There is plenty of debate in the Christian world as to what version of the Bible is best to read. I have often found myself in discussions, which inevitably turn into debates, about what version or translation of the Bible is best to preach from, best to do devotions from, or best to read with others in Bible study.
For some it’s a serious issue, for others it’s weird, and for others it’s just amusing. I probably sit in that camp. Amused.
As we’ve begun the year thinking about Bible reading the question of what translation of the Bible to read is a genuine one. Like all secondary issue discussions they can get more heated than they need to be, but we do have preferences. I have preferences, I’m sure you do too.
What we do need to be careful about though is whether the expression of our opinion and preferences in regard to Bible reading is helping or hindering the spiritual life of a person. For the reading of the scriptures is to be a delight, yet a cautionary tale of discussions turn debates are that what is said can become another burden placed on a person seeking to grow, relate, and be with God through his Word.
Since writing last week I have been thinking about how much harder we can make Bible reading for our brothers and sisters when we slap various preferences and rules onto them. In our firm suggestion of how others should read the Word we need to be clear about the different ways and different types of reading that can take place for spiritual nourishment.
This isn’t just about what version of the Bible you are reading. It also speaks into how you read the Bible, where you read the Bible, when you read the Bible, and how much you read the Bible.
I know different people who love to read the KJV for an hour each morning, in the same chair they have done so for years. But then I know others who simply try to read a few verses as they try to follow a plan on their phone while waiting for their coffee to be made at the cafe. Each person is doing what they can to engage with God, bringing themselves under the authority of the scriptures in different ways and at different times. And I’m sure that in reading those different scenarios we may even begin to judge whether one is better than the other.
But I suppose this is getting to the point I’m making this week.
The best Bible you are reading is the one that is in front of you.
I want to encourage you, whether you are reading a little or a lot of the Bible, that you continue to do it. Don’t read it out of duty and guilt, but read it out of delight and gratitude. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 1 writes, “Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” And who can forget the whole of Psalm 119, which highlights just how much of the delight the Word of God is for us of faith. An example of which can be found in v92, “If your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.”
The best Bible you’re reading is the one that’s in front of you. It’s the one you’re reading now. May the reading of God’s Word be a delight for you as you embrace your freedom in Christ to be with him.