I do think there are probably too many Bible translations. In some respects, making money has become much more important to some publishers than the noble goal of getting the Word to as many people as possible. But that does not mean there are not good reasons for having several different Bible translations. As you shop for a Bible to give as a gift or even to use in your own study, you should understand that different translations have different goals. Each Bible translation has been translated by a team of individuals according to a particular “translation philosophy.” There are basically three of these philosophies you should be aware of as you shop for a Bible. First, there is “Formal Equivalence.” A Bible that has been translated according to formal equivalence is trying to give a word for word translation of the Greek and Hebrew. Now that may sound very attractive to you because it sounds faithful to the original language. That is true, but the tradeoff is that the Bible might be a little “wooden.” In other words, it may be a little more difficult to read. That is because the English words that most closely fit the Greek and Hebrew words might not flow together so smoothly in English. For Bibles that are translated according to this “word for word” method, ease of reading is not what is most important. The best example of this kind of Bible is the New American Standard Bible (NASB). The NASB is the best at saying exactly what the Greek and Hebrew says, of course that means it reads at an 11th grade reading level as opposed to the NIV which reads at a 7th grade level. Next week I will address the second translation philosophy “dynamic equivalence.” This is the method by which the NIV is translated allowing it to be so easy to read.