Mysteries of Life: I need a better bible. But which one?

I am perplexed and overwhelmed and it’s a big, big god problem.

After a visit to the bible shelves at Barnes & Noble, I have no notion of what upgrade I should get to my old King James version.

Nor, as a biblical ignoramus, do I have any idea of why books called The Bible for Boys, The Dayspring Hope and Encouragement Bible, The Peaceful Walks In The Country Bible, The Jewish Messianic Family Bible, The New American Bible — which isn’t “new American” at all but is Catholic — exist at all. (I sort of made up one of those titles but it is not far off what I saw on B&N’s shelves.)

OK, and what about Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, or the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (if the first was “exhaustive,” what can be “new”?)? Learn The Bible in 24 Hours is a bit too quick for me, and the Bible for Dummies, uh-uh. I said I was a biblical ignoramus, which is not the same thing as being a dummy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! Huh? (That’s a real title.) I don’t want the Lost Books of the Bible; I want the books of the bible.

And I am loathe to buy anything called The Holy Bible, and there are plenty of those around, since I don’t consider the bible to be holy.

Wasn’t The Bible, the original one, written in Aramaic and/or Hebrew and/or ancient Greek? That is, although translations could vary in expression, the basic book was…the basic book. Or The Basic Book, if TFG has hooked you into capitalizing every noun and its modifiers.

The bible. That, in a modern translation, is what I was searching for at Barnes & Noble.

I’m suffering from a glut of bibles, shelves and shelves of ’em. I’m finding this confusing. I don’t know which modern translation to get. Here’s how I look at it:

One of my most beloved heretics, William Tyndale, was the first to translate what was considered an authentic, original bible into English.

Tyndale’s translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English translation to take advantage of the printing press, the first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation, and the first English translation to use Jehovah (“Iehouah”) as God’s name as preferred by English Protestant Reformers.[a] It was taken to be a direct challenge to the hegemony of both the Catholic Church and the laws of England maintaining the church’s position.

For his audacity in giving ordinary people a readable, even poetic bible which they themselves could comprehend and interpret without depending on churchmen, Tyndale was condemned to death. Of course. Although he escaped his fate in England, he was strangled and burnt at the stake in Flanders.

That was in 1536. Less than a hundred years later, the commission brought together by King James VI (of Scotland — he was Mary Queen of Scots’ son) and I of England, produced, for the Church of England (created by Henry VIII as a way of ditching his first wife) the KJV in 1611.

Noted for its “majesty of style”, the King James Version has been described as one of the most important books in English culture and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world.[3][4]

That “majesty of style” was more or less plagiarized from Tyndale. Tyndale wasn’t around to sue, so I’m sticking out my neck here by defaming the KJV. Although I’m fairly sure I won’t be sued.

Never mind all that. Thing is, I have been searching for a well regarded translation of the basic bible and have no guidance whatsoever.

There’s a reason I want a new translation but what I intend to do with it will have to wait until I have it in my hands. It has something to do with Leviticus.

Any recommendations?



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