Sunday, October 10, 2021

Mark 10.35-45 Translations and Notes (RCL21st Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

Mark 10.35-45 is the appointed text for the RCL 21st Sunday after Pentecost Year B and occurs on October 17, 2021.

The disciples continue to display their lack of comprehension. Following Jesus is not a matter of glory and sitting in honor but of following Jesus and enduring in some way what he also was going to endure. Once again, pointing back to Mark 9.35, we hear that true greatness is about service, even being a slave to all. Mark 10.45 gives the most explicit explanation of an atonement theory in Mark. 

For even the Child of Humanity didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Here is a collection of translations of Mark 10.35-45 along with my notes on translating this passage. My own translation tries to capture the oral character of how this story might have been 'heard' when originally performed.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Mark 10.17-31 Translations and Notes (RCL20th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

"As Jesus was setting out on the way..."(Mark 10.17) - Wadi Hamman path with Arbel in distance

Mark 10.17-31 is the account of Jesus meeting the person who wants to know what he should he do to inherit eternal life. It the appointed RCL text for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, which occurs on 10 October 2021. The account ends up centering around wealth and following Jesus. 

There are a number of notable narrative details.

  • Note that the effect of the account is ruined if it is billed as the story of the "rich young man." Only Matthew describes him as young. (Luke introduces him as a "ruler" which also changes the dynamic of the story.) In Mark, we only learn that he is rich at the very end, a detail that heightens the suspense of the story.
  • The hearer / reader struggles to know how to respond to the man. It seems he is sincere and not testing Jesus because he kneels before him. But then Jesus chides him for calling him "good." I think the reader is supposed to admire the man for his faithfulness in observing all the commands Jesus mentions, but the astute reader is also mindful of what is not mentioned. (And when Jesus tells him to sell all and follow him, is that what the first part of the commandments dealing with humans' relationship to God is about?) It is not clear whether the man responds simply with dismay and sorrow or shock and anger. Importantly and surprisingly, however, we are told that Jesus "loved him." This is the only person in the whole gospel of Mark whom Jesus explicitly "loves."
  • Do not forget the man's original question: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" What must anyone do to inherit anything? Usually nothing... but someone has to die.

Here is my collection of translations and notes.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Mark 10.1-16 Translations and Notes (RCL19th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

View of Bethany beyond the Jordan looking east from Jordan. Jordan river and traditional site of Jesus' baptism in green area in center of picture. Judea in the distance beyond it. This is setting of as described in Mark 10.1.

The designated text in the RCL for 19th Sunday after Pentecost (3 October in 2021) is 10.2-16, but verse 1 includes meaningful context that should be included. The passage includes two events: the issue of divorce and the welcoming of children. The divorce matter appears to me to relate to Herod Antipas' divorcing Phasaelis in order to marry Herodias. Remember that John the Baptizer had been arrested and ultimately killed for criticizing what Herod did. (Mark 6.17-19) But if Jesus figuratively took up the mantle of John, why doesn't Jesus also criticize Herod? It appears to me that Mark 10.l-12 actually does address it, and Jesus basically affirms John's criticism of Herod, but Jesus is more discrete about. (Jesus is only explicit when he is "in the house.")

As for the matter of children, Mark is counting on people remembering the incident in 9.33-37 where Jesus welcomed children. Here in 10.13-16, the disciples once again demonstrate their failure to comprehend. In terms of translation and performance, how can one remind hearers of that earlier incident?

Also in terms of performance, in 10.6-8, how does one convey to the modern listener that Jesus is actually quoting from Jesus and distinguish the quotations from Jesus' own conclusions? I have suggested that holding up a Bible when quoting the OT is one possible way to do so.

See what you think... Here is a collection of translations including my own along with my notes on the translation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Mark 9.38-50 Translations and Notes (RCL18th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

Salt crystals on the shore of the Dead Sea
Mark 9.38-50 is the appointed RCL text for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost in Year B. If the goal is simply to translate words, there is no problem. But translating for good sense and making evident the intricate weaving of repeated words turns out to be complicated. And even if one can produce a satisfactory translation, there still remains the problem of figuring out what it actually means!

The brief anecdote culminating with the memorable saying of Jesus serves as the starting point for a string of loosely connected sayings linked by catchwords. There is plenty of repetition, but there is also slight variations. The textual tradition reflects both the desire to make the wording more consistent and also to clarify.

Close attention to the Greek shows evidence of how the text was pieced together, but also that the pieces do indeed come from different settings. There are changes in the word order, pronouns, perspectives, and descriptions. My color-coded translation at the end of the linked document shows both the repetitions and where the repetitions are broken.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Mark 9.30-37 Translations and Notes (RCL17th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

"Peter's House" in Capernaum where the action of Mark 9.35-37 is located
Linked below are my notes to Mark 9.30-37 which happens to be the appointed RCL text for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost Year B. Last week (Mark 8.27-9.1) recorded Jesus' first passion pronouncement and Peter's negative response. 9.30-37 is the second pronouncement, but this time the disciples "weren't understanding what he was talking about, and they were afraid to ask him about it." It is followed by a dispute among themselves about who was the greatest which leads to Jesus speaking and demonstrating that to be first is to be last and servant of all.

It should be noted that "welcoming" a child was not normal in a society focused on honor and shame. "Welcoming" was reserved for people who had honor and who could dispense or gain honor by welcoming someone. Children had no honor to share

The Greek of this passage is marked by quite a few imperfects, but the one historical present is in verse 35 highlighting Jesus' statement: “If anyone is wanting to be first, they will have to be last of all and servant to all.”

Here is my collation of translations including my own along with notes and introduction: 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Mark 8.27-9.1 Translations and Notes (RCL16th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

Caesarea Philippi (mgvh 2012)

Mark 8.27-9.1 is the well-known passage of Peter's confession of Jesus as the Messiah. (Note that the RCL appointed reading only goes to 8.38, but the unit really does extend one more verse and includes 9.1. I suspect it may have been omitted because it is such a challenging verse.) It also includes Jesus' first of three passion pronouncements in Mark, and Peter's failure to understand that Jesus' suffering and death are precisely what it means for him to be the Messiah. 

There are some fun nuances in the Greek that I try to capture in my translation.

  • The use of the historical present highlights Peter's confession in v29 and Jesus' rebuke to him in v33.
  • The use of nominative pronouns focuses both questions and responses.
  • The word ἐπιτιμάω = epitimaō occurs 3 times in quick succession marking reversal of expectations. 

The big question remains today: Who do people / you say that Jesus is? And once you make that identification, what do you think it means? Jesus defines true discipleship, but he also requires us to imagine what the dominion of God coming in power looks like.

Here is my collation of translations including my own along with notes and introduction: 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Mark 7.24-30 Translations and Notes (RCL15th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

The text for this coming Sunday (5 September 2021) is Mark 7.24-37, and I am providing translations and notes for the first part, Mark 7.24-30, the story of the Syrophoenician woman. There are some critical interpretive issues, and this is a text where the 'performance' of it can significantly change the reception of it. I think it can be agreed that the point of a story is not simply to indicate that Jesus can cast out unclean spirits.

The biggest issue is how one perceives Jesus' role in the story and thus how one 'performs' his words.

  • Is he aware of how it will all turn out and intends to help her all along, so that one perceives him gently provoking or merely testing the woman to get her to express her confidence in him? (But note that "faith" is never mentioned in the story at all! Matthew's version in 15.21-28 is quite different, and he does make faith the final point.) 
  • Or is Jesus genuinely annoyed at being disturbed, affronted by the woman's boldness (in that culture, no woman, especially this non-Jewish one, should interrupt or initiate a conversation with a man) and intentionally insulting her? In that case, the woman genuinely changes his mind.

IMO, the latter is more likely.

  • In the story, there is one use of the historic present to introduce the woman's response. I.e., more attention is given to her statement than to Jesus'. 
  • I parallel this story to the sort of verbal sparrings that occur throughout Mark. E.g., in 12.13-17 the Pharisees and Herodians test Jesus asking about taxes. Jesus replies with a question, and that results in a conclusion that was not anticipated but opens new perception. Similarly, you'll see in my translation that I take a small liberty in the Greek and set her statement as a question to Jesus.
  • I also think this story ties in directly with the preceding 7.1-23 where Jesus has been talking about impure/unclean foods, hand, and pots and such. In a way, the woman forces Jesus to acknowledge that what he said about what comes out of a person is the defiling factor (not the externals or what goes in) also applies to people. And remember it's an "unclean spirit" that comes out of her daughter. The woman and her daughter are not impure because of their race, gender, or ethnicity.

As an example of the way performance affects interpretation, check out this collection of performances collated by Phil Ruge-Jones.  

Here is my collation of translations including my own along with notes and introduction: 

Monday, July 19, 2021

John 6.1-21 Translations and Notes (RCL9th Sunday after Pentecost Year B )

Mount of Beatitudes and Tabgha from the Sea of Galilee
The lectionary has been following along in Mark but now breaks away to John for the next five Sundays in order to recount the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water. The reading for 25 July 2021 in the RCL Year B is John 6.1-21.

My notes are not as extensive this week, but you will find some helpful observations. I also include my own translation. Some things I noticed:

  • I am not alone in thinking that John used the Gospel of Mark or at least Mark's sources. Comparing this story of the feeding and walking on water is evidence this is true. The story is much the same but told in John's distinctive style.
  • My notes on vv4-5 indicate, I think, that this feeding story is John's interpretation of what is the last supper in the Synoptic gospels. (Remember in John that the last supper is not a Passover meal.)
  • 6.1-21 are but the beginning of the discussion that will continue through 6.71. The bread becomes a matter of Jesus' body and blood and spirals into a sharp division that ends with Jesus alienating many of his followers. (6.66)
  • The story of Jesus walking on the sea is almost a diversion. Even the Greek quickly passes over it using participles. Unlike the feeding, it is not called a sign or a miracle.

For another 'view' of this reading, check out Steve Thomason's Visual Meditation on John 6

Here are my notes and translation: John 6.1-21 mgvh

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Mark 6.30-34, 53-56Translations and Notes (RCL 8th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Sea of Galilee and Plain of Genneserat from the Mount of Beatitudes. Mark 6.30-34 takes place somewhere near here on the left side of the picture by the sea. 6.53 locates Jesus and the disciples at Gennesaret on right (west) side of the sea in this picture.

Mark 6.30-34, 53-56 is the appointed gospel text for the Revised Common Lectionary 8th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is 18 July 2021. Personally, this makes no sense to me to omit vv35-52, and it requires some explanation how one gets from the scene in vv30-34 to the one in vv53-56. The lectionary omits Jesus' feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on the water. Apparently the lectionary committee chose to omit those verses in order to return to John the next Sunday and spend four weeks on the John 6 account of the feeding of the 5000. (As a pastor, I recommend planning your vacation during that time. Who has four good sermons on the Bread of Life? :) )

The good thing, however, is that the appointed text at least includes my favorite verse in the Bible, Mark 6.34. In one of the few instances in Mark's gospel, Jesus is said to have compassion for the people. And how does Jesus show compassion? "And he began to teach them many things." Not curing but teaching! For me, Mark 6.34 is the 'Teacher's Verse' in the Bible. As a teacher, I hope it is compassion I am demonstrating when I teach my students!

As I've been doing, I'm providing a collection of translations along with notes, translation comments, and my own translation. My translation is intended to reflect the oral character of Mark's Greek which also makes it a good version for performance in English. It's part of a larger project I'm working on, Let the Hearer Understand: A Translation and Performance Guide for Hearing the Gospel of Mark.

The notes are only for Mark 6.30-34, 53-56. My translation is for Mark 6-30-56. IMO, it would be worth reading the whole thing as the Gospel.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Mark 6.14-29 Translations and Notes (RCL 7th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Machaerus, Jordan: Herod's fortress, traditionally identified as site of John the Baptizer's execution

Mark 6.14-29 is the appointed gospel text for the Revised Common Lectionary 7th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is 11 July 2021. It describes the beheading of John the Baptizer by Herod Antipas. It hardly seems like "good news," but it does fit into Mark's narrative strategy. I have previously commented on this text at WorkingPreacher here. I also have a friend, Pastor Janet Hunt, who provides an excellent commentary on the text and how it might help us think about racial issues in the United States today. Check it out HERE.

As I have been doing, here are links to my compilations of translations of the passage with my commentary on translation and other issues, and my own translation attending closely to the Greek. As an example, most English versions miss the intentional build up to the girl's request to Herod in 6.25 by starting out, "I want the head of John the Baptist..." Instead, the Greek reserves that detail to the end of the sentence. I imagine the story being told with the narrator speaking slowly and with pauses between phrase: “I want, right away, that you give me, on a platter, the head of John the Baptist.” 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Mark 6.1-13 Translations and Notes (RCL 6th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

View of Nazareth (Basilica of Annunciation near the center) mgvh

Mark 6.1-13 is the appointed gospel text for the Revised Common Lectionary 6th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is 4 July 2021. It's recounts two events: the rejection of Jesus at Nazareth and the sending of the twelve disciples. Nazareth's rejection of Jesus anticipates the rejection the disciples are likely to experience (Mark 6.11), and it creates an interlude preparing for the following passage (6.14-29) about the death of John the Baptizer.

I have again compiled a collection of English translations and offer my own which attempts to reflect the oral character of Mark's gospel.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Mark 5.21-43 Translations and Notes (RCL 5th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Mural in one of lower spaces of Boat Chapel of Duc In Altum, Magdala, Israel (mgvh, 2017)

Mark 5.21-43 is the designated Revised Common Lectionary text for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is June 27 in 2021. It's a wonderfully composed text employing a Markan intercalation and intentional use of tenses (lots of imperfects), grammatical constructions (note how participles are piled up at the beginning and add tension until the main verb is expressed), and precise and repeated vocabulary that holds two stories together. It pairs the woman with the constant bleeding with Jairus's daughter (12 years), but it also contrasts the male, high-status, synagogue leader Jairus with the female, impure, low-status woman. Both are equal in Jesus' eyes.

It's a fun text to perform, and performance allows for some beautiful nuances in the story. For example, when the woman comes forward and tells Jesus the whole truth, how do you picture Jesus responding to her when he says, "Daughter, your faith has saved you..." The woman had fallen down before Jesus (just as Jairus had done a few verses earlier), but is Jesus standing over her looking down as he makes his declaration. Or, as one of my students once performed it, does Jesus kneel down to the woman's level when he speaks. It makes a significant difference in the hearer's perception and reception of the story.

As I've been doing, I'm providing a collection of translations along with notes, translation comments, and my own translation. My translation is intended to reflect the oral character of Mark's Greek which also makes it a good version for performance in English. It's part of a larger project I'm working on, Let the Hearer Understand: A Translation and Performance Guide for Hearing the Gospel of Mark. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

English Bible Versions: Literal, Dynamic / Functional, Paraphrase

I have previously posted on the range of English versions of the Bible and noted the range of so-called "literal / word-for-word" translations through "dynamic / functional equivalent / thought-for-thought" translations and on to paraphrases. 
I have now (2021.06) updated the list. I had started with a helpful list I found online by Bruce Terry which provides an approximate rating of each version from literal (or using formal equivalence) to dynamic or paraphrase. I edited this list and added a few evaluations of my own. The scale used is where a "1" would be an interlinear Hebrew/Greek to English and a 10 would be a loose paraphrase. (The Cotton Patch Version gets a "10.") I have made some adjustments to his rankings in light of my experience and added some notes. Most of these translations are available online at BibleGateway, and further information is linked there.

HERE is a link to the updated downloadable document that organizes 50 of the most common English versions. It provides:
  • An alphabetical list of the versions
  • A ranking of the versions from literal to paraphrase
  • My suggestions on the best versions to consult across a range of translation approach.
My point in organizing English translations this way is to help readers get a sense of the difficulties and choices that must be made when translating. Viewing a range of translations gives a sense of the possibilities, but translation will always be both an objective, scholarly task as well as a subjective process that attends to audience and intent.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Mark 4.35-41 Translations and Notes (RCL 4th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Sea of Galilee from Mt. of Beatitudes, 2014, mgvh

The designated passage for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, of the RCL (20 June 2021) is Mark 4.35-41. It's the story of Jesus stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee. As I've been doing in previous posts, I provide a collection of English translations along with my own translation and commentary on translation matters. It's part of the project I'm working on, Let the Hearer Understand: A Translation and Performance Guide for Hearing the Gospel of Mark

My point is that the standard English versions turn Mark's oral storytelling into literary English. They seek to smooth out the Greek, but in doing so they lose both the oral character and the narrative cues in the text. For Mark 4.35-41, there are three "greats / μεγα- forms" in the story: a great windstorm, a great calm, and a great fear. They provide narrative structure to the story, but they rarely are evident in English versions which tend to use synonyms that are more dramatic or sound better or work more closely with the object described. (E.g., the NIV has: "a furious squall... completely calm...terrified.") In particular, note that the fear happens after the calm, not during the storm.

Attention to performance of the text also highlights choices of attitude that the performer must make. In v38 are the disciples desperate or angry at Jesus for sleeping? In v40, was Jesus angry? Disappointed? Frustrated? Exasperated? Resigned to the fact of the disciples’ incomprehension? The choices one makes affect translation, performance, and reception.

Here are my notes both in DOCX and PDF.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Mark 4.26-34 Translations and Notes (RCL 3rd Sunday after Pentecost Year B)
Mark 4.26-34 includes two fascinating parables of Jesus: The Growing Seed and the Mustard Seed. The Growing Seed is somewhat obscure, but it affirms the certainty of the harvest = the full realization of the Dominion of God. Personally, I think Matthew found it confusing, and the result is his version of it known as the Weeds and the Wheat (Matthew 13.24-30) For the Growing Seed, I've suggested it be used as a kind of Lectio Divina. See what you think with this video I created that can be as long or short as you want.

For the Mustard Seed parable, it most certainly is not about "From small beginnings come great endings." It's much more about the scandal of depicting God's dominion to what is basically a weed and contrasting it to the more typical image of a mighty cedar tree. (The image at the top of this post by Masaccio is one I like to use as an example of a scandalous tree which is also a tree of life.)

Here are is my handout of Mark 4.26-34 with a variety of translations and my translation notes. 

I include my own translation, and it should be noted that my translation is actually very close to the oral character of Mark’s Greek. My rendering is not good literary English which most English versions turn it into. It does work, however, as casual, spoken English. Try reading it out loud, and experiment with pacing and pauses in the text. E.g., in 4.30-31, you can almost hear Jesus thinking and engaging with a crowd when he asks two questions of them about what God's dominion is like. He pauses, and then in v31 he comes up with his answer: A mustard seed! The Greek is grammatically awkward, but it sounds perfectly fine when read out loud.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Mark 3.20-35 Translations and Notes (RCL 2nd Sunday after Pentecost Year B)


"Peter's House" in Capernaum - Apparent location of Mark 3.20-35

Below is a PDF and DOCX of Mark 3.20-35, the appointed text in the Revised Common Lectionary for the 2nd Sunday after Easter in Year B. As I've been doing with previous texts, you'll find a number of translations laid out in parallel, organized from most 'literal' to most 'dynamic.' I've also included my own translation which is part of a project I'm working on which is intended for the performance of the Gospel text. You'll see my full translation at the end of the document. 

A couple things to note in Mark 3.20-35.

  • Verses 20-21 indicate Jesus' family's concern for him, but they don't arrive until v31. I.e., it forms a frame, with the issue of Jesus' state of mind in v21, for the controversy about Jesus' authority in vv22-30.
  • The logic of vv23-27 can be a bit confusing. I think my notes help sort it out. Do also note that there are three different conditional types in vv24-26. Attention to those helps clarify what's going on.

Here you go:

Monday, April 26, 2021

John 15.1-8 Translations and Notes (RCL 5th Sunday of Easter Year B)

Grapes at Greek Orthodox Church, Capernaum, Israel
I continue sharing a comparison of English translations of the Gospel texts for the upcoming Sunday. This coming Sunday (2 May 2021, RCL 5th Sunday of Easter) the text is John 15.1-8. As is common with John, once again a 'spiraling' effect of repetition that does progress to new insights. Some things to keep in mind with this text:
  • What does Jesus mean exactly by "bearing (abundant) fruit"?
  • What is meant by the unfruitful branches being "pruned, trimmed, cleaned up"?
  • What does it mean to "abide in, remain, stay connected with" Jesus?
  • In what way can verse 7 actually be true?

Friday, April 23, 2021

Google Earth in 4D

I've posted before on Google Earth as a resource for biblical mapping and study. They just announced (2021.04) one of the first significant updates in 4 years. Google Earth has long had a 'history' option so that you could check out imagery taken at various times, but now it's been integrated into a smoother browser experience.
In the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, you can now see our planet in an entirely new dimension — time. With Timelapse in Google Earth, 24 million satellite photos from the past 37 years have been compiled into an interactive 4D experience. Now anyone can watch time unfold and witness nearly four decades of planetary change.

HERE for the full announcement.

The primary goal is to show the dramatic environmental changes that have occurred, but there are some interesting things to check from a biblical perspective. While the detail is not granular enough to focus on, e.g., the excavations at a site, it can make evident macro-level changes from ~1984-2020. Here are a couple I could notice.

  • Water level on the Sea/Lake of Galilee: This will bring you to the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee. What you can notice is the varying water levels. In particular, you can see how the excavations at el-Araj, one of the proposed sites of Bethsaida, is affected by the water level. The 2020 image shows why the site was partially submerged in 2020.

  • Water levels on the Dead Sea near Ein Gedi: It's pretty easy to see the contraction of water levels on the Dead Sea. I'm not sure what the latest situation is at Ein Gedi, but there used to be a nice beach there that I think is now closed. Even the road was closed for a time due to large sinks caused by the lower water level.

The viewer works best in Chrome. There are lots of options for the visualizations, including details, map styles, creating projects, etc. Check it out!

Monday, April 19, 2021

John 10.11-18 Translations and notes (RCL Fourth Sunday of Easter)

Here are some translations, including my own, and notes on the text of John 10.11-18 which are the assigned Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Easter in the Revised Common Lectionary.

HERE is the PDF

While the monologues in the Gospel John often sound repetitious and circular, I describing them as 'spiraling.' It goes round and round, but progress to new insights is being made along the way. Check the color coding I've done at the bottom of the PDF to see what I mean.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Online and Free Bible Study Resources

Online and Free Bible Study Resources  

(updated 2021.04.14 from 2018)
The variety of online Bible study resources continues to change. This is my latest list I share with students. These are all worthwhile resources, and you need to check to see which works best for you and your desired platform. I've starred* ones that you should probably check first. Also remember that for deeper study, you probably want something like Accordance, Logos, or OliveTree, but these free ones will go a long way!

  • ONLINE BIBLE SITES which provide extra helps for English readers to study the underlying Greek and Hebrew
    • *NET Bible: This is a highly recommended choice. It gives you access to the NET Bible notes which I recommend consulting. Use the Hebrew or Greek tab in the right column, and you will see how it highlights the matching English and Greek words. Double-click on a Greek/Hebrew word to get a rudimentary lexicon entry. Click on  an English word in the NET to do an original language word search or open the Parallel tab on the left to see NET, NIV, NASB, ESV, NLT, MSG, NRSV, and KJV together.
    • *STEP Bible from Tyndale (replaces Tyndale Tool Bar): Another outstanding site with both original language and many English version texts (NET, NIV, ESV, KJV…). Like the NET Bible Study Environment, it can highlight matching Greek/Hebrew//English words, and has links to many lexical resources.
    • Excellent site that is very nice for comparing original and translated versions with access to lexical resources. Many English versions including NRSV, NASB, ESV, KJV, NAB, NIV, NLT…
    • Bible Web App: Less full featured, but it’s fast and includes the NET with all notes. Parallel highlighting of Greek/Hebrew//English with Strong’s lexical popups.
  • OTHER ONLINE SITES primarily for English language study
    • *YouVersion: The primary attraction of this site is the abundance of Bibles it offers, both English (e.g., CEB, CEV, CJB, ESV, GNB, HCSB, KJV, LEB, Message, NAB, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV) and nearly countless non-English ones. For Greek, it includes SBL GNT and Textus Receptus, and the Westminster Leningrad for the Hebrew. Two texts can be set in parallel. There are also free apps for Android, iOS, and voice (Amazon Echo and Google Home).
    • *BibleGateway: There are too many English (and it does include the NRSV), non-English, Greek, and Hebrew versions to list. If you want to compare English versions, you can see a verse in every version they offer with a single click. There are quite a few linked resources, but many need you to subscribe for $4 USD/month. If your main interest is in comparing English versions, this is your best option.
    • FaithLife: This is the online site. Many original and modern language versions are available, but the best part is the connection with the FaithLife Study Bible.
    • Bible Hub: A nice collection of resources. The Atlas alone is quite helpful.

  • FREE DOWNLOADABLE PROGRAMS and APPS if you don't already have Accordance, BibleWorks, or Logos
    • *Logos Academic Basic: If you are a student, staff, or faculty person at an educational institution, this should be your first option. A Logos 9 Basic is also available for those outside educational institutions. Logos is also available as an app for Android or iPhone.
    • *The Word: The Word is one of the first I recommend to people wanting a free program, since it is rather full featured program. It includes Greek / Hebrew. You can always buy some modules, e.g., NRSV, to expand its versatility. Among many non-English versions, free English versions include: Douay-Rheims, ERV, ESV, HCSB, KJV, Tanakh 1917, NET (but with limited notes), LEB. For Greek: LXX, SBL GNT, and other Greek text. For Hebrew: a tagged Hebrew Bible.  Only runs on Windows or under Mac emulation.
    • Olive Tree: This free Bible app is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and Android. Once you get the app, check out the free resources. It includes SBL GNT and Hebrew Westminster Leningrad. For English, it includes many of the usual versions (KJV, NKJV, ESV, limited versions of HCSB and NET, Douay-Rheims, Tanakh 1917), but it does also offer the NIV. A number of useful study tools can also be added.
    • BibleGateway: Similar to the online version described above, the app is available for iPad iPhone, Android, and Kindle.There is also a voice app.
    • e-Sword: The basic installation includes the KJV with Strong’s and its related lexicon along with a few other resources. Once installed, there are many other free Bibles and resources that can be added. Windows and Mac.
    • LaParola: Does a nice job of creating concordance lists and working with text variants (Windows and Linux)
    • FaithLife Study Bible: It's free and available for just about all platforms. It's a Logos product and uses their rather literally translated Lexham Bible. It comes from a conservative perspective, so you need some discernment, but many of its study features, especially the FaithLife Study Bible itself, can be helpful. (E.g., go to Phil 1.1 for The Life of Paul graphic.) 
    • *YouVersion: This app, available for just about every platform, includes over 1000 Bible versions. It is similar to its online version described above.
    • Accordance Lite: This free version has limited resources, but it can give you an idea of the look and feel of the program.
    • Since I have Accordance and Logos, I use their included apps most often on my phone. (I tend to use the Logos app most often on my Android phone.) I’ve noted a number of the programs above which have mobile editions, but for more information on mobile Bible apps, look HERE.
My Recommendations:
If you simply want to study and read the most English versions, then YouVersion is handiest. Also check BibleGateway. If you want more study tools and resources, I recommend that you look first at The Word, e-Sword, and Logos 9 Basic. If you are connected with an educational institution, then your best bet is to get Logos 9 Academic Basic. Some of these programs are expandable for a cost or have full-featured upgrades.