Today, my message is simple: If you have been reading one version of the Bible for any length of time, read another.
I’ve been studying the Bible for 30 years and love the NIV (New International Version). The scriptures I’ve memorized are predominately in NIV-speak. They constantly run through my mind like a protective shield. (Although I can’t erase my KJV mental recording of The Lord’s Prayer.)
But last year, I found an old copy of The Living Bible originally published in 1971. Sure, it’s a paraphrased version so I’m not going to use it for my apologetic studies. But wow, in some ways I feel like an archeologist that’s discovered the lost letters of the Apostle Paul! The same thoughts, the same heart, the same insights phrased differently pop off the page like a 3D-HD movie or a digital hologram.
It’s like I’m reading the Bible for the first time, like I’m going from black and white TV to Technicolor, like I tripled the magnification of my reading glasses, like I’ve been walking around with allergy-dulled senses for years and now my head is clear and I can smell lemons and apple pie and fresh-baked bread.
(Aw, nuts, I realized I just used a string of similes.)
So, here’s my point(s): If you’re not reading the Bible every day, take a page from the Nike ad book and Just Do It.
If you are a consistent Bible scholar, do yourself a favor and try a different version. Don’t think like the old preacher who said, “If the King James Bible was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me.” (No joke, there are people who actually believe this!) We can have a similar attitude toward any version of the Bible.
So, keep it fresh. Keep it new. And you’ll keep growing like a seed in summertime.
(Aw, I did it again. Well, you get my point.)
What new version are you reading? Here’s a few if you need some help picking one.
King James Version
New International Version
Revised Standard Version
The Living Bible
New Living Translation
World English Bible
New King James Version
New International Readers Editions
American Standard Version
New American Standard Version
Young’s Literal Translation
Plain English Bible
New English Bible
Basic English Bible
20th Century Bible
Modern King James Version
New Jerusalem Bible
Hebrew Names Version of World English Bible
Contemporary English Version
English Version for the Death
Good News Version
New Century Version
New Revised Standard Version
J. B. Phillips New Testament, modern English