Reading with fresh eyes

Before I left home, my mom and I went on a huge shopping excursion.  I’m talking a full day here.  We went all over town(s) trying to buy everything on my long list of necessities for living in England.

One of these items was a Bible.  Though I love love love my big study Bible that I’ve used for years now (those who know me best know how true this is…), I realized for traveling purposes I was in need of something smaller and more compact to fit in my backpack.  So my mom and I went to Mardel, and I picked out a tiny (and I mean tiny!), beautiful brown-covered Bible that I thought would be perfect for Oxford.  And now that I’m here, I’ve found out just how perfect it is.

My new travel Bible is in the New Living Translation, a translation very similar to the NIV but a little more simple and clear.  And I’ve discovered over the last few weeks that as I’m reading it, I feel like I’m reading the Bible in a whole new light.  Though it’s not drastically different (it’s not a paraphrase like The Message), it is altered enough to allow me to study the Word with fresh eyes.  I notice I’m enjoying my time while reading and soaking in the words because they’re just slightly different enough to make my brain engage in the new verses.

Now, I realize every Bible is great.  It’s the Word of God, and any genuine, Spirit-driven translation is wonderful.  But I have to say I love this translation.  Maybe it’s because this Bible is fresh and clean, free from markings and highlights, making way for God to speak to me in new ways.  Maybe it’s because the different wording creates slightly different interpretation in some verses, and it’s causing me to think (I actually had a conversation with my Bible professor about this the other day).  Maybe it’s because I think on a simpler level, and the more modern English is easier for me to understand.  I’m not sure.

But I do know it’s a beautiful translation.  Just read Hebrews in the NLT.  It’s written out in such a story-like fashion and laid out so plainly that it’s impossible to miss the point…it’s almost as if someone is speaking directly to you.  It just makes sense.

If you’re looking to get a new Bible or are just wanting to read the Word with clarity and fresh eyes, I would strongly encourage you to try out the NLT.  If nothing else, just switch it up from whatever version you’re reading!  I remember hearing this advice from Beth Moore, and it’s stuck with me since then.  But it’s taken me until now to get up the nerve to abandon my NIV obsession and try something new, and I’m finding that it’s totally worth it.

Plus, I still have my wonderful, worn-out, comfy New International to return to in May.

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