What a treasure it is for me to own and have the freedom to read, memorize, and share from the Holy Bible. It is the living, breathing Word of God – meant for us today as much as for those 2000 years ago.
The scripture has taken on a new life for me over the past year. It has always been precious to me, but lately I have found a new thirst for it. One verse that has become especially meaningful to me in the past year is Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Think about that. I know it seems simple, but it’s not at all. We are commanded to think on these things. How often do we allow our minds to dwell on things that are not likely to happen or are downright untruthful (especially in respect to ourselves)? Rest in the reality of that for a minute – do you spend time believing or repeating comments or thoughts filled with self-condemnation or self-loathing? If so, are you thinking upon what is true or what is right? (Not to mention pure or lovely!) Wow!!!
Do you have a Bible? If not, or if you are having trouble diving into yours, let me share with you the Bible that I carry and study from. It is Zondervan’s NIV & The Message Side-By-Side Bible. I carry it in brown leather but it comes in multiple varieties – paperback, hardback, leather, personal (a smaller size). It also comes in both regular print and large print. Let me caution you, however – buy the large print, even if you have young eyes! I did and have not regretted it. The design of this Bible is essentially two Bibles in one, so to fit the regular print Bible without making it 10 inches think, the print is very small. I find the large print much more comfortable and more comparable to the print size in standard Bibles and books.
Now, why this Bible? Well, I chose NIV (New International Version) translation because this is the translation that I grew up reading and is the easiest for me to understand and relate to. You might prefer King James Version, New American Standard Version, or another version altogether. That’s fine – it’s what helps make the scripture come alive to you. I also chose The Message paraphrase because this version helps bring the scripture into some of the “current day” lingo and makes it even more understandable.
It is important to note that The Message is a paraphrase, not a translation (though some will argue that it should be called an intelligent paraphrase). What’s the difference? Generally, translations are thought to be more reliable and accurate as they’ve gone back to the original Greek or Hebrew and translated it into the language (i.e. English here). Paraphrases are thought to be less reliable as they typically take a translation and reword it into the same language, using other word choices, sentence structures, etc. However, in The Message paraphrase, Eugene Peterson did start with the Green or Hebrew before bringing it into the English you read on the page – thus the argument that it should be considered an intelligent paraphrase. Whatever you want to call it, I often find that reading a verse or passage in the NIV and then in The Message brings a fresh insight and understanding that has really brought God’s words to life for me over the past year.
Whatever your Bible and whatever your path, I pray that you will be spoken to today – we are so blessed to be able to own as many Bibles as we want, to read from them, to study them, and to share them. Today, I am so thankful for that!