What kind of Bible should I
These writers wrote in their native languages, Hebrew
and Greek. Over the years, many different scholars have translated
these texts so we could read them. As with any foreign language,
the exact words and order of words must be rearranged so that it
makes sense in English. Some Bible translations are more literal
-- the translators try to use as much of the original words and
phrasing as possible, making it more accurate, but harder
to read. In other translations, however, the translators use words
and phrases that make more sense in our language and culture. The
meaning is the same as the original, and it is much easier to read.
Sometimes this difference is refered to as word-for-word
translation and thought-for-thought translation.
So what translation is best for you? Most people who
are unfamiliar with the Bible benefit from reading a thought-for-thought
translation to begin with. As the Bible becomes more familiar and
as they begin to more serious study what it says, they may find
they prefer the phrasing and precision of a word-for-word translation.
Once youve picked a translation, there are many
types of Bibles to choose from. You might select a basic
Bible, or choose from a wide variety of Bibles that provide specialized
information that may be helpful for you: study Bibles, mens
or womens Bibles, youth Bibles, recovery Bibles, etc. The
type of Bible is generally less important than the version
For more info on many popular translations see: www.zondervanbibles.com/translations.htm
What do all the numbers mean?
You may have heard someone refer to a passage in the
Bible as, John Three Sixteen, or seen the written form,
John 3:16. This is a reference to the 16th verse in the 3rd chapter
of the book of John (Book Chapter:Verse). Many years after the Bible
was established people likely found that referring to that
one verse in the book of John, kind of earlier in the book, that
talks about God loving the whole world just wasnt specific
enough. They came up with this reference system to make it easier
on everyone. There is no spiritual or grammatical significance to
where the chapters and verses are broken up.
How did we get our Bible?
If God didnt drop the Bible from heaven, or
provide a checklist of what to include in it, how did it come to
The Old Testament is the Jewish religious text.
The stories and other writings were recorded over many years by
the men God chose. Eventually these writings were collected and
those that were clearly from God were established as holy and authoritative
by Jewish leaders. For the New Testament, many books circulated
among early churches and eventually church leaders had to decide
which of these were holy and had authority for Gods people.
Even though people played a part in establishing what
makes up our Bible today, its important to recognize Gods
role in the process. He chose to use godly people do His work, and
allowed the formation of what we today call our Bible.