Go Through The Bible In A Year
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Read and Listen To The Whole Bible In A Year
Topic: If You're New To The Bible
Member # 13749
First off, you'll have to get a Bible. That's the easy part as they can be purchased in a variety of sizes and price ranges at any well-stocked book store like Powell's and/or Barnes & Noble.
I highly recommend reading a Bible printed in a contemporary vernacular. Antique versions like the King James are quaint, but its 400 year-old English can be very misleading because nobody talks that way anymore. You really can't even use a modern dictionary with antique versions so it's best to regard them as curiosities.
Make sure the version you choose is a translation; for example the New International Version and/or the New American Standard Version.
Paraphrased versions such as the New Living Bible are easy reads, but unfortunately not all that true to the real thing so I don't recommend them for serious Bible students.
Just Starting Out
I frequently encounter people online who are interested in reading the Bible but don't know where to begin.
Well; I suggest the little books of Ruth and Esther. They're brief and they're entertaining. Afterwards; maybe the first fourteen chapters of Exodus, and then just enough chapters of Matthew and Luke to get a first-hand look at the Christmas story. For some people: that's more than enough Bible to satisfy their curiosity.
When my son first started reading the Bible for himself, he became very discouraged. When I asked him what the matter was, he told me couldn’t figure out the hidden messages. So I told him: Son, you’ve been misinformed; there are no hidden messages. Just read the Bible like a novel or an encyclopedia and you’ll get a lot more out of it that way. He was greatly relieved.
It's very tempting for some to spiritualize the Bible's words-- to spin them and/or construe them to mean things they don't' say in writing. Here's a pretty good rule of thumb: When the literal sense makes sense, look for no other sense. Here's an example of what I mean.
†. Gen 1:1 . . In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.
Although lacking in specific scientific details, it's okay to take that passage literally because it makes sense just the way it is; and by it, people are instantly informed about the origin of the cosmos.
The Bible is mainly an historical record. If people would only read it for the information, like an encyclopedia or a court stenographer's transcript, then it easily becomes a whole lot more useful for consideration. I can easily promise anyone, that if they read the Bible with a practical attitude, it will tell them a whole lot more than they ever thought.
Refusal to utilize common dictionaries thwarts the efforts of translators who have gone to great lengths to translate the Bible's ancient languages into equivalents that people can understand. Any attempt to understand an English translation of the Bible will prove quite confusing unless readers utilize the standard definitions of English words found in an English dictionary. Same goes for grammar and syntax.
My point is, there are always going to be elitist groups who sincerely believe it is wrong to use a dictionary to define the English words in English translations. Apparently they prefer to give common English words mystical meanings rather than standard meanings. People who give common English words mystical meanings are speaking in a foreign language when they do that. Though the spelling and pronunciation of their words are familiar to English-speaking peoples, they are actually speaking in a proprietary code that can’t be deciphered without a special decryption device to do so.
†. Gen 1:1 . . In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
If I take that verse as is-- understanding the English words as per their standard definitions in an English dictionary, and complying with all the standard rules governing English grammar and syntax --then I am instantly informed as to the source of the cosmos. If instead, I suppose each of those English words has a mystical meaning, rather than a standard meaning, and the grammar and syntax are also mystical rather than standard, then I will end up having no more clue what that verse is trying to tell me than if it were written in a Martian dialect.
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Read and Listen To The Whole Bible In A Year