Here is one of the most frequently questions I have received over the years; I addressed it exactly seven years ago on the blog, as I have just discovered while rummaging through the archives.  And since it continually comes up, I thought it would be a good time to address it again.  Here’s what I said then (and what I still think now!).




Dr. Ehrman, most of your readers doe not know the ancient languages thatthe Bible was written in and therefore must rely on translations. Clearly no one translation is conclusive, but for clarity of reading and reliable research, can you recommend some translations to us? Conversely, do you have any that readers should avoid, because of clear bias or a little too loose?



When I published Misquoting Jesus (2005) I received a lot of emails from a lot of people asking a lot of questions.  But the one question I got asked more than any other was this one (in various forms):  which translation of the Bible do I recommend?   I should have answered it in the book itself; it would have made my life oh so much easier.

There are lots and lots of good translations that are available today.  The first thing to stress about them is that just about every one of them (just about!  I’m sure there are exceptions, although offhand I can’t think of any) has been done by bona fide scholars who know perfectly well everything that I set out for a general reader in Misquoting Jesus.  In other words, the fact that we don’t have the original manuscripts but only later copies that were changed in many, many places is not news to Bible translators.  It is precisely one of the things they have to deal with, constantly, in their work.   I stress this because some of my readers have thought that what I explained in the book was “news” and that someone should tell the Bible translators!

There are several views of what a translation should be.   In rough terms, some translators think…

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