I have decided that I would like to read the Christian Bible, starting with the Old Testament and then New. I admit I know very little about different versions of the bible...the very helpful lady at Coles bookstore recommended the King James version, so this is the one I purchased.
Does anyone know if this is the best choice? Any recommendations?
The KJV is atrocious. The old English text makes for stilted and difficult reading (though it also makes for poetic reading in some parts) and that's not what you want if you're trying to understand what's being said. Plus, just on the basis of pure accuracy of translation it sucks. You're far better off going with a copy of the NRSV. It's not perfect by any stretch but at least they were honest enough to remove the "virgin" translation for "almah" in Isaiah 7:14 even when that means they lose the supposed virgin prophecy. There's also other changes to the text based on more honest translations. (Almah means "young woman"; bethulah means "virgin". The Greek Suptuagint used the Greek word "parthenos" in place of almah when translating the Hebrew into Greek, thereby setting up the problem. Of note is that the author of Matthew, supposedly the disciple of Jesus and therefore an Aramaic speaking illiterate Palestinian Jew, was reading the Greek Septuagint and was moved to double the Septuagint's error by referring to 7:14 as a prophecy that Jesus would be born of a virgin. Oops.)
Thanks for the info! I love reading Old English, but I am more interested in an accurate translation. My main goal is to find a version that doesn't try to omit or cover up the horrors of the original texts. Maybe I'll read both versions!
to be quite blunt, there are NO accurate translations of the bible!! if you can read spanish, it is a beautifully written work that is as close to the original languages there is. english is a horrible language to translate anything into with so many words meaning so many different things!
if you want to understand fundies point of view on biblical issues, kjv should be your reference. you can find many sites that will allow you to translate a specific passage into other versions which may help, but will probably just confuse you more as you will have no idea which translation is correct! you can also find 4 translation bibles that have kjv, nas and a standard version and some other as well, that is a good place to start too.
I agree with Nelson, the KJV is downright turgid at times. Of course a lot of that is the source material!
The one considered most reliable as far as accuracy of the translation (but see my postscript below) is the Revised Standard Version. That one is tough to find nowadays. You may be able to find the New Revised Standard Version, even though some bookstores have dropped it. It's much more readable than the KJV but still not downright easy nor a pageturner. (You would think God would make his word a compelling read, no?) The RSV and NRSV are basically corrected and updated revisions of the KJV.
The New International Version is somewhat more readable but there are many documented cases of it being dishonest in order to sugar coat things. (Though for some reason they have the "best" (meaning raunchiest) rendition of Ezekiel 23:20 I've seen.) The NIV was completely new, it's not a revision of an older translation... though there is now a Today's NIV which is some sort of update of the NIV (I don't know what they did there). I wold not consider the NIV authoritative but it's about as readable as it will get without being less than a translation.
(Postscript: Many Xians regard the KJV itself as inspired by God and if there are "discrepancies" in the translation they are in fact corrections. Thus to them the King James Version is literally perfect. I wonder if you ran into one of those when you got your recommendation.)
I, personally, think the KJV is the worst possible choice. It is written in archaic English and not well researched. On the plus side, it does have Unicorns.
I would recommend the NSRV, probably in the Oxford study version. It is well researched and has scads of footnotes to let you know when there is a disagreement about meanings and intents.
A cheaper and still good alternative would be the NIV. I don't think it's been updated since the '70s, but it is in a more comprehensible version than the KJV.
Downside to NSRV and KIV - no Unicorns.
And we MUST have unicorns!
Right? Something has to make the smiting and meat and magic incense burning and ark building tolerable. "How big was that ark again?" "Dude, I've told you like 15 times already. What, are you stupid? Just start building the meeting tent already."
What. Are you trying to tell me something?
I read the KJV, 'cause that is what I was bought up with - and still read sometimes.
This is archaeopteryx site - he is a nerd and a geek, and very thorough :D
Archy is a member of this fabulous site, and he analyses and explains and to people like me what it all means. Really worth reading - very insightful, oh, and funny.
Not really. I was just having a laugh at unicorns appearing in the xian mythology.
But I do like archaeopteryx's site
I'll have you know I resemble that remark!
I am a big fan of the New Jerusalum Bible for clarity and it contains all the books Pre Luther.
Lutheranism = worship of Lex Luthor.