POLL: Which Version of the Bible?

So just out of curiosity, which version of the English Bible do you primarily read/prefer? (There's a corresponding poll in the sidebar to your right, if you're reading this on or before 11/11/07.... Please vote as well as leaving a comment!)

You may be like me, and have several different versions in your home for a variety of purposes... but which version is it that you prefer above all others? Which is it that you would choose to take with you if you only had room in your suitcase for one Bible?

The options:
  • King James Version (KJV)
  • New International Version (NIV)
  • New American Standard (NASB)
  • The Living Bible (TLB)
  • New Living Translation (NLT)
  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • Amplified Bible (AB)
  • Other (TNIV, NKJV, Holman, Dolby, or some other version)
I'd love to hear from you about why you love the version you use. PLEASE, though, no bashing of other versions... but PLEASE DO comment and share why you like the one you read and what is meaningful and important to you about that particular version.

31 comments:

Crystal said...

ESV is top of my list. It seems the most straight-forward. It's also what we use at church so it ends up being the one I use a lot. But my cell phone doesn't have that translation on it yet so I've been using NKJV on it.

NKJV and NASB follow closely behind.

Growing up I only ever used NIV, but when I got into bible college I was introduced to many different version.

Something I like about the NKJV is that it's based off of one of the oldest translations, but put to an easier to read language.

I also have an Oxford Bible that I love, I can't remember what version it is...

CB said...

I've always read NIV, but the cover recently ripped off of my Bible, and so now I'm reading ESV for the first time and like it! Both are travel sized Old and New Testament, so I guess I like small Bibles. Easier to hold in one hand!

Britt said...

NLT (New Living Translation) for me! When I first began to read the Bible, I was overwhelmed with the different versions! So a friend suggested I head over to biblegateway.com, since they have a bazillion (what seems like anyway) different versions...even in different languages! I tried pretty much all of them, but NLT was the easiest for me to understand...the meaning of the verse is right there.

Anonymous said...

My preference is definitely NASB. I just love the way it 'reads.' It is a more literal translation, which I really like (as opposed to phrasing). But we are a house that has close to every translation out there, even though we use some of them very infrequently.

After memorizing tons of bible verses in the King James as a child, it is sometimes tough to read those in any other translation!

My favorite all-time Bible is John MacArthur's study bible in the NASB. Now that is some good reading!!

-Lauren

Erin said...

I use the NIV most of the time. Mainly out of habit I think. It's the one most people around me use, I've always had an NIV, we use it at church and most verses I've memoriesed are from NIV.

I like the familiarity of it. If someone reads a verse I know from a different version even though I know it's the same my mind gets a little confused because the words don't flow the way I've always heard it before.

But I do like it when I read a different version and it uses a differnt word/phrase which makes me look at the passage a whole new way.

Also NIV uses everyday english and is easy to read.

Robin said...

We use NKJV at the church I attend (Calvary Chapel). It's what I'm most used to.

I've been reading a NLT version for my daily Bible reading and sometimes I have to go look at my NKJV to see what a "real" Bible says. I also have a NIV and Message.

Elizabeth said...

I just don't think I can answer that question! I thought about it, I really did. But it really depends on the purpose of my reading and my mood at the time.

When I'm reading Psalms, I much prefer KJV. In general, I think the King James is much more lyrical than any of the newer translations which makes it my favorite choice for reading out loud.

Most of the time I use the NIV because that's what my denomination has used in our liturgy for years. They are switching to the ESV, so I bought my teens each an ESV Bible that they use for school. The youngest and I use the NIV while they are reading from the ESV. Interesting for sure!

I also have a NKJ that I really like. It's the one I keep at my desk for those late night sessions after everyone is asleep. LOL. I don't use it for school because I think our devotion time is confusing enough using two translations.

So, you have my opinion, but I didn't vote in your poll. Sorry!

Leigh Ann said...

NLT - I used to use a KJV & Living Parallel Bible but switched to NLT as soon as it came out. Love it!! I would like to get a KJV/NLT parallel, though, if they ever make one. So many verses in song & that I memorized as a child are in the KJV.

amy said...

I voted "Other" which is the American Standard Version. Although it retains much of the KJV language, it is a "more literal" translation, which can make it seem a little disjointed when reading aloud, but for my personal use I like it. (My copy is also small so it is easy to take along places.) My dh and I are considering getting ESV for the whole family, which would be fine for all the children to read from, plus when we are reading together or doing memory work we can all be using the same translation to make our discussions more unified in understanding, etc.

Terry said...

I tend to use the NLT at home. I wish I had some theological reason why I prefer it but I don't. I did, however, compare many key passages againt the traditional KJV to see if the meanings were the same and they were, so I stayed with it. Our pastor uses the NKJV when preaching so we take that to church. My husabnd reads the Amplified at home and I occasionally read that one too.

Kim said...

I cannot decide! I love NIV because it's so common now. But I also love NASB because sometimes the text seems richer. And I thought I would not like it, but I got a NLT One Year Bible for my birthday, and I really love it - it's a fresh take on the same stuff I've read!

Jess said...

I can identify with so many of you...

Crystal, I ultimately agree with you. I prefer the ESV above all others, because it is a very good translation, but it's also in language that is straightforward and comprehensible.

But I have studied and read so many others... I really enjoyed my NASB Inductive Study Bible (that's what I used to study throughout 2006), and the NLT (which is what I used back in 2004/2005).

Prior to that, I believe I was still using my NIV Study Bible that I had picked up in college.

I was raised on the KJV and can still appreciate that, although it's not practical for me for every day use.

All in all, I think I've done a fairly good Bible survey throughout my life, and I'm really happy with the ESV now, but I do consult the other versions from time to time, simply because they're nearby or because I want to get a different "feel" for the Scriptures I'm studying/reading.

I have found that the NLT is the most likely version to grab my heart and make me think of Scripture in fresh and thought-provoking ways, but I still prefer the ESV for studying, as I believe it's an excellent translation (and possibly the best) from the original languages.

Thanks so far for all the comments... I'd love to hear from anyone else who wants to share!
~Jess

Janel said...

I haven't looked at the ESV, but I know many love it.

We are not Bible poor. There are probably 15 different print translations floating around the house. I know we have more than that digitally.

If I'm just sitting down to read Scripture just to read Scripture, I pick my NIV. If I'm doing Bible study, I open Logos with the KJV & NASB with all the study tools.

MInTheGap said...

I picked KJV-- I'm so used to it now that I usually don't have a problem with the verbiage. I've used it all the while growing up, including college, and have portions memorized so that it sounds strange when I read other translations.

scarp said...

I started using NKJV, I think in college, because our Pastor used it at the time. I still prefer it, even though it is no longer the default version at my church. I think because it is easier to read than KJV, but I like that it is still somewhat formal. The versions that are too 'everyday' in their language - I end up just reading through too quickly/easily. Reading NKJV makes me slow down a little and think about what I am reading. I also, however, have a Spanish/English parallel version in NIV, and I appreciate the way the 3 different versions can cause me to realize something new or different about a passage.

eva said...

I read several versions for variety, but most often I read my NASB for accuracy. NASB is a word for word translation so I feel it gets as close to the original text as possible. It is hard to get used to at first, but very rich.

Meredith said...

I love my new NRSV Bible. We recently purged the house of excess Bibles and got down to one copy of a non-study Bible each. My husband and I both like the size of small, totable Bibles, and I like that I actually focus on the scriptures now instead of the study helps. We primarily use the NRSV at church and I love how the scriptures flow similiar to the KJV that I grew up on. We both enjoy the Message for fun and to see a different perspective on a passage. Last Sunday the scriptures were read from the TNIV and I really liked that too. When our little one outgrows her story Bibles, we'll start her on the paraphrases that Karyn Henley produces (www.KarynHenley.com).

Carole said...

My vote is the ESV. Growing up my personal Bible was an NIV, although my church (I think) used RSV. In any case, when I got to high school I got on an anti-NIV trip for a bit and tried to make the switch to KJV. Ha! While certain books are beautifully poetic in that version, other books (Romans? Hebrews?) were so incredibly difficult for me to understand. After a few years of closed mindedness to my previously beloved NIV, I began the hunt for "my" translation. I wanted to buy a Bible that would be mine, not to have 3 or 4 that all floated around the house yet didn't really and truly belong to me. Two years ago I bought an ESV for myself. It has been the perfect blend of "plain English" in an accurate and beautiful arrangement. I like it a lot!

Anonymous said...

The NAB....The New American Bible!!! I know it's not on your list, but the commonly known "Catholic Bible" is the one I love. There is so much beauty in the books the other bibles are missing I think it's unfortunate they were removed from the original canon.

Shawna in Calgary

Brenda said...

Through my own search (and research) I have gained a great respect for the KJV as a translation. However, having been raised on NIV, I just can't adapt. So, I am reading the NKJV right now, while still flipping over to my familiar NIV when needed. (I can find things easier).

Kara said...

Holman Christian Standard....after using NIV, and some others throughout the years for Christmas a couple years ago I asked for a Holman. I had heard about how it came about and sounded like something worth looking into. I have loved it since then. It has been really easy for the boys to memorize, understanding what it is saying. I always continue to use a program we have to compare many, many translations when I "need" to, but everyday...Holman for now.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

Another Holman here.

I really wanted to go for the ESV (I am a wannabe book-collector and I *love* their size and covers) but for whatever reason in direct comparison (I was looking for a more-literal replacement for my NIV) the Holman's phrasing just "fit" better (the NIV background, maybe?).

I like that it feels familiar but says things just different enough that I understand new things.

Jess--
Are you interested in a follow-up post (or maybe this only applies to me) about what to do with old/extra bibles and the motivating (or is it guilt?) power of a new bible?

Those are two thoughts I haven't nailed-down since they cropped up in H.S.

Hannah said...

While I usually read the NLT simply because it is easy to understand, I enjoy using crosswalk.com and being able to read one scripture in every translation to gain a better understanding. (no, I don't get paid by crosswalk, I just love the availability to scripture)and I refer to them all the time on my blog.

Kristin said...

I use the NLT - I really love the fact that they translated the intent of the verses rather than just the word-for-word literal translation (which can easily miss some of the feeling and meaning behind the original). Maybe it's because I've worked as an interpreter that the idea of an "equivalent but not literal" translation feels right to me.

We do have quite a few other versions in the house, though, and I love websites like "BibleGateway" that let me look things up in different translations to get a better sense of the meaning.

Anonymous said...

When I went to buy my first study Bible as a teen I asked my dear (14 years older) missionary brother which one I should get. He recommended the NASB, so that's what I've been reading ever since. I have memorized most verses in that version, and it just feels the most familiar. I also have several NIV's around the house, but my favorite (English version:)) is NASB.

Sue in Japan

LisaM said...

I've always liked the American, and later New American versions for reading and studying. I grew up knowing and appreciating the idea of word for word translation of the original, and striving for understanding of the original in its context. I've also liked the NKJV. I did occasionally use the NIV for just reading, but somehow it was too far removed from the old romantic, poetic KJV and Greek literal translations. But now, today, I've started using and really liking the ESV - mainly because it's just a little different, just enough so that when I read it, my mind can't just go to sleep from hearing the same old words again (I know - that's not very respectful, but that's what happens when my mind blanks out halfway through a reading because I've read it so many times before). It's helped me to think again. And I do still sometimes use a paraphrase (specifically the one that comes in the daily reading verses from the Canadian Bible Society), just to keep me awake. But for study, for now, I'm using the ESV.

LisaM said...

Oh, and I also really appreciate BibleGateway.com when I'm studying - what a neat way to easily compare translations and even check out the commentaries by those who've gone before! /plug :)

Melissa said...

The version I most often read is the New King James. Although I love having a variety of translations to compare! Also, when reading with international friends (non-native English speakers) I like the NIV because the language is often easier to understand.

annie said...

I've held off on answering this because I was hoping to see someone vote for my favorite New Testament version: JB Phillips. I generally read NIV or NKJV because those are what my husband and I were brought up on and our church primarily uses those versions. But for my personal study in the New Testament, I love Phillips. My mom came into faith with Phillips and all the Scripture she taught me are in those words. I love it.

Jess said...

The RESULTS, in order from most to least used:

* King James Version (KJV) - 28 votes, 20%
* English Standard Version (ESV) - 27 votes, 19%
* Other (TNIV, NKJV, Holman, Dolby, or some other version) - 26 votes, 18%
* New International Version (NIV) - 24 votes, 17%
* New American Standard (NASB) - 22 votes, 16%
* New Living Translation (NLT) - 10 votes, 7%
* The Living Bible (TLB) - 0 votes, 0%
* Amplified Bible (AB) - 0 votes, 0%


It's been good to hear your responses, ladies (and any gents who voted but didn't write in). Interesting results- I wouldn't have pegged the KJV as the most-used version... I probably would have guessed NIV, and it came in 4th. I'm glad to see my much-loved ESV a close second. :) Anyway, fun poll- and fun to hear from all of you!

~Jess

Sarah said...

Delving back into your archives here :)

I did a similar poll last week and the KJV came up top too, I was surprised as you were I thought the NIV would be top (it came second). I use KJV at home (occasionally referring to the NIV) and we use NIV at church.