Tuesday, February 8, 2011

That's How I Read...(Part 1)

So I finished my first full read through of the ESV Bible this week.

During the process the ESV progressed from my daily reading Bible to my main study Bible and eventually to my main teaching translation.

But now with the complete read through done, I was faced with the decision of what to do for my daily personal reading next. In this last read through, I went from Genesis all the way through Revelation in traditional order.

Therefore, I've spent the last while in the New Testament. So I knew I wanted to do something in the Old Testament. I also have always been very drawn to the Pentateuch (The first five books of the Old Testament).

Since we just finished the Sunday morning sermon series on Genesis, I decided to pick up with Exodus. But I thought I'd try something different this read through - comparing translations!

So I jumped into Exodus 1 with a read through in The Message paraphrase. I then reread my ESV and then compared them both with the NIV and TNIV. While I would never suggest reading The Message as your main study (as it isn't a translation but a paraphrase), I found it a great tool in conjunction with the ESV and NIV/TNIV. It served to bring to attention some parts of a familiar story that I would normally have just read right over. (I'll talk more about this in tomorrow's Part 2 of this message)

Now, I may not do this comparison style reading every day. I actually may try switching things up from time to time.

I just read a great article in Bible Study Magazine (another great tool for Bible Study) on Francis Chan's Bible study methods.

Here is what he said, "Sometimes I read the Bible aloud. Sometimes I read it slowly and take notes. Sometimes I just read through for flow. For me, the important thing is that I don't get away from that time with Him."

But I am going to try doing a lot more comparison between literal, dynamic and balanced translations. (See my friend Nathan's blog for a great series of posts on these three types of translations.) I'm planning on using YouVersion for this comparison as it has a very easy interface for doing quick switches and parallels of translations.

I'll be posting from time to time my experiences. As we are trying to make a greater emphasis on Bible literacy among our young people this year, I thought it would be good to share some of my experiences and tools.

I also would love to hear your tools and experiences as we go on this continuing journey of knowing and understanding God and His Word.

So let me know what and how you are reading right now.


SDB said...

Good thoughts Mark. Thanks for sharing.

Brittany said...

Yes, enjoyed it very much :)

Ryan and I are always looking for ways to improve our bible literacy, I always feel like I come up shorthanded whenever I get asked a question about it :)

Dave Farquhar said...

I normally use the NIV, as it's a reasonable balance between readability and honesty to the original text. But reading tough passages in multiple translations brings other detail to light, as you observed. English is such a horrid language that sometimes that's the only way to deal with something, when you don't have the ability to read the original language. Biblegateway.com makes that very easy to do.

I'm doing the One Year Bible plan this year. I try to do the NIV, but when I'm pressed for time, I read the NLT instead, as it's an easier read. I finally realized what I don't like about The Message just last month. It's too heavy on the cliches. But obviously there are a lot of people who don't mind that.

I think two years might be a better pace, but the two-year Bible I have doesn't split it up. It's just a straight Genesis-Revelation. Having an OT, NT, Psalm and Proverbs reading each day keeps you from getting bogged down, and gives the book four times as many chances to really get to you.

Linda Beebe said...

Mark I am truly enjoying reading your journey through the bible and how you are pursuing it. At the moment I am in Genesis doing a study on the Patriachs, beginning with Abram using Beth Moore's Bible study insights. I am doing this for my personal journey and in the process praying to bring my congregation into the knowledge of how the Patriachs journey still pertains to us today. I encourage them to take notes, and go deeper themselves so they may grow deeper into the soil of God's marvelous Love! I truly believe as we grow deeper we have more fruit and seed to share and be used to cultivate that marvelous soil for others.

I am using at the
moment "the New Interpreter's Study Bible NRSV with the Apocrypha" and NIV.
I have not used "The Message" however, several have commented on how much they like it. Thank you for sharing yoru insights I look forward to learning more.

180 Youth Ministry said...

This is really fun to hear everyone's journey! And I agree it's just that, we should always be pursuing to grow and learn and understand more. That is the beauty of studying a "living" Word!

Couple of thoughts:

Dave - I love your analytical mind and how it sounds like you have pursued some of the same things I've been pursuing. I've used the NLT often as well, somewhat in that same function as I said I was using the Message - to give a different perspective. I read Exodus 3 in it this morning and found some interesting things in verse 3 and verses 14-16 that I'm still wrestling with now. I also really like your last comment.

Linda - So good to see your comment here. We actually just got done doing a sermon series on the Patriarchs. If you are interested I would love to share with you some of the things we did. Also I really like the NRSV. I have a Harper Collins Study Bible version that I use often. It is actually very similar to the ESV as they are both revisions of the RSV.

Blessings and keep posting!