Every year, our congregation gives free bibles to all of our third-grade students. Until this point, we have given them the Faith Alive Study Bible, but CPH just changed the translation for that to the ESV, which has a 10th grade reading level. We don’t want the reading level to be an obstacle so students think, “This is too difficult for me to read. I guess I am not a Bible reader.” That led us on a quest for a new Bible to distribute.
Translations Included in Study
Based on reading level, we narrowed our search to the GWV, HCSB, and NLT translations, but the GWV has no options available for a good study Bible, so we removed that translation from the list of options, even though it is a favorite among us. The CEV also received consideration but was removed for lack of viable options. Just for the sake of comparison, we also included the ESV in this study.
To rate the translations, we used the same guidelines that were used in the Comparative Study of Bible Translations and Paraphrases distributed by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod from September 1975.
Using the same sampling of verses, taken from the “Explanation of the Second Article” from A Short Explanation of Dr Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, questions 121–159, passages are rated with a score of 0–2:
- If it was found acceptable, it was given no notation (0).
- If judged usable but in need of more accurately reflecting the original, it was marked with the numeral 1.
- If it was judged as being not usable, it was marked with the numeral 2.
Scores were then totalled to rate the translations. Low numbers are better. See the original spreadsheet for additional notes.
|Passage||ESV||ESV Text||HCSB||HCSB Text||NLT||NLT Text|
|Gen 3:15||Ge 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.’’||Ge 3:15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.||And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
|Deut 18:15||De 18:15 ‘‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen–||De 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.||1||15 Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.|
|Ps 45:7||Ps 45:7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;||Ps 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you, more than your companions, with the oil of joy.||You love justice and hate evil.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you,
pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.
|Ps 49:7-8||Ps 49:7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, 8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,||1||Ps 49:7 Yet these cannot redeem a person or pay his ransom to God– 8 since the price of redeeming him is too costly, one should forever stop trying–||Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God. “Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough”
|Is 7:14||Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.||Isa 7:14 Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.||All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).|
|Is 9:6||Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.||Isa 9:6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.||For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
|Is 53:3-5||Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.||Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. 4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.||He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
|Matt 1:20-21||Mt 1:20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’’||Mt 1:20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”||20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”|
|Matt 8:20||Mt 8:20 And Jesus said to him, ‘‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’’||Mt 8:20 Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”||20 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”|
|Matt 9:6||Mt 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’’–he then said to the paralytic–‘‘Rise, pick up your bed and go home.’’||Mt 9:6 But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–then He told the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”||6 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”|
|Matt 17:5||Mt 17:5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’’||Mt 17:5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!||5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”|
|Matt 18:20||Mt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’’||Mt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”||20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”|
|Matt 22:44||Mt 22:44 ‘‘‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’?||Mt 22:44 The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet’?||‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’
|Matt 24:27||Mt 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.||Mt 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.||For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.|
|Matt 25:31||Mt 25:31 ‘‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.||Mt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.||“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.|
|Matt 26:38||Mt 26:38 Then he said to them, ‘‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’’||Mt 26:38 Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow–to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with Me.”||He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”|
|Matt 27:46||Mt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’’that is, ‘‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’’||Mt 27:46 At about three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”||At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”|
|Matt 28:18||Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.||Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.||Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.|
|Matt 28:20||Mt 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’’||Mt 28:20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”||1||Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”|
|Mark 10:45||Mr 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’’||Mr 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life–a ransom for many.”||For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”|
|Mark 13:32||Mr 13:32 ‘‘But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.||Mr 13:32 “Now concerning that day or hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven nor the Son–except the Father.||“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.|
|Luke 1:35||1||Lu 1:35 And the angel answered her, ‘‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.||Lu 1:35 The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.||The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.|
|Luke 1:74-75||Lu 1:74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.||Lu 1:74 since we have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches, to serve Him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days.||We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
|Luke 2:7||Lu 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.||Lu 2:7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough–because there was no room for them at the inn.||7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.|
|Luke 10:16||Lu 10:16 ‘‘The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.’’||Lu 10:16 Whoever listens to you listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”||16 Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”|
|Luke 24:39||Lu 24:39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’’||Lu 24:39 Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”||39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”|
|John 1:1-3||Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.||Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.||In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
|John 1:14||Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.||Joh 1:14 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.||14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.|
|John 2:19||Joh 2:19 Jesus answered them, ‘‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’’||Joh 2:19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.”||19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”|
|John 3:16||Joh 3:16 ‘‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.||Joh 3:16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.||16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.|
|John 3:34||Joh 3:34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.||Joh 3:34 For God sent Him, and He speaks God’s words, since He gives the Spirit without measure.||1||34 For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.|
|John 3:36||1||Joh 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.||Joh 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.||1||36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”|
|John 5:23||1||Joh 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.||Joh 5:23 so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.||23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.|
|John 5:27||Joh 5:27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.||Joh 5:27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.||27 And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.|
|John 8:34||Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, ‘‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.||Joh 8:34 Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.||34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.|
|John 8:36||Joh 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.||Joh 8:36 Therefore if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.||36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.|
|John 8:40||Joh 8:40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.||Joh 8:40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this!||40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing.|
|John 11:25-26||Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, ‘‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’’||Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die–ever. Do you believe this?”||1||25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”|
|John 12:48||Joh 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.||Joh 12:48 The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: the word I have spoken will judge him on the last day.||48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.|
|John 14:3||Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.||Joh 14:3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.||3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.|
|John 14:19||Joh 14:19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.||Joh 14:19 “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too.||19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.|
|John 17:3||Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.||Joh 17:3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ.||1||3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.|
|John 17:24||Joh 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.||Joh 17:24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.||24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!|
|John 18:36-37||Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, ‘‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’’ 37 Then Pilate said to him, ‘‘So you are a king?’’Jesus answered, ‘‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’’||2||Joh 18:36 “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”||36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”
Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
|John 19:1-3||1||Joh 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, ‘‘Hail, King of the Jews!’’and struck him with their hands.||Joh 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. 2 The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. 3 And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping His face.||19 Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. 3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.|
|John 19:16-18||Joh 19:16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.||Joh 19:16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified. Therefore they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying His own cross, He went out to what is called Skull Place, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him and two others with Him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.||16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). 18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
|John 19:30||Joh 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘‘It is finished,’’and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.||Joh 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.||30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.|
|John 20:28||Joh 20:28 Thomas answered him, ‘‘My Lord and my God!’’||Joh 20:28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”||28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.|
|John 21:17||Joh 21:17 He said to him the third time, ‘‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’’Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘‘Do you love me?’’and he said to him, ‘‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’’Jesus said to him, ‘‘Feed my sheep.||Joh 21:17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.||17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
|Acts 1:3||Ac 1:3 To them he presented himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.||Ac 1:3 After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.||1||3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.|
|Acts 1:11||Ac 1:11 and said, ‘‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’’||Ac 1:11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.”||11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”|
|Acts 3:15||Ac 3:15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.||1||Ac 3:15 And you killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this.||15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!|
|Acts 4:12||Ac 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’’||Ac 4:12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”||12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”|
|Acts 10:38||Ac 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.||Ac 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and curing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him.||38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.|
|Acts 10:40-42||Ac 10:40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.||Ac 10:40 God raised up this man on the third day and permitted Him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, witnesses appointed beforehand by God, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people, and to solemnly testify that He is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.||40 but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, 41 not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.|
|Acts 13:37||Ac 13:37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption.||Ac 13:37 But the One whom God raised up did not decay.||37 No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay.|
|Acts 17:31||Ac 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’’||Ac 17:31 because He has set a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”||31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”|
|Rom 1:4||Ro 1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,||1||Ro 1:4 and was established as the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.||4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.|
|Rom 4:25||Ro 4:25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.||Ro 4:25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.||25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.|
|Rom 5:19||Ro 5:19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.||Ro 5:19 For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.||19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.|
|Rom 8:34||Ro 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.||Ro 8:34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.||34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.|
|Rom 9:5||Ro 9:5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.||Ro 9:5 The forefathers are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.||1||5 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.|
|1 Cor 6:19||1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,||1Co 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,||19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,|
|1 Cor 15:3-8||1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.||1Co 15:3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. 6 Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.||3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.|
|1 Cor 15:17||1Co 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.||1Co 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.||17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.|
|1 Cor 15:57||1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.||1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!||57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.|
|2 Cor 5:10||2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.||2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.||10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.|
|2 Cor 5:15||2Co 5:15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.||2Co 5:15 And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.||15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.|
|2 Cor 5:21||2Co 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.||2Co 5:21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.||1||21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.|
|2 Cor 8:9||2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.||2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.||9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.|
|Gal 2:20||Ga 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.||1||Ga 2:20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.||20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.|
|Gal 3:13||Ga 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, ‘‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’’–||Ga 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.||1||13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”|
|Gal 4:4-5||Ga 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.||Ga 4:4 But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.||4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.|
|Eph 2:10||Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.||Eph 2:10 For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.||10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.|
|Eph 4:10-12||Eph 4:10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,||Eph 4:10 The One who descended is the same as the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,||10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
|Php 2:5-8||Php 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.||1||Php 2:5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death–even to death on a cross.||5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
|Col 2:9||Col 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,||1||Col 2:9 For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily,||9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.|
|1 Tim 1:15||1Ti 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.||1Ti 1:15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”–and I am the worst of them.||15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.|
|1 Tim 2:5||1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,||1Ti 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus,||5 For,
There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.
|1 Tim 3:16||1Ti 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.||1Ti 3:16 And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.||16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body
and vindicated by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
and announced to the nations.
He was believed in throughout the world
and taken to heaven in glory.
|2 Tim 1:10||2Ti 1:10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,||2Ti 1:10 This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.||10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.|
|2 Tim 1:12||2Ti 1:12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.||2Ti 1:12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.||1||12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.|
|2 Tim 4:18||2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.||2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.||18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.|
|Heb 1:3||Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,||Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.||1||3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.|
|Heb 1:6||Heb 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’’||Heb 1:6 When He again brings His firstborn into the world, He says, And all God’s angels must worship Him.||2||6 And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said,
“Let all of God’s angels worship him.”
|Heb 2:14||Heb 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,||Heb 2:14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil–||1||14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.|
|Heb 7:26-27||Heb 7:26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.||Heb 7:26 For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do–first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself.||26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.|
|Heb 13:8||Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.||Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.||8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.|
|James 4:7||Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.||Jas 4:7 Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.||7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.|
|1 Peter 1:18-19||1Pe 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.||1Pe 1:18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.||18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.|
|1 Peter 2:24||1Pe 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.||1Pe 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; by His wounding you have been healed.||He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
|1 Peter 3:18-19||1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,||1||1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. 19 In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison||18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—
|1 Peter 4:7||1Pe 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.||1Pe 4:7 Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer.||7 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.|
|2 Peter 2:1||2Pe 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.||2Pe 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.||2 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.|
|2 Peter 3:10||2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.||2Pe 3:10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that /day/ the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.||10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.|
|1 John 1:7||1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.||1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.||7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.|
|1 John 2:1-2||1Jo 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.||1Jo 2:1 My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ the righteous One. 2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.||2 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.|
|1 John 3:8||1Jo 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.||1Jo 3:8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.||8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.|
|1 John 5:20||1Jo 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.||1Jo 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. We are in the true One–that is, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.||20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.|
|Rev 1:7||Re 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.||Re 1:7 Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him. And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him. This is certain. Amen.||Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
|Rev 5:9||Re 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, ‘‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,||Re 5:9 And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed /people/ for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.||9 And they sang a new song with these words:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and break its seals and open it.
For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
First, note that this study only examines which passages had problems, not which had the preferable translation for clarity, conveying the original intent of the idioms, or readability by a modern audience. The purpose was to separate wheat from chaff, not find the choicest kernels. Even such subtleties as word order, article, interpretation of the Greek imperfect verb tense, or preposition choice, and punctuation can have a significant impact on the passage, and at times, while a translation may be not inaccurate, another’s emphasis makes it a preferred translation. And the difference in rating any given passage between 0–1 or 1–2 was often a fine line, so when in doubt, I rounded down, as seems to have been the practice of the 1975 study. Even these ratings have the disadvantage of not being weighted by importance, so a glaring Christological error that makes a passage unusable and could lead to heresy would have the same impact on the final score as a reversal of pronouns that reverses the intent of the passage but, while causing confusion to the reader, has no significant doctrinal impact. In the same way, two minor 1’s may not be collectively as important as a major 2. Given more time and input, a rating of 1–10 for each passage based on a number of factors, both positive and negative, would be preferable, but that would require a significant investment of time with an inordinately small return. These judgment calls might also change based on others’ theological emphases, thus a blind study by a committee with averaged scores and discussion over each passage would be preferable, but we didn’t have the man hours available for that, so feedback from others is welcome. Among these three translations, none were perfect, but pastors, parents, and others making these decisions will have to decide what is “good enough” for the reader in question. Considerations should also be made for which translation is easier to read aloud (some roll off the tongue easier), poetic form both verbally and visibly, and ease of memorization (easier to understand translations tend to be more verbose, thus more words to memorize).
Also note that this study examined 101 important passages, but arguments could be made to include 1001 more. These focused on Christology, but a study of the passages on the Sacraments, eschatology, gender roles, or any number of other doctrines, especially those debated among various theological traditions, could affect the outcome of this study. This study examined English translations against doctrine, not spending significant amounts of time re-translating the original languages or examining manuscript variants for comparison, which might be considered a backwards approach, but the principle of Scripture interprets Scripture was used as the criteria. This study also ignored footnotes, which can significantly impact the perceptions of the reader and often have glaring discrepancies with the actual text, any study notes from any study Bible that comes from a different theological tradition than ours will raise even greater concerns, so readers must be taught to think critically about anything added to the text by the editor or publisher.
The NLT is definitely more readable and often carries nuances of the original languages better by explaining them in the text and thus more clearly expressing the intent of the text, thus making it a viable translation for those new to Christianity or anyone looking for a translation for daily devotional use. Its roots as a paraphrase that was reworked into a translation are evident, as it often varies significantly from most English translations in sentence structure, which has pros and cons.
The HCSB has a slightly higher reading level than the NLT but rated a lower score in the above study, making it arguably doctrinally safer for young readers, above caveats notwithstanding. Since it more closely mirrors more formal equivalent translations, it provides a bridge for the readers as they grow until they’re ready for a more in depth study Bible like The Lutheran Study Bible, as well as aiding teachers more familiar with those translations in a Sunday school setting. Since we currently use the ESV in worship, the Small Catechism, and elsewhere, the similarities with the HCSB will also aid in familiarity with the texts and not bear such a stark contrast. Less verbose wording will aid memorization.
So pending finding a viable Study Bible with minimal confusion and error that wouldn’t undo the translation advantages, I recommend the HCSB for use as a general purpose student Bible. Given that the WELS seems to be leaning toward adopting the HCSB the way the LCMS has the ESV, I hope they will produce a HCSB student Bible, or a number of churches work together to produce a crowdfunded HCSB student Bible with confessional Lutheran study aids and explanations.