Tag Archives: read the Bible

The Bible Presents Us with a Narrative to Inform Our Lives

Reading the Bible as narrative frees us to experience God in a fuller, deeper way

Continuing in our series of why I love the Bible, we’re on reason number twelve. I often say that I read the Bible as a narrative. Simply stated, it’s a story, a grand, epic tale. It’s a story about God’s relationship to us. Reading the Bible as narrative means we don’t primarily view it as a rulebook, legalistic account, or instruction manual. Reducing the Bible to these things serves to remove its power and lessen its impact.Read the Bible as narrative.

When I read the Bible as narrative, I can enjoy the story. But it’s much more than a story. Here are some of the things I can glean from the stories in the Bible.

The Bible Provides Examples to Follow

As we look at the lives of the characters in the Bible, we can learn from them, from the things they do, the things they don’t do, and the outcomes they realize as a result. In simple terms many of the people in the Bible provide us with an example to follow. Consider how Daniel conducted himself in Babylon.

The Bible Gives Situations to Avoid

Just as we see many admirable traits to emulate, the lives of these biblical people also warn us of situations we should avoid. Cain is the first character that comes to mind.

Often, the same person provides both an example to follow and a situation to avoid. After all, no one except Jesus is perfect. That means everyone else in the Bible is flawed, with worthy and unworthy traits to consider. We must learn from both. My namesake, Peter, is one such example.

The Bible Offers Wisdom for Living

In addition to examples we can follow, we also see situations of awe-inspiring wisdom. King Solomon comes to mind, regarding his judgment for the two women who both claim a child as their own.

The Bible Reminds Us of Sin and its Consequences

Since the Bible’s filled with people, it’s also filled with sin as it documents their lives. Repeatedly, we see people who do the wrong thing and suffer as a result. This reminds us that we can’t live as we please and not feel the consequences. Consider evil Queen Jezebel.

The Bible Records Prayers to Emulate

A key part of the biblical narrative is its many prayers. Though the Bible records most prayers without commentary, some prayers receive affirmation as God honoring or validation through God’s answers. Again, let’s look at Daniel as he prays to understand a vision.

The Bible Shows Us How to Praise God

The Bible narrative also contains many worthy examples of people offering praise to God. Recall when Solomon dedicates the temple. When we read the Bible as narrative we are both educated and entertained. Click To Tweet

Of course, the narrative of the Bible also provides us with much more. Many of its stories are classic literature that have worked their way into our culture.

When we read the Bible as narrative, we are both educated and entertained. If you’re not already doing so, start reading the Bible today as narrative.

Pursue Community Bible Study

Personal Bible Study is Essential; Group Bible Study is Even Better

Study the Bible in community.When I study the Bible, it’s usually by myself. Though I seek the Holy Spirit to guide me, I seldom have the input of other people. Though there’s value in personal Bible study—which everyone should pursue—greater value comes when we explore Scripture in community.

Here’s why:

Community Bible Study Allows for Equal Participation

A true group Bible study has no leader. Anyone can share their perspective, and no one guides the process. It is egalitarian, with everyone an equal participant. The words fairness, balance, and equality come to mind.

This is far different from a typical church service where one person speaks and everyone else listens. One person’s opinion, often presented as a singular truth, becomes the perspective that the faithful must adopt. Anyone who dares to disagree risks being labeled a heretic or effectively run out of the church.

Community Bible Study Provides Multiple Perspectives

Having everyone participate in an equal manner results in differing points of view, or at least it should. (If you’re in a group where everyone agrees, then there’s no need for the group. Find another one.)

We should acknowledge that there is no one right response to any given passage in the Bible. Instead there are many responses. It’s like studying a piece of art. Look at it from different angles, at different distances, and even at different times. Each experience can emerge as a new one, providing fresh insight.

So, it is when we study the Bible. A quick way to get multiple perspectives comes from seeking the opinions of others in a group setting.

Community Bible Study Promotes Dialogue

In a group Bible study, discussion can take place. One person shares their perspective and another one responds. They may agree, disagree, or—even better—build on each other’s comments.

This dialogue seldom takes place in a typical church service. How richer, fuller, and deeper it is to immerse ourselves in a group Bible study. Having a community with every member participating stands as a strong force to prevent heresy. Click To Tweet

Community Bible Study Prevents Heresy

Some people think only trained clergy can teach them about the Bible. This is in error. Through Jesus we are all priests, and through the Holy Spirit we each have a guide to direct our study of the Bible.

People who think all their spiritual instruction should come from ministers, in a church setting, worry that heresy results when those outside established religious organizations take on the task of understanding the Bible. However, in the last 2,000 years, every major heresy has come from within the established church, perpetuated by trained clergy.

Having a community with every member participating stands as a strong force to prevent heresy. This is because in a group setting, the people in the group can quickly squelch a heretical idea. But in a church, especially with a charismatic leader, dissension is much less likely to occur. Then, before long, the dynamic leader has the congregation metaphorically drinking the Kool-Aid.

Join a Community Bible Study

Personal Bible study is essential; group Bible study is even better. If you’re not already in one, join a Bible study.

The Bible Gives Us Daily Inspiration

The Bible Can Inspire Us Each Day—All We Need to Do Is Read It

Read the Bible and be inspired.In our continuing series, here’s reason #11 of why I love the Bible: The Bible inspires us. Though many books can provide daily inspiration, the Bible stands by itself when it comes to its profound impact, a supernatural impact that comes from God.

Consider these ways the Bible inspires us as we take time to read it regularly:

The Bible Inspires Us Through Encouragement

The Bible contains many passages that offer encouragement. Often these come from the many promises the Bible has for us. When we come across one of these promises, we must claim it as our own, to embrace it, except it, and relish it. The promises are many, but often we must search for them. Yes, a few verses say, “…and God promised…” But for most instances we must read more carefully to find the promises God has for us.

However, the Bible also offers encouragement in other ways, too. The Bible overflows with God’s love, and this should encourage us. The Bible shows us of God’s repeated deliverance, and that should encourage us, too. And the Bible shows us that we are part of something much greater than ourselves, and this should encourage us even more.

The Bible Inspires Us Through Correction

The Bible doesn’t only contain words of encouragement, it also gives us words of correction. Through the lens of the Bible, we can see ways that we fall short. We see how we can do better. But this isn’t in a legalistic way, a set of rules to follow. Instead the Bible points us to a better way to live life. It inspires us to do better. The Bible contains many stories about real people who encounter life in both usual and unusual ways. Click To Tweet

The Bible Inspires Us Through Examples

The Bible contains many stories about real people who encounter life in both usual and unusual ways. How they react can motivate us to live better and to live right. Take the example of Jacob’s son Joseph in the Old Testament. As a boy, Joseph doesn’t always exercise the best judgment, but as he moves into adulthood his life is worthy of emulation. Through his life, we’re inspired to avoid his youthful mistakes and follow his example of unfailing integrity as an adult.

Yes, the Bible inspires us—but only if we read it.

We Can Study the Bible for Ourselves

We Don’t Need a Spiritual Guide to Help Us Study the Bible

Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you as you study the Bible.I use the Bible to study the Bible. To me, studying the Word of God is the best way to write about it. I don’t read much about what other people have to say about scripture. I prefer to experience it firsthand, not through an intermediary.

This makes complete sense—to me. But it confused my friend when I tried to explain it to her. She gave me a quizzical look, as if I was speaking a different language. Yet I couldn’t figure out a way to clarify my view.

Our differing perspectives may come from the training we received and how we view our faith journey.

I have come to understand that through the Holy Spirit I can study the Bible: I can examine its words, grow in my faith, and better comprehend God. I don’t need a human middleman to explain it to me. I embrace the Holy Spirit as my spiritual guide who provides the insight I need.

However, other people are taught and come to believe that they are unable—or unworthy—to study the Bible on their own and get truth from it. They need someone to guide them. They need an expert, a guru. They need a preacher, one who went to seminary and has been ordained; someone who knows Greek and Hebrew, the Bible’s original languages. These folks have been conditioned to believe they need someone to tell them what the Bible says, what it means, and how to apply it to their daily lives.

While much of Christianity accepts this, it’s also lazy. Through the Holy Spirit we can study the Bible, examine its words, grow in faith, and better understand God. Click To Tweet

The Holy Spirit Helps Us Study the Bible

God created us with a mind to think for ourselves and gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us. He placed within us a desire to draw close to him. We don’t need someone to facilitate this process. Through Jesus we have all we need. Therefore we no longer a middleman to connect us with God, like they did in the Old Testament or what many church goers seek today.

There’s no point in having someone tell us what the Bible says—unless we’re unable, unwilling, or too lazy to do it ourselves. God has given us all we need to discover biblical truth for ourselves.

Thank you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Why Read What Other People Say About the Bible When We Can Read It Ourselves?

To Better Understand the Bible, Use Scripture to Interpret Scripture

I shared part of my book, Women in the Bible, with some friends at a writers group. They liked what they heard and had questions about how I researched and wrote it. I explained that the Bible was the only resource I used. By design, I didn’t study what other people wrote about the Bible, I simply studied it myself.

That is, I went straight to the source and didn’t use any secondhand information.Why Read What Other People Say About the Bible When We Can Read It Ourselves?

When I write about the Bible, this is what I do. I use Scripture to interpret Scripture, instead of relying on someone else to do it for me. This is because I don’t want to filter what the Bible says through the eyes, minds, and theologies of others. I go straight to the Word of God because this is as close as I can get to the ultimate author of this amazing book.

This idea of using the Bible as the only resource confused one of my friends. I tried to explain how I use Scripture to interpret Scripture, but I’m not sure that helped.Here are some examples of how I use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Click To Tweet

Here are some examples of how I use Scripture to interpret Scripture.

Consider the Whole Passage

The Bible is divided into books, chapters, and verses. This makes it easy to share short passages and compare versions. However, this also encourages us to focus on one verse and miss its context. We should never consider a verse or part of a verse in isolation.

Study What Comes Before

Ignoring chapter divisions, paragraph breaks, and inserted subheadings allows us to examine what precedes the passage. Often this gives us the context and a more holistic understanding of how a passage or verse fits in.

Read What Comes After

Likewise, look at what follows the verse or passage. Sometimes the text that comes after it adds clarity, provides an example, or adds emphasis. Yet other times what follows a passage may seem paradoxical. At first a paradox is frustrating, but it’s really an invitation to dig deeper. And that’s when we get to a greater understanding of the passage.

Look at The Entire Book

As we mentioned, the Bible is subdivided into books. Unlike chapter and verse delineations, the books are mostly logical and make sense. We’re wise to examine the trajectory of the book and consider the author’s overall purpose or theme.

Examine Parallel Passages

The Bible contains some repetition. The four biographies of Jesus—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—often present different perspectives of the same event. We’re wising to consider them. Likewise, First and Second Chronicles has parallel texts with First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings. Also, we can often read about the settings of the prophetic books in the Bible’s historical books, specifically Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. The same occurs with Psalms. In the New Testament, many of the letters (also called epistles) find their historical context in the book of Acts.

Build A Biography

Although a lot of people in the Bible are obscure characters, mentioned only once, many others pop up more than one time and surface in multiple books. By combining each mention of a person, we can build a biblical biography of them. This gives us a better understanding of these people and allows us to apply this perspective each time we see their name. I do this often in Women of the Bible.

Do Word Searches

It’s also worthwhile to do word searches in the Bible. This lets us to compare one mention with all the others. Some scholars place additional emphasis on the first time a word occurs. There’s merit to this, too. (But be careful. Consider the first mention of the word married in Genesis 4:19.)

Follow the Arc

The Bible has a narrative arc to it. In a sense, this is the story arc of God’s Word. We should keep this arc in mind as we study the Bible. (More on the biblical story arc in another post.)

By employing these various techniques, I can use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Yes, I occasionally delve into a commentary (I have four) or read a book on a specific biblical topic. Yet in doing so, I never lose sight of the Bible as the ultimate source of understanding. What others tell me about the Bible does have value, but what I learn directly from the Bible—unfiltered by others—has even more.

To get the most from reading the Bible, use Scripture to interpret Scripture.

Do We Need to Know Hebrew and Greek to Study the Bible?

Ministers who flaunt their knowledge of Hebrew and Greek often do more harm than good

As part of their training, many ministers must study Hebrew and Greek. Sometimes when they prepare a sermon, they go back to the Bible’s initial languages so they can study the words in its original tongue: Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New.Do We Need to Know Hebrew and Greek to Study the Bible?

Then they talk about these other languages when they give their sermon. Sometimes this helps but other times it seems they’re just trying to remind us of how smart they are—or at least how smart they think they are. This often turns me off.

Yet other times I wonder if I would understand the Bible better if I could engage its words using Hebrew or Greek. It’s not that I want to learn another language; I have enough struggles with English. Instead this impulse occurs as I grapple with the English version of a particular text. I consult various translations and sometimes find clarity, but other times, confusion persists.

The Limitations When Studying the Bible

After all, when I read the Bible in English, I’m reading it through the theological filter of its translators. There’s no way for them not the color their work through the perspective of their beliefs. Some may call this a bias. I get that.

Yes, most everyone who embarks on a project to translate the Bible from its original languages into English—or any other language—strives for accuracy. Yet even the most sincere and conscientious still introduce the slant of their worldview into their work.

If only I could cut out the middleman and read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek.

Yet to do so, to read the Bible in Hebrew or Greek, would mean relying on others for their explanation of each Hebrew or Greek word. Again, their definitions would suffer from the influence of their perspectives and what they learned from other scholars, who hold their own biases and influences.

The reality is that studying the Bible in its original languages wouldn’t really help resolve my dilemma. It would still require me relying on the viewpoint of others to comprehend the text.

The only way I could gain real value by studying Scripture in Hebrew and Greek would occur if I understood these languages in the day and the culture in which the writing took place. And that’s impossible.

The Key to Studying the Bible

Though my desire to study the Bible in Hebrew and Greek carries an admirable intent, the reality is that I would still face frustrations; I would continue to struggle to understand its nuances. Yet, I have more resources available to help me engage with this holy text then at any time in history. There are scores of translations for me to consider. And for that I’m most grateful. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can study the Bible for ourselves. Click To Tweet

We, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, can study the Bible for ourselves. We don’t need a Hebrew or Greek-speaking guru to guide us. All we need is the text, the mind God gave us, and the Holy Spirit. We can pray for supernatural insight and have faith God will direct the outcome.

Having religious experts tell us what the Bible says or what God means is an Old Testament mindset. Jesus changed this when he fulfilled the Old Testament. Through him, we become priests. And he sends us the Holy Spirit to guide us. That’s all we need to study the Bible. If you happen to know a little Hebrew and Greek, great! But if not, no worries.

We should all study the Bible using whatever resources we have and trust God to guide us in our journey.

The Bible is Four Dimensional

Don’t Read the Bible Like Any Other Book Because It Isn’t Like Other Books

The Bible is Four DimensionalWhen we read a book, it’s a linear process. We start at the beginning. Then reading one word at a time, we make our way to the end. Once we reach the last word, the final period, we’re finished. Usually we put the book down and move to another one. If it’s a really good book, we may read it again. Or we may loop back to investigate certain sections to look for something we might have missed or seek clarity from a confusing passage. This applies to both fiction and nonfiction, though in different ways.

Too many people read the Bible like every other book. Starting at the beginning and reading one word at a time, they make their way toward the end. But few ever arrive. They get mired down in how the Bible is put together, because it’s not like any other book.

From a reading experience, a book is one-dimensional. It’s a straight line, with only length, going from start to finish. There is no width or depth, just length.

To read the Bible rightly, we need to get beyond our linear mindset. We need to think of the Bible as also having width and depth. Let’s consider it as three-dimensional and not one-dimensional with only length, which results from stringing words together.

We Must Read the Bible with a Different Perspective

To move beyond one dimension requires we read the Bible differently. Yes, we can still look at one passage or story, read it linearly from start to finish, and enjoy the journey. But there’s more. We can loop back and jump forward. We can consider parallel passages—and the Bible has many. We can use one passage to better understand another.

When we consider the Bible as three-dimensional, we can do word studies, look for reoccurring themes, and use scripture to interpret scripture. When we do so we begin to mine the riches of the Bible, no longer as a one-dimensional, linear book, but as a multi-dimensional experience that takes us to an unlimited number of destinations.

But beyond the three dimensions of space, we need to consider time, which many refer to as the fourth dimension. How is the Bible four dimensional? Jesus was there at the beginning and took part in creation. And he’ll be there at the end. Click To Tweet

Let’s jump to the middle and consider the book of John. With dramatic poetic flair, John tells us that Jesus, the whole point of the Bible, didn’t just show up for the Gospels as a baby in a manger. He was there at the beginning. He took part in creation. And he is there at the end. As we migrate from our present reality to the next, Jesus is there to guide us. The book of Revelations hints at this and the last two chapters confirm it. And a careful reading of the Old Testament sees hints of Jesus sprinkled throughout. Jesus is everywhere, not limited by time or space.

Embrace the Bible as Four Dimensional

It’s hard to grasp the Bible as four dimensional, not being bound by time. However, God—who created us, reveals himself to us in the Bible, and serves as our reason for being—is not bound by time. He exists outside our time-space continuum. For when he created the three-dimensional reality in which we live, he also made time as a fourth dimension in which we move forward. But he is constricted by neither space or time. He lives outside it, while we live in it.

The Bible contains words and ideas and truth which have length and width and depth. The Bible also transcends time. It’s four dimensional. Though I will spend the rest of my life trying to grasp this concept, it’s a reality I except and embrace.

May we all begin to read the Bible in this new way.

Use Technology to Study the Bible

We have many tools available to explore the Word of God

I love to study the Bible. I often talk about reading and exploring scripture. This may conjure up an image of me sitting in a chair with an open copy of the Word of God in my hands. While this is an apt understanding, I seldom read the Bible that way. I often tap technology to facilitate my reading and studying of scripture.

Study the Word of God.

Here are some ideas:

Bible Gateway: I use Bible Gateway most every day as I explore the Word of God. It allows me to read and study the Bible, offering over fifty versions to pick from. I can look things up by chapter and verse or do a search for keywords or phrases. It’s my go-to aid for Bible study.

One option I really like is the “add parallel” feature. This lets me look at a verse in up to five translations at the same time. It shows them in columns and allows me to quickly consider a verse in my five favorite versions of the Bible.

Another nice feature (though I don’t use it) is the ability to listen as a text is read. For some people this is a great way to learn, hearing a passage while reading it.

Bible Hub: Another popular online tool to study the Bible is Bible Hub. It also allows me to look up a verse. Then it displays that verse in twenty-five versions of the Bible. It’s a quick and easy way to compare the text in various translations.

Like Bible Gateway, Bible Hub also offers many other resources to aid in Bible study.

Google Search: Since I have read the Bible in many translations, I can paraphrase a lot of verses, but I can’t quote many with 100 percent accuracy. This is because my mind merges various translations together. Though both Bible Gateway and Bible Hub let me search for a specific phrase, it doesn’t help if I don’t know the exact wording.

Instead I go to the world’s most popular search engine and type in the word Bible followed by the phrase as I remember it. In almost all cases, Google provides me with the correct verse, usually with links to the passage in Bible Gateway and Bible Hub. Plus, there’s bound to be a long list of pages that teach about that passage.

YouVersion: When it comes to smart phones, there are many apps that allow us to read, study, and listen to the Bible. I use YouVersion and downloaded my preferred Bible translation. Now I carry the Bible with me everywhere I go. Many online tools and apps let us read and listen to the Bible. Click To Tweet

Other Options: Of course, there are many online tools and apps to consider. These allow us to read and listen to the Bible, study it, and dig into it using many valuable resources. Just do an online search and you’ll find more solutions than you can ever use.

There’s no ideal way to read and study the Bible. Explore these various options and discover what works best for you. It may be an app, a program, or a website. Or you might just go old school and read the Bible from a printed book.

When it comes to reading and studying the Bible, just do it.

The Bible Unveils Rich Literature to Us

The Bible contains epic stories, profound poetry, and a compelling narrative

In my continuing series of why I love the Bible, here’s reason number 10. The Bible is classic literature, that transcends the ages. The Bible has withstood the onslaught of time and the attacks of its detractors, who have sought to destroy its existence.The Bible is the Word of God, as well as classic literature.

A big portion of the Bible reveals history to us. These grand accounts tell us the story of people, with their faith and their faults propelling them forward. We see great accomplishments in the face of pressure and formidable odds, things that seem beyond our abilities. We also see some epic failures, of people making terrible decisions under questionable motives, mistakes that we would certainly never do ourselves.

These accounts teach us, warn us, and entertain us.

Consider some of the tales that virtually everyone knows, even those who have never picked up a Bible:

  • Adam and Eve, along with the serpent
  • Cain and Abel
  • Noah and the ark
  • Moses and the Ten Commandments
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Father Abraham
  • Lot and his wife at Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Queen Esther and the king
  • David and Goliath
  • Jesus, the star of the show, with his teaching, his followers, and his crucifixion
  • Armageddon, the end of the world

Most everyone knows of these tales and can recite key elements. Movies bring these stories to life, with bold color, amazing special effects, and a grand musical score. These accounts permeate our culture and our awareness.

The Bible also contains wisdom literature, an ancient poetry that teaches us what is true and wise. We read these sections for guidance and encouragement. These principles are also scattered throughout our reality, sometimes as pithy one-liners.

The Bible also contains some forward-looking sections, prophecies of what will come, some of which have since occurred and some of which we still anticipate. These accounts captivate our mind with intrigue and wonder. These other-worldly allusions send our imaginations soaring and fill us with awe. Some people study the Bible as the Word of God, and others read it as literature. Click To Tweet

The Bible contains so much great literature, well worth our time to explore it.

Some people study the Bible as the Word of God, and other people read the Bible as literature. Both approaches have value. Read the Bible. Start today.

Read the Bible in Your Favorite Translation

It doesn’t matter which version of the Bible you read, as long as you read it

People often ask me, “Which version of the Bible should I use?” My answer is quick. They should select a version of the Bible that they will actually read. An unopened Bible means nothing.

In my decades of reading and studying the Bible, I’ve enjoyed seasons where I focused on a particular version. While this gives me a pleasing variety, it makes memorization hard. Though I can paraphrase many verses, which is a compilation of the different translations I’ve read, I can quote few with complete accuracy.Read the Bible.

Here are some of the versions of the Bible I have read at some point in my life. For many of these, I have read the entire Bible in that particular translation.

King James Version (KJV): As a child the only Bible available to me was the King James Version. I struggled to comprehend its words then. I still do now. However, many of the verses that I can quote are from the KJV, no doubt due to learning them in Sunday school is a small child. Yet as soon as other versions became available, I set the KJV aside.

The KJV remains popular for three reasons. First, it’s still used today in some fundamental churches, many of which insist it’s the only version to use. Second, it’s in the public domain, which means it can be freely copied and reproduced without any fear of copyright violation. Virtually all other versions of the Bible are under copyright which restricts how they can be used. Third, is that the KJV is what is commonly quoted when a Bible verse comes up in a movie or TV show. This helps fix the KJV in our mind.

Good News for Modern Man: The first alternative I had to the KJV was Good News for Modern Man. This made the Bible accessible to me in my early teens.

The Living Bible: This was soon followed by The Living Bible, which was the first version I read from cover to cover. Multiple times. I wore out my copy, with it literally falling apart. It was my go to version for several years.

New King James Version (NKJV): For a time I attended a conservative church that entertained the NKJV as an acceptable alternative to the revered KJV. While this removed the old English words from the Bible, it only made it a bit more accessible. I never really connected with this translation.

New International Version (NIV): After a time, I settled on the New International Version of the Bible. It is both accessible and understandable. I have read the entire Bible several times in this version. It’s also the one I usually study from. Many claim the NIV is the most popular version of the Bible (though others insist it’s the KJV).

The Message (MSG): This version of the Bible is perhaps most accessible to me, making the words come alive in a way that’s easy to apply and to convict.

Amplified Bible (AMP): My first exposure to the Amplified Bible left me a bit frustrated, for it used many words to convey its thoughts. But that’s why they call it amplified. I then lacked the patience to consider its verbosity. However, later in life I begin to appreciate its amplified portions for the deeper insight they provided.

New Living Translation (NLT): This is the most understandable of all the versions listed here. But as the easiest to comprehend, it must sometimes sacrifice nuance for simplicity. For someone new to the Bible, I recommend they start with the NLT.

The New Jerusalem Bible and New American Bible (NAB): I’ve explored both these versions of the Bible for access to the books of the Apocrypha, which was removed from the Protestant Bible, including the King James Version, a couple centuries ago. Though these translations allowed me to explore the books of the Apocrypha, I missed the clarity I enjoyed in the NIV, NLT, MSG, or AMP.

Common English Bible (CEB): I’m currently reading God’s Word in the Common English Bible. I selected this version simply because it contains the Apocrypha. I studied all the books of the Apocrypha in this translation and am currently reading through the New Testament. In many cases its slightly rephrased sentences capture my attention and provides insight that I missed up until now. However, other verses provide a different sense of their meaning. But this gives me an opportunity to contemplate those words more carefully.Explore the Bible in all its fullness. Click To Tweet

I have read and studied the Bible in these versions, plus a few more. Additionally, I have read the entire Bible in the Living Bible, NIV, MSG, AMP, and NLT. And I’m presently working my way through the CEB.

I share my summary of these books and my experience reading them to encourage you to explore the Bible in all its fullness. The version you select doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find a translation you can immerse yourself into.

Explore the Bible, and let God reveal himself to you.