There are dozens of Bible translations. The King James, the New King James, the English Standard Version, the New International Version, the New American Standard, the 21st Century King James Version, the New Living Translation, and many others. Which is the best Bible translation for you to read? Which is closer to the original text? What translations use the original Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Is there one single version of the Bible that theologians, pastors, or churches prefer?
The most popular translations are not always the best translation. For example the Living Bible, the Message, or the Amplified Bible are very popular today but they tend to paraphrase a bit too much. This leaves too much room for personal interpretation and the Bible is not for private interpretation (2 Pet. 1:20).
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“Where is a good place to start reading the Bible?”
Answer: For starters, it is important to realize that the Bible is not an ordinary book that reads smoothly from cover to cover. It is actually a library, or collection, of books written by different authors in several languages over 1500 years. Martin Luther said that the Bible is the “cradle of Christ” because all biblical history and prophecy ultimately point to Jesus. Therefore, any first reading of the Bible should begin with the Gospels. The gospel of Mark is quick and fast-paced and is a good place to start. Then you might want to go on to the gospel of John, which focuses on the things Jesus claimed about Himself. Mark tells about what Jesus did, while John tells about what Jesus said and who Jesus was. In John are some of the simplest and clearest passages, but also some of the deepest and most profound passages. Reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) will familiarize you with Christ’s life and ministry.