This Top Three business was inspired by Steve Sjogren’s Top Five website. After being tremendously touched in the presence of God when I was reading the whole book of LAMENTATIONS, I quickly jotted down my Top Three Bible Versions. I decided to use Lamentations 2:14 to let the translations bring out the flavour of the Scripture.
1. New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Your prophets have seen for you
False and foolish visions;
And they have not exposed your iniquity
So as to restore you from captivity,
But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.
I use the NASB primarily to get the more literal “feel” & “sense” of the text. I like it for study and preaching/teaching preparation.
2. New Living Translation (NLT)
Your “prophets” have said so many foolish things, false to the core.
They did not try to hold you back from exile by pointing out your sins.
Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope.
The NLT has been a breath of fresh air since I used it as a preaching & teaching Bible. It’s simple to read (using more active voices I guess) and it takes into consideration those who don’t use English as their first language.
3. The Message (MSG)
Your prophets courted you with sweet talk.
They didn’t face you with your sin so that you could repent.
Their sermons were all wishful thinking, deceptive illusions.
Ahhh … Eugene Peterson’s massive undertaking finally bear fruit in a contemporary translation of the whole Bible which often makes me laugh (e.g. Jonah), weep (e.g. Lamentations) or just sit there in deep thought (e.g. Esther & Ecclesiastes). I like it because there are no verse indications to distract. But more than that, it’s the style & words chosen that makes the whole experience of just reading the Bible a wonder-full experience. Very often, I felt I got to “hear” & “listen” to God’s voice as well …