I collect Bible translations and versions. There are more of them than you can imagine.
Everybody has heard of the King James Version. But did you know there is a New King James Version? You may think that the King James is considered the standard, and for many people it is, but there's also the American Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Kind of confusing as to which is the standard, isn't it? There are Bibles from cities, like The Geneva Bible, and The Jerusalem Bible. There are Bibles that tell you their state of being, like The Living Bible. Apparently that last one died and was reborn, because we now have the New Living Translation. There is even a translation of the Gospel of Luke written in Gullah, Sea Island Creole.
I'm not making this up.
Some of these Bibles are paraphrases, not translations. The paraphrases can get quite creative. For example, The Message uses such contemporary expresssions that the psalmist in Psalm 73 asks "Is God out to lunch?" and in the gospels Jesus calls the Pharisees "blockheads."
One of the most unusual paraphrases is the Cotton Patch Version. Clarence Jordan, a Greek scholar who lived on a farm in Americus, Georgia, wondered what the Bible would sound like if it were written in the South. He has Jesus born in Gainesville and crucified in Atlanta. In the Cotton Patch Version, Annas and Caiaphas are co-presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Good Samaritan is a black man.
This plethora of Bible translations and paraphrases reflect a hunger that people have to get a message from God in a form they can understand. While some Bible versions go to strange extremes, they are all trying to tell the "De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ," as the Bible in Gullah calls it. So check with your pastor or a knowledgeable Bible student to find a Bible that is dependable and readable, and dig in. There are great treasures to be unearthed.