A great article from Delight in Truth…I may have to confess my bias however. I am rather partial to the ESV, and rather nauseated by The Message (which I personally cannot refer to as a Bible). I have recently been enoying some writing that uses the Homan Christian Study Bible. Either way, the arrow diagram gives a pretty good idea of what to stay away from.
There are dozens of English translations and versions of the Bible.
There are formal equivalency versions (word-for-word) and dynamic equivalency versions (thought-for-thought). On the far end of the thought-for-thought variety is a particularly concerning type of translation called paraphrasing. A couple of versions exist on that end, the Living Bible and the most extreme, The Message.
Delight in Truth highly recommends the English Standard Version for older children and adults. It contains sentence structure at the 8-9th grade level, it is very easy to read, and it is very adequate for Bible study because it is close to the word-for-word approach.
The New International Version (NIV) is also suitable for reading, but much less suitable for Bible study due to a more thought-for-thought approach. It is written closer to the 7th grade level of competency. This is one the reasons many recommend the NIV for younger children or new converts.
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