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2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline
Bible “Phobia” can be a real source of trepidation
I remember growing up reading the King James Version of the Bible and thinking it was the equivalent of Shakespeare. Eloquent words strung together that I couldn’t understand or follow; It was intimidating, to say the least. Then I grew up spiritually. I enjoyed listening to sermons, reading books about devotion and faith, but when it came to the Bible. I will have to admit it became intimidating and scary. I joined a Bible studies group and still owned that same KJV Bible I had been carrying with me since I left for college.
While in Bible Study people would read the verses clearly in a language I could understand. Say what? I would try to follow along with my KJV still lost and confused. Until one day, I noted their version of the Bible and immediately sought the help of Amazon.com. Oh, the options, so many to choose from; deciding on an NIV (New International Version) for myself and NLT (New Living Translation) for my daughter. Since then, I have purchased an Amplified Bible, too (AMP) and have become a little Bible-obsessed.
Trying something new
After a few years with my NIV Bible, I finally purchased my favorite version thus far, (NASB) New American Standard Bible. I LOVE IT!! I’ve tried other Bible and keep coming back. I have to admit I purchased this Bible because of a Bible Teacher that I love and follow Kim Cash Tate said she uses it. Now that I have my own, I understand. I love this translation and my specific Zondervan and all the extra information it provides.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Finding what works Best
Before, I was afraid of not knowing enough or understanding the Bible. I didn’t have my favorite verse memorize or couldn’t pull a verse out of my head to comfort someone in need. My fear of the Bible kept a significant barrier between me genuinely knowing God. I never participated in Bible-based conversations because I had no idea what they were saying. Once I started reading the Bible (in a version I could understand), I was fascinated with it. There are so many stories, heroic, scandalous, educational, motivational, directional stories. I think every topic you could think of is covered in the Bible. I began to use the Bible to answer my questions on faith, how I should go about situations, even on the type of marriage I wanted, and how to raise my children. It’s all in there waiting to be discovered and study. Now I try to get into the word at least once a day, and I always have my Bible near (I downloaded the Bible app).
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
What about a Bible for those who have more questions?
Recently, I received the NIV Study Quest Bible made by Zondervan. It is the first Bible that has Questions and Answers throughout. I was so excited to receive this new version and immediately began exploring the Bible. This Bible “breaks-it-down” and is a great Bible for someone who has lots of questions or newly exploring studying the Word. After seeing all the references and resources, I gifted it to my daughter. She is at a point where she needs more substance in her walk with Christ, and I think this Bible is a fantastic source of more in-depth discussion about the Bible but intimidating like my NASB Study Bible. I have been catching her studying more often. She told me she loves the questions and answers. She said she usually has questions when reading the Word and its nice to know she is not the only one. The further explanation of passages and verses has allowed her to grow and become more in-depth in her study. It’s a pretty cool Bible!
A little extra help is, okay!
A Bible Commentary is another way to gather more understanding of the Word. Whether its separate sources or included in your Bible notes. Bible Commentaries are a fantastic way to dissects verse by verse and bring more knowledge to the meaning. Some Bibles’ include the commentary, but you can buy a separate one too that usually goes into greater detail.
It tells you what was happening during that time the verse was written, information about the author, and some may even give you physical location reference points for a greater understanding. Don’t let your lack of knowledge keep you away from the Word. It is fundamental to growing your relationship with Christ and creating a deeper understanding of your faith. It’s the WHY and the HOW that you sometimes need.
We need the Truth from the Word
When I first came to Christ, no one took me under their wings and showed me these things or told me I could use a different version of the Bible. Not that I needed permission, but I did need guidance. I was looking for a mentoring program but never found one. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a Titus Women type mentorship in the Church? Many churches have it, but mine does not, I even asked and never was connected with anyone so I had to seek out mentors myself. Online Bible Teachers became a great source. It’s not ideal but in this disconnected world. It’s nice to find a community somewhere even if it is virtual. In this modern world, we must use every tool necessary to get the Truth. There is salvation in the Word and so much to learn and grow you need to find a Bible the one that allows you to understand. I am grateful for apps like the Bible Gateway that has over 150 version right in the palm of your hand. They also have the BibleGateway.com/plus, which is a membership that offers expanded Bible studies, resources, and more for those who are looking for more ways to connect in the Word.