Week 1 Introduction – Choose the Right Tools (Feb 19)
Read: Hebrews 4:12-13, Deuteronomy 11:18-23, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, James 1:22-25
1) According to these verses, how important is it that we read the Bible regularly?
2) What effect should reading the Bible have on us?
Let’s decide on how we are going to read the Bible in the next several weeks:
1) Choose a good translation. Consider the following questions:
a. Does it use modern language?
b. Is it easy to read—do I enjoy reading it, or is it a chore?
Some translations are very literal. They try to be as true to the original language as possible. As a result they can be hard to read and sometimes the original meaning actually gets lost because one language works very differently than another. Some examples of literal translations are the New American Standard Version and the King James Version.
Other translations do the opposite. They do not focus on what each of the original words mean individually, but only in the overall meaning. These translations are not actually “translations” but are called paraphrases. Some examples of paraphrases are The Good News Bible and The Message.
There is one other group of translations which are called “Dynamic Equivalents”. These are concerned about translating the words, but when there is difficulty matching the words of our language with the original language, the translators convey a similar meaning instead. Generally, the “dynamic equivalent” translations are the best choices for our purposes. Some examples of “dynamic equivalents” are The New International Version and the New Living Translation.
See the following illustration about Bible translations. I recommend the New Living Translation. It uses modern language and creates a balanced approach in the techniques of translation. Most of all, it is enjoyable to read, since the reader is not constantly struggling with the wording as in some other translations.
2) Pray: Ask God to give you an understanding heart and enthusiasm to look into His message of the Bible.
3) Refer to your Prayer Journal in the back of your printed Study Guide. Alternatively, pick up a notebook to use as a daily Prayer Journal.