Dear Church Family,
I get asked from time to time what Bible translation I use. I use and recommend the English Standard Version (ESV) and have since it came out in 2001. When I’m reading from the ESV, your particular translation may not read quite the same way - which is confusing at times. There are translations that focus on what the original Hebrew and Greek texts say: New American Standard, ESV, New King James - in order of the most literal. There are others that focus on what those texts mean: NIV, New Living Translation, The Message. The Message is a paraphrase and thus the most interpreted - the others are translations.
I preached from the New American Standard for years, but found the English in it to be clunky. The ESV smoothed out the wording a little bit while holding to the literal translation. For full disclosure, I’m currently reading through the Bible in a year in the New Living Translation, though I continue to study and preach from the ESV.
No matter the translation of your Bible, if you don’t spend time in it you won’t grow spiritually. Bottom line: thank God for His Word, then go read it.