We are asked all the time “which translation is best?” Frankly all of them have problems. There is just no way to translate something as large as the Bible without letting ones preconceived notions sneak in, or outright prejudices get put in.
Aside from learning Greek and Hebrew, the best one can do, is know who did the translation that they are using, and what were their preconceived notion and prejudices. For instance the King James Version was translated by men who were making the point that James the King of Scotland was rightfully the king of England as well. Once you know it you will see the doctrine of the “Divine Right of Kings” stressed over and over.
FYI: Biblical Hebrew has about 1000 words. It is a simple language to learn.
We alway use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible in all three of our blogs. Many people have asked us over the years why we use the RSV of the Bible. Many feel that it is inferior to the King James Version, or the American Standard Version. Honestly, all of them are inferior to looking at the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Because of this we do try to put in a many references to the original languages as we feel can be inserted.
The RSV was translated by liberal scholars, the same scholars that wrote the International Critical Commentary on the Bible. For this one reason alone, students can look up the rationale for any deviant translation. It should be noted that none of these scholarly men believed in the authenticity, or for that matter the authority of the Bible. They were proponents of the “Documentary Hypothesis” a rather dubious belief that the Pentateuch or Torah was not written by Moses, but rather several men over an extended period of time. Yes, the RSV, was translated by these Liberal scholars, giving it the rather humorous altered meaning to its abbreviation, RSV, as the Reviled Stamped on Version! However because of the International Critical Commentary, the RSV is quite simply the only English translation that gives us the reason why a particular translation was made from the original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. This allows the reader to study their justification. There is no other English translation that has such a reference. We can only guess at why there are Unicorns in the King James Version.
The International Critical Commentary on the Bible is out of copy-write and anyone can now use it as the title of their book. The real International Critical Commentary on the Bible is a multi volume encyclopedia size collection, only some of which are available free on the internet.
FYI: We don’t actually recommend that anyone use these commentaries without prior reading of the first 13 chapters in Gleason Archer Jr’s. A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction. Archer carefully explains how invalid their preconceived notions are. The use of these books is a little like studying evolution in order to study biology. It is the same with theology, you must understand what these men have done in order to understand much of what has been written in the last century or so. So, although these books are absolutely wrong in their preconceived notions, they are linguistically valuable.
Archer Jr., GLEASON A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction. The best place to start is the first 13 chapters where he provides a complete overview to this late dating nonsense.
Oswald, T. Allis – The Old Testament Its Claims and Its Critics