17 June 2014

Why You Should Read a Different Version of the Bible

I have this lovely little leatherette Bible that is weathered and used. For many years I only read this Bible, an ESV (English Standard Version). It is a good, steady version. Still formal but true to its history. I didn't want to stray too far from the KJV. And it was a great version to read and grow with. My Bible is full of underlined and marked passages and I could easily flip to certain familiar spots.

There is something comforting in that. In having the Bible full of your marks of favourite passages that got you thinking. You hold it close, like a security blanket, not wanting to let go.

But after some time, the eyes grow dull reading the same lines over and over, and there's a chance it loses a grip on your heart. That's why I think it is important to read a different version of the Bible. A different translation starts you fresh in lines of Scripture cast with slightly different verbiage and sentence structure and you begin to understand things you may have overlooked in your countless readings of your familiar version.

That's how if has been for me, anyway.
I wanted a version that was a lot different because I realized that in my daily readings of the ESV (as much as I loved it) the words were growing trite and I was glossing over a lot of things. I don't want that when I am reading God's Word, so I needed a translation that would help me revisit with new eyes so the words would soak into my heart as if I were reading the Bible for the first time.

I considered reading The Message.
I had my hesitations. Is it too modern? Does it loosely interpret Scripture? Does it hold true to the oldest versions?

So, when I was working in the bookstore at my church one Wednesday night, I talked to Pastor Cory (who happened to stop by) about it and asked for his thoughts. He told me that he was currently reading through The Message and was really liking it. He found that it holds true to the message of the Bible and it is a good way to see things a bit differently using modern text to reveal ancient stories.

Well, that is exactly what I wanted, so I bought The Message that night at the bookstore before I went home.

I've really been enjoying reading a different version. When I read, I find that I am reading slower, absorbing the words and chewing on them because it is not familiar like the ESV became for me. I am understanding certain books and events better than I ever have. So, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. Shake things up by reading a different translation of the Bible that you are not familiar with.

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