Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Bibles You Need to Know About

This past weekend I went out and bought a new Bible that I had read about online. I like it so much I decided that I am long past due writing about a few Bibles that are relatively new on the "translation scene" that you need to know about. 

The first is the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible). Although this translation has been around for almost ten years very few people know about it, and it is hands down my over translation of choice. The HCSB is a very readable and accurate translation. Some translation focus strongly on a “literal” or “word-for-word” translation from the original text -like the New American Standard Bible. So that each word is the most accurate English word from the original language. Others, like the NIV, go for a “thought-for-thought” principle since translating one language into another word-for-word can leave the end result sounding choppy at times, or like it came out of the mouth of Yoda. The HCSB basically strives to deliver both of these translation methods making it both a clear and accurate translation. One more feature that the HCSB strives for is the visual appearance of the words on each page. This makes the Bible pages actually look nice. In the end, the HCSB is a promising all around Bible.

The Voice
The next translation you should check out is called The Voice. The Voice is unique in that it strives to bring back some of the artistic and poetic elements that are often lost when translating the Bible into modern English. The Voice delivers God’s Word in a dynamic way through collaboration with scholars, screen play writers, artist, writers, and even musicians. One of the things I like the most about The Voice is that it really steers clear of “High Religious” and “Christiany” sounding language. For example, rather than using the words “Christ” or “Messiah” the Voice uses “Liberating King”, which although doesn’t mean “anointed one” (which is what the words Christ and Messiah mean) it still paints a great mental picture of who Christ is and what He came to do for us. This makes The Voice a great Bible for teaching young people, and non-Christians. In a nutshell the Voice is kind of like the HCSB meets The Message at a coffee shop playing Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens.

The Action Bible
Now the Bible I bought this weekend isn’t a translation but a kids Bible called The Action Bible. The name says it all -this is one action packed picture Bible! I make no joke as dorky as it my sound I while reading it could not put this thing down! What sets this Bible apart from all of the other children’s/tweener Bibles out there is Sergio Cariello. Sergio is a comic strip artist who’s worked for Marvel and DC comics. Each and every page is fully illustrated in a modern comic book format. The pages look awesome. And the scriptural content that is found in each of the stories is really impressive. The Action Bible has more Bible stories in it than any other picture before it. With over 700 pages, this is the largest graphic novel I’ve ever seen. Each Bible story has scriptural references to where the account comes from, making The Action Bible a great teaching tool. If you have kids and/or tweeners this is the story Bible to get them. And if you’re a Bible reading comic lover like myself, The Action Bible is simply a dream come true.   

There you have it, my top three reasons to never read the King James.


Beth said...

I'm find that a nice feature of using my phone for a Bible is being able to flip easily thru different translations. I've read the HCSB some and really like it. I'll have to check out the Voice. I read thru the Bible in the NLT and thought it was pretty blah. The Message, personally, drives me insane with the constant (over)use of hyphens.
I'm currently reading thru the book of Matthew using the KJV. As a kid I memorized Matthew 5 in that translation and I enjoy revisiting it. You've got to hand it to the KJV: with all its flaws (which all translations have), it was the main source for English speakers to learn about God for centuries. Pretty impressive.

The New Mexican said...

Thanks for the feedback Beth! I cross-reference passages from a number of translations when studying. Sometimes I even like to read whole chapters from a few different translations to get a good overall idea of context. I’ve also never been able to get into the NLT. I recently have started liking the ESV a bit less (I never use the word “lest” when I talk and don’t see why they should use it, who says things like, “lets go get some pizza, lest you’d rather have Mexican food”?!) And although I really like reading narrative passages from the Message I agree with you that it can be a bit much at times. And since The Message is also almost ten years old some of its “slang” is out of date. I really think that is what makes Bible translations in English a difficult matter, our language is constantly changing. Another translation that I also use a bit is the New Century Version. It is almost like an easy to read Bible. A lot of times I’ll use it for the kids memory verses in S.A.N.D.

For the most part I agree with the statement, “the best Bible is the one that is read.” If it gets you reading God’s Word -AWESOME! Read it! At the same time I do think it is important for us to consider choosing accurate modern translations since a number false theological and doctrinal ideas can be picked up when reading a Bible that’s not translated well.

Jason said...

"In a nutshell the Voice is kind of like the HCSB meets The Message at a coffee shop playing Radiohead"

Well now I have to buy it. :)
They should get Radiohead to do a blurb for the cover, then I'm sure it would sell heaps.

john keese said...

Gary, thanks for the run-down. I haven't heard of any of those. I'm going to check out the HCSB.