Have you ever thought “I’ll find my future job, spouse, house or child’s name by reading the Bible”? The Bible might be helpful for some of these things, but for me, it’s never been my ‘go to’ book for those types of things (even though my oldest son’s name is Shad). I think there’s another reason God wrote the Bible.
When I first began the habit of reading my Bible each day, I started out strong but eventually fizzled out. I probably read Genesis a kajillion times. I was hoping to learn from my ancestors’ past in order to discover my future. The problem with Genesis was it was kind of boring to read. Parts of Genesis was also confusing and kind of strange. There are other parts of the Bible that can also be boring, confusing or strange to read. I came to realize that the Bible wasn’t written in America; therefore, it wasn’t written in modern-day language. It was written originally for a group of people that were part of the Eastern Culture in a time that’s considered ancient.
It was written in a place that’s different than ‘Merica to a group of people that had a mindset very different from mine. I realized though that there were new things I could discover by peeling back the layers of culture and ancient truths I found in the Bible. I never did learn who I was going to marry based on these truths, but I learned a lot though :)
I started reading the Bible for one reason, but quickly discovered what I think God’s intended purpose of writing the Bible was. I think the Bible was written so we could discover more about who God is and who God created us to become. Sometimes we read the Bible for the wrong reason. We might read the Bible trying to figure out who to marry, what job to take or hoping that God will point out a verse that will help us win the lottery. When we approach the Bible like that, we might struggle to find answers. I know I did. Changing my motivation for reading the Bible helped me understand who God is and who God created me to be.
Now the question became “HOW I should read the Bible?”. There are literally hundreds of translations in the English language of the Bible. Some are better than others. They each have their own history and benefits. I personally started reading the New International Version (NIV). The reason was simple. All of the pastors I knew read the NIV translation. When I attended college for pastoral studies, we read the NIV, so I stuck with it. There was one small problem for me, I couldn’t understand the NIV wording all the time.
I would secretly read the New Living Translation (NLT). The translation was accurate and the major difference was that I could understand it better. I now read a mixture of translations so I can hear the words of God in a fresh way over and over again. Here’s the list of Bible Translations that I personally read: NIV, NLT, The Message, English Standard Version (ESV) and recently one of my favorites is the New International Readers Version (NIRV).
I’ve heard people passionately argue why and how one particular version of the Bible is the only REAL translation,or they will put down other translations. Don’t buy into their craziness. Just because someone is passionate about something, doesn’t mean they are right. Just because someone can passionately argue their point, doesn’t mean their right either!
I used to feel really bad for jumping ship on reading the NIV, but I got over it. I’ve been a pastor for over 16 years now. I used to look for the biggest, most pastoral looking Bible I could find. I used to think that the size of my Bible actually meant something. (I’ll wait because I’m sure you’re thinking “Does size really matter?”. Now, you’re thinking of something completely different… like I said I’ll wait).
OK. Now that you’re back with me, let’s keep going. I got over that issue quickly because I hated carrying around a heavy book all the time! I started to read my Bible on my phone in secret because people around me would talk down about how reading your Bible on your phone can’t have the same effect. Really? You can’t learn and discover truths about God, how much He loves you and the kind of person He created you to be? I’m pretty sure the words are the same in the Bible as they are on my smartphone?
Every morning I wake up, put my earbuds in and listen to my Bible. The reason I listen to my Bible now is that I retain so much more truths about God and how much Jesus loves me. I use the SOAP method to help apply the truths I discover in the Bible. More on that to come in this mini-series.
The bottom line, when it comes to reading your Bible, make sure you are reading so you can become the person God created you to be as you discover Him and His love for you. Don’t read a particular version of the Bible just because someone else tells you to. Read a trusted version that you can understand. If you’re like me and listening to your Bible is more beneficial than reading your Bible, don’t feel bad about it. It’s ok. It’s also ok to utilize technology and read your Bible on your smartphone. At one point printed words on paper was considered new technology.
Photo by Jenny Smith on Unsplash
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RE.THINK Church values being a church that is casual. Casual Church goes far beyond the way we dress, it's more about we expect people to take this journey at their own pace. We are here to journey with everyone. So we've created a blog so people can check us out before they show up for a service.