catagory and don't know much about them. I may look into them in the future, especially if someone leaves a comment asking me to look into them.

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