Hi there! How is your 2021 going so far?
After the year 2020 turned out to be, you may be looking to reconnect to God’s Word in 2021. Reading the Bible, if you’ve never done it on a regular basis, can be challenging and even discouraging when you first start out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say that they started to read the Bible but quit after a few weeks—much like we stop working out after a few tries. Getting in physical shape and spiritual shape is hard. Reading the Bible faithfully on a daily basis requires discipline and demands being intentional.
Exercising, eating healthier, and losing weight are extremely popular resolutions people make at the beginning of a new year. Getting in shape and improving our physical condition includes several facets and a number of options. In a similar way, growing spiritually is a multi-faceted endeavor that includes activities like Bible reading, prayer, engaging with a small group, and attending corporate worship.
Did you know that 80 percent of those who resolved to exercise, eat better, and lose weight quit after 5 months?
One of my commitments for the new year is to read through the entire Bible in one year. I’m using the “Bible” app on my smartphone to help me achieve that personal objective. Often, I employ the app’s audio feature that allows me to listen to God’s Word being read. A nice side effect of this is that it improves my listening skills.
One of the things you’ll find is that the Bible app offers a number of different plan options. Simply choose the one that’s right for you.
Another option is to download and print a Bible reading calendar from the internet. Again, you will find numerous options, so choose the one that suits you.
There are also books, like Aaron Mitchell’s New Testament Challenge that you can utilize to help you get started with developing a daily Bible reading habit.
Are you a new believer who is unsure where to begin? You can find a simple Bible-reading plan that introduces you to God’s Word here.
A Word About Bible Translations
A lot of people attempt to start reading the Bible only to get derailed by the difficulty of the Bible translation they are using. This is particularly true when relying on older translations like the King James or American Revised versions. There’s nothing innately wrong with these types of translations. They are just hard for most people to comprehend because they employ the English language in a way that we no longer speak today.
There are really two primary types, or philosophies, of Bible translations: word-for-word and thought-for-thought. Paraphrase versions are also available.
Word-for-word Bible translations strive to arrive as closely as possible to the wording and grammatical structure of the original text. These translations seek to minimize the human component in interpreting Scripture. The old King James version is a forerunner for word for word translations. Today, New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version (not shown above), are two of the most popular word-for-word translations. The New English and New King James are also very highly respected versions that fit in this category.
Rather than focusing on connecting every word of Scripture to the modern English language, thought-for-thought translations attempt to capture the central or overall meaning of a passage. They examine a whole sentence and then try their best to translate the sentence in a more easily understood form. The New International Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New Living Translation are popular thought-for-thought offerings.
A paraphrase of the Bible, like the Message and the Good News Bible, put the Bible in plain, modern language. These versions depend more on the author’s individual interpretation of the text than the exact translation of the Scriptures.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.Isaiah 43:2
Personally, I would recommend employing several different translations rather than relying solely on one if you are studying the Bible. But, if your objective is to read through God’s Word in a specified time period (i.e. a year) then I recommend using a version that is easiest to understand for you. You can always use a different translation next year.
The Bible can be hard enough to understand without making it more difficult. Use the multitude of resources—the embarrassment of riches—that the Lord has provided.
One good practice that I found helps me understand God’s Word more readily is praying before I read or listen to the Bible. Reading the Bible daily will help you stay focused on the things of God as well as equip you to tackle what the day throws at you. In making reading the Bible part of your daily routine, you will identify what God’s will is for your life, hear God speak to you more clearly, and grow in your ability to love both God and your neighbors.
- Have you read through the Bible before?
- What tips do you have for someone who is seeking to make daily Bible reading part of their life?
- What is your favorite Bible translation?
- How has reading the Bible regularly impacted and influenced your life?
- Does spending time in God’s word help you make better decisions?
Father God, thank You for giving us Your word to help us understand and know You better. Let us spend time in Your word each day. Help us discern what we read and understand what Your will for our lives is through the reading of Your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I am m praying for you as we venture into this new year together. What an exciting and interesting time to be alive! Reading God’s Word helps us keep a proper perspective and healthy outlook in this crazy world we live in. Each day, recognize what you can change and accept what you cannot change. Make good decisions and wise choices. Keep your eyes firmly planted on our Lord and Savior, Jesus. May the Lord shine His favor on you and those you love. Know that you are loved.
I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment and share what the Lord is doing in your life this new year.
Under Christ, for the Glory of Christ.
The Devotional Guy™