You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:9-10 ESV
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG) There are many translations of the Bible. The reason for this is that English is a limited language compared to Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic. There are not WORD for WORD translations so there are what are called INTERPRETATIONS. In other words, getting the “original” meaning, similar to what we would know today. The Bible is called the GOSPEL, which means GOOD NEWS. In todays ever-darkening world we need some GOOD NEWS to combat the news that our country and our world are in rapid decay and decline, and we need to keep our heads about us and our hearts on the TRUTH of the GOOD NEWS!
Leader: That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT) While reading the Bible, different versions will have different words, but alluding to similar thoughts. For example, the KJV and NAS attempted to take the underlying Hebrew and Greek words and translate them into the closest corresponding English words as possible (word for word), while the NIV and NLT attempted to take the original thought that was being presented in Greek and Hebrew and then express that thought in English (thought for thought). Many of the other translations attempt to “meet in the middle” between those two methods. Paraphrases such as The Message or The Living Bible can be used to gain a different perspective on the meaning of a verse, but they should not be used as a primary Bible translation. They put you in the ‘zip code’, and get you the general understanding of what is being read, but not an accurate WORD for WORD translation.
Conduit, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV) Whatever version of the Bible you choose to use, you need to know a couple of things. #1 Read the Bible! You must open the book, read the book, and think about what you read in THE BOOK. It is not a good Pastor, or an impressive speaker who teaches you from scripture, it is the HOLY SPIRIT! His job is to teach you, He dwells in you and before you open the WORD OF GOD ask the HOLY SPIRIT to illuminate the scripture to make it make sense to you. #2, ask yourself: What did what I just read, mean to the people it was written to, back then? Secondly, what does that mean today? Thirdly, how does this apply to my life today? We NEED THE WORD of God. For someone who is just starting their journey into reading and understanding God’s WORD, I recommend an NLT study Bible. A study Bible has explanations at the bottom of the page, about scripture you are reading at the top of the page. The Bible is not HOLY, it is the WORD written in the Bible that is Holy. And the WORD does not impact you, UNLESS you get the WORD IN YOU, through SIGHT, SOUND, or EXPERIENCE. The only antidote to what ails America is the GOOD NEWS, and FAITH that it is YOUR GOOD NEWS! Remember: So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17) Today, tonight- instead of opening a COLD ONE, why not open up the GOOD NEWS and feed your SPIRIT! Stay Strong WARRIOR of GOD!