I’m talking about something that I rarely discuss publicly.
That’s because this is one of those subjects that some people are so prideful about that they quickly receive and give offense. I know that’s not you.
But please understand. I won’t be engaging in debate (regardless of the source). Such exchanges on this topic would distract me from my simple goal of increasing Bible literacy among my congregation and community.
I’m writing this for the sake of those I shepherd. If you’re one of my local church peeps, this is for you. If you’re outside of my local church and you appreciate or respect my insights, this can inspire and inform your spiritual interests as well.
Every so often, someone will ask me about study Bibles and, or Bible translations. That’s usually because the Holy Spirit has sparked their soul to want to know God and His Word better.
It excites me when I get asked about this subject! I enjoy those discussions.
I’m not a scholar of the original languages. The only written language I can claim any level of fluency in is English. I am nerdy enough that I occasionally enjoy original language word studies.
I repeatedly hear self-identifying Christians say that they fail to read their Bible regularly. If you ignore God’s Word, the quality of your life will suffer, and your spiritual growth will be stunted. You need it like you need your next breath.
What Bible version should you read? Well, if you’re a scholar who has mastered the original languages it was written in, then go for it. If Hebrew and Greek are your forte, read and enjoy.
Most of you are like me, and you’re more proficient in English than any other language. So, I encourage you to use a solid and reliable English translation of the Holy Scriptures.
My go-to is the New King James Version. That’s what I’m usually reading from in the pulpit on Sunday mornings. It’s typically featured in my preaching slides unless otherwise noted.
In the earliest years of my learning to follow Christ, I memorized many verses from the reliable KJV. If you are opposed to Scripture memorization, you’re missing out. I highly recommend this spiritual exercise regardless of which English translation you use.
I also like to use the English Standard Version. The ESV is very trustworthy. One of the most readable Bibles for your studies is the New American Standard Bible. The NASB has been good for my understanding of lengthy passages with many pronouns.
The J.B. Phillips New Testament has been a favorite of mine for at least the last 15 years. It has brought me many fresh insights. If you don’t own one of these translations, it can be read from Bible Gateway. I often use their site during sermon preparation and for the writing of this blog.
Throughout my adult years, I’ve used various study Bibles. I currently read devotionally from my New Spirit-Filled Life Bible. About 5 years ago, I also began to greatly appreciate the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. I have the Kindle edition, but I plan to buy a hard copy soon.
Here’s my advice to any Christian that will listen. Pray and read your Bible. Ask the Author (the Holy Spirit) to be your teacher and guide you.
Don’t get hung up on conspiracies about Bible translations and versions. Let others debate the efficacies of their favorite translations. Just be a student of God’s Word and keep reading it.
You can trust the Holy Spirit to be and do what Jesus said. He is the Spirit of Truth, and He can lead you into truth regardless of what Christian Bible you choose to read. But if you ignore God’s Word, you’re missing so much of His ministry to you.
So here are the 3 mistakes some Christians make:
1. They fail to read their Bible.
2. They oppose Scripture memorization.
3. They get hung up on conspiracies about Bible translation and versions.
But that’s not you! You’re ready to grab ahold of God’s Book, find yourself a nook, and take a long look.
If you’d like to know more about why you should read your Bible, I recommend you click over and read, “7 Reasons to Establish Yourself in the Bible.“