What Bible to Get?

There are lots of Bibles to choose from, so which one is best?

I have learned over the years that the King James Bible is the final authority when it comes to the English language.

Unfortunately it's not the easiest Bible to read, because it uses an older form of the English language (1611).

The most popular Bibles are probably:

  • King James Version (KJV)
  • New King James Version (NKJV)
  • New International Version (NIV)

Consider the following translations as an example.

KJVAnd now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
NKJVAnd now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
NIVAnd now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The KJV is very much a word-for-word translation (direct from the Hebrew and the Greek), wheras the NIV is more a thought-for-thought translation (interpretation from the translator). The NKJV is somewhere in the middle of that.

The KJV and the NKJV (partially) are both translated from the Received Text (textus receptus), e.g. the text as it was passed on from Antioch. Other translations, such as the NIV, may have been translated from different manuscripts, and in some cases are missing entire verses.

I would recommend either the KJV (final authority), or the NKJV (easier to understand). You might also want to check out side-by-side Bibles which have two Bible versions in one. The KJV and the NIV together for example.