Most Accurate Bible

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by lixluke, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    Most Accurate Bible (Best English Translation)

    If anybody knows a more accurate translation for the Bible, let me know. I’m also looking for list of books related to the Bible such as Apocrypha. This article is about the most accurate English translations of the original writings that make up the Holy Bible. This is my research thus far.

    English Standard Version (2001)
    Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004)
    New American Standard Bible (1995)
    New Revised Standard Version (1989)
    Revised Standard Version (1971)
    New World Translation (1984)

    ESV is the most accurate of all when it comes to original scripture in Greek and Hebrew. ESV surpasses the HCSB and the NASB.

    I must admit the HCSB is nice. Very nice. It has lots of good footnotes referencing lines added by other translations when necessary. Also, lots of important footnotes on literal wording. If a verse uses modern time such as '5pm', it will have a footnote telling us the literal translation, '11th hour'.

    I found however, HCSB is not as accurate as ESV. There are praises all over the internet about how great the HCSB is. Well unfortunately, all of the praises have nothing to do with accuracy. They're all about how much people like the language in the HCSB better. Many of them with very limited vocabularies. I agree. HCSB is very nice. Yet all the niceness in the world doesn’t make up for being wrong.

    The ESV is also written in very readable modern English. In fact, because some of the words are bigger, there is even less of a Kindergarten feel, and more clarity in expression of ideas. And most of all, as mentioned before, the ESV is more accurate than anything I’ve ever seen out there including the HCSB.

    There have been claims that the NASB is more accurate than the ESV while the ESV is more readable. Claims that are probably using the King James Version as a basis for accuracy. As far as I've seen the ESV is more readable, and in fact very much more accurate than the NASB when it comes to real original biblical writings.

    The ESV is a revision of the Revised Standard Version. The New Revised Standard Version is also a revision of the RSV. While the ESV uses the term, “virgin”, both the RSV and the NRSV use the term “young woman”. Although, in this case, the ESV’s translation isn’t as accurate, the ESV gets to be accepted in Christian circles. Call it bad marketing for the RSV and the NRSV. Sadly enough, this particular word usage is probably the very reason that the RSV, and later the NRSV, are excluded throughout Christianity as legitimate translations. They’re not even included in online bible site. So what to do? Come out with a revision that is more Christian friendly. So the ESV takes a hit in accuracy for marketing purposes. But it does indeed make up for in the long run with overall superior accuracy.

    The Jehovah Witness Bible is actually very accurate, and comparable to the ESV. The name of God, YHWH, often appears in the Hebrew manuscripts. The ‘Y’ is sometimes pronounced as ‘J’ or ‘I’. And the ‘W’ is sometimes pronounced as ‘V’. Thus we can have JHVH. Some say Yaweh, and some say Jehovah. The Jehovah Witnesses use the New World Translation Bible. They use the term ‘Jehovah’ for YHWH. The ESV will use the term ‘Lord’ for YHWH. There are many occasions in the NWT, however, in which Watchtower terminology is used to intentionally replace real scripture.

    Evil Bibles
    The New American Bible that the Catholics use is a very inaccurate translation of original Biblical scripture. If you’re Catholic, you might want to use the ESV or change your religion to a different denomination of Christianity or go non-denominational. Or go find a different religion altogether.

    The New International Version is Microsoft of Bibles. Although I wouldn’t trust anything that comes out of Zondervan Media which I don’t consider the least bit Christian, they didn’t create the NIV. The NIV was actually published long before Zondervan began taking over Christianity. While the NIV was quite readable for its time, it never measured up to the RSV in accuracy. It definitely doesn’t come close to anything mentioned above.

    Then there is the precious KJV. Many Americans worship the KJV as the true word of God over even the original writings in which the KJV was translated from. Big mistake, pointless, and in no way Christianity. KJV is nothing more than one of many languages that original Biblical scripture was translated to. KJV is no more original scripture than the Chinese translations of the Bible are. The KJV is an even less accurate translation of much of what is out there. Christians who seek to understand original Biblical writings believe that Yehoshua ben Yosef was born from a virgin mother, Miryam, and is the son of God.

    English Standard Version
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
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  3. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    It depends on what you mean by "accurate".
    I prefer the NIV, but none are without its flaws.
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  5. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

    I have the NIV and the New World Translation. I often do comparisons between the two. They seem to come to the same conclusions.
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  7. Adstar Valued Senior Member

    I use the New King James Version. But i also sometimes use the King James Version.

    All Praise The Ancient Of Days
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Cultural usurpation and accuracy

    Michael Marlowe's Bible Research is actually an excellent site for dipping into the history and issues surrounding various biblical versions. There is an old thread (2005) about the accuracy of the King James Bible in which I raised an issue about English-language translations of the Bible that doesn't get much play.

    My two reference Bibles for years have been the Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible. The latter was the printed copy I used in college. It's still around here, although my daughter did it some damage a couple years ago. The RSV is one I found online at the link above, and supplanted the NAB when the USCCB pulled what was an easily-accessed and quoted version from their website. Only later did I find that the RSV was a fortuitous encounter.

    As Marlowe notes:

    The RSV Old Testament was not well received outside of liberal circles, chiefly because the translators often deliberately rendered Old Testament passages in such a way that they were contrary to the interpretations given in the New Testament. This was done on the principle that the Old Testament ought to be interpreted only in reference to its own historical (Jewish) context. Christian interpretations, including those of the New Testament writers, are therefore deliberately excluded as "anachronistic." But this, as conservative critics perceived, practically amounted to a denial of the truth of the New Testament.

    I find this an important consideration. The Hebrews, in their alleged experiencing of the events recounted in the Old Testament, most certainly did not think of themselves as the forerunners of Christianity. It seems an unreliable proposition that the Hebrew Scriptures should be regarded in a solely Christian context. Assigning them their own context seems the only proper outlook.

    As such, any Bible that presumes the Christian usurpation of the Hebrew Scriptures, including the NASB, suffers a serious thematic problem that makes the sort of "accuracy" argument that, for instance, KJV-only advocates put forth, rather puerile.

    The English Standard Version, according to Wikipedia, is a 2001 update of the 1971 revision of the Revised Standard Version. This would actually sound like a good thing, except that the ESV was intended to satisfy the conservative critics who disliked the RSV:

    Many corrections were made to satisfy objections to some of the RSV's interpretations that conservative Protestants had considered as theologically liberal, for example, changing the translation of the Hebrew "almah" from "young woman" to "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14.

    That is unfortunate. Revising a Bible in order to accommodate the demands of the most neurotic bloc of Christians out there is a dubious proposition from the outset. Usurping a cultural experience for political needs is not the way to preserve historical integrity.


    Marlowe, Michael. "Revised Standard Version (1946)". (n.d.) September 22, 2009.

    Wikipedia. "English Standard Version". July 28, 2009. September 22, 2009.

    See Also:

    Marlowe, Michael. Bible Research. (n.d.) September 22, 2009.

    Weigle, Luther A., et al. The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version. Second edition. New York: Thomas Nelson, 1971. University of Michigan. September 22, 2009.

    Olsen, Reuben A., et al. New American Standard Bible. Anaheim: Foundation, 1995. September 22, 2009.
  9. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    Thanks so much for that, T! You're absolutely right. I'll update the OP when I get the chance. I actually didn't research the RSV at all assuming that it was just an outdated version of the NRSV and the ESV. But you're correct. The RSV is more true to original writings than the ESV which is more accurate than the NRSV.
  10. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

    I think my 80 year old King James would likely be about the most accurate other then the dead sea scrolls now there is an accurate document.
  11. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

    I couldn't tell you...everytime I pick up a bursts into flames.
  12. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    OK. Thanks again for the information about the RSV. I've gone over RSV, and here is what I've found. While I do agree that "young girl" is a far better representation of the original text than "virgin", I found that the ESV is definitely far more accurate overall than the RSV. Regardless of its alleged biases, it really is more properly literal/idiomatic than anything out there.

    I had already come across the young girl/virgin dilemma awhile back. The Jehova Witness Bible, NWT, uses the word "maiden" which is actually closer to the original intent than "young girl" or "virgin". But despite this, I found the ESV to be more far more accurate than the NWT overall. In fact, despite the NWT's great accuracy, I really should take the NWT off of the conclusion list considering it often uses Watchtower terminology in the place of literal translation. This is a far larger accuracy dilemma than ESV's use of "virgin" over "maiden". So despite the "virgin" shortcoming (which while a little loaded, isn't even that huge a digression), the ESV remains at the top of the accuracy list. The ESV is more idiomatic/literal than anything out there.

    Here is something I couldn't find:
    Most of the verses about the covenant in the ESV use the world "will" instead of "may". But in this particular verse, the ESV translates it as "may" instead of "will". Meanwhile, every other translation, including the Jewish Bible, continues with the use of the word "will" for this verse. The problem is that I couldn't find the translation to the Hebrew word so I have no way of knowing for sure. I have verified various cases in which the ESV is on point where others fail. But this particular one is difficult for me to find. While I am pretty sure ESV is on point again with this, if it isn't, it would simply be another drawback like the "virgin" translation.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  13. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    I prefer original source material whenever possible.

    Sumerian Tablets. Enuma-Elish, Book of Enki(Ea), Epic of Gilgamesh, etc
  14. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    By the way, sin actually means inaccuracy. So if you aren't about accuracy, you're probably about sin.

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  15. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

  16. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    How so?
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The more lexicographically accurate translations omit much of the poetic structure and metaphor and reference so forth. Hence they lose much of the meaning and implication. A little less accuracy in the exact wording might often increase the accuracy of communication of the original meaning.

    Jesus, whoever he may have been, probably did not speak Greek - he certainly did not deliver his parables and talk to his crowds in that language. So Christians are dealing with a translation of a second hand account in the first place, on all key matters. The question of "accuracy" becomes complex, then - what are you matching?

    The King James is the best written, and fully as faithful to any physical reality involved.
  18. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

    I know what you are looking for you are looking for the Pretied up version the politically correct version. You want the version that takes out all the ugliness that the bible has it it I see.
  19. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    The KJV is not the best written. Nor does it capture the poetic essence of original writings. The ESV in fact, retains poetic value even over less accurate versions. It's not about translating "kick the bucket" as literally kicking a bucket. It's a about idiomatic literacy. Thus, 'kick the bucket' would mean 'died'. The importance is capturing the literal intent while retaining any sort of poetic structure of the original writing which the KJV does not do nearly as well as the versions listed in the OP.

    Furthermore, your claim that 'the question of accuracy becomes complex' isn't something relevant. The question of accuracy retains the same level of complexity it ever has. Many original writings are completely gone. Thus, the basis for translation must be the actual original writings or whatever duplicate is closest. The whole point is to capture the most accurate translation of the originals. Who does the best job at this? Considering certain original writings are no longer around, who does the best job at most accurately depicting them? This is why this topic is here. You act like this is something new. As far as I've found it most definitely isn't the KJV. I would say the ESV would be it if not the NWT.
  20. CheskiChips Banned Banned

    They're all bad.

    So why not just be Catholic? They're seem to be more morally serious about their religion...and more intelligent in general than Protestants. Or even Mormon if you prefer, their theology is crazy - but they're nicer and more successful than most Protestants. In Christianity, the book doesn't really matter anyways. It's the system of aids put up by the church that do.
  21. CheskiChips Banned Banned

    Let me prove they're all bad.

    Here's a random verse.

    Genesis 29:1
    וַיִּשָּׂא יַעֲקֹב, רַגְלָיו; וַיֵּלֶךְ, אַרְצָה בְנֵי-קֶדֶם

    HCST -
    Jacob resumed his journey [a] and went to the eastern country.

    American Standard -
    Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east.

    King James -
    Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.

    English Standard Version -
    Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east.

    Now...what the Hebrew if it is literally translated as means.

    וַיִּשָּׂא יַעֲקֹב, רַגְלָיו; וַיֵּלֶךְ, אַרְצָה בְנֵי-קֶדֶם

    broken up in brackets are each word and -
    ["and there is" + an extra letter I don't know its purpose / "and marry"] _ ["Jacob"] _ ["his legs" / "walks"] _ ["and goes"] _ ["land" (in female form implying it provides for..)] _ ["children"] _ ["East" / "of old"]

    So it could correctly be translated...
    and there is Jacob, (he) walks and he goes (to the) land (of the) children of old
  22. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    Yes! I am sure that those unicorns that are described in the KJV were real if you just have enough faith.
  23. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    The extra letter is silent like the "E" in "purpose".
    Here is what those Hebrew symbols mean (this is my personal translation BTW):
    "Then, Jacob peregrinated to the land of the Children of the East."

    They aren't referring to Chinese people by the way. The Children of the East are either Syrians or Jordanians. Not sure.

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