One of the most amazing ongoing miracles is how God’s Holy Spirit takes words from His Word and uses them to transform lives. He has continued to do that for thousands of years.
That same miracle happens in whatever generation, whatever context, whatever country the Bible is read or heard. The Bible has been translated into hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different languages, and the miracle never stops. There are plenty of arguments over various modern English translations, but the truth is that God’s Word retains its power in whatever translation it comes. (Hebrews 4:12)
I’ve read the Bible since early childhood. I still remember the first paper-back New Testament I owned. As a six-year-old girl I understood the majority of what I read in that modern translation, though I chuckle when I remember asking my mother what circumcision meant. (“I’ll explain that to you when you’re a little older.”) I am completely convinced that I would not be the person I am today if I had not read the Bible regularly (not perfectly!) through the years.
Over the last few years my life has come to involve frequent travel. I would usually stuff my Bible into my suitcase with every trip. I was heartbroken on one occasion when I pulled out my Bible only to see large numbers of pages scrunched and folded because of some shifting during travel.
I could have put my Bible in a zippered case to protect it in future travels, but I decided to try another solution. I downloaded the Bible app on my smartphone, and now I have the Bible with me wherever I go whether or not I carry my printed Bible. I downloaded my favorite version, and sometimes even listen to an audio portion of the Bible.
Just days ago I got my first tablet computer. (No, I’m not the first person to adopt new technology, but I love it when I finally do!) The first app I downloaded was the Bible app. And I found it so much easier to read than on my smartphone. There was a glitch in downloading my favorite version, so I decided to download the New International Version until I could figure out the glitch. I’d never read the NIV in my quiet time with God previously, but started doing so on my tablet. And I was surprised at the blessing I received!
Here are a few things that struck me as read a new version in a new way, even though I’d known these things before:
- Jesus spoke in the language people commonly used. He certainly didn’t sound “spiritual,” or outdated, or “Victorian English.” The people around Him saw Him as a human being just like they were – in every way. He was – and is – one of US! (Matthew 1:23)
- God’s Word is much more than just human words. It’s God’s Holy Spirit that makes it real to our souls. He looks after His Word. He’s preserved it in every century, every generation, every language. And He looks after His Word to perform it. It WILL accomplish what God designed it would. (Jeremiah 1:12)
- God desires the Bible to be part of our everyday life, not just for an hour in church each week, or even relegated to our devotional closet. Reading a new translation made this truth really stand out to me. Jesus wasn’t spiritual: He was HUMAN! And His Word is to be a part of our daily human experience. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
It’s never too early or too late to make God’s Word part of your daily human experience, and to realize the transformation He wants to work in you through it.
And if you feel in a rut, try reading the Bible in a new way, on in a new version. Or listen to an audio Bible. I promise you, God’s Holy Spirit is eager to make it alive in your heart.
Your Turn: How do you read the Bible? How has it been meaningful to you? Leave a comment below.
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