What Bible Should I Use?


What bible version we read is sort of like what car we drive, or bike we ride. The best one is the one we actually use, the one that gets us where we want to go.

And also like our cars and bikes, we shouldn't be too concerned what our neighbors think!

Yet, make no mistake, we Christians- like Israel- are a "people of the book." Jesus  said "if we continue in his word, then we are his disciples." (John 6,31). Our challenge is to read his word, profess it, and, by His grace, continue in it.

"It is written" - what a joyful phrase! What a comforting thing to become a bible-based faither in Jesus, the word made flesh.

It is written "that whomsoever believes [confidently acts on his promises] in him will have eternal life."

It is written "that man does not live by bread alone but every word that comes from God."

It is written that "the meek [that's supposed to be us] will inherit the earth."

I know this, and you know this (or will know this), because we have read it in the book of books, about our king of kings.

There are so many choices regarding bible versions these days, praise God. Fifty or sixty years ago this wasn't the case and the translations were not easy to read, and folks mostly left bible reading and study up to our churches. But now there are so many popular translations it's hard to keep track of their alphabet soup abundance ("KJ, NKJ, REB, NASB, GNB,ESV, NIV, RSV, NAB, JB, NJB, NLT and so on).

But the great thing about this modern explosion of  translations is they are all getting easier to read, and for the most part, are accurate and handy, and many come with helps, and pointers, and introductions to each book, and maps too.

Remember when you were a kid and Mom looked at you dressed in a nice suit of clothes, that were about one size too big: "you'll grow into it." Likewise our bible choice.

Don't be too concerned with the version you have. The point is to get a bible and read it, even ten minutes a day will change your life, and put you way ahead of folks who perhaps parade it around on the street and in church more than read it.

I remember a high school student who said she didn't know how seriously to take the word of God: "So, I just decided to read it for myself, cover to cover." Would that we all had her intent and ambition! And realize that God wants us to take His WORD seriously, just like HE does.

Most folks, however, best begin with a short book of the New Testament, like First Peter or First John, or if you like gripping stories, the Acts of the Apostles. Whatever book you read first, read it right through, even if you have questions and get a little confused. Reading it right through will make it way less confusing in the end. Get the big picture- get the story. Then read it again, then ask questions, then start to study the details, and all the rest.

I went bible hunting recently for a twenty-something couple who are up for challenges. So it was clear that they needed a bible with which they could wrestle a bit. I went to two used book stores, which between them had only one other bible for sale (a King James with microscopic print) and rescued two pristine and weighty NIV Study bibles.

This find is the sort of thing that keeps us Christians in the business of defending miracles wherever we experience them.

I told this bible hunt story to a Baptist pastor friend, a man rich in bibles, so for good measure, he gave me two new ones, still in the box (a Ryrie Study Bible, with its fearless and and unambigious and non mealy mouthed footnotes, and a "Case Christ" study bible (NIV), one of which I gave right away and the other I highly prize especially to better understand endtime events.

So don't stress out about the version of your bible- just get one and read it. (And for folks who are so distracted and stressed that any reading is difficult there are so many audio based Word applications. I have also seen grown men learn to read because they wanted to know His Word that badly) Then watch your own life change and grow. You'll learn about our savior Jesus, and yourself, and about his first people Israel, and about our own  future. 

His word is a "lamp unto our feet." It lights up our paths when we don't quite see the way.

So get a bible, read it until the wheels are about to fall off, I mean until the pages start to get all smudgy and rip. And then, break down, and get another one, but save that ugly old one and read it too once in awhile. And when you tear up or outgrow the second one, get a third one.

It is written! I love that phrase. It is written- that man does not live by bread alone.

Thank you Jesus- your word is written and there for all of us to feed on, and proclaim.

And live by- unto to your glory! Unto our salvation by faith now and forever.











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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.