Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Choosing the right Bible to read this year

So you've decided you want to read the Bible this year. May I make a serious recommendation? Get a Bible you enjoy reading. I grew up reading the King James Version and I remember clearly my Grandmother Terrell introducing me to the Living Bible. It really wasn't until I got to college that I was introduced to the other versions. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with them simply because I understood better than I ever had before (this is not intended as a strike at the KJV). After college, I took up reading in Greek, both in the New Testament and the Greek Old Testament. As I studied, I realized the great disparity between the translations and wondered why. I reviewed the translation in comparison to the original languages. Here's what I discovered - there's not a lot of difference.
The real difference betweeen the major translation is readability. As for me, I personally use the New International Version (NIV). Julie uses the New American Standard Bible (NASB). We both enjoy reading The Message. Why do we use these? Because the Bible is God's love letter to mankind and deserves to be treated as such. If my wife writes me a love letter, you'd better know I'm going to read it carefully with great zeal and often. Why do some people treat the Bible any differently? Because we haven't learned to love it (or, sadly in some cases, God either) so we read the Bible to avoid guilt, not to build our lives. Find a Bible that speaks to you and safely ignore those who claim any Bible other than the KJV is substandard.

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