Which Bible Translation is best?

One of the most common questions that I’m asked when I teach classes is, “Which Translation is Best?”

I often say something that Bruce Lee said (regarding martial arts), “The best one is the one that is best used.”


If you find that the KJV is antiquated English and “impossible” to understand, then pick a different one. If you like a “paraphrase” then read the Message. I think if Christ or the apostles were recommending translations, they’d recommend us to pick one that we want to use.


I prefer the ESV. All of my mentors and professors have always used ESV for preaching and teaching. To “keep up” with where they were I got an ESV. A second reason I bought and use a ESV is that the ESV comes in a Journaling Bible. I have found this to be a great help to my Spiritual growth, because I can retain important notes or sermon outlines right in the margin of my Bible. This solves my old problem of always misplacing my sermon notes.  Thirdly, I believe the ESV is the most literal “contemporary” translation of the Original languages. Yes I’ve taken Greek and Hebrew, thus helping me come to this conclusion.

The version choice is up to you. No Bible is “authoritative.” I was raised in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church which said, “The KJV is the only valid Bible to read.” While I admit that most of the verses I’ve got memorized are in KJV, I never advocate the use of the KJV. The simplest reason, We don’t speak Kings English anymore. 

As you consider the chart at the top, you’ve got a choice to make. Do you want  the closest to the original language, or the original meaning?

Please make a choice and stick to it! –

Remember: “The best one is the one that is best used.” 

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