Here are two interesting facts about your bible. Did you know …

  • The bible is the best selling book in the world?
  • The bible is the world’s most shoplifted book?
When it comes to my morning bible reading I’ve used a lot of different translations over the years. Seems that the NIV is the translation I find myself using most of the time. And, I’m not a big fan of any bible that’s not written in a modern language.
This past month I used The Message during my morning quiet-time and REALLY enjoyed it. It’s really the first time I’ve spent much time reading from The Message. One thing I do know, I’m looking forward to using it more often.
So, I’d love to know, what bible translation do you enjoy reading from?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
39 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tim Archer says:

    I love to read from the Phillips New Testament. The introduction is WONDERFUL, if you haven't read it.

    I still read mainly out of the NIV, partly because our bilingual group mainly uses a NIV bilingual Bible.

    I also work a lot out of the Spanish equivalent of the TEV.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. Doug Young says:

    I've basically settled on the ESV but I love my Spiritual Formation Study Bible (NRSV).

  3. Amanda Sanders says:

    I am really enjoying the NIV/ Message parallel bible.

  4. Taylor says:

    I use the NIV and the NASB (New American Standard) for different purposes.

    I like the NIV a lot because it is "watered down" to an extent. It's not quite a word for word translation like the NASB. I feel like the NIV is easier for most people to understand.

    I only use the NASB for my personal study.

  5. Sarah says:

    NIV — mainly because that's what I've been using for years, the words that come easily to mind, the reminders that run through my head. I love The Message and ESV when I come across them, but for daily study, it's NIV.

  6. Scott says:

    I think we need to all go to the Geneva Bible . . . seriously, I spent years using the NIV, KJV, NKJV, Easy to Read (English Version for the Deaf), NASB, and others. I read from Philips occasionally, but I settled a few years ago while in graduate school on the ESV. I now use the ESV for personal reading, public reading, teaching, preaching, and for serious study.


  7. Peter P says:

    If the KJV was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.



    Ummm, I use the NIV most of the time but have the ESV on my phone and have a couple of NKJV's lying around that i read from occasionally.

  8. Trent Tanaro says:

    I preach from NASBU and read daily from the NRSV,NLT,and Message. As you said most modern versions I like to use. Great question Bro!


  9. That Girl says:

    I use Easy To Read ('cause it's easy to read!) I like The Message sometimes, too.

  10. e3 says:

    Both of my bibles (regular and study) are NLT. I like being able to understand what I'm reading. This means I do not have a "If it ain't King James, it ain't bible" sticker on my '92 dodge shadow. (Actually saw that in the local Home Depot parking lot a few years ago.) I like the message also, but for reading only not study. Seems like I'm cheating or something when I use that version. Like reading "The Shack" for theology. (Please note there is a hint of sarcasm there.)

    Todd S

  11. Britt Farmer says:

    I read the NIV for ease of reading. Haven't found one that I have enjoyed reading as well.


  12. Patrick Mead says:

    My favorite for reading is GOD'S WORD version. Check out Job. It's amazing. I preach from the NIV because that is the most common version in the pews, but I prefer the TNIV. The ESV, which has a few shout outs above, is a very good choice.

  13. Sarah Beth says:

    I really enjoy the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It's one of the newer translations out there. It came out in 2004. It, like the NIV, NLT, TNIV etc.. is a thought for thought translation rather than a word for word translation from the original Greek and Hebrew. I just love the way it reads. :)

  14. mattdabbs says:

    So only modern translations for you…how about the Greek New Testament? There's a version for you!

    Here is my breakdown:

    Study – NRSV
    General reading – NIV
    Read through the Bible in a year – NLT
    Trying to find a verse I knew as a kid that isn't coming up in the NIV concordance through any words I can think of – KJV

  15. Anonymous says:

    preach out of NIV and do a lot of reading.

    when not teaching, I take my ESV.

    when teaching a Bible class, i have my NASBU/NIV parallel

    I was disappointed in NAS/ESV lately, NIV did it right, I may blog about that.


  16. Josh Linton says:

    I preach from the TNIV and I enjoy reading from it.

    I use others in study.

  17. cwinwc says:

    Cut my teeth on the NIV but I do enjoy some of the other paraphrase translations.

  18. TREY MORGAN says:

    Summing up everyone's comments …

    The NIV, the ESV and The Message are three of the most read, by those who commented.

    Peter likes Jesus' translation and Todd (e3) likes The Shack for theology. :) Just teasing guys.

    I too like the NLT very much.

    Brian, I'd love to see your blog post on the differences in translations.

    Josh … I've used the TNIV some this year in our study of the book called "The Story." I really like the way it uses the genders of male and female.

  19. Stoogelover says:

    I translate directly from the original languages.

    Just kidding. I enjoy TNLT, NCV, and The Message, but particularly like The Message for devotional reading.

    Since I love to study / teach from Job, Patrick Mead has my curiosity up about "God's Word" translation. Never heard of it. Well, I have heard of God's Word … I think I actually preached some sermons from it, but had not been aware of a translation by that name.

  20. NB says:

    I use NIV, but I like The Message and have considered getting it for myself.

    Peter P – funny :)

  21. Dr. Roger D. Butner says:

    There are times when there is just nothing so refreshing as reading a passage from The Message – I'm with you, Trey.

    I have really been enjoying the New Century Version lately.

    When my wife and I were first married, someone stole the plaque from our apartment door that read, "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." We figured they needed it more than we did!

  22. Terry says:

    Like you and many of your readers, I prefer the NIV. Last fall, I bought the ESV Study Bible and found it to be a fascinating study Bible. I have considered switching to it as my primary Bible, but I can't quite bring myself to do it. As good as it is, I still have a preference for the NIV. (I also love the Message.)

  23. Robin Brannon says:

    My in-laws bought my wife and me matching ESV study Bibles for Christmas and we have been reading/studying from it primarily this year. Loving it!

    I grew up with King James,
    I read it in my youth,
    I read it in my Sunday school,
    It's how I learned the truth…

    (bonus points for anyone who can name that tune)

    But then I got into Bible bowl at age 12 or so and discovered NIV. Spent years and years there, then I realized I was allowed to read other translations. My wife just bought me a pocket-sized Holman Christian Standard Bible a week ago Saturday and I'm loving it, too!

    So now my favs are (in no particular order) ESV, NLT, NASB, NCV, HCSB, and the old standby, Mr NIV (I actually got to where I didn't care at all for the NIV, but I think I was just burned out on it). I also dig the Message. I'll have to try God's Word version.

    Great post. May I steal your idea, Trey?

  24. Charla (SHar-la) says:

    It's interesting that you ask this because this summer I was asked the same question, but in this way, "You don't read out of the NIV do you?" When I said yes, I was told of all the ways the NIV was not a good translation and in how many ways it offended the person asking me this quesiton. Then, she asked me what I thought about what she had said. And I said, "Are you sure you want to know?" She said she did.

    I said, "I think it's a bunch of baloney and that some people just like getting worked up about things. And I think you're making more out of it then there is to make."

    I honestly said it out of love and I do love this person.

    But it did kind of make me chuckle a little bit to know it was such a big deal to her.

  25. Royce Ogle says:

    I encourage every serious Bible student to read the ESV translation philosophy (http://www.esv.org/translation/philosophy), I think you will be impressed.

    I believe anyone competent in English will find the ESV every bit as readible as the NIV or any other modern English version.

    I moved from the KJV to the NKJV and after much study and consideration to the ESV.

    Thanks Trey for the conversation.


  26. TREY MORGAN says:

    Greg – I thought Patrick was pulling our leg about the "God's Word" translation :)

    Doc – Let them keep the plaque … you're right, they need it.

    Terry – I may have to check into an ESV study bible.

    Robin – You're going to have to get a little tougher questions than that. "Growing up with King James" is an old AVB song. I grew up with AVB, so you can't pull that one past me :) Feel free to take anything you want.

    Charla – Sick'm girl :)

    Royce – Thanks for your wisdom. I will check it out.

  27. terry says:


    I preach out of the NASB (still have folks who don't like that!). If I'm teaching students, I mainly use the NLT. When I do my devotionals I'm mainly in the NLT (I read from a Chronological Bible NLT) plus I like to go to the Message as well. My summer youth minister introduced me to the ESV and I'm learning to like it as well.

  28. roadtripray says:

    I preach and teach from the NIV mostly. It's generally my favorite translation, but part of my decision to preach from it is because one of my three churches had already invested in pew bibles that are NIV.

    My daily devotions at home are done with a Wesley Study Bible (I am Methodist, you know) that is NRSV. But I have just about every common translation and sometimes for fun will pick up a different one.

    The Message is really interesting — it is wearing on me a little. I was shocked the first time our Methodist Bishop over the South Carolina conference used it in a sermon. But now I will occasionally read from it, especially when I'm reading to youth.


  29. Anonymous says:

    Now the NIV is going to be revised and there will be controversy over what is done with it. Jeanne M.

  30. thetimehascome says:

    For teaching, it's usually the NIV. That's what most in our congregation read. I really like the ESV & HCSB as well, and use them a lot for personal study. The Message is a regular for me, too, both for personal devotional reading and for a different take when teaching.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I too enjoy God's Word (from God's Word to the Nations – they have a website). Been reading this version for many years. What I love about it – whenever a preacher makes a comment about how a word really should be translated from the original – that's the word that is in my text!! I also have received fresh insight from The Message.

  32. eastern ky pastor says:

    I preach and teach from NIV, because I live in an area that doesn't have a high literacy rate. I've used it for my quiet time for years, but recently started using the Holman Apologetics Study Bible, which i really enjoy and highly recommend

  33. LauraLee Shaw says:

    NIV is my study Bible, but I read from the New LIving and the Message when I need to see a passage in a fresh way. 😀

  34. Brad says:

    I've started using ESV pretty much all the time. There are parts of the appendixes in the Study Bible that are definitely not from the church of Christ (salvation explanations and such), but I really like it so far.

    If I could read the Hebrew and Greek, I would study with the original.

  35. Shayla says:

    I'm gonna be honest I've got some beef with "the message" Bible, I was shown a spot once where it mentiones "Cotton Candy" I'm not sure but when was that invented???

    I think its great to read from if you are totally clueless with what you just read in the "word-ier" translations or if you just want a breath of fresh air, but for personal study i'm a Holman CSB kinda gal, but as soon as I save up I will be an ESV chick!!!!! Yay for being super accurate :)

  36. Mikes Sumondong says:

    I use NKJV but I also look at NIV.

  37. Joshua Tucker says:

    I've gone back and forth through Bibles, using mostly the ESV and NIV in the past. I gave up using ESV because it was so choppy to read through, even though it was good for study. Readability and accuracy are both important to me. I still use the NIV a lot (a NIV/ Message parallel for reading), but it's too familiar to me. I tend to gloss over verses a lot on accident, and the translation can be kind of generic sometimes.

    I've landed on the HCSB. They've marketed this Bible mostly as specialty Bibles (the soldier's Bible etc.) but it's an amazing version. It uses an "optimal equivalence" approach which uses both thought-for-thought and word-for-word depending on which they felt best portrayed the text. It uses words like "Messiah" instead of "Christ" and it just makes so much sense reading it. It is rich in language and very understandable.

    Here at SIBI, I've heard teachers say, "the real word should be ___ and I just wish a translation said it." A lot of times the HCSB does! But they always forget the version lol. Anyway, I just bought a bigger version of it and plan on using it as my main version now.

  38. TREY MORGAN says:

    Josh – thanks for the info. I'm not sure I've ever seen or heard of the HCSB. Thank for letting me know. I'm going to check it out.

  39. Anonymous says:

    My favorite is the King James Version, probably because I was raised on it. I often like to compare verses across versions though because I think it makes it easier to understand sometimes. I really like this free online Bible site because you can compare four versions at once. and they have a really cool layout that actually looks like a bible. I link to it alot. http://www.just1word.com

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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