Which Bible Translation is Best?
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Translations that may be right for you.
I wanted to learn all I could to progress in growth as a new christian. A bible study guide would have proved helpful to steer me in the direction I needed to go.
I enjoyed The Good News Bible in it’s ease of reading when I first started. Good bibles to start with are The Good News or The English Standard Version (ESV). The Amplified Bible and The Message are usually considered as well (these are better used as references rather than your main bible – [advice from Mark L Ward and Michael Brown, both scholars at the doctorate level]). The King James Version, The New King James Version , and The New American Standard Bible are the bibles most widely used by seasoned christians and counted as dependable renderings of genuine scripture. (www.biblegateway.com and sites like it allow you to look at a scripture and change to different translations. By comparing, you can see which one reads better for you.)
Bible Study for Beginners
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Multitudes of people have been taught the principles of the christian life in small groups. The importance of a small gathering for bible study, praying together/for each other, and leaning on one another for support cannot be over-emphasized. To be in a small group and have the opportunity to ask questions in a quiet and close setting has inestimable and eternal value for a new christian. Ask God to guide you to a caring and loving small group.
I have had several experiences with new christians that tell me they can’t understand their bible. People lack understanding for two distinct reasons.
The first reason is a lack of experience; The christian man or woman will definitely have more understanding of the bible after he/she has gained a good overview of the history of the Jewish nation and it’s people. It’s natural to lack understanding and have questions before this experience develops.
The second reason isn’t talked about very much – God, by His Nature, expects that His Commands will be followed. If a person, for some reason, neglects to obey His Commands, He (God) generally speaks less (or not at all) to the offending person.
We need to obey a command that we find in our reading of scripture. (Our obedience to it ensures that He will continue to speak to us, to give us direction and wisdom. But, if we don’t obey it, we may find ourselves trying to read, but not understanding. This person will be heard saying something like “the bible doesn’t make sense to me”).
Not Your Ordinary Book
The Bible is not your normal book. With any book that I have ever read, I always started at the beginning. It is usually not in the beginners best interest – for various reasons – to start in Genesis (the time will come to read this first amazing book). The best place to start is in The Gospel of John (alert: watch out for other books named ‘John’ – near the end of the new testament (NT) is 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John; The Gospel of John is the 4th book of the NT. The NT starts with these books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). You also might consider reading a proverb a day (almost exact center of the bible). Proverbs offers very insightful and practical advice in dealing with people. It has helped multitudes make quality and sound decisions, resulting in fulfilling peace, as well as less regrets in life.
The goal of early bible reading is to begin a foundational process of understanding. The basics of christianity are what you probably expect: forgiving others, loving others (the bible way – not how I interpret it), bible reading, prayer, attending a healthy bible believing/preaching church, obeying God (in things like no pre-marital sex), having a mentor/confidant/friend and/or small group to help you grow – this list is a good start.
Use the bible to guide you in ‘weeding out’ things that don’t meet christian standards – and be honest with yourself (the easiest person to deceive is yourself!). In Psalm 1, the bible uses a picture of a tree to describe someone who has spiritual strength; our goal should be to have such admirable strength.
Meditate The Word of God
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Open your bible right in the middle, and you’ll be at Psalms (If it opens to Proverbs, go to the left to find Psalms; if it opens to Job, go to the right to find Psalms)
Psalms 1:2 reads: “…his delight is in the law of The Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night”. What does it mean to meditate scripture? It means to ponder it in such a way that meaning is extracted from it. It’s similar to the “ah-hah” experience; a particular verse will make sense in a potent way in your spirit, so that it becomes difficult to forget. The Holy Spirit can ‘brand’ it into your spirit in different and interesting ways.
How to Memorize The Word of God - Pictures, Acronyms and Numbers
Be observant as you read scripture. You want to learn to form mind pictures so that you are able to remember a passage. For example, in Psalm 1, verse 1 (in the bible, sentences are called “verses”) reads:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful”
Notice the progression that this man follows; first, we see him walking (in the counsel of the ungodly), then (2) he’s standing (in the path of sinners), then (3) he’s sitting (in the seat of the scornful). In your mind, develop a picture of this progression: walking, standing still (he stops walking), and sitting (he sits down) – and you’ll remember it more easily!
Acronyms – In Matthew 7:7, we read: “Ask, and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and the door will be opened”. Notice the first letters of the words Ask, Seek, Knock – they spell A-S-K ! Try to forget the order of those words now!
Numbers – watch scripture for ‘number’ repetitions that will help you remember locations of scriptures. One example is in the discipline of children. You will find scriptures on disciplining children in the following chapters of proverbs: 13, 19, 23, 29 – the repetition is 3-9-3-9. (Go and look to see for yourself – especially if you have children!)
Another example is scriptures that speak of longing for God. You will find scripture verses about longing for God in Psalm 42, 63, and 84. Notice that the 1st numbers are 4, 6, 8; the 2nd numbers are 2, 3, 4.
One more (the Number Mirror): Psalms 37 and 73 has content that is similar, but the content that starts in 37 is the content at the end of 73. Notice the numbers 37 and 73 ‘mirror’ each other.
In scripture, we are told to stand. The meaning of ‘stand’ in the original language is to abide, continue, remain and endure. If we take the first letter of each word – A for abide, C for continue, R for remain, and E for endure, we get the word ACRE. I remember what stand means by thinking of “standing on my ACRE“
The following scriptures resonated with me when I was a new christian, and gave me a hunger to become a long term devoted christian brother —
- Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7 (Jesus speaking to multitudes – is commonly referred to as ‘The Beatitudes’). The Words of Jesus in these chapters are brilliant; they are helpful, educational, lovingly correctional and beautiful for societal change
- “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17)
- ” For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)
- “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19)
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phillipians 4:13)
- Psalm 27, Psalm 37 and John 14 and 15 – encouraging if you are discouraged
- and last but certainly NOT LEAST “…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning…” (Isaiah 46:9, 10)
Did you know that Lucifer (satan) is a musician? Are you aware that hell was not created for man? Did you know that the bible says that if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat? See The Bible Says That? at WaterfallWorship.com to learn more.
The bible is not just a book; it’s the Book that reads back!