Don't want to spoil week one of Signs from Beyond for people who haven't heard it, but if you were in the room, one thing you'll likely be thinking about this week is getting your hands on a Bible.
While many of us might have a Bible, having one we can actually read and understand is a very different deal. That's what we want to ensure – that everyone has a bible that they can use to help them understand God better.
For that to work, you need to get a translation (sometimes called a version) of the Bible that is easy to understand for you. While many of us grew up with the King James Version, there are many better translations out there today. A translation is just that: one approach to translate the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic of the Bible into language that most of us understand.
You can compare and contrast every major bible version on line for free by using Bible Gateway or YouVersion – two free websites that let you read the entire Bible on line for free in dozens of translations and versions.
Best of all, being an online resource, you can search keywords, phrases and compare passages. YouVersion will even let you read through one passage in two versions at the same time (click the "parallel" button). You Version also has a free iPhone app and many translations offer mobile versions for your phone. So the excuse factor of not being able to access a Bible is disappearing pretty quickly….
Regardless if you like a virtual bible or that paper thing in your hand, the most popular English versions of the Bible include the New Living Translation, the New International Version, the English Standard Version, The New American Standard Bible and the Message. All of them are excellent translations that are faithful to the original text and relevant to today. You can get them all online for free or in paper editions.
The New American Standard and English Standard are harder to read in English but follow the original text quite closely. The New Living and New International Versions follow the original text well and are easy to read in English. The Message is a very dynamic read in English, and while it claims to be a translation, some would say it does a better job paraphrasing the original languages than translating them. Either way, all are great versions of the Bible.
My hope this week? You'll spend some time exploring these versions. Discover which one reads easiest for you, and then go and get one. Whether that's committing to reading on line or going to a local retailer or online source, once you have the Word of God in a translation you find easy to read, you'll love it more than ever before.
This week, get your Bible on! Then come ready for part two of the series!