Top Bible Translations

Since I’ve been posting so little I’m going to resort to commenting on other people’s posts. Or at least this one. For those who may be somewhat new to translations/versions of the Bible, Rick Mansfield wrote a very detailed and helpful Top Ten Bible Versions: Revisited (2010) which has links to reviews he did of most of these translations in 2006.

In case you’d like to know what I like (not that it matters), it’s very similar to him.

His list:
1. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
2. New Living Translation (NLT)
3. NET Bible (New English Translation)
4. New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5. New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6. Good News Translation (AKA Today’s English Version; GNT/TEV)
7. The Message
8. New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
9. Revised English Bible (REB)
10. Today’s New International Version (TNIV)


The King James Version, English Standard Version, The Modern Language Bible, God’s Word.


My top 9:

His 1 and 2 are my primary and secondary.

I like the NET but some of it reads a little strange for me and I don’t like replacing fear (of God) with respect and awe, although I always use it for comparison. I love the concept of the fear of God. It would go to about eight for me even though it’s fine I’m sure.

NRSV is my #3 and was my main translation for three years prior to switching to the HCSB and NLT combo last year.

I still like the NASB also. I’ll take that over the ESV.

I also like the GNB (GNT on his list–I like to use the older GNB designation, Good News Bible, so that it doesn’t get confused with the Greek New Testament). Gordon Fee seems to like this translation as his go-to dynamic version in some of his commentaries.

I would put The Message at #9 for comparison purposes only. If you look real hard you’ll find a good verse or two.

Then I would have TNIV at #6 (NIV was my main translation for over two decades–maybe I’m tired of it) and REB at #7 (its predecessor, the NEB, was F.F. Bruce’s go-to dynamic translation from what I saw) which is a great literary translation. That makes nine.

But I mainly wanted to point out Rick Mansfield’s post and the links he has to his prior reviews in case anyone new to this kind of thing wants to go look it up.

8 Responses to “Top Bible Translations”

  1. 1 R. Mansfield

    Jeff thanks for the link.

    I admit that the GNT for Good News Translation is confusing. I refer to it by that designation because that was what the translation was officially retitled in 1992 because many people thought it was a paraphrase and not a translation. However, even after that rebranding (which was done primarily by Zondervan), there were still occasions where it was still referred to as the Good News Bible. Frankly, I think they should have left it simply as the Today’s English Version (TEV).

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ll alter my text a little bit. I college I thought it was a paraphrase and rejected it outright. I missed out on a good translation for a long time.

  3. 3 J.

    My top Bible translations….

    1. NIV (1984)
    2. NLT
    3. NKJV
    4. HCSB
    5. NCV
    6. ESV
    7. NASB

  4. 4 alex

    My top ten bible Translations:
    1. HCSB (I think this translation is great for serious study and read out loud).
    2. NLT
    3. NIV (84)
    4. NASB
    5. NKJV
    6. NET
    7. ESV
    8. NCV
    9. NIV (2011)
    10.?….Hmmm not sure

  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    Boy have mine changed. I’m guessing on anything below #2 but it’s:
    1: God’s Word (GW)
    2. REB
    3. HCSB
    4. NRSV
    5. NLT
    6. NASB
    7. NIV ’11
    8. GNT
    9. CEV

    I’ll have to take a closer look at the NCV.

  6. 6 alex

    whats up Mr. Scripture Zealot
    I used to read the God’s Word Translation until I read some bad verses that it has. I’ll show 2 verses that doesn’t make sense and you tell me what you think:………..
    1 Samuel 20:21-22

    GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

    21 Then I will send out a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ Now, if I tell the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are next to you; get them,’ then come back with me. You will be safe, and there will be no trouble. I swear it, as the Lord lives. 22 But if I tell the boy, ‘The arrows are next to you,’ then go, because the Lord has sent you away.

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    I don’t know where “I swear” comes from. Also, in the second part, the arrows should be beyond, not next to.

    Is that what you mean?

    Every translation has things that disappoint us, so I won’t pan it because of that unless it’s a major theological thing. I always like to hear opinions.

    Jeff-is what you can call me if you’d like

  8. 8 alex

    Hey, Jeff nice to meet you ……yea thats what I meant (arrows next to him)……thats not the only thing I found. I have read in full the following: 100%HCSB,100%NIV (84),100%NLT,80% NASB,85%NKJV,10%NCV,10%GW…..I was looking for something readable and close to word for word from the Hebrew and Greek…..a version that you not only read for devotional but also can study from. From all of the Translation I read from the onces I mention above…..the best one for both worlds is the HCSB, even though it has some rendering that it’s not to clear (which is very few)….other than that its a great.

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