Bible Translations and Resources
There has been much debate about which translation is the best; for me, the best translation depends upon the situation. For public worship and for general private, public, and familial reading, I prefer the Authorised/King James Version. Its broad use in the English-speaking world makes it amongst the most familiar and accessible. Moreover, its general faithfulness to the Textus Receptus (the Received Text, as opposed to the corrupted Westcott-Hort text), makes it a worthwhile choice. The language employed in the translation (thee, thou, etc.) also makes it my top choice for general and group reading.
With that being said, I am not a “King James Onlier.” I do not believe that the AV/KJV is inerrant nor do I believe that it is the best translation in all respects. Some argue that it is the most faithful translation available, but one would be hard-pressed to convince me that the AV/KJV is any more faithful than the 1599 Geneva Bible or the Young’s Literal Translation. The 1599 Geneva Bible is still available and is often just as easy to read, or easier, than the AV/KJV. The Geneva Bible was popular amongst the earlier Dissenters, Calvinists, and Particular Baptists (as a clear suggestion of its faithfulness as a translation). Many of the more ardent in the Reformed / Calvinistic community still prefer the Geneva over the AV/KJV.
For personal study, I continue to use the King James version, mainly due to the Strong’s concordance tie-in. However, I like to have both the Greene’s Literal Translation (a.k.a. the LITV or the “KJ3” as it is now unfortunately called) and the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) readily available. Young’s is an excellent translation but is more difficult to read than any other Textus Receptus-based translation that I have encountered. It is not only literal in word but in grammar — so the sentence structure can make reading it quite awkward at times. Robert Young made it clear that he never intended for his translation to replace the AV/KJV, stating that its primary purpose was as a literal study aid.
Were it not for its general lack of availability and familiarity, and for one major issue I have with it, I would say that the Greene’s LITV translation would be the best overall. Sadly, Mr. Greene rejected the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7). From what I have read, I am convinced that 1 John 5:7 is canonical and belongs in Scripture. The italicisation of this verse by Mr. Greene (so as to suggest that it was not in the original Greek) needlessly undermines the use of the entire translation in my opinion. Nonetheless, it is a great study Bible and much more literal than the AV/KJV and much more readable than the YLT. I believe that it is the best word-for-word translation of the Greek and Hebrew available.
Speaking of the Greek and Hebrew, to get a better understanding of the original words found in the Bible and to see the context in which God uses these words throughout Scripture, I often rely on three popular Bible search programs. My favourite is The Word, but I also use eSword, and The Online Bible. I like to have all three open when studying because each has its own advantages. For instance, The Word is the most robust and powerful, but the highly useful Treasury Of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) feature isn’t nearly as user-friendly as it is with The Online Bible. The eSword program is the only one of the three to have the LITV available as a Bible module which makes it incredibly useful for that reason alone. By having them all open, it greatly enhances ones ability to quickly and thoroughly search/research relevant passages.
In addition to the above, I find that the Blue Letter Bible website is exceedingly useful, especially when I do not have access to the abovementioned programs. Like the applications, the Blue Letter site supplies a wealth of information and resources that would otherwise require many a simultaneously open book. As with all such resources, there may be drawbacks — but the overall value in aiding God’s people and enabling them to be like the Bereans cannot be reasonably downplayed or naysaid.
Many object to the use of such resources, thinking them to be unnatural or outside of God’s ordained means. It is my belief that the ability to read various faithful Bible translations (side by side) and to review the Strong’s Concordance, the TSK, various Lexicons, faithful commentaries, etc., all in one go if needed, far outweighs any legitimate concerns. We are still utterly dependant upon God-wrought prayer and God-wrought teaching and understanding, but God has blessed us with a means to delve more deeply into His word and I think we should feel free to use it. I cannot count the number of times wherein I have been so thoroughly enriched by seeing the more expansive meanings behind the God-purposed choice and use of words (meanings we would only scratch the surface of if we looked strictly at the AV/KJV or any other single translation). Men like Harold Camping evidence the dangers of relying on such means in lieu of God Himself; but the misuse of means by some does not equate to the means themselves being unlawful. Hopefully, you will come to the same conclusion if you haven’t already and will find these translations and resources to be a blessing to you – as God wills and enables.