In Bible translation there are essentially two different approaches:
1) Thought-for-thought (dynamic equivalence). In this approach, translators seek to translate the Bible from the original languages of Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic based on a bigger picture of the context and perhaps as a summary interpretation of the words (verse & passage). The translators attempt to remove difficult or plain reading of the text by providing language in more contemporary, modern English understanding, though sometimes with an intended meaning that is provided rather than discovered from original wording of the text.
– Examples may include New International Version (NIV/TNIV), New Living Translation (NLT), Good News Bible (GNB)
2) Word-for-word (essentially literal). In this approach, translators seek to translate the Bible from the original languages based on the precise wording of the text and in the personal style of the Bible writer. In this view, the reader/audience is left to interpret based on their own study rather than one provided by the translator.
– Examples may include: King James Bible (KJV/NKJV), New American Standard (NASB), Holman Christian Standard (HCSB), English Standard Version (ESV)
Both as a preacher and student of the Bible, my hope is to stay as faithful to the text of God’s word as possible. Therefore, for study and teaching purposes I lean towards an essentially literal approach. This is not to say that I do not read a variety of translations for both study and devotional use. In fact, I grew up reading largely from the NIV text and often find myself quoting or remembering from it. And, I know some in our congregation have their same fondness for the KJV text for like reasons.
The translation that I use consistently is the English Standard Version (ESV). If you would like to know more about this translation you can find information here: http://www.esv.org/ The ESV Study Bible is a beast and I mean that in the most positive sense. It is filled with great study notes by some of the worlds leading evangelical scholars, and not to mention the extensive introductions of each Bible book and numerous color illustrations. And perhaps most significant are the series of articles included in the back of the book on topics of doctrine, social ethics, world religions & cults and other apologetic information about the Bible and Christian faith.
In the end, the fact that we have translations at all of God’s Word is an amazing gift. About 4,400 languages are without Scripture portions available, with some 634,000,000 speakers. Translation projects are in progress in an estimated 1,600 languages that currently are without adequate Scriptures. There are about 2,500 languages needing Bible translation work to begin.
Below are two examples of such a privilege