With this installment we begin the bibliography promised in the lead editorial of the September 11 issue. As stated then, this list is not offered as one that contains only wholly trustworthy books. We hope that our comments will guide the user in forming his own judgments about the value for him of the books mentioned.
TRANSLATIONS The place to begin a study of the Bible is with the Bible. This seems obvious. But all too often—in churches and Bible classes as well as in university and seminary classrooms—people turn to books about the Bible before they look at the Bible itself. And sometimes they never take the second step.
To understand the Bible, you must read it until its message becomes a part of you. To do this you will want to own several translations.
You probably have a copy of the Authorized or King James Version of 1611. Keep on reading it, if only for the majestic beauty of its language. Do not limit your study to this version, however, even if it is the one you prefer. The New Scofield Reference edition (Oxford, 1967) is a slight modernization and correction of the King James coupled with doctrinal and other annotations.
Of the post-KJV translations, the English Revised Version of 1885 and the American Standard Version of 1901 are still the best literal translations of the Hebrew and Greek idioms, and are preferred by many for this reason. However, the language is that of a bygone age (without the virtues that make the KJV a masterpiece of English literature), and a good case might be made for the view that one who needs to know Hebrew and Greek idioms would be best advised to learn Hebrew and Greek.
The Revised Standard Version (1952), despite some lingering deficiencies, is probably the best all-purpose translation ...1
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