For the first time in over fifteen years, I am changing to a different Bible for all of my main study, preaching, and teaching.
For most of my early life I used the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. It had been the standard English version for hundreds of years (the last main revision was in 1769), though major revisions and new translations started appearing in 1881. I read from, memorized, and taught from the KJV through high school and into college, because that was the “official” Bible of the churches and schools I attended. (My home church changed from the KJV to the New KJV while I was in high school.)
But during high school I began learning the two main original languages of the Bible – Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT), focusing primarily on the Greek. When comparing my translations against the English Bibles available to me, I found that my understanding of the original text was closest to the New American Standard Bible (NASB, 1977). So in high school and college, even though I had to use the KJV in church and school, the NASB became my translation of choice for everything. I even stayed with it when it was updated in 1995.
Today I’m announcing that for the next unknown future, I will be using the New English Translation of the Bible (NET Bible). This will be for my own personal study as well as for all preaching, teaching, and writing (when another Bible is not mandated).
I have many reasons for this change, but the main reason is the same as why I chose the NASB so many years ago – I believe it is the best translation for both accuracy and readability of our day. Here is an excerpt from the NET Bible’s Introduction:
Part of the problem is this: the more literal a translation is, the less readable it generally is; the more readable it is, the less faithful it is to the original meaning (at least in many cases). Some modern translations are quite readable but are not very faithful to the biblical author’s meaning. A major goal of good translation is of course readability – but not at the expense of the intended meaning. The philosophy of the NET Bible translators was to be interpretive when such an interpretation represents the best thinking of recent scholarship. Thus, for example, in Romans 6:4, the expression “newness of life” is taken to mean “new life” by grammarians and exegetes alike and is thus translated this way. But when an interpretive translation is unnecessary or might suggest sectarian bias, and when a more literal rendering results in good English, we have followed the latter course.
I am using it, and I highly recommend that you use it, too, at least alongside your favorite Bible. For more information about the NET Bible and some very cool features and downloads, check out the links below.
Preface and Introduction to the NET Bible – I highly recommend that you read this all the way through to appreciate this Bible and my wholehearted support of it.
Free download of the entire searchable NET Bible (yes, free! – download begins immediately)
NET Study Bible online with notes (also completely free!)
Purchase a NET Study Bible with nearly 61,000 study notes – this is what I’ll use for study
Purchase a NET Reader’s Bible with limited study notes – this is what I’ll use for teaching