A formal translation for my wife

Tonight, my wife asked me: “Which translation of the bible would be good for her to study from?”  I asked her whether she wanted a formal word-for-word translation or a dynamic translation for easier comprehension.  She said a word-for-word translation because she wants to do an indepth bible study.  I already know her favourite translation is the NLT and NIV, so this ruled out suggesting the NLT and TNIV.

I proceeded to my bookshelf and pulled out an ESV and an NRSV.  I gave her a choice and asked her which one she wanted.  She said “NRSV”.  I know her professor from seminary suggested the NRSV to her theology class.  I hesitated to give her a translation right away; but when she picked the NRSV, something clicked in me.  I realized that  the NRSV has some credibility, not that the ESV doesn’t.  Since she was a female, I thought the NRSV would speak to her best.  When given a choice, I think most women would probably go for the NRSV because of its gender inclusivity.

12 thoughts on “A formal translation for my wife

  1. Though a bit dated, translations age quick these days, the NRSV isn’t a bad translation for a formal/median translation. In fact, if it wasn’t for the TNIV and the NLT, the NRSV would still me my primary sidearm.


    1. CD, I shouldn’t be hesitant about using the NRSV because it is still one of my all-time favorite translations. In the formal category, it’s number one/two but I’m hesitant to make it my clear #1.

      The Brown & Comfort is a great interlinear with NRSV. It’s the one I use all the time. I have it in my office but I need another for my study but I’m thinking of getting the ESV interlinear. I don’t know.


      1. I was thinking B&C for her, if you own it let her try it. I don’t think the ESV interlinear is very good. The Greek is unreadable (try an online sample), and then of course there are all the many many problems you know I’d say regarding the ESV as a translation. In particular the ESV stays too close to the RSV which is based on the NA many versions back, plus decades of research that isn’t in it.

        Here is a sample page: from the ESV reverse http://www.esv.org/assets/blog/2006.10.interlinear.1john.big.png


        1. CD, thanks. I will let her try that one. I have to say that the great thing about the NRSV is that it’s a big step up from the RSV. The translators have put in a lot of work updating but could use a few more, as TC wrote on his blog.


  2. TC, I’ve jumped back and forth between ESV and NRSV but I’m finding myself leaning toward the NRSV.

    Tim, yeah those look really good. Harper Collins seems to know how to package and market their bibles. I gave her my cheap hardcover one from the bible society.


      1. TC, the ESV is still a good translation and it’s recognized in evangelical circles. That might be the only attraction. That’s still an important factor when choosing a translation to read.


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