With dozens of translations of the bible, which one should we read? I will start off with some comforting words from Jesus Christ, talking about the Holy Spirit He says, “he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit He will bear witness with our conscience and we will have subtle discernment of what is of God and what is not; likewise our conscience bears witness to what is morally right and wrong. With this being said, anyone who humbly seeks God’s Truth will find it (Jerimiah 29:13).
As for bible versions, there are different versions for different reasons. Some translations are translated word-for-word while others are translated thought-for-thought; some are paraphrased as to make it seem more modern and easier to understand. Personally, I use the King James Version and here is why: the thought-for-thought or meaning-for-meaning and the paraphrased bibles have interpretations built into them. By paraphrasing or implying meaning to the text the translators are inserting an interpretation on what the text means. Whether the translator was a Christian being led by the Holy Spirit of God or a secular historian both with preconceived biases I know not. Even if it was being translated by a Christian I don’t want a man to interpret the bible for me, I want the Holy Spirit to work through me to interpret and guide me to the meaning of the words that are written. Additionally, the King James Version is translated from the earliest manuscripts whereas some other versions are based on manuscripts that have already been translated once; this will likely increase the amount of translation errors.
Some people dislike the King James Version because it is written in Old English, but after spending a few days or weeks reading daily you will adapt to the style; and hopefully even learn some words and phrases you didn’t know before. The KJV is my personal favorite, I also like parallel bibles for when the wording in the KJV doesn’t seem to make sense. In this case, I would recommend using free tools such as BibleStudyTools to compare multiple translations at once.
However, my favorite bible software is e-Sword. This software is 100% free and allows the user to click on any word and see the definition from the original Hebrew or Greek. What once would require a translator or looking up every word in a concordance can now be done with the click of a button! What an amazing tool we have to divide the word of God. Additionally, I also use the Strong’s Concordance Bible app on my iPhone. This is another amazing tool, not quite as great as e-Sword but amazing to have on while mobile.
All of these tools are amazing to have, but ultimately they are fruitless unless you are being led by the Holy Spirit. Before every reading of God’s Spiritual Word you should pray to God asking for understanding and guidance while reading His Word. We do not want to come to the bible with false, worldly preconceived biases that will veil the truth of God’s Word. We want the Word to renew us, rather than our opinions and biases determine what God is saying through His servants. Ultimately, if you are truly seeking God, led by the Spirit and reading His Word you will be guided and instructed properly regardless of what translation you use. God can use anything to lead someone to truth; especially when that person is seeking the truth.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:13).