Which translations do I actually use?
From principle we are moving here to personal application and preference, and thus more subjective grounds.
I am still using the Cornilescu version in my cursory reading of the Bible in Romanian, although I am aware of its many weaknesses and I am convinced we need a new translation. Personally, I would prefer a modern ecumenical translation – one that Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants would gladly use in church and in private reading, much like the TOB in French, but the rift between the three major Christian traditions in Romania is too big at this particular point in time, and growing, which makes such hope unrealistic in this generation. I have also used a little the New Romanian Translation (NTR) of the UBS, but, in spite of its obvious strengths, and some weaknesses, too, I doubt it will succeed in convincing the very conservative Romanian Evangelical constituency.
I rarely read the Bible in French and, since I do not own yet a TOB, I read the Segond version. My knowledge of German is quite basic, so I use German translations (most of the time that of Luther, since I do not own the German ecumenical version yet) exclusively for comparing Biblical terms.
I have to confess I have never used a lot nor did I ever really like the KJV. For me, like the Romanian synodal Orthodox translation, it ‘smells’ too much of mildew. Something that is old is not necessarily good for me. That is, probably, among other things, why I have never been really attracted to becoming an Orthodox, in spite of my respect and appreciation for Orthodox spirituality and Orthodox academic theology.
For some time in my first years of Bible study in English I have used the NASV, which I liked in terms of precision. NIV is, however, the one I have used the most in later years, alternatively with the RVS, which has more of an ecclesial feel to it. I also liked a lot the controversial TNIV, in spite of the fact that it felt a bit like a temporary version and I am eager to see the already disputed NIV 2011. Since the Southern Baptist hate it, there are many chances that I will like it. I figured out already that, when in doubt, you are safe if you find out what the SBC does and do the opposite.
The new ESV, which I have just received recently, seems to be a good candidate to being used by the largest number of Bible readers, including myself.
For my devotional readings and, sometimes, even for devotional presentations I do in my job, I use with great pleasure and spiritual benefit Eugene Peterson’s translation called The Message. By contrast, although I have used it sometimes, I have never particularly liked The Living Bible, in spite of the fact that, as I have said already, I consider paraphrasing a legitimate method of Bible translation for easier reading purposes. I have disliked even more the Romanian translation of the Living New Testament. It was called, in a very uninspired and triumphalist way, Noul Testament pe intelesul tuturor [The NT Explained to Everyone’s Understanding], about which I joked calling it The NT to No One’s Understanding. The fact that it was printed on really cheap paper did not help very much either.
Finally, I have to say that lately I rarely carry a printed Bible with me, since I have a number of versions on my iPhone or in my computer (I use mostly the free eSword software) that I can easily search electronically, which saves me a lot of time (and weight in my luggage). Yet, when I study, I still prefer a printed version.
This is the final text in this series.