Top 10 Books - Bibles and Translations
The following recommendations come in three areas: translations, Bible storybooks, and study Bibles (i.e. Bibles including explanatory notes and resources). These are not exhaustive, and are offered in no particular order.
ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION (TRANSLATION)
From the publisher: “The English Standard Version (ESV) is an essentially literal translation of the Bible in contemporary English. Created by a team of more than 100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors, the ESV Bible emphasizes word-for-word accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning.”
We use the ESV almost exclusively at my home congregation. It is a faithful and trustworthy translation.
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION (TRANSLATION)
The NAS is another trustworthy translation. From the same translation approach as the ESV, the NAS is also an essentially literal translation. It can be used with confidence.
NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (TRANSLATION)
The New Living Translation (NLT) is not a literal translation per se, but is more a “functional” or “dynamic” equivalence translation. It aims to translate the Bible accurately, but not necessarily in a word-for-word manner. It seeks to convey the “sense” of the original language, and does so very admirably.
Among its many strengths, the NLT is a bit more readable for modern tastes. I’ve recommended this Bible to many reading the Bible for the first time, or those benefitting from an easier-to-read translation.
THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE
SALLY LLOYD-JONES AND JAGO (ILLUSTRATOR)
To be clear, this is not a translation. It is a creative, and frankly beautiful, retelling of the Bible’s overarching story. Designed primarily for children, this book can (and, in my opinion, should) be read and enjoyed by Christians of all ages. I’ve given copies to new converts, as well as those without much if any church background, to wonderful results.
Parents: reading this every night to your children is a fun and rewarding way to begin a lifelong pattern of daily Bible reading.
THE BIGGEST STORY
KEVIN DEYOUNG AND DON CLARK (ILLUSTRATOR)
Another highly recommended option that connects the stories of Scripture with the larger Story of redemption. I know several who own and recommend this book, alternating its use with the others mentioned here..
THE BIG PICTURE STORY BIBLE
DAVID HELM AND GAIL SCHOONMAKER
This book is an another excellent resource, one - like the Jesus Storybook Bible and The Biggest Story - striving to communicate the ultimate Story behind biblical stories.
Again, parents can use this book with their children daily, establishing a pattern a daily Bible reading while training their kids in sound theology.
SPIRIT OF THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE
RICHARD PRATT, GENERAL EDITOR
No longer in publication, this study Bible is difficult to find. However, if you should come across a copy, grab it. It’s excellent. Its explanatory notes are first-rate.
ESV STUDY BIBLE
I have two copies of this study Bible, and treasure both of them. It is one of the most comprehensive study Bibles on the market, full of sound explanation, vivid illustrations and maps, and other resources. Highly recommended.
ESV GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION STUDY BIBLE
This unique study Bible offers general explanatory notes with the added benefit of practical instruction in the transforming implications of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ for everyday life.
THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE
R.C. SPROUL, GENERAL EDITOR
This is another excellent study Bible. Akin to the previously-mentioned Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, it offers excellent explanatory notes written by a cadre of trustworthy theologians.