Are we commanded to study the Bible?
Understanding this will help you in achieving what you need and want from Bible reading.
I use the NIV because I believe it is a balance between dynamic and formal equivalent.3 Steps to Help You Choose a New Bible
Unless you read Hebrew and Greek – the original language of the Bible – you must choose from one of the many English translations of the Bible. There are three basic levels or groups of translations. One of these groups will better align with your primary purpose than the others.
- Word-for-Word (also known as Formal Equivalent) – These translations are the closest to the grammar and syntax of the original language, but they can often sound wooden. Also, this kind of translation makes no consideration for cultural changes. This kind of translation is the best choice for in-depth Bible study. (Ex: Amplified, NKJV, NAB, ESV, NASB. Note: NIV falls somewhere between the Formal and Dynamic Equivalent)
- Thought-for-thought (also known as Dynamic Equivalent) – These translations work to keep the overall original thought rather than attempt a literal word for word translation. Although not as technically accurate as the Formal Equivalent, they are much easier for 21st century westerners to understand. For instance, Dynamic Equivalent translations change idioms, figures of speech, and measurements into “equivalent” terms that we will understand. This kind of translation is still close enough to the original to be good for Bible study, but it is great for devotional reading and personal application. (Ex: NLT, CEV)
- Paraphrase – This translation group departs the furthest from the original language but it provides a fresh reading experience. A paraphrase is more of a big-idea-for-big-idea translation. This translation group is fine for casual and inspirational reading but not recommended for study. With the paraphrase’s “storytelling” format, it would be great for family devotions with young children. (Ex: The Message)
- Parallel Translations – Parallel Bibles display multiple translations side-by-side so readers can compare different versions of any given passage for deeper understanding.
What they mean by cultural changes in example in the Greek the hand include the wrist but English does not.