Bible Translations: A Round Table Discussion

Hello friends.
On this blistery Sunday evening, the Steelers blew a tremendous 4th Quarter lead to the New York Giants. This displeased me so. I've been told in times of distress, we are to turn to scripture. And so tonight, I am laying out the three best and three worst translations for use in a youth ministry setting. These of course are only my opinion, which I choose to interpret as fact.
The Best:
#1) TNIV

This Bible's got it all. It's a modern day version of the NIV, which has been the leading seller among bible translations since the Tablets were given to the people.

Now many people seem to have a problem with the TNIV because it has been said to be gender neutral. This is not the case! Gender neutral is what happens when psycho hippies start referring to God as It. What the TNIV has done is to go through the scriptures and make a point of referring to brothers and sisters in situations where the writer was specifically and directly addressing both genders. This of course saves us from having to have that weekly discussion about how we respect the ladies but support the oppression of them as long as it's cultural (Are my biases showing?). Read it for yourselves, but I don't think it hinders the scriptures one bit. It's readable without being dumbed down. 

Rob Bell: Hit us with an endorsement!

The TNIV Study bible is what I'm using for confirmation class this year. It's been pretty well received so far.

#2) ESV
The ESV is really one of two bibles that my seminary is absolutely in love with. This of course makes me really scared of it, but in all honesty it's a really good translation. It does a good job of being exceptionally accurate, while not being so far over peoples heads as to resemble a pass from Big Ben.
Brad really likes the ESV, and in most cases I really trust his judgement (largest exception: any fantasy football recommendations). He also has a big man-crush on John Piper, and I don't blame him one bit.

Papa J, endorse!
Kick it Piper style. Next.
#3) Da Jesus Book.
My associate pastor Tammy hipped me to this translation. It's not an English translation, so it may have slipped under the radar screen. It's translated into Hawaiian Pidgin, which is awesome if you're ever thinking about hosting a reggae night. it.

The Worst
#1) The Message
I almost didn't put this one on the list because I don't think it's really the bible (too harsh?) Even Peterson agrees that it was meant more to be an exercise in trying to understand the bible better, not to be the actual bible, much the same way Mythbusters is not meant to be confused with actual science.
This is not to say The Message doesn't have it's place. I even have a copy adorning my bookshelf at work. However, where I don't think the Message should be used is in a teaching or studying situation. I have heard of all too many youth pastors using it in their confirmation class or even teaching from it on Sunday morning. Plus, (and this is a little known fact) the Message actually clocks in at a third grade reading level. So to read it to a group of middle or high school students would probably be best illustrated like this:
#2) KJV
The faint smell of wood chips and lighter fluid tells me that some of you are ready to burn me at the stake, but hear me out. These are my recommendations for YOUTH ministry oriented bibles, and let's face it, this bible was designed for the teenagers of Shakespeare's time.
I understand that some of you out there have a real thing for tradition, and I totally dig that. What I don't dig is trying to keep alive a tradition at the expense of having your kids take anything home for the evening. It's bad enough that people today actually believe that God speaks in terms like "Thee" and "Thou" (remember, the Bible came to us in Greek and Hebrew, so I'm guessing we should study our vocabulary terms if we want to talk to God in person), we shouldn't be encouraging such a stereotype is all I'm saying.
Again, it has it's place. I use it from time to time myself (particularly Philippians 3:8, in which the King James Version comes closest to using the word Paul actually says without going over)

#3) Anything that looks like this:


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