Harrowing Of Hell
September 5, 2023

Which Bible Should I Use?

It is one week until we start the reading for the Read the Bible in a Year Program. You can access the full year’s reading plan here so you can get familiar with it and see the pace that we will be keeping. Each week you will get an email with the week’s reading, but it is nice to see the big picture.

I wanted to give you thoughts on which Bible to use for the reading plan. First, the best Bible is the Bible you will read. So, I fully support using the Bible with which you are the most comfortable. That being said, there are differences in translations. I wanted to share my thoughts about the different translations to help provide some guidance. If I didn’t mention a translation that you have questions about, email me. Here are my thoughts on a couple of the common translations:

NRSV (New Revised Standard Version)
My favorite translation is the NRSV. It is recognized for its scholarly accuracy It is known for its inclusive language and commitment to gender-neutral terminology when referring to both God and humanity. . It combines faithfulness to the original texts with modern readability. This is the translation used most in the Episcopal Church.

ESV (English Standard Version)
The ESV provides a word-for-word translation approach. The reading doesn’t always flow quite as easily, but there is an attempt to make referencing the Hebrew or Greek a little easier. There are a few places that I disagree with this translation in that they choose fundamentalist perspective whenever there is a choice to be made from the translation. I still use this Bible a lot, but there tends to be the word NO! written in the margin from time to time.

CEB (Common English Bible)
This translation emphasizes clarity and accessibility. It does a really nice job of using contemporary language with an emphasis on narrative. This translation uses inclusive language and is designed to be easily understood by contemporary readers.

The Message
The Message is not a translation but is a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson that seeks to convey the essence of the Bible’s message in contemporary language. Some appreciate its accessibility and fresh take on familiar passages.

Bible Gateway (www.biblegateway.com) is an excellent online platform that allows you to access various Bible translations, commentaries, and study tools. This resource can be particularly helpful if you want to compare different translations or delve deeper into specific passages.

If you want to listen to the readings, I suggest an App called NRSV: Audio Bible for Everyone. This reading is in the NRSV. The voice is pleasant (at least to my ears). It is easy to navigate the book, chapter, and verses that you want to listen to with the quick verse selector. There are many audio formats out there including having James Earl Jones read the Bible to you. If you find something that you really love, let me know and I will share it with others.

Other Resources
Additionally, I’d like to suggest exploring online resources to complement our reading journey. The Bible Project website (www.bibleproject.com) offers a wealth of videos, articles, and visual content that provide valuable context and insights into the scriptures we’ll be reading. Their engaging and accessible approach to biblical themes can enhance our understanding and spark meaningful discussions. We are using the Bible Project’s reading plan called One Story that Leads to Jesus.

This week, get your Bible out. Choose where and when you will do your readings. Look over the reading plan. Start to prepare your mind and body for this new habit that you will be forming. Our journey is about to begin.

Lisa Ozaeta
Associate Rector