Posted here on Every Thought Captive.
About The Author
Open Access Books on Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism
October 14, 2013
Christmas a Pagan Celebration? What You Know May Not Be So
November 27, 2017
A New Kind of Commentary: The High Definition New Testament (HDNT) Commentary Series
October 13, 2014
Updated Facade with New Cover Now Live on Amazon
August 18, 2014
I’m almost sure you’ve answered the question I’m about to ask…well…at least a two gazillion times or so. OK, here goes: I see what Bible translation you don’t recommend (I always wondered what you felt about that one.) What Bible translation(s) then, do you recommend? Perhaps you could address this with a simple beginner, intermediate, advanced recommendation? I say this only because of individual wants and needs–so many variables, lots of criteria. Thanks in advance for your feedback. May our God continue to bless and enrich your life and others as you share Scriptures of His Eternal Wisdom with the world-at-large. So be it.
Debra: For those who do not have facility in the original languages, I recommend using more than one English translation, mainly because the translation philosophy of English translations varies. There are two general philosophies of translation: (1) word-for-word equivalence, also known as “formal equivalence” or “literalism”. This approach tries to match each word in the original language with a word in the target language (English in this case). Translations in this category include KJV, NKJV, NASB, and (basically) ESV. All of these won’t be equal in their word-for-word consistency, but they all try to do that. (2) thought -for-thought translation. This approach seeks to determine the meaning in the original and then, using whatever words necessary, and not caring about striking word-for-word equivalences, seeks to reproduce that thought in the target language. This is also known as “dynamic equivalence.” Again, this is an approach and those translations that attempt this have varying rates of consistency in doing so. Examples include NIV, TNIV, NRSV. I think you should have one Bible in each category (at least) and then compare. The NLT and The Message are something between a paraphrase (which are highly interpretive) and thought-for-thought. I don’t recommend paraphrases, but for some people, that’s what they need if they have trouble reading.
Dr. Heiser, With the busy schedule that you have, what (I hate to use the word) short cuts can you recommend when it comes to excavating through journals, books, etc? There are just too many to read and I want to read them all! So until we can afford our own not-so-divine council (haha), what do you do?
There are no short cuts — you have to use the main databases: ATLA Religion Index/Database and the JSTOR Database. If you use those in a library that subscribes to them (and there’s no other way), then what you find will be downloadable in PDF.