4 40+ yrs Iv studied the whole Bible, some parts many times. I know many Biblical things but its most important 2 know about is being Born Anew (Jn 3:3,5). Whats Biblical is built on it (NT - John is the place 2 start, Chap.3 1rst - the whole Bible is connected 2 John). Im not religious under "church" type labels b/c the Bible is about eternal life not how many rituals u can do (wrong use of the Bible - partly why theres many interpretations). By loving the truth 1rst u'll learn the true love of Jesus Christ.
2 begin 2 find our real Jesus, go 2 John 3:1-14 - note: Nicodemus was very religious but Jesus flat-out told him he had missed the 1rst most important step - being Born Anew. 2 b Born Anew u must 1rst understand no1 can live w/o breaking God's Law = sin separates us from God (Rom 3:23; Acts 3:19). So, u must pray 2 Jesus asking Him 2 forgive ur past sins, accept Jesus Christ as ur 1 & only Savior, ask Him 2 give u God's Holy Spirit (Lk 11:11-13; Jn 15:26; 14:26), seek 2 know/follow Him - u always need a Bible (Jn 7:17; Jn 1:12,13; 3:16,17;21; 36; 5:24: 6:37; 8:12; 10:9; 11:25; 14:6; 20:31; Is 34:16; 46:10 - memorize this verse set - later it helped).
In reading the Bible 1 must know this - theres many ways that seem right 2 men but its end = death & verses must b judged with right judgment. The Bible isnt 2 b read as a novel/a bedtime story. Many think they can just read it & understand it, its rubbish or pick parts of the Bible not easily understood even by seasoned actual Christians.
Many miss this - Jesus is the only 1 in history who said He's "the" way, "the" truth & "the" life & NO1 can know God except thru Jesus (Jn 14:6 - ref Acts 4:12; Jn 5:39; 10:1,7). So "the" whole truth was complete/finished thru what Jesus taught/did or God doesn't know what He's doing & cant b God. The truth is either fully true or its a lie. The full truth cant contain a lie - the absence of any lie. So any so-called new teaching/other religious beliefs or from self-proclaimed prophets/teachers r invalid & cant lead u 2 God. But God always knew what He's doing & all Jesus would do.
Jesus couldnt have done nor said what He did unless He fully knew the entire OT (NT didnt exist @ the time of Jesus) - only possible if God sent Him. The Apostles couldnt write the NT unless Jesus allowed them 2 remember/know His purpose (Lk 24:25-27,45). Only God could cause it.
No matter how much well-meaning ppl (religious or not) read the Bible they cant find Jesus without going directly 2 Him thru His Biblical instructions (Jn 5:39; 10:1,7; 3:3,5). God outsmarted man - the Bible's the only 1 that cant b properly understood w/o Jesus (Jn 14:6; II Cor 3:14; Is 29:11-12 - If Jewish ppl cant pierce the veil over the OT w/o Jesus then 4 sure all gentiles cant) - why theres many interpretations/many thinking its just fairy tales (Jesus came with the sword of division).
The Bible severely warns us not 2 trust humans, not even ourselves, clergy/churches/scholars/scientists (Jer 10:2-5,23; Is 2:22; Job 12:11; Prov 14:12; Acts 17:11). So carefully think over what I say. Dont just believe or dismiss what I write so u wont make the mistake many hv, getting caught up in religious beliefs that cant lead u 2 God (things written about the Bible r by man not Jesus - like books/commentaries).
Religions made many fatal errors. They built religions on what man would like God 2 b like. They cant all b right (i.e. Theres 1 Bible, why so many interpretations? - II Pet 1:**19-21). Religion wont teach u much about God (they cant teach what they don't know).
Get the English Standard Version (ESV) [genuine leather cover if u can] as its the easiest 2 read (see below 4 details). Well-meaning ppl suggest others but theres issues: i.e. Many suggest the King James Version (KJV) b/c its the only 1 authorized by a human king [not God] (drawback - its written in older English not spoken 4 over 130 yrs, good in its day but a huge speed bump now - helps promote Biblical ignorance). Others suggest the New International Version (NIV & all related NL[living]T,TNIV, etc) but its made 2 appeal 2 humanist ideas (a novel/bedtime story/appeal 2 human nature [what ppl like] NOT what the Bible is 4 = huge roadblock). God's eternal truth that never changes is present in most standard translations but theres roadblocks/speed bumps b/c of various objectives (i.e. so-called missing bks dont belong in the Bible (see below)).
Many dont trust God, r stuck in old traditions & miss the right criteria 4 finding the real truth (buying a Bible b/c u like it isnt a good criteria). U want a version that gives u the quickest path 2 the truth (least amnt of speed bumps/roadblocks) 4 the best chance not 2 b confused, which u'll hv along the way - especially 4 young ppl - what u feed a child spiritually affects the outcome - input = output - Ur approach/methodology/purpose & attitude (in)directly affect what u learn. I hv access 2 30+ translations. Iv found the best 2 versions (1 or 2 others r almost as good but not needed). Why I use these 2:
The wise know there cant b many versions that can b the best/close 2 old texts. Theres 3 main types of translations with overlaps/mixtures within each category (dependent on agendas/philosophical approach - some may classify some in 1 category when they belong in another - especially within B&C below - 2 a degree more than 1 method may b used 4 readability or depending on agendas/theology concepts - some overuse):
A. Word 4 word with right amount of literal translation method
B. Dynamic equivalence/thought 4 thought - overused Literal
C. Concept 4 Concept/Paraphrased (free translation) - overused Literal
1a. Word 4 Word
I use Bibles based in "word 4 word" with right usage of "literal" (4 readability) translation methods. The reason is they adhere best 2 original text. The translations, best 1rst, r King James III (KJ III) (newest update) by J. P. Green - also published a Literal Translation & an Interlinear Version (IV) - includes Hebrew&Greek, **English Standard Version (ESV) - the "easiest good version" 2 read (related update of Revised Standard Version (RSV - best older 20th Cnt translation).
1b. Older English Versions
Regrettably all other English translations hv inherent issues/errors. Old English versions like the KJV, American Standard Version (ASV, AmV), Revised English Version (REV), Darby & similar versions r written in older English thats not been used 4 over 130 yrs. While poetically nice the Bible ISNT about poetry. The Bible's hard enough 2 understand without trying 2 decipher an outdated language - even word 4 word trans. wont help.
The truth's hidden in the Bible. It takes lots of time/energy 2 mine it as is. Again, many ppl claim the KJV is the only "authorized" version (KJV is authorized by a "human" king not God/has errors). Many older English words rnt even rightly definable any more. Use of OLD so-called "modern" English only helps promote Biblical ignorance, overriding its value 4 knowing God.
2. Dynamic Equivalence/Thought 4 Thought
B wise stay away from all other (un)popular versions b/c they, 2 1 degree or another hv rewritten passages/verses. While many were well-meaning they watered down/caused significant changes 2 the meaning of God's actual message/block the true power of God's word from being rightly understood.
Many well-meaning ppl tried 2 make versions so-called easier/more pleasurable 2 read - the Bible isnt a storybook/novel. They were trying 2 please humans instead of God. They used dynamic equivalence, thought 4 thought & used some literal/word 4 word method translation 4 where the original was obviously better. Where these methods went wrong is b/c they tried 2 1 degree or another 2 rewrite verses in their own words (calling them so-called modern English, etc.) or styles (sentence structure/other issues/errors). The more liberally applied the worse the version (especially 4 hidden agendas).
These versions include: The [NASB], RE, NAV, JB, NEB, KJV, NKJV, NRSV, HCSV, CEV, GNB, NCV, NJB & others with similarly applied methods & sad 2 say all Catholic versions [especially with inclusion of so-called "lost" or Apocrypha books, which dont adhere 2 the same foundation/structure, message or contradict God's 66 true books].
3. Concept 4 concept/Paraphrased/FT
This set includes but isnt limited 2 the NLB, LT, NIV, NIRV, NLV, NLT, TNIV, NLV, The Way - Paraphrased + the Message Bible (worst offenders but all versions listed here r almost as bad as these 2 - they make the Bible more like bedtime stories than the word of God). The more liberally applied the worse the version (especially 4 hidden agendas) - perversion 2 1 degree or another.
These translation methods bend/rewrite &/or water down what was originally intended ([un]intentionally 4 various preferences/agendas). If u want 2 know God's actual message dont use these versions - they will give u a distorted message & u could wind up remembering them that way - especially our impressionable children. Use the 2 versions I list under set 1 2 get 2 know what God actually intended.
Neither a label (like brother/sister/friend), title, name, its history, no. of members/converts, amount of time it existed nor claims made about them (like persecution) means anything (u can call anything anything). Its whats practiced that makes them either the whole truth or a lie. A dictionary definition doesnt necessarily encompass God's full definition or usage of a word (or His exceptions thereof). I.e. neither Jesus/Biblical prophets were ever muslims no matter what islam's usage 4 the word muslim is (calling a dog god [pope] doesnt make it God [pope]).
The Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ, God's Holy Spirit, the Bible, careful research & observation & 40+ yrs of personal experience provided by the Most High - He who has the Son (worships/follows Him) has the Father also but he who doesnt hv the Son doesnt know the Father either - it shall b sheer terror 2 understand the real message - God doesnt respect any man or his religions. It comes down 2 do u want 2 know who our real God is? Theres many ways that seem right 2 men but its end = death (theres only 1 path [not many] 2 God & thats thru Jesus). Biblical knowledge in & of itself wont save u. Borrowing true knowledge from others wont help u - if u hv a good meal poisoned with arsenic adding better quality food (patching it) wont cure the problem (even if its free) but it may prolong ur inevitable death but it'll b death nevertheless - its still part of the poisoned tree. Its useless 2 try 2 patch a tire thats full of holes (adding a little truth [usually stolen] 2 a lie only makes it a bigger lie).
Whoever seeks Jesus Christ with all his heart & soul will find Him (u shall know the truth & it'll set u free). But why should God want u 2 live with Him 4ever if u dont want 2 know Him His way (reason 4 free will - Jn 1:12-13)? The truth of God remains 4ever unchanged while things of a man dies with him, including his religions/gods made in his image.
On 1 hand, God hates us b/c of our sins - neither being a good person as judged by men or religion can save u. On the other hand, God loves us dearly enough 2 send His Son 2 die 4 our sins - so that thru Jesus our sins could b 4given if we sincerely turn 2 Him - Theres eternal hope only in the real Jesus Christ & His Bible.
***If Jesus came from God as His only Son as stated in the Bible then the Quran (doesnt agree with the Bible), the Book of Mormon (no such thing as "another testament"), JWs (rewrote some Bible verses - New World Translation) & other religions r wrong about Jesus b/c they demote Jesus 2 just a prophet or good man (1 way or another). If Jesus Christ isnt God's Son (false prophet) then the Bible & all others r wrong. We cant hv it 2 ways. Theres only 1 Jesus & there can only b 1 true Gospel (II Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6,9; I Tm 6:3). If Jesus is whom He says He is then Muhammad (muslim = follower of Islam), Joseph Smith (Mormon = Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, LDS), Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs = Watchtower, Awake), Most Catholics (Cc, RCc, OCc), many Protestants, Ellen White (7th Day Adventists), Mary Baker (Christian Scientists), the moonies (Unification church - Rev Moon), Church of Scientology (Dyanetics - L Ron Hubbard), Buddhism, Hinduism & others presenting other teachings/practices r the false prophets & teachers & should b disregarded. But I can assure u the truth is in the Bible (where Jesus was coming from in everything He did & said).
Many (see above par.) claim they believe Jesus is the Son of God (even the devil knows who Jesus is) but having read the entire Bible, some parts many times, I state with authority that those listed above dont know God or Jesus. If ur foundation of teaching is wrong it cancels out all ur other claims = house built upon sand. Jesus wasnt speaking out of 2 let alone 1000s of the sides of His mouth [EMPHASIS ADDED] (He isnt the author of confusion - God's fixed order of all things Biblical).
Religion is about a generic god (spirit of religion) not what Jesus taught about our real God. He who would b wise gets away from all religion & seeks the 1 who actually came from God. Again, many ppl make the mistake of trusting a church "authority" over the Bible (where God & Jesus wrote the actual truth). If u dont know whats actually written in the Bible u cant tell if the church is on or remaining on the right path. A church is a house but if its not built on the right foundation (the real truth in the Bible) it has no value 2 God - the mistake many churches hv made 4 centuries. 1 Lord, 1 faith, 1 baptism is regarding true Born Anew believers in Jesus (true body of Christ in Spirit & truth) not religious nonsense rituals & traditions of man (no matter what label they use) that Jesus emphatically stated r abominations b/c they rnt in accordance with Jesus' Biblical instructions.
Whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in Heaven still must adhere fully 2 the Bible truth, what Jesus taught & 1 must hv right belief in Jesus 4 it 2 mean anything (what the Cc & others dont understand - The same is true with respect 2 Jn 20:31 - whatever, wasnt written in the Bible (deliberately left out) would still hv 2 adhere 2 the same foundation/structure & message or its not Biblical (the reason the Apocrypha/lost books dont belong in the Bible - also Jesus is the only High Priest [God is the only 1 allowed 2 b called "Holy Father" so theres no valid priesthood/rituals after Jesus' resurrection] - when the OT covenant ended [many try 2 keep OT format - like the Cc] - NT is about God's Spirit & the physical relationship with the full Spiritual truth of righteousness [NT reinforces/explains OT & OT shows NT validity] not mechanical type religious rituals/practices & human traditions - even a machine can b easily programmed 2 do them - God doesnt want robots).
Many dont know that God is fully aware many would [un]intentionally twist & pervert His Word so He invented a system (so u dont hv 2 know Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic) in the Bible that will never change (Just like God & Jesus - more visible in word 4 word [with the right amount of the literal method] versions).
Regarding Bibles I recommend the English Standard Version (ESV) as its an easy 2 read but more accurate version than what others will suggest. Its very important 2 understand the most accurate Bibles r those that r word 4 word or a combination of word 4 word + the right amount of literal translation (4 readability). Presently, theres 30+ versions of the Bible (generally popular 1s - many shouldnt b called Bibles). Only a few r translated close 2 whats in the original text. The ESV adheres 2 the word 4 word method while making it easy 2 read (literal method) - the best accurate Bible 4 the younger crowd - but its good 4 parents, children & others 2 b reading the same Bible 4 good communication (get 1 with verse references so u can easily look up related text/verses).
Again, many well-meaning ppl will suggest using the King James Version (KJV), claiming its the only "authorized" version (authorized by a human king not God). The trouble is that the KJV (& all Old English versions) is in older English (which was good in its day) thats not been spoken 4 over 130 yrs so its obsolete (u almost hv 2 learn a new language [spiritual speed bump], why many stop reading it or dont get much out of it - helps promote Biblical ignorance). Other versions add in their own style/ideas or rewrite sentences obscuring the truth & the power of God such as the DR, AV, ASV, NAV, RE, NEB, NASV, NKJV, NRSV, GNB, JB, NJB, CEV, NCV, HCSV, NLB, NIV, NIRV, TNIV, NLT, Living - the Way, Message/Paraphrased (click on my ID & look 4 questions about Bibles & my answers 4 more info).
Also, beware, theres many other so-called Bibles that cant lead u 2 God - such as the New World Translation (JWs), BOM (Mormon), the Qu'ran (Islam/muslims) & others claiming 2 b from God, another testament, update or restoration (click on my ID & look up my answers on religions/evidence 4 God).