Understand Your Bible?

Reading-the-Bible1

The Bible is the bestselling book in the history of the world. It has more translations and versions than any other book.  These versions vary in accuracy due to the intent of the writers. Unfortunately, today most people do not bring a paper bible to church due to,

  • The bible is not taught
  • The verses are displayed on a screen
  • Electronic devices are more convenient
  • The verses are read quickly so that the teaching flow is not interrupted.
  • People have a different version than the one being taught

Thank God there are still churches that take the time to unfold the scriptures while the people follow along in their bibles.

Fact: There are no perfect translations of the bible.

Translating a bible from ancient texts into another language is a difficult task. Word for word translations result in awkward communications because language structures are different. Figures of Speech and customs in the bible are unfamiliar to people outside the culture. That includes the beloved King James Bible that has been a staple for centuries. It’s a wonderful version but not perfect. (Disclaimer -The King James is my preference for reasons outside of the scope of this article)

Fact: The original texts had no chapters, verses, or punctuations.

The books of the bible were meant to be read as a complete book. Chapters were added in the 13th century and verses were added in the 16th century. The chapters, verses, and punctuations are not divinely inspired. The Old Testament is translated from Hebrew text which has no vowels. The vowels were added when translated into English. This caused the size of the bible to grow. Due to this increase some of the books (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles) were divided into two books.

Myth: All of the bibles are the same. It doesn’t matter which version.

I have been told that the details do not matter as long as we agree on the major topics. This causes divisions among churches. The top selling English bibles are New International Version (NIV), King James Version (KJV), New Living Translation(NLT), New King James(NKJ), and the English Standard Version (ESV). Because of the easy access to free bibles on line via electronic devices then bible purchases are not a requirement. I believe that the multiple versions have created a division in the Christian community. This causes us to regress to the least common denominator which is the basic principles of the bible. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this is acceptable to God.

2 Timothy 3

16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

17 so that the man of God may be perfected, fully furnished for every good work.

Each scripture is God-breathed and profitable. God has imparted life into every word of scripture and each of them is profitable. Did God preserve and maintain the entire bible so that we could spend time in less than a tenth of the verses? This is a lazy way to approach the bible.

2 Timothy 2

15 Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We are instructed by God to “Study” to show ourselves approved to God, with the goal to rightly divide the word so that we are not ashamed. The word “study” in Greek means to be diligent, eager, or to exert your best effort. This is the exact opposite of laziness. The details of the Bible are important and it requires diligence to reconcile the difficulties that will be encountered.

To study the Bible correctly the Spirit of God is needed. We want God to lead, guide, and direct us while studying so that we can learn his thoughts and ways. This is impossible without the Spirit of God. The goal is to know the heart of God and not just read the words of God. The study of God goes from 2D to 3D with the Spirit of God. The Bible is fathomless which means that there is no verse that we will ever understand the full depth and meaning. It’s a lifetime adventure. Enjoy the journey!

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