There are many reasons to choose a specific translation of the Bible. People often use what their pastor or church recommends. For many people, the Bible and King James Version (KJV) are synonymous. In fact, Christianity Today reported last year that the KJV is still the most popular and fastest growing Bible translation.
While we provide the King James Version for free with PocketBible, there are many other translation options available. One of the major features of PocketBible is the ability to compare translations or create your own parallel Bible. Thus, you don’t have to be limited to one translation as you are with a printed book. This makes it easy to look at how a verse is worded in multiple translations to gain insight into its meaning.
Which Translation is Best?
Bible translations are usually categorized as to whether they provide a “word for word” translation from the original manuscripts (most accurate) or more of a “thought for thought” translation (easier to read). While the “best” translation will always be somewhat subjective, you can still find the one that is “best” for you. In addition to comparing translations for insight, you may find that you like one translation for your Bible reading and prefer another for study purposes.
Thought for Thought Bible Translations
“Thought for thought” translations, also known as Dynamic Equivalence, usually describe themselves as easy to understand or easy to read. This does not mean that they are not accurate in their translation from the original manuscripts but rather they strive to make the text flow for and choose words that are more recognizable to the modern reader. If you were to look at a translation comparison chart (see link below), you would find the reading grade level for these translations in the 5th to 8th grade range. The following PocketBible Bibles fall into this category:
Also “easy to understand” and read are paraphrases such as The Message.
Word for Word Bible Translations
“Word for word” translations, also known as Verbal Equivalence, strive to keep the word order as close as possible to the original texts and make word choices that lean towards accuracy rather than something that is easy to understand for today’s reader. The reading grade level for these are generally 11th or 12th grade. The following PocketBible translations fall into this category:
- King James Version (KJV)
- New King James Version (NKJV)
- English Standard Version (ESV)
- New American Bible (NABRE)
- Revised Standard Version (RSV)
- Amplified Bible (AMP)
- New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- Spanish Bibles La Biblia de las Américas (AMP) and Nueva Biblia Latinoamericana de Hoy (NBLH) use the same translations principals as the NASB. The difference between the two is that the LBLA uses the Vosotros form of Spanish and the NBLH uses the Ustedes form.
Balanced Bible Translations
These translations are focused on balancing the readability of the thought-for-thought translation with the accuracy of the word-for-word translation. The reading grade level for these translations is generally from 8th to 10th grades. The following PocketBible translations fall into this category:
- Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
- New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- New International Version (NIV)
- Nueva Version Internacional (NVI) – also known as the Spanish NIV