All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Ideally, we will all be equipped to read the Bible in the original text. Unfortunately, that day isn’t here yet, and meanwhile, we need to rely on the multitude of translations that are available to us today to read and listen to the Word of God.
However, not all translations are created equally, and Ken Johnson, Th.D. has put together a book highlighting what we should look for in a good translation. Towards the end, he gives us a list of the twelve good translations to refer back to when shopping for a new Bible.
1. The Geneva Bible
Calvanistic translation with notes from 1560.
2. King James Version
The most loved English Bible, commissioned by King James of England in 1611 and continually updated to modern English. Based on the original Greek and Hebrew texts.
3. Webster Bible
From 1833, based on the KJV with minor word changes.
4. Young’s Literal Translation
Word-for-word translation by Robert Young from the Free Church of England in 1862.
5. Modern King James
Produced by J. P. Green in 1999, based on the Received Text.
6. Green’s Interlinear Bible
A literal translation by J. P. Green, a member of the Presbyterian church, and contains the Greek and Hebrew in interlinear form. A very good translation based on the received text.
7. New King James Version
A 1982 translation of the KJV based on the Received Text.
8. KJ3 - Literal Translation Bible
A word-for-word translation of the Received Text from 2005 by J. P. Green. Uses Jehovah in place of The LORD.
9. 21st Century King James Version
Revision of the KJV 1611 by Dueul Enterprises.
10. King James Version Easy Reading
1611 with minor word changes listed upfront. Words of God in red, produced in 2001.
11. Voice in the Wilderness Scriptures
Written by Paul Becker in 2003 based on the Masoretic Text and the Received Text.
12. Young’s Literal Revised Edition
A modern revision of the Young’s Literal Translation.
For a complete study on the story behind these (and other) translations, and how he narrowed them down to these twelve, see his book Ancient Word of God.