Given the three main types of Bible translations (word-for-word, thought-for-thought, and paraphrase), which one should you use? The answer is “yes.” We recommend that you use them all.
Word-for-word translations are the most faithful to the original languages. But they can also be a bit more difficult to understand in spots. They’re best for those who are familiar with the Bible and who have read it through many times. They make excellent Bibles for in-depth study.
If English is a second (or third) language or if you’re just starting your Bible reading journey, you may want to stick with thought-for-thought translations. They’re still giving you a faithful translation, and the translators have worked to make them easy to comprehend. When you’re interested in just reading a chapter or book straight through without slowing down for close study, this might also be your best bet.
Paraphrases work great as a second Bible. Read a word-for-word or thought-for-thought translation first and then use the paraphrase as “another look” at what you’ve read. They can really help you see what’s happening in a fresh way.
Whatever you choose, just make sure you take time to read God’s Word. Our site makes it easy to access over 30 translations from anywhere. So, click on over and get started.
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John UpChurch, Senior Editor (BibleStudyTools.com)
Alex Crain, Managing Editor (Christianity.com)
Stephen McGarvey, Senior Director of Editorial
Stephen Sanders, A/V Editor