The meaning God intended to convey in his Word can without doubt be found through Holy Spirit guidance through all translations of Scripture (see prior article on the Holy Spirit’s involvement in interpreting Scripture). However, there are some translations that are more focused on readability than literal accuracy. This is not a fault; it is simply an appropriate way to make the words of Scripture more accessible to all readers. Because these versions use more liberal translations that are based largely on interpretation rather than the original words used (dynamic equivalence—thought-for-thought rather than formal equivalence—word for word) there is unquestionable risk for error in translation. Therefore it should be concluded that while the Word of God itself, as originally recorded in Hebrew and Greek is inerrant, a better descriptive for translated Scripture would be reliable. That reliability is due not to the scholarly work placed upon appropriate, intellectual and detailed work of translation (remarkable as it is) but instead to God’s sovereignty in protecting his holy Word, making original meaning available to those of all generations and languages, despite any potential translation complications.
Many people contemplate the best translation of Scripture. The reality, however, is that there is no such thing. Each translation has its own unique purpose. Despite the aforementioned problems that are applicable to less formal translating, the same message of truth is available, regardless of the way in which it is presented. Some translations are better for personal, intensive study. Some are better for intimate devotional time. Others are best for group study and discussion. This is just one of many factors to consider for how to choose a good translation for the purpose at hand.
Please expect another article in the future that will deal more specifically with the same topic. The next one, however, will be a list of translations with their strengths and limitations. From that last, it can be easier to determine which one is best for given purposes. As stated before, no translation is best (or better than another for that matter), but based on your personal focus at any given time. Therefore, the best translation for you personally will change on a fairly regular basis. The hope of that forthcoming list, consequently, will be to help you determine which translation is best for you right now at this point in your walk with the Lord, personal Bible reading, or in your work towards making disciples.