Thursday, April 03, 2008

New Bible

After being a Christian for about six years, I've reached that particular milestone: my Bible is now falling apart. For sentimental reasons, it's quite near and dear to me (e.g. my wedding is recorded in it). But it's really getting unusable.

This Bible is a NASB Study Bible, which incorporates the 1971 NAS translation with the study notes from the NIV Study Bible.

I've decided that I want to acquire a leather-bound NRSV to replace it, which I will use most often for personal devotions and preaching. The most handy features of my current Bible are the thumb-index on the side of the pages and the extensive verse references in the margins. The study notes aren't useful anymore, and some I find quite misleading. It would be nice to have personal reflection questions and comments in the place of study notes in order to deepen my devotional reading.

I want the NRSV because I'm no longer sold about the reliability of the NASB. And the NRSV is the unofficial translation of the UMC, so I'd better start adopting it across the board.


Keith Taylor said...

Agh, come on John.

Every knows that God talks in the Authorized King James Version of the English language.....

At least, that is what I learned 30years ago in children's Sunday School. :-)

I reckon I am in the last generation of American Christians that will actually know verses in KJV.

John Wilks said...

Come to the dark side- buy the TNIV.

Mark Winter said...

Down here in Texas, we use the
RSV--the Redneck Standard Version.

Scotte Hodel said...

Then there's the ESV - especially spiritual version.

Jeff the Baptist said...

I prefer NIV, the non-inspired version. But yes you do outgrow the study notes pretty quickly. What's wrong with the NASB? The biggest criticisms I've heard is that the language flows poorly which can be confusing and hard to memorize.

I actually knew one of the OT NIV translators growing up and he didn't like RSV at all. Mostly because of OT/NT translation inconsistencies. Since he's a far greater scholar than I'll ever be, I think it wise to defer to him.

the reverend mommy said...

I'm using a leather NRSV with almost zero notes -- just cross references. I find most notes to be distracting when I read the Word. And someone had it embossed "Reverend Mommy."

I found that endearing.

For more study on my desk, I have a paper "Harper Collins" NRSV and an New Interpreter's Bible.

I also have the New English, New Jerusalem, RSV, KJV, NIV. Just because.

Oloryn said...

As far as hard copy is concerned, I use a NASB (my 3rd or 4th - I've gone through 2 or 3 of the orange cloth NASBs) primarily (through in a HHOS*-way refer to it as the HSV (Hair-Splitter's Version)), and sometimes use the NIV (I went through a period where the NIV was my primary).

On the other hand, now that I again have a Palm (Treo 650) that will handle SD card memory, I'm back to carrying mucho electronic Bibles with me. The Palm contains the NASB with Strong's dictionary, the NET Bible with translator's notes, and practically every English-language translation that Olive Tree software offers for free download, plus a large collection of Olive Tree's free e-books. I'll always have plenty of reading material if I find myself unexpectedly stuck somewhere.

* ha ha only serious

Elizabeth said...

Hard-copy I have NRSV, RSV, and the message. These days, I actually usually do my daily study by reading the bible online, because I follow a bible study blog online. My greek prof always said that the RSV was the closest to the Greek, in his mind, with NRSV just adding inclusiveness. (But of course, I still know the 23rd psalm in the KJV)

Brett said...

It may not be for you, but I love my ESV Reformation Study Bible. It is rooted in Reformation Theology, of course, so it is not necessarily Wesleyan.
You should at least check out the link below. There are some pretty interesting links there.

Stresspenguin said...

It's out of print, but I'd recommend trying to find an Oxford Parallel bible. It has the NRSV, REB, NAB, and the NJB. The neat thing about it is, that each of these translations have a different translation history, unlike Zondervan parallel bibles that usually have four versions of the same history. It's great for exegesis, but that's not what you're looking for right now.

for personal devotion, I have a cheap $10 NRSV that has nothing additional in it, not even section headings. For preaching, I read at the pulpit from 14 pt, 1.5 spaced, Palatino font printouts for the sake of ease. When preaching out from behind the pulpit, I just use a UM pew Bible with my notes in it.

If you're looking for a replacement NASB, I recommend the Key Word Bible, which has cross references and an abridged Strong's concordance for both Greek and Hebrew. The commentary is kinda preachy, but the cross references and the concordance are invaluable.

Craig L. Adams said...

I can never seem to successfully make the transition to the NRSV. In my present appointment, I am once again! back to the NIV. I've been using the NIV for many years but I got really tired of it around 1994 or earlier. The NIV has a couple of annoying qualities. (1.) The translators sometimes inject their own theology into New Testament passages making a thorough mess of them. (2.) The translation has a bias toward using the terms "man" and "men" in several passages where "people" or "human beings" would actually have been a more accurate translation.

I successfully transitioned one of the churches where I served to the NRSV oh, maybe 15 years ago! but I've been appointed to churches with the NIV in the pews (and still in reasonably good condition) ever since.

Pardon me for venting... there!... I got that off my chest.

I'm not really crazy about the NRSV either, but as I've used it (personally!) over the years, I've gotten so I like it better and better.

For those who've got all day, I wrote a overly-long piece on Bible translations here: Read the Bible? Okay, Which Bible?

Andrew C. Thompson said...

I've been testing out different versions myself over the past few years. The most interesting experience I had was last year, when I decided to spend a year with the New Jerusalem Bible. It was a study version, with lots of notes and introductory articles. But with the combination of the very unfamiliar translation and the fact that the Study NJV is printed all the way across the page (instead of in two columns), I could only make it through the NT before I had to switch back to something more familiar.

By the way, does anyone know of an edition of the Revised Standard Version that has articles and notes as extensive as a Zondervan NIV Study Bible or a Harper Collins NRSV Study Bible? The RSV I own and use a lot is the Oxford study version, and I find its annotations frustratingly sparse at times.

Stresspenguin said...

For NRSV study Bibles, I would recommend the New Interpreter's Bible, The Harper Collins Study Bible, or the Access Bible. I like the NIB the best.

The Access Bible is different in that, instead of having the commentary at the bottom of the page, places it inline with the rest of the text in lieu of story or pericope headings. It was my first study Bible, so that seems 'normal' to me; you might find it annoying. But I'd say its worth a look.

Both eh NIB and the Access Bible have short articles within the texts in addition to the line by line commentary.