Try a Different Bible Version

holding a bibleIt’s always worth looking into ideas for keeping your Bible reading fresh. One thing I like to try is reading a different Bible version. In this post I’ll share which versions I cycle through and why it’s worth a try.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while you might struggle with sometimes just skating over the text of a passage because it’s familiar to you (and you’re tired). One way to combat this is to try a different version. The verses will read very similarly, but just different enough to keep you on your toes.

For example, I’ve been reading Proverbs in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB – formerly the Holman Christian Standard Bible). Proverbs is fairly familiar to me so I sometimes drift into autopilot.  This time though I paused at 3:14: “She (wisdom) is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold”. That word revenue caught my eye (not a word used in other versions). It’s a word from finance that I hadn’t seen before in a Bible and it got me thinking about how valuable wisdom is.

Another example was in Mark 13:37. The CSB finished with “Be alert!”. That felt new to me. I was feeling drowsy at the time and that unfamiliar phrase from Jesus pulled me up and made me think about how I really do need to be more alert in my faith.

Good versions to cycle through are the NIV, ESV and the CSB. It’s probably worth checking with someone before you give a lot of time to a translation you’re not sure about. Next on my list is the NASB (New American Standard Bible). It has a reputation for being very literal (technically it’s on the ‘formal equivalence’ side of the translation spectrum). So it might not flow very easily but I’ll expect I’ll notice some interesting things.

I haven’t used the KJV for regular reading but it is good fun to have it open during Bible study prep. For example, listen to John 11:39 : “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days”. I think stinketh is a word we should use more, especially in reference to my wheelie bins.

I’ll also discovered from the KJV that the common phrase “fall by the wayside” comes from the parable of the sower (Mat 13:4). Who knew?

But it’s not just about finding curious things. Reading a different version can help freshen up our Bible reading. So give it a try, see what you notice, and let God’s word do it’s work in you.


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash