Thinking about getting a NASB

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A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been Thinking about getting a NASB, but I'm not to sure. For some reason as of late, Bible translations and which is the most accurate based on the original text, and readable without compromising the literalness has become a very interesting topic for me to study up on. I have the ESV Study Bible which took sometime to get used too, since I was on the KJV Hard for a while, I did all my studying in it, and for a while didn't even want to hear about another version. So I bought a Johnny Mac study Bible (NKJV, soft cover's ugh! lol) which made the readability a little easier while still making me feel at home with the king james lingo. When I got the ESV, it was sooo much more readable compared to my KJV and NKJV until I didn't even like it at first, cause I felt like it wasn't a challenge as far as the readability goes, and I felt it was too easy to read, but now I'm used to it (And I really do like it). It seems though, the ESV already translates what some words may literally mean in there original greek/hebrew language, instead of you looking it up yourself, which I think has advantages and it's dis-advantages, depending on the passage. It also seems to be literal in some places, and dynamic in others. Needless to say, I'm Very Very confused on what translation to make my main text and it's soooo frustrating, since I hoped off the KJV I can't find a translation to settle with. So as of now I parallel and study out of my ESV and NKJV side by side. I like to have a translation with good readability, but def don't want to compromise literalness..but I know there's not a perfect English translation out there. So I'm also thinking about getting a NASB just to compare this side by side as well to see the differences between the translations, I have to admit I looked up some passages in it (Rom 9) (1 Cor 7) in parallel with the ESV, NKJV, and KJV and didn't like how some things were worded in the NASB compared to others..but I thought I should still give it a shot..what do you think? I'm looking for a good Study Bible if I do go ahead and get this translation..

***Note*** When I say too easy to read, I'm referring to the formation and readability of the text, not the spiritual revelation and application.
 
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CredoFidoSpero

Puritan Board Freshman
There have been some good discussions on that - links below. I think most people find the ESV more readable than the NASB. I like NASB and don't find it awkward at all, but it's been my primary version since I was a teenager and my memory verses are all NASB, so that's probably why I am so comfortable with it :). But I also like ESV a lot (going through the study bible right now), and I often check KJV/NKJV for comparison.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/esv-48165/

http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/NASB-vs-KJV-48546/

http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/about-NASB-vs-esv-31134/
 

wturri78

Puritan Board Freshman
The NASB is often advertised as the "most literal," but I don't know that it's necessarily more "literal" than the others. I think it used to be, but the "Updated NASB" you're likely to find usually has the awkward, woodenly literal translations off in the margin notes with more readable word choices in the text. I do use it as my primay Bible and I've marked it up pretty badly :) I also use NKJV and ESB regularly. I will say though, there are some odd wording choices in the NASB that don't seem to flow naturally like other translations, even when they've updated the language. Also, there are so many footnotes that it's nearly impossible to read without your eye constantly being drawn to the margins.

I say go for it. The Zondervan NASB Study Bible is what I have. The notes are about the same as for their NIV Study Bible, so it's a pretty useful tool.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
I find both the ESV and NASB to be very readable and accurate.

The NASB has an advantage with accuracy regarding verb tenses.
The NASB has weaknesses in translating "brothers" as "countrymen" in the OT...and "sexual immorality" as simply "immorality" in the NT.

The only thing i really don't like about the esv is its treatment of 1 Sam 13:1...

[bible]1 Sam 13:1[/bible]
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Brother, I appreciate your struggle with translations. I would recommend that you read the book by Leland Ryken called "The Word of God in English". If we understand the responsibility that translators bear to those of us who can read little or none of the original language, then we will look for a translation that is faithful to its task. I recently suggested to someone in a post regarding their question about the ESV. They were encouraged by a lesson that I taught which included principles of translation. In that lesson I highly recommended Ryken's book. If you would like to listen to the lesson you can do so at SermonAudio.com - A Critique of the ESV & Leland Ryken's Book.

My own conslusion based upon my study is that the highly touted ESV does not deliver on its claim of being a superior translation. It fails badly and is overhyped.

The older editions of the New American Standard are more faithful to the original language while providing a smoother English reading than, for example the KJV or the ASV, each of which attempted to be faithful to the original.

The NIV, which uses dynamic translation philosophy, has beautifully flowing English but is unfaithful to the original language.
 

Craig

Puritan Board Senior
I have KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, and the ESV.

My preferred versions in order:
NASB
NKJV
KJV
ESV
NIV
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
I have used the NASB for 30 years and it is still my primary English version. I started using it to check my Greek translations in seminary and found it very reliable. I have looked at the ESV from time to time and find really no quarrels with it.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Given the Bibles that you already have, an NASB would be a good addition to your collection for comparison purposes.
 

A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
Brother, I appreciate your struggle with translations. I would recommend that you read the book by Leland Ryken called "The Word of God in English". If we understand the responsibility that translators bear to those of us who can read little or none of the original language, then we will look for a translation that is faithful to its task. I recently suggested to someone in a post regarding their question about the ESV. They were encouraged by a lesson that I taught which included principles of translation. In that lesson I highly recommended Ryken's book. If you would like to listen to the lesson you can do so at SermonAudio.com - A Critique of the ESV & Leland Ryken's Book.

My own conslusion based upon my study is that the highly touted ESV does not deliver on its claim of being a superior translation. It fails badly and is overhyped.

The older editions of the New American Standard are more faithful to the original language while providing a smoother English reading than, for example the KJV or the ASV, each of which attempted to be faithful to the original.

The NIV, which uses dynamic translation philosophy, has beautifully flowing English but is unfaithful to the original language.

Thanks, I def have to check that lesson out. And as far as the NIV, I was never big on it, I have one, but I'm just not big on the DT; Even though I heard The spirit of the reformation study Bible was good, as far as a study bible is concerned.

-----Added 5/23/2009 at 12:38:41 EST-----

I find both the ESV and NASB to be very readable and accurate.

The NASB has an advantage with accuracy regarding verb tenses.
The NASB has weaknesses in translating "brothers" as "countrymen" in the OT...and "sexual immorality" as simply "immorality" in the NT.

The only thing i really don't like about the esv is its treatment of 1 Sam 13:1...

[bible]1 Sam 13:1[/bible]

Very True brother, I just read the (1 sam) passage earlier this morning and read it again and was like whaa??? But the NASB translating sexual Immorality simply as just Immorality was kind of a big nuh uh for me, I don't know why they just didn't translate it as sexual immorality. I saw that in the passage..
1 cor 7:1-2
1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2 But because of "immoralities", each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

But a downside to the ESV for me, is the fact that they don't italicize the added words...I was so used to that with the KVJ and NKJV..
 
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larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
I also highly recommend - "The Word of God in English"
It takes the English quality into consideration, which is important. You can read a preview of it on google books here...
The Word of God in English: Criteria ... - Google Book Search

And for the 1 Sam 13 passage in the ESV...i would just start with verse 2 to get around the "..." problem.

I agree that the ESV should italicize in the same way that the other translations do...but that's not a big disadvantage in my opinion.
 

Berean

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have used the NASB for 30 years and it is still my primary English version. I started using it to check my Greek translations in seminary and found it very reliable. I have looked at the ESV from time to time and find really no quarrels with it.

:agree: I've used it since it first came out as a Ryrie Study Bible (yes, I know...). It's still my favorite and I don't find it wooden or awkward at all. I primarily use it as the JohnnyMac SB. I find the ESV to be more awkward and wooden, but we're all different. :2cents:
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
My top favs . . .

* Reformation Study Bible (NKJV)
* ESV Study Bible
* HCSB
* NAS

Best literal translations (alphabetically arranged) . . .

* ESV - best example of critical text translation

* HCSB - most readable "literal" translation (uses contractions in direct discourse just like regular speekers do).

* NAS Update - VERY good critical text translation and arguably the best of the literal translations on the market, available in a number of editions and study Bible editions.

* NKJV - currently best example of majority text translation with footnotes for the variants in simple to understand format.

Solid study Bibles for Reformed Christians:

* Reformation Study Bible (most consistent since it uses a literal translation and uniformly Reformed notes).
* Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (less consistent since it uses the NIV but has great notes AND the confessions).
* ESV Study Bible - some non Reformed contributors, but overwhelmingly massive evangelical scholarship behind it to match its massive size.
* MacArthur Study Bible - a masterpiece of conservative scholarship from a 5pt Calvinist but marred by dispensational bias in eschatology and handling of prophecy generally.
 

A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the response guys, hope we can keep it comming if The Lord wills. I have another quick question, is there a thread on here that really breaks down the meanings and roles when getting into translations and the study...For Example: Dynamic equivalence, Functional equivalence, LXX, Critical text, TR, Textus Receptus, Alexandrian Text, the Western Text, the Cesarean Text, and the Byzantine, or Majority Text, Westcott & Hort, Literal text (<<Well that's self explanatory)Things like that..I mean I have a similitude of understanding on some of these, but always would like to have more of a firm grasp.
 
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Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
You'd probably hate my solution to the problem you have. I have an electronic Bible with 14 different versions (one the Greek NT). Instead of 2 side-by-side, I have at least 2 side by side, and often go the 3 or 4 when I really want to study in-depth.

I actually use the NASB as a start for literal, but I would not turn away from a dynamic so quickly. I use both. If you went to a word-by-word literal translation, it would never make sense in English, so all of the translations are at least somewhat dynamic. For instance Matthew 1:1 is in Greek:

βιβλοϚ γενεσεωϚ ιησου χριστου υιου δαβιδ υιου αβρααμ
Book generation Jesus Christ son (of) David son (of) Abraham

Which no Bible I have translates literally. The NASB does a slight departure from literal in saying "The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:" which is clearly what is meant. None of the translations I have don't add articles ("the" son of David) which makes the English read better, but is somewhat different from the original (even the KJV does this). If you want something more literal, Young Literal Translation comes closer. But there have to be some dynamic equivalences (idioms that just don't translate directly are an example).
 

A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
You'd probably hate my solution to the problem you have. I have an electronic Bible with 14 different versions (one the Greek NT). Instead of 2 side-by-side, I have at least 2 side by side, and often go the 3 or 4 when I really want to study in-depth.

I actually use the NASB as a start for literal, but I would not turn away from a dynamic so quickly. I use both. If you went to a word-by-word literal translation, it would never make sense in English, so all of the translations are at least somewhat dynamic. For instance Matthew 1:1 is in Greek:

βιβλοϚ γενεσεωϚ ιησου χριστου υιου δαβιδ υιου αβρααμ
Book generation Jesus Christ son (of) David son (of) Abraham

Which no Bible I have translates literally. The NASB does a slight departure from literal in saying "The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:" which is clearly what is meant. None of the translations I have don't add articles ("the" son of David) which makes the English read better, but is somewhat different from the original (even the KJV does this). If you want something more literal, Young Literal Translation comes closer. But there have to be some dynamic equivalences (idioms that just don't translate directly are an example).

Thanks for the response brother, I def understand that, (reading a some things in the Greek NT before with English parallel) (A friend of mine) that there is always some form of Dynamic Equivalences in the English translation. I guess to put it better I just wouldn't want a translation that's very very heavy in the dynamic/paraphrase aspect..and stays faithful to the original, while still being readable. Maybe what I'm asking is not possible, so I'm just looking for the best translation for me to roll with, in striving to become a student of the Word of GOD. Maybe I'll be paralleling diff translations till I give up the ghost, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I just feel now, I can't find a translation that I'm comfortable with. I like the ESV, but there's always something I see translated in another version that I like better than others (or the one I'm studying out of) which draws me to check the other translation and then the same thing happens all over again, and I'm going back and forth, and it goes on and on and on lol. Frustrating??? I think so. lol Pray for me.. :)

I used to go hard with the KJV, don't get me wrong I like the translation, but when I would be at Bible study or at church, or someone asks a question about a scripture or were chopping it up about something in God's Word..and I would read a passage, I would feel like I was in the 1600's lol, and no one understood what I just read, at least clearly ..
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Ameen,
Like Brian I too use bible software when studying. The one that I use is BIBLEWORKS and it has been of tremendous help to me.
Bob
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
Personally, I love the NASB....I'm still amazed when people refer to it as the "wooden" translation or find it awkward....I don't have any problems with it at all! I find it incredibly readable, and a reliable translation!
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Probably belongs on another thread, but one of the things I have noticed when discussions like this arise is how passionate some can get about "literal" translations (variously defined).

Given that mindset, I think it is very interesting to see how Paul uses the LXX, which as at times a very "literal" translation of the MT. Other times it is highly paraphrastic. Paul uses it both ways, calling it Scripture. I think that is instructive.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Probably belongs on another thread, but one of the things I have noticed when discussions like this arise is how passionate some can get about "literal" translations (variously defined).

Given that mindset, I think it is very interesting to see how Paul uses the LXX, which as at times a very "literal" translation of the MT. Other times it is highly paraphrastic. Paul uses it both ways, calling it Scripture. I think that is instructive.

Maybe it does belong in a different thread, but your point is not only instructive, but it shows that while we receive the original text as being immediately inspired, the translations that are faithful to the original are to be received as the Word of God.

A lot of arguments around individual words and phrases in translations seem to be saying that the translation is somehow so far removed from the original that they are not the word of God. While I don't say the translation is inspired (God breathed) I would defend nearly any translation as being God's word. It may be that the KJV erred in a couple of places, and it certainly isn't the vulgar tongue that I speak, but I would clearly understand it to be God's word and while not the final authority for the church, it is sufficient for nearly any study we could want. I would also say the same about the NIV, TEB, ESB, NASB (in either edition), and while I would hesitate at the PC version of the NIV (gender neutral ... ick!) I'd rather have that then no Bible at all.

If I had to choose a single Bible resource to use for all of my study, I'd choose the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, which I believe is NIV as the text, but contains notes that are rather insightful, a plurality of reformed standards: Belgic confession, Heidelburg cat., the Canons of Dort, the three Westminster Standards, and a host of articles. It is complete enough that I would take it to church with me when I don't take the laptop (when I teach, I take the laptop).

One of the things that I think a lot of purists miss is that while one version might be different than another, none of the translations I've seen (apart from those done by groups that are heresies) are so different from each other in content that a person eagerly seeking to understand the word, who checks themselves at regular intervals against the standards of the church (WCF or otherwise) would not benefit from any of the translations. It might be good if we all knew Hebrew and Greek well enough that we did not need a translation, but I fear I lack the capacity for such an endeavor. (I stink at learning languages, and I know that even good pastors sometimes struggle with Hebrew!)

That said, what I would recommend is at least two different versions. One, for in-depth study that is more of a formal equivalence (closer to literal translation). And another version that is dynamic equivalence that is easy to read and understand, yet as close to the original as practical. If you can sit and read a formal equivalence for hours on end without having to think about the meaning, more power to you. But it would be good to have some version for just reading (not studying) so you can pour large quantities of the word into your heart. It is also good to be able to get as close to the original as you can (study Greek and Hebrew if possible) so your study can be as detailed as possible.
 

PresbyDane

Puritanboard Doctor
I find both the ESV and NASB to be very readable and accurate.

The NASB has an advantage with accuracy regarding verb tenses.
The NASB has weaknesses in translating "brothers" as "countrymen" in the OT...and "sexual immorality" as simply "immorality" in the NT.

The only thing i really don't like about the esv is its treatment of 1 Sam 13:1...

[bible]1 Sam 13:1[/bible]

:agree:
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
You can cherry-pick renderings with which you disagree in ANY Bible translation. For those of us who prefer a more literal Bible for study purposes, there are a number of good options (NAS, ESV, HCSB, NKJV, or KJV), ANY of which are doctrinally sound, personally edifying, and spiritually beneficial. They are ALL the Word of God in English.

And, as much as my elitist gnat-straining tendencies lead me to turn up my nose at the NIV and NLT, they are also competent translations and will lead you into reliable doctrine.

If you want a real world test of the doctrinal implications of translations upon your theology, consider this . . .

KJV - snake handling hyper-Pentecostals, mainline PCUSA Grymir, and confessionally Reformed denominations.
NIV - emergent mega churches, Arminian Free Methodists, LCMS Lutherans, AND conservative Calvinist Presbyterians
NAS - angry separatist dispensationalists AND some of our finest gnat strainers on the PB
ESV - Scruffy Mark Driscoll AND sophisticated R.C. Sproul Sr.

Asking what is the best Bible translation is like asking what is the best food.

We are SOOOOO spoiled in the U.S. Most Bible translations done on the mission field are completed by unknown ordinary people trained in a bit of linguistics. Most of our English translations are the product of armies of scholars checking the work of scholars, stylists, etc. who are pressed into service to doublecheck the work of scholar translators.

What is the best translation? Pretty much any of them.

[remember: I'm a gnat straining fuddy duddy who likes a literal translation. That does not mean that I should look down my scholarly nose at those using a NIV or NLT. My problems with the TNIV, however, touch upon doctrinal matters, not mere questions of translational philosophy.]
 

A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
You can cherry-pick renderings with which you disagree in ANY Bible translation. For those of us who prefer a more literal Bible for study purposes, there are a number of good options (NAS, ESV, HCSB, NKJV, or KJV), ANY of which are doctrinally sound, personally edifying, and spiritually beneficial. They are ALL the Word of God in English.

And, as much as my elitist gnat-straining tendencies lead me to turn up my nose at the NIV and NLT, they are also competent translations and will lead you into reliable doctrine.

If you want a real world test of the doctrinal implications of translations upon your theology, consider this . . .

KJV - snake handling hyper-Pentecostals, mainline PCUSA Grymir, and confessionally Reformed denominations.
NIV - emergent mega churches, Arminian Free Methodists, LCMS Lutherans, AND conservative Calvinist Presbyterians
NAS - angry separatist dispensationalists AND some of our finest gnat strainers on the PB
ESV - Scruffy Mark Driscoll AND sophisticated R.C. Sproul Sr.

Asking what is the best Bible translation is like asking what is the best food.

We are SOOOOO spoiled in the U.S. Most Bible translations done on the mission field are completed by unknown ordinary people trained in a bit of linguistics. Most of our English translations are the product of armies of scholars checking the work of scholars, stylists, etc. who are pressed into service to doublecheck the work of scholar translators.

What is the best translation? Pretty much any of them.

[remember: I'm a gnat straining fuddy duddy who likes a literal translation. That does not mean that I should look down my scholarly nose at those using a NIV or NLT. My problems with the TNIV, however, touch upon doctrinal matters, not mere questions of translational philosophy.]

Thank's :agree: With the "What's the best Bible translation" comment as well, I think I'm gonna stick to using my ESV SB with the NKJ on the side, I've been thinking about getting the Reformation Study Bible (ESV)...and getting the Johnny Mac (NASB) later on..
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
As for the two instances of ellipsis in 1 Samuel 13:1, the ESV has the following notes: (1) for "Saul was...years old", the marginal note reads: "The number is lacking in Hebrew and Septuagint"; and (2) for "and he reigned...and two years over Israel," the note reads: "Two may not be the entire number; something may have dropped out."

In other words, the ESV is just being upfront about the textual problem in this verse. Since the precise numbers for each place are uncertain, the translators err on the side of caution and leave them out.

The edition of the KJV I have (from Nelson) has "one year" and "two years" respectively, with the following marginal note: "The Hebrews is difficult (compare 2 Samuel 5:4; 2 Kings 14:2; see also 2 Samuel 2:10; Acts 13:21).

I'm sure other translations have similar notations.

So, the ESV, like other translations, is just acknowledging that there is a problem with the text at 1 Samuel 13:1, where numbers have dropped out. And, I would add that the ESV is more cautious than other translations by not supplying numbers, and leaving the appropriate spaces blank.

So, good for the ESV!
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
As for the two instances of ellipsis in 1 Samuel 13:1, the ESV has the following notes: (1) for "Saul was...years old", the marginal note reads: "The number is lacking in Hebrew and Septuagint"; and (2) for "and he reigned...and two years over Israel," the note reads: "Two may not be the entire number; something may have dropped out."

In other words, the ESV is just being upfront about the textual problem in this verse. Since the precise numbers for each place are uncertain, the translators err on the side of caution and leave them out.
What does this say about how the ESV translators believe in the doctrine of preservation?

The edition of the KJV I have (from Nelson) has "one year" and "two years" respectively, with the following marginal note: "The Hebrews is difficult (compare 2 Samuel 5:4; 2 Kings 14:2; see also 2 Samuel 2:10; Acts 13:21).
The KJV then does translate the verse as it is in the Hebrew. It may not be readily understandable, but translating it thusly shows something quite different regarding what the KJV translators believed about preservation.
[/QUOTE]

Consider these passages in regards to the ESV belief on preservation in the original languages (OT Hebrew and NT Greek)...

Gen 47:21 - As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other

Hebrew is: "he removed them to the cities" but the ESV uses the Septuagint to translate here.

This happens in other passages as well, where the ESV favors the Greek Septuagint rather than the preserved Hebrew of the Confession...

Ex 1:22; Ex 3:19; Ex 8:23; Ex 13:19; Ex 14:25; Ex 20:18.

And that's just from the book of Exodus.
 

Turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
Personally, I love the NASB....I'm still amazed when people refer to it as the "wooden" translation or find it awkward....I don't have any problems with it at all! I find it incredibly readable, and a reliable translation!

I agree that NASB is good. Perhaps "wooden" was introduced regarding the NASB as part of a marketing strategy to pave the way for new version sales. :think:

I was saved reading the NASB so I like it, but I prefer the KJV now. My preference to the KJV is primarily based on the fact that my most trusted preachers and teachers abundantly quote/cite the KJV. Using the same version makes it much easier to learn and to "search the scriptures daily" to check up on what they claim the scripture says.

bryan
tampa, fl
.
.
.

-----Added 5/24/2009 at 03:53:02 EST-----

I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.

Good tag-line.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Here is a proponent of the NAS explaining how critics come to their conclusions about it being a "wooden" translation. Thomas is a NT prof from MacArthur's Master's Seminary. Incidentally, do a Google search on NAS and "wooden" is one of the most prevalent terms used by reviewers!

New American Standard Bible
Historically, the NASB gets favorable marks because it falls in the Tyndale tradition. It also ranks well for following a textual basis that is rated highest by most authorities. The NASB also adopted a traditional or classical philosophy of literal translation. It is a formal-equivalence or, as some call it, a verbal translation. The doctrinal environment under which it was produced is conservative, another strong point for evangelicals. Yet the NASB rates low in the eyes of many because of its English style. It has often been termed a ‘wooden’ translation because of this. That ‘woodenness’ results from two of its unique characteristics: the literality of its translation philosophy and its policy of translating the same Greek word by the same English word in a given context whenever possible. Those two features, though detracting from its English style, are the very things that make the NASB one of the best study tools among modern translations.

Robert L. Thomas, How to Choose a Bible Version : An Introductory Guide to English Translations (Fearn, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2000), 148.
 

Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm a KJV junkie...Don't change!! :lol:

I've been using the ESV as another version lately. It's better than most other translations I've read. I like the sentence structure and the level of vocabulary. And it doesn't read like a Dick and Jane book like the NIV does for me.

And like a wise person said above, it's easy to cherry pick verses to show your favorite translation is best. I've found that sticking with one of them is better than jumping from translation to translation.
 
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