Which Bible for Youth Ministry?

Image (8).jpg I’m teaching an overview of the Bible tomorrow to a bunch of gap year volunteers which’ll be fun. I have a whole crate of different Bibles to take with me to provoke some discussion on translation, dynamic equivelent, paraphrase etc. From a Youth Ministry point of view though, “What Bible is the best(ish) one to use?”
I’ve just had my Bible re-bound as it was falling apart, its an NIV that I deliberately bought ‘cos it didn’t have loads of commentry, life-application stuff and the like. It has 11 years worth of my notes, links and coloured shading for various studies in. The Coolest thing about getting it re-bound though was I got to choose what was printed on the cover. I opted for “The Bible!” I really get wound up by Bibles covers that lose sight of the fact it’s THE Bible! You know the sort of thing that I mean:
“NIV Study Bible
Hardback red letter edition
Spirit Filled with Life Application
notes and Mens Study Guide
Executive edition”

Copyright Fodder and Stouten
revolve.jpg Maybe thats just me? I still think the Good News Rocks (It has pictures) I love the New Living Translation and quite often use this with youth sessions! What do you make of Bibles like Revolve? (I found a web site that didn’t like it, but then anything other than the King James is Heretical as far as they are concerned, Scary site). The Message strikes me as brilliant as it captures the fact that The NT was written in a dynamic, idiomatic Style! CEV, NCV, Graphic Bible, Street Bible ……..
So which version do you reckon is best for Youth Ministry?

6 Replies to “Which Bible for Youth Ministry?”

  1. I’m a big fan of the NCV youth bible – even when I was doing 7-8s sunday school i used the youth bible. the childrens bible is just an NIV with pictures, but the youth bible is more simplified, has bits of history and a little explaination of context, and the life files mean you can look up a subject without having to know the bible inside out. On the other hand, the psalms lose their poetry. I don’t know if the ‘adult’ NCV is the same.
    But i also have two NIVs (a normal one and a life application study bible), the message remix and the street bible…
    I like the poetry of the King James, the simplicity of the NCV and the reality of the message. If i have to lead a session on a passage i’ll read all my translations to get the meaning, rather than focusing on the words of one.
    anyway, have a lecture to go to 😀
    best bible? for youthwork the NCV youth bible, but otherwise it’s up to you!

  2. Of course surely in some ways the BEST translatio to use is the BEST translation – the most accurate that is! This would therefore be the NRSV.
    However I also like the New Living Translation at times and sometimes the NIV – though it isn’t really the most accurate at times!
    I am rather drawn to the Revolve and indeed the Refuel translations of the New Testament. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can manage the same thing with the whole Old Testament though!
    How many Begats can you make look funky?
    I also find the Message is good for young people. The Street bible, I find problematic because it has a particular style, which just isn’t me. I end up sounding like Richard Madely doing ALi G when I read from it. Its selectivity of content also makes life difficult at times.
    So as ever I am traditional with a hint of the funky!

  3. “How many begats can you make look funky?” is a profound question, I wish I’d entitled the post that. I respect the KJV for having the word “dung” in it, the NIV mis-translates it “rubbish”

  4. I’ve heard that the ESV (English Standard Version, often ‘Extremely Sound Version’) is apparently the most accurate around at the mo, though don’t quote me. The FAQs on http://www.gnpcb.org/page/esv.faq say that the reading level for it is “8th grade”, which is 13 or 14 years old, I think.
    However, I wouldn’t always agree, cos it has a tendency to tie itself up in knots in trying to keep as close to the original as possible (the letter to the Romans can be a nightmare with all that righteousness and justification business). Having said that, many parts remain beautiful, and it is always fascinating to read bits which you know so well from a different version (usually NIV) slightly reworded. Plus, it’s certainly a good exercise to have to really think about and decipher the text in order to properly understand it – although maybe that’s only true for English geeks like me. I would certainly echo KT’s point that the more translations you have in front of you, the bigger the picture of the meaning you get.
    At Royal Holloway at the mo, Tim, our new Anglican chaplain, is trying to introduce a more modern version and more user-friendly liturgy to chapel, but the choir master considers it “Mickey Mouse liturgy”, believing that students’ intelligence will be insulted if they’re expected to listen to anything but the most complex and archaic of syntax. Grr – don’t get me started. Regardless of my opinions, though, it does raise the issue that contemporariness (I promise that’s a word) is important: student attendance in chapel has increased (however slightly) since Rev Tim introduced the CEV translation.
    In this kind of culture, I think people often only let themselves respond to media which grabs them by their throats and makes them engage with it – they’re not very keen to do their own legwork. So, I reckon the vernacular immediacy of The Message is fantastic for the ‘throat-grabbing’ factor. And it’s not just about the written word either – how often are CD ROM and audio versions used? Of course, then we have to decide what it is that gives something throat-grabbability…
    P.S. Apologies for the lack of paragraphs – no idea why this doesn’t let me do them!

  5. Tessa, I always thought it was contemporaity not contemporariness.
    Certainly several translations is a good plan.
    As to your rebellious chori master. You might remind him that the Book of Common Prayer was translated into ENGLISH so that it might be “in a language understandable to the people”. That usually stumps them! It basically argues that anyone planning liturgy TRUE to the BCP would NOT be using the BCP nowadays. Mess with his mind!
    Oh Ian, sorry to be using your blog for our discussion!!!

  6. I’d always thought it was ‘contemporaneity’, but, upon checking with Oxford Reference Online, I was proved wrong – there’s apparently no such word! There exists however, ‘contemporaneous’, which I think is rather an amusing word…
    Sadly, as much as I would love to remind the professor about a LOT of things, diplomacy must prevail over theology on occasions such as this, his retirement year at the college, after 40 years in service. He wishes to go out in a blaze of glory, with all his best professory mates as witnesses, and therefore must have everything ‘just so’, and as it was when he first started the job. The problem stems from the fact that 1964 is a looong time ago in terms of the common reception of religion.
    Who wants archaic? It’s tough enough encouraging people to enjoy Shakespeare, which is in turns hilarious, thought-provoking, outrageous, and controversial, if only they’d work hard at understanding it. But if the text is preaching at you as well… well, you might as well get off your soapbox, pack up your megaphone and industrial-size KJV and go home now, before someone makes you.
    At our local student Apha course last night, we were talking about how we tell others about our faith. The general consensus involved that well-worn term “friendship evangelism”, and the basis of its success is relevant to this discussion too, I reckon. People want to be able to sort themselves out in their own time. If that’s true, however, can it also be true that people need throat-grabbability? Preaching certainly aims at something like that, but if being pushy, or even slightly persuasive, makes them run away screaming, how can they be grabbed by the throat? And am I making any sense now whatsoever? I doubt it.
    I think the point I’m trying to make here may be that it’s about how you present the Bible, rather than specifically what translation you use. But maybe I’ve just contradicted myself again.

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