This very much depends on things like the purpose for which I’m choosing a translation and its relation to the Earth’s axial tilt and the tidal evolution of the lunar orbit. Another key consideration would be on which side of the bed I got up that morning. Once these variables have been carefully weighed, I am likely to pick up the King James Version, the Revised English Bible, or the New Revised Standard Version. I simply love the KJV; it is a thing of beauty. As I’ve noted elsewhere, however, I’d be likely to take the REB Oxford Study Bible with me to a deserted island. The NRSV is simply my standard scholarly Bible, and I’ve been using it so long for academic purposes that it’s almost second nature to reach for it. Sometimes, however, I will use the New King James Version as an alternative to the KJV, and the New American Standard Bible instead of the REB, often for long stretches.
As an aside, I once led a detailed Bible study of the Book of Acts using the New Living Translation, which was then (1996) just hot off the press. I found it to be remarkably good as a translation. Also, while I’ve often recommended to others (especially other Orthodox) the second edition of the Ignatius Bible (Revised Standard Version—Catholic Edition) as a basically reliable Bible, I make very little use of it myself.
Now, things are radically different when it comes to Spanish Bibles. I use the 1960 Revision of the Reina-Valera Version exclusively. For some reason, and much to my chagrin, I suffer a dramatic attack of the “They’re Changing My Bible” Syndrome whenever I try to read anything else.
2. Old or New Testament?
I’ve always been a New Testament person, academically speaking; however, knowing that many New Testament scholars have a rather myopic approach to their work, I’ve always consciously tried to be an attentive student of the whole canon.
3. Favorite Book of the Bible?
Well, I have a lively interest in the interpretation of Luke-Acts, Galatians, Hebrews and Revelation. Other than that, the Psalms, which are used constantly in the worship of the Orthodox Church, are by now part of my life’s blood, as is Isaiah.
4. Favorite Chapter?
5. Favorite Verse? (Feel free to explain yourself if you must.)
“At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.” (I Chronicles 26:18, KJV) This is my “life verse,” which I hope will bring all kinds of light and spiritual nourishment to those who think that “verses” are the ultimate units of meaning in biblical discourse. For something close to a real answer to this question, you’ll have to wait for my response to John Hobbins’ “Top 10 Verses of the Bible” meme, which I’ve been kicking around in my head for quite some time.
6. Bible character you think you’re most like?
Samson (cf. Judges 13-16).
7. One thing from the Bible that confuses you?
The question of literary dependence in the Synoptics, and especially in Kings-Chronicles.
8. Moses or Paul?
Paul’s Moses. (Long live Apostolic exegesis!)
9. A teaching from the Bible that you struggle with or don’t get?
I’ve always had a very hard time wrapping my head around God commanding Israel to exterminate the peoples of Canaan.
10. Coolest name in the Bible?
Mahershalalhashbaz (cf. Isaiah 8:1-4).
Now tag five people.