Which translation is the most accurate?



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  • Which translation is the most accurate?

    Having read most of them myself and comparing parts to the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew, I personally find the New American Standard Version (rev. 1995) to be an outstanding translation. More and more scholars are also promoting this version based on its accuracy and being derived from the best Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Translated by 58 conservative scholars, it holds true to the authority of scripture and with the 1995 version, contains all the latest updates based on recent finds. The NASB does not read as fluid as some of the others since it maintains much of the Greek by order of meaning.

    Following that would be the American Standard Version (1901), translated by 100 moderate and conservative scholars. Again, very accurate referencing all the current documents available at that time. Like the NASB, because it attempted to be a "word-for-word" translation it does not read as smoothly as some other translations. Its only weakness is that since 1901 we have considerably more information concerning manuscripts, texts, archaeology, and biblical geography that was available in 1901. We have also learned a great deal about the "syntax" and "idioms" of the Koni Greek language of the first century

    The New International Version (1978) is probably the most popular version because it is easiest to read. NIV was translated directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts much closer to the autographa (the originally inspired writings of the apostles). The NIV was compiled by scholars from nearly every denomination to safeguard the translation from sectarian biases. However, the fundamental principle employed by the translators on the NIV was the principle of 'dynamic equivalence.' According to this theory of translating, the work of the translator is not so much to render the very words inspired by the Holy Spirit, in the form in which He inspired them, into the 'receptor' language. Rather, it is his work to discover the 'meaning' of the words, and then to convey that meaning in freely chosen words of his own and in the idiom of the day.

    Critics agree that the NIV seriously weakens Scripture's testimony to the deity of Christ. Nor is the NIV faithful to its translation of key passages that set forth the propitiatory work of Christ. There is also a weakening of the doctrine of predestination in the NIV while making concessions to Pre-millennialism and Dispensationalism in its translation. Scholars report the NIV seriously weakens the Bible's teaching with respect to marriage, divorce, and remarriage. There are a host of examples in the NIV of textual alterations, freewheeling translations that have no basis in the text, insertion of the translators' exegetical opinions, imprecise and ambiguous translation, and grammatical and syntactical changes made in the text.

    I do encourage devote students to become fully acquainted with the KJV, ASV and NASB. Among these three will you find a very balanced understanding. The ideal way to study is to purchase a Comparative Study Bible like the NIV, Amplified, KJV & NASB combined version. A person can focus on the NASB but when interpretation becomes difficult, the NIV and Amplified can help illuminate.

    I am not a King James die hard, but the New King James Version is different from most other modern Bible versions in that its New Testament is based on the Received Text rather than the modern critical texts. The Received Text is of the Byzantine text-type, whereas most modern versions use an Alexandrian text-type such as Nestle-Aland 27th or UBS 4th. I believe that the Byzantine text-type is superior to the modern critical text for a few reasons. First, the text is geographically closest to the storehouse of the originals, Antioch. Second, for all the charges that "additions" were made to the Byzantine majority text, no one can point to any significant additions in the 1500-year known history of the type, from 500AD to 1500AD. Third, the Alexandrian texts suffer drop-out errors due to the distance from Antioch; they were receiving copies of copies with no originals to compare to. Fourth, the Alexandrian text fell out of use around 600AD, probably because it was recognized to be inferior to the Byzantine text. The Received Text is very, very close to the Byzantine Majority Text, and the New King James Version is translated using the "formal equivalency" method, which produces a readable text that reflects as much as possible every word in the original Greek.

    Therefore, I would recommend the New King James Version on the basis that it uses the best translation methodology with the best text type. There is much more that could be added to "Why" NKJV from an academic position, but having studied many of them, it is where we landed. Scofield Study Bible III, NKJV is the actual study bible my wife and I study.

    “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of host.” (Jeremiah 15:16 KJV).

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