Having some sort of plan to read the Bible is a good discipline. The truth is that without a plan, we waste time deciding to read and often don’t read at all. The other virtues of a plan are that it will take you all through the Bible and not just to those books that you find the easiest to read. To help we have a Bible reading plan for you, that will take you through the whole Bible in 365 days. Bible Reading Plan
Why are there so many versions of the Bible?
The Bible was not written in English! It has to be translated from the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). As our language evolves, we improve translations of the Bible by expressing the truth in a way we can understand. Most quality versions are translated by many scholars from multiple denominational church backgrounds. We live in Elizabethan England, but the difference in the meaning of words from the days of Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II is quite a lot!
Recommended Bible Versions.
Keeping track of the different Bible versions is very difficult, as there are so many. When buying a Bible it is necessary to think through the benefits of the different choices on offer, so that you get the maximum from your purchase. For example, ask ‘what is the recommended version’ in your church or fellowship? Most churches read from one version most of the time, or at most have two versions that they recommend. Also consider who is reading it, children and teens may want a Bible that is aimed at them, and older people may want one with larger print.
Typeface & Binding.
Always look at the pages inside and decide whether the type size and layout are good for you. Look at the binding – a paperback has a short life if you use it regularly. A hardbound book will be more resistant to wear, but leather-bound are very popular for the same reason and tend to look better for longer.
In terms of versions, the most popular English language version in churches today is the New International Version (NIV), which dates back to 1973. This is generally considered to be a robust translation and is very readable. It is also quite good for memorising. It has recently been revised in 2011 and can only be identified by checking the inside for "(c)2011". This doesn't mean it is the one for you though - there are many other high quality translations which you can read about in our Choosing a Bible article.
At the Ark, most of our readings are from the HCSB, but we use the NIV (2011), the NLT and others too when appropriate. We recommend a NCV for a child or younger teenager’s first Bible. Most of all, just find a version rings your bell and read it!