There have been well over 400 different translations of the English Bible.
So many translations provide a variety of benefits for those who study the Word of Life. Comparing translations help wring every nuance from the text and give a wide understanding of the original intent of the writers.
There is one drawback, however, to so much variety. When it comes to scripture memorization, less is more. And one is best.
For most of us, the fewer words we have to memorize the better. John 3:16 is the verse most of us can quote from memory (interestingly it’s usually the King James Version we remember).
Let’s look a little more closely at this most famous of Bible verses. John 3:16 has 26 words in the New International Version (NIV). It has 37 words in the Amplified Version, 29 in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) and 25 in the King James Version (KJV).
The mechanics of scripture memorization go beyond mere word count. There’s also the challenge of trying to remember a verse in more than one translation.
Have you ever memorized a verse in one translation and then memorized the same verse in another translation? Trying to recall that verse is mission impossible. Most of us have enough difficulty remembering a verse in just one translation. Adding another only serves to create a mental tongue twister.
Here’s a quick and easy process to help hide the Word in your heart. First, spend some time looking at different translations with an eye toward memorization. Pick your favorite version and make it your “memorization translation”.
Every time you commit a verse or passage to memory use your chosen translation. Then begin filing away as many passages as you can into your memory banks (try a verse a day)
Committing the Word to memory has innumerable benefits. The Psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:31, NKJV). Keep at it. Dedicate some spiritual “elbow grease” to it. It’s well worth the effort. Your spiritual vitality is too important to be “lost in translation(s)!