We have been asked this question a lot – What is the best bible translation for memorizing scripture? I have used many different translations while memorizing bible scriptures. My personal favorite Bible version is the ESV, but I think it’s better for studying rather than memorization because of its language and formatting (sometimes there are references in the middle of sentences, which get confusing when you stop to read them). So let’s explore some other popular options you have.
Dynamic Translations Vs Formal Translations
To start off, there are two main categories that translations fall into dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence. Dynamic Equivalence describes a translation that attempts to translate the meaning of the original (Greek or Hebrew) text as closely as possible. Formal Equivalence describes a translation that attempts to translate the exact word-for-word of the original text. Formal translations are often harder to read, and therefore memorize.
The ESV Bible
The ESV Bible is a formal equivalence translation of the Bible that is a very accurate English translation that does not compromise accuracy for readability. It’s one of the most popular versions among scholars and pastors alike, but it also remains true to its original meaning for everyday readers. I like it best for studying.
The New Living Translation
Have you heard of the New Living translation bible? It’s super popular among most Christians. It’s a dynamic equivalence translation. The NLT is very easy to read, it’s almost like everyday English. It attempts to best convey the meaning of the original text as closely as possible while making it as readable and enjoyable for modern Christians. It was translated by more than 100 scholars from 16 different denominations.
The Passion Translation Bible
The Passion Translation is my current favorite for memorization. It’s a newer, modern, easy-to-read translation that uses dynamic equivalence to keep the original meaning and intent in each passage. For me, it’s even easier to read than the NLT. It was translated by over 50 scholars, and pastors from all around the world. The Passion Translation is an extremely easy-to-read version of the Bible that makes it ideal for people who want a fresh, modern English translation they can remember.
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The best translation is the one you love to read
The easy answer to our question is to memorize the bible you have and regularly read! The more you read, the more the Holy Spirit will help you to memorize! Many wonder and get stuck on whether should I change my NIV to ESV? Or should I go with the NLT instead? Just keep on reading your bible and the Holy Spirit will help you in your growth, reminding you of the scriptures you need – when you need them most!
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