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Reading the Bible - Part 2 Translations and Resources

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Acts 17:11

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

God wrote a book-The Bible. As Christians we should strive to live and breathe the bible and the scripture in it.

The Bible is inspired (God-Breathed) which means that God divinely influenced the human authors of the Scriptures to write the very Word of God. In the context of the Scriptures “inspiration” simply means “God-breathed” making the Bible unique among all other books. The human authors, though inspired by God had different writing skill, styles, their own personalities, worldviews and cultural influences. Yet the Bible because the words were received from an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect God the words of the bible are inerrant and authoritative.

The Bible contains 611,000 (varies by translation) words that are divided into 66 books. It is a book of books divided between the Old Testament (39) and the New Testament (27). The Catholic Bible includes the Apocrypha (7 books not part of he accepted Canon). There are at least 10 rejected books that are still in print.

The Bible wasn’t originally written in English but Hebrew /Aramaic for the Old Testament and Koine Greek for the New Testament.

The Bible that we are reading today is a translation of the original text into English. Beginning back in the 7th century there were many English translations leading up to the King James Bible, which by the 18th century had become the only unchallenged Authorized Version. Currently there are over 900 English translations available.

Translations are either a literal translation that’s word-for-word (matching the original language in word, phrase and concept) or thought-for-thought (translates words/phrases/concepts to better understand in English). A paraphrase bible takes the meaning of a verse or passage of Scripture and attempts to express the meaning in “plain language” – essentially the words of the author of the paraphrase.

The Bible Society ( offers an excellent webpage to help in selection of a translation and what is currently considered the better English translations.

Many still consider the King James to be the best English Translation. Many people also use several translations, the NSAB, NRSV, ESV and the NIV for example. The paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, The Message is also an excellent resource. Types of bibles include traditional (text only), Study (notes, maps, cross-references), Reference (cyclopedic index, concordance), One-Year (divided into 365 readings), Chronological (one continuous story/narration), Children’s (simple stories, maps, drawings), Parallel Bible (2-8 translations side-by-side), Place-in-Life (for stages of life, Women, men, recovering addicts etc.), Pastors (protocols, outlines), Specialty bibles (there are many, leadership, Greek-Hebrew, Serendipity etc.)

Also many bibles and bible study software are available online such as Youversion and Biblearc. (You tube) is a new excellent source of graphic depictions of all the books of the Bible and related topics, please check it out!

If you are able have a good dictionary, an exhaustive Concordance, Thesaurus, Book of Bible Maps, a journal to write in, and pens and markers.

Ultimately it comes down to finding a translation that you are comfortable with and can use day to day as part of your spiritual nourishment in Christ.



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