Sunday, January 08, 2006


Bible drill

Tell me about your Bible(s).

What translation is it? What tradition, editor, etc.? I'm thinking about buying myself a new one, for a return to something akin to regular reading and study.

What do y'all use? What do you recommend?

Mama and Daddy ER bought me my first Bible in 1971, after I learned to read. It's a basic King James Version, not annotated, no frills. Just the Bible. It's covered in notes and underlines from a little ER's hand.

Mama ER bought me a Scofield Reference Bible (1967 edition) in 1979. King James Version. It was meant to be a Christmas present, but it had half of Numbers and no Deuteronomy! So, I returned it for a replacement. This one, too, is filled with marginalia and underlines. This was the one I used during my most intense time of Bible study.

Then, I wound up with a Ryrie Study Bible, probably in 1980 or '81, in high school. 1978 edition. New American Standard Version. No marks in this one. I just didn't much care for it, and kept relying on my ol' Scofield.

Sometime in there, I got The Living Bible. 1973 edition.

In college, probably in 1985 or '86, I bought an Oxford Study Bible as a textbook for use in a class on the New Testament. If I decide not to buy a new one, this is the one I think I'll use. Problem is it's hardcover, I'd prefer a softcover.

Maybe I don't need another Bible! Maybe I should read the ones I have more.

But what say ye and y'all? Tell me about your Bible(s). What are your recommendations?


If you are serious and want to STUDY the Bible and not what someone says about the Bible, then I recomend the following.

First you need to think of the "Bible" as two things: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
For the Old Testament you should look for two different versions. Both should be Interlinear with the "original" Hebrew text interlined with the English translation. The first version should come from a Jewish source and be designed for use as a teaching tool. The second should come from a Christian source and also be designed as a teaching tool. In conjunction with these two books you will need an English/Hebrew Lexicon, from a publisher other than the ones from the companies publishing the two books.

For the New Testamentyou you will like wise need a Interlinear Greek/English New Testement. Most of these will have a lexicon included, but get another seperate English/Greek Lexicon( In Koine Greek) again by another publisher.
Also I would recomend one of the newer mult-version New Testaments which will have side by side at least four translations: Older versions of this kind of book will have the all important King James, Revised Standard, Phillips, and New English versions (Publisher is Christianity Today). Choose your own versions but always have one of them be the King James. In addition buy one of the books that show the four gospels parallel to each other, so that you can compare them quickly.
Finally find a scholarly History of the New Testment, that is a HISTORY not a comentary and one for the Old Testement as well. Do not purchase a combined History of the "Bible". I use Hester's two books for this criteria but they have been superceeded by better Histories I'm sure.

Now you are ready to Study the Bible with a minimum of outside bias. It is a lot to chew, but you have another 40 years or so to get it done.
Left out a step. Read your basic scripture from any version you feel most confortable with, and then go to these seven books to form your own understanding of it.
Then, and only then, check the "comentaries" for what insight they may bring.

I see that I can't spell Multi- and I can spell testament four different ways. Believe it or not my advice is a little better than my spelling.
Well, ER, my current main bible is a copy of "The Personal Growth Study Bible" by the Nelson Press, given to me by my parents on June 21st, 1997.

Lately, however, I have been increasingly using the online searchable Bible, available at

While I like the ability to instantaneously access any passage in any translation that the online Bible affords me, there is still something that i like about opening the Book, turning the pages, and letting The Lord speak to me.

As for a reccomendation, all i van tell you is that in my opinion, you can't go wrong with a new copy of the King James Version. (The same translation that Jesus carried...) :-)

I have always believed that the Bible should sound like the Bible when you read it. It should be seperate and apart from other books, and instantly identifiable.

Nave's Topical Bible is also very good though. Whichever version you decide to go with, you need a copy of "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance." If you don't have one, then I would reccomend getting one whether you buy a new Bible or not.

Great post, my friend.
I use the NIV (New International Version) and NIV Study Bible (which is in the neighborhood of $10 at Mardel's.)

In my teen-age years I had a Living Bible that served me well introducing me to the Word.

Sorry, I cannot go along with the King James recommendations. At. All.
Mine is the New Internationsl Version. I understand it is translated directly from the original Greek to modern day English, without, of course, modern day slang.

Can you imagine that? "Yo, Jeeeea, Homey, waaddup?"
Oh, I got a Strong's Concordance about the same time as I got the Scofield's. I love it. 20 pages of "the"!

I like King James for the same reason I like Southern Gospel music: The grandness of the language, the poetry, the "sound" of it. And because itself is a historical artifact. Much better translations out there, though, for serious study.
Oh, and as for a scholarly history of the New Testament, I still have the textbook from my college class thereon.
Great post.

I haven't used the King James Version in years, although admittedly certain familiar passages still only sound right in that translation.

I usually take an NIV to church.

The one I use most at home, which I love, is the HarperCollins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version, which includes the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books. Tons of footnotes, introductions that give you context, scholars' thoughts on the author of the particular book, the period written, etc.

It's always interesting when studying a particular passage or verse to put various translations next to each other. For something radically different, listen to the reading of "The Message."
I prefer the King James Version, although my pastor believes one of the N-versions (I don't remember which - either the NIV or NASB) to be the 'best' translation. I think the Bible I use is called an Open Bible. It's a study bible - maybe it's called Open Study Bible.
I'd like to find my Bible, which is in some box either in storage or in the completely "boxed" extra room, but I really like it. It was given to me from a dear friend, and though I can't tell you the exact name or when and where it was published, it's more like a textbook Bible -- it has study guides and ways to help learn the Word. It's good about explaining the Word, which is good for me the journalist, who doesn't comprehend long sentences well.

I've not only found it helpful in reading the Bible, but I find it influencial, because I can devour chapters at a time.
One of the better "comentaries" if you can still find it on the market, is 'The Gospel According to Peanuts'. A short book by Robert L. Short, published by the John Knox Press, Richmond virginia.
Teditor would appreciate this as well.
An excerpt from the section on Original Sin or Birth Sin:
Charlie Brown(CB) talking to Linus (L).
Cell one:
CB: as L looks on "Life is just too much for me..."

Cell two:
CB:"I've been confused right from the day I was born."

Cell three:
CB: "I think the whole trouble is that we're thrown into life too fast...we're not really prepared.."

Cell four:
L looks over at CB and says, "What did you want.. a chance to warm up first?"
I KNEW the regulars 'round here were biblically literate.

A minor downer is I really would like to know what translation and study aids Pastor Timothy uses.

We've sort of "made up," but the last thing I said to him was I didn't want him presuming to teach me, or preaching at me, since I consider him neither my teacher nor my preacher.

Maybe he's incapable of NOT teaching and preaching. If so, then he is doing the honorable thing by remaining silent. And, if he's not comin' around here anymore, that's OK, too. :-)
My main Bible is a Life Application Study Bible -- first one my now-wife bought me when I got saved back in 1997. What I love about it is the thousands of practical points it makes connecting Scripture with how we, as believers, are to act today in all variety of circumstances. There's also lots of margin space to jot notes about the things God is putting on my heart as I read through it. Those notes, eight years worth of them now, have become as meaningful to me as the life-application notes.

My particular translation is NIV -- but they have versions of it in at least the New Living Translation and the New American Standard. Here's a link if you want to check it out -- but don't buy anything until you talk to me. I can get you a discount on all sorts of Bibles where I work.
This is a better link. Be sure to click on the "Take a Closer Look" button so you can see the format and scope of the footnotes:
"I can get you a discount on all sorts of Bibles where I work."

Now that's interesting to think of someone boosting Bibles for their friends. Not that you were suggesting that ...
Friend of mine reports that yesterday his pastor, in a sermon segment worthy of the Song of Solomon (MRV) -- "Modern Redneck Version" ...

"was preaching about the passage in which Jesus says, 'Ask and you'll receive, seek and you will find and knock and it will be opened to you.'

"The idea was that we each need to focus on the verbs 'ask,' 'seek' and 'knock' if we want to experience breakthroughs in our walk.

"Discussing the third verb in the list, he decided to convert it to a noun and said this, verbatim:

" 'It just seems to me that God loves knockers.'

(My wife) and I could barely contain ourselves, although I did point out to her later that God and I have a lot in common."

Preacher, peering over glasses, down nose over the first 30 rows of pews to the back corner:

"You young people settle down!"


I was actually a third-row nerd!
Well for what it is worth, I
am an old time Kings James
girl. I know to make a new
version, you must change a
percentage of the content.
There are some things lost
in the translation. I do
consult some of the other
versions from time to time.
But I go back to the King James
for my final thought.
Every one talks about how hard
the King James is to read. But
it is written at a 6th grade
Great knockers story. In a similar vein, our preacher (Cindy) was leaving for a sabbatical a couple of years ago and the church was sending her off with a blessing.

One lady got up to do her part and, with her slight southern accent, said something along the lines of:
"We all have our roles in this garden. God is the seed. Some sow the seeds. Some tend them, and Cindy, she's our hoe-r..." (sound it out with a slight southern accent if it helps).

The speaker didn't realize how it sounded and just kept going but EVERYONE else (except the kids) were just holding their sides, trying not to bust out laughing...her husband, who was sitting in front of me, sort of turned with a puzzled look on his face and asked, "Did she just call my wife a whore?" and much jocularity was enjoyed by all....

On topic: I like The Message, a relatively new translation (or paraphrase, I forget which).
Good 'un, Dan!
Funny how it's a good church story if it involves puns on women's private parts!!!
Hey! I got through for the first time in a week! It may be another week before I can read ER again, but want to let you know I'm still alive.

Can't add a lot to the great info ya got here, but I AM looking for a good Bible in third-grade language for my kids. Right now my second-grader is studying a large-print KJV version. She's working hard on it, and I think a children's version would make it easier.

STILL haven't heard anything from Blogger help.
Glad to see ya, Miss C! Hope you get yer technical difficulties wored out. I'm still not getting e-mail alerts when comments have been left. ...

And thanks to you all for your Bible suggestions. They are printed, for further pondering.
Miss Celania, I can recommend the NIV Discoverer's Bible in Hardcover for kids. We've given that to several of the kids about that age at my church.
When considering a "study" of the Old Testament, do not forget the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew texts that comprise what we know as the "Old Testament" that predates by several hundred years the Hebrew Masoretic text that has been the preferred source text for the Christian Old Testament since the Reformation. The Septuagint, in addition to its more ancient credentials, also contains several texts, commonly (and unjustly) referred to as the "Apocrypha", that were excised during the compilation of the Masoretic text. The excision of these "apocryphal" texts from the Protestant canon is one of the great tragedies of Christian history, as they contain some of the most plainly Christological passages in all the Old Testament.

By the way, ALL the Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament are from the Septuagint, for the simple reason that the Masoretic text did not exist during the period in which the New Testament texts were written.
I like the Psalms in the King James Version, (the language is pretty for poetry) but for Bible reading in plain language, I read The New American Bible (yes, it's Catholic) It's translated from the original languages (Hebrew and Greek). I don't think the Old Testament can be considered "History" in the way that we study "World History" or "Oklahoma History." I think there is some actual history there, but mostly it's about morality and prophecy of the coming of Jesus. The New Testament is clearer, but we need to remember that most of the books are actually letters from St. Paul and other of the apostles to the early christian churches. The authors were trying to help the scattered christian converts to stick together and stay with Christ's teachings. Anyway, I don't proclaim to be any kind of expert (whatever that is). Just someone who's been reading it and trying to understand what I'm supposed to be doing here. Good luck E.R. !
Thanks, Amber! :-)
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