How to Choose a Bible Version: Making Sense of the Proliferation of Bible Translations

By Robert L. Thomas
Ross-shire, Scotland : Christian Focus (2000). 203 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Richard Mayhue
11.2 (Fall 2000) : 270-270

Dr. Robert Thomas, professor of New Testament at The Master’s Seminary, has spent a lifetime studying the NT in the original Greek language, and being involved in Bible translation, most notably with the New American Standard Bible. His over four decades of teaching in this area qualify him as a superb authority on this subject. The book is not written to scholars, but rather to Christians who have not had the advantage of extensive specialized studies in the area of translation. H is discussion includes historical backgrounds, textual bases, techniques used, theological bias, and types of English Bible translations. This provides a superb and quite readable overview of the subject matter.

Added as an appendix is the article “Dynamic Equivalence: A Method of Translation or a System of Hermeneutics?” This recent departure from a strict grammatical equivalence is discussed thoroughly, particularly as it relates to some of the more recent Bible translations, such as the New International Version.

Perhaps the most helpful portion of the book comes in the chapter titled, “Conclusions,” pp. 149-160, where Thomas gives a brief evaluation of each of the major English Bible translations. In a day when one extreme is calling for “King James only” and the other extreme is touting loose paraphrases, the wisdom and balance that Dr. Thomas brings to the discussion are indispensable if Christians are to make an informed choice of both their reading and study Bibles. This book is highly recommended.