Ask A Pastor
By Rev. Beverly Kahle
St Paul UCC, Nashville
“Which translation of Scripture do you prefer to preach from, and why?
Which translation do I use and why?
First of all, I think it is important that we use true translations and not paraphrases for preaching preparation.
While paraphrases are useful for helping others to understand a point, sermon preparation and scripture interpretation need to begin with true translations. I tend to use a variety of translations when I prepare a sermon to help me better understand the width and breadth of the scope of the text. I go back to the Greek or Hebrew when I can, again to help me better understand the text as much as possible. I do this to try to avoid making a scripture say what I want it to say rather than what the intent of the author was. I also try to not take a verse out of context because the context defines the original intent.
Saying all this, my two favorite translations to read and study are the NIV (the New International Version) and the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version). I use these because of familiarity – I grew up using these translations- and because of the strength of the scholarly interpretation of these texts from the Greek and Hebrew.
I believe that each translation has its benefits. So while I choose these, there are many more out there. Most important – find one that you can read and understand. So, talk to your pastor, a trusted Christian mentor or a Sunday School teacher –get their recommendation. Then consider it all, and open the scriptures and dive in!
In this day of technology, we are blessed that we have an Internet that you can use to try out a huge variety of translations before you purchase one that you can make your own.
May you make scripture study part of your New Year Resolution!