Hello friends, and welcome back to the 'Bible Basics' Course from Hope&Grace.
Thanks for being here - it's so lovely to have you join us for this conversation!
As you guys know, this course comes out of the conversation we've been having lately about our relationships with the Bible, and what gets in our way. In this course I want us to address those barriers, and be equipped to approach the Bible with a lot more confidence. Today we are back with part 6 - Addressing a few ongoing questions, setting a foundation of what is 'safe' and a few more pointers on how to get started with your Bible reading.
Today's video is an addendum to the previous two. A few more confidence building comments to break down a few more barriers that we may find hard to jump over. There is a short list of resources I find helpful at the bottom of this post.
Here are some expanded notes from our sixth video:
Translations: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that IT DOES NOT MATTER which translation of the Bible you have (within the boundaries of mainstream Christian translations. Let's not be taking about Morman 'Bibles' or anything like that. I'm here to talk about anything from the Catholic Bible right through to the Passion Translaton. Today we are here for all of it. (and if this went over your head, awesome. Just grab your Bible and trust it)). What matters more is that it is open and you are READING. Ok, a few notes on translations:
Translations can be intimidating. Different denominations/types of churches like different ones. If you haven't got a Bible yet, maybe ask which version your church likes and get that.
Every single translation of the Bible is imperfect.
Pick one that works for you.
A 'safe' list may include: NIV, ESV, NLT, TNIV, NKJV, ASV and other helpful things like The Message and The Passion Translation. I'd recommend the ones in bold confidently. (For the record, I have an NIV & I use all of the others on this list regularly as references & comparisons. I think TNIV is really helpful in making the laguage a little easier to understand)
For those of us who struggle to read + understand/have 'time' I'd offer a few pointers:
Persist. It will be worth it. You might just succeed.
Try The Message version. When things are too complicated this version is super helpful to make things more understandable. It is SUCH a useful tool to help open up the scripture for us when it is just too hard to get in to or understand. I go to it ALL OF THE TIME and, if a normal bible with verses and two columns is too much, wouldn't it be amazing to read a version that helped you to understand things so that the next time we looked at the verses and columns it all made a load more sense!?
Try an audio Bible. If reading is too much, listen. We can all do this! In the car, while walking, whatever we are doing. Get yourself a bible app with audio options (I'll link my recommendation in the resources below) and start listening. This is an awesome way to open things up, break down the scary factor of Bible, AND to get us used to working the Bible in as part of our day. You can also listen at half speed to make it extra helpful for understanding.
Listen and open your Bible at the same time. Get your app, get your Bible. Match up your translations & go... This would do wonders for breaking down the intimidation factor in opening our Bibles.
Each tradition has a different expectation of what a well read Bible looks like. Some want it scribbled all over and falling apart. Others want it pristine and clean, without a mark. IT DOES NOT MATTER. There should NOT be any pressure for you to mark your Bible in any given way... So much more important than what your Bible looks like is the fact that you are opening it. Do whatever works for you.
The Christian Bible is meant to be used and consumed. The first thing you have to do is get it out. Get your hands on it, get used to holding it. Get it out. Bring it with you. Let it become a friend, and as you get to know it it will become less scary. Promise.
Get used to holding your Bible.
If you haven't got one yet, order one today. If you need to download that app, do that. If you think a Message version could help, try that out. If you feel the need to scribble all over the front page of your Bible to 'un-perfect' it - do. Whatever you feel prompted to do from todays video - do it.
Save the date: On Saturday (20th June) We're going to have an Instagram Live at 7:30 - it'll be a space to ask questions, have a chat, have a little review & dig into some things further if we want to. Come follow us on Instagram so you don't miss it, and feel free to message me any thoughts/questions ahead of time if you like.
The following are free resources that I find helpful with my Bible reading. I pray these will help you find answers, understanding & help you do the work of learning.
YouVersion Bible App: As shown in the video, this app has about a million versions of the Bible with a lot of audio versions too. It is safe. You can search the entire Bible, read chapters or books or verses & it has reading plans too. This is a FANTASTIC resource to have on your phone - It is a daily go-to for me. Find it in your app store or here: https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/
The Bible Project: A phenomenal ongoing project from two incredible smart Bible guys who make excellent animated videos to help explore Bible themes, books & specific stories/characters (basically everything) - they also do excellent book overviews & more detailed study too. Find their stuff here: https://bibleproject.com
Bible Gateway: An excellent website which I use all the time to compare translations of verses to help me understand their meaning. They have a 'side by side' option which I use Literally. All the time. You can find it here: https://www.biblegateway.com
Alright then friends. See you on Wednesday for part 7! We're gonna get real and talk about some stuff. Stay with me. It'll be worth it.