The Bible is one of the most important books you will ever read.
When you come to Church services, you are taught more about the Bible, and the Christian way of life, and how to have a relationship with God. We all need to have a good education in these things.
But, is going to services enough? I watched a sermon recently on the CGI Digital Network, and at the end, the speaker explained that just being taught by the Church is not enough.
We need to meet each Sabbath, but each person is responsible for their own relationship with God. The primary responsibility of teaching the Bible to us does not rest with the Church. A Christian needs to be pro-active in studying God’s Word.
Being a Christian is not just coming to Sabbath services and hearing a sermon. We have to read the Bible every day, if we can, and not rely on others to be the primary source of our Bible learning.
We need to study the Bible all the time. If God asks you why you don’t understand the Bible, or did not learn certain things, about how to live, how to be a Christian, etc., and you say, “I went Church, but they did not teach me everything, it’s their fault,” will God be impressed?
Who is responsible for your education?
Look at 2 Timothy 3:16. In the New King James Version it reads: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The original inspired Scriptures are no longer with us. They were written mostly in Hebrew and Greek, but we do not have those original writings any more, and even if we did, not all of us understand Hebrew or Greek. It can be good to study and read it in the original languages, but most of us today prefer it in our own language, which for most of us reading this is English.
Education in general is good for us to have. An educated person will have more understanding than an uneducated person. It can help in getting a good job, and advancing in various aspects of life.
If you are well educated about diet, health, foods, and so on, you can be healthier than you would otherwise be.
It was many years ago now that I went on a course to learn about desktop publishing. I learnt a lot from the course, but did not just go to lessons. I also did my own learning outside the classroom, reading books on the subject, getting as much information as I could. I also learnt related subjects, and practised what I could at home and elsewhere.
Although I did not get a job right away using those skills, I have had much work over the years using them. In my current I have done well, using my desktop publishing and graphics skills to do a good job and avoid being laid off when business was slow.
It is always best to know more than is required for a job. To learn more than what is being taught on a course. So that when something unusual comes along, your extra knowledge can make you stand out as someone who can do something better than others in your team.
The same applies to the Bible, learning how to be a Christian, how to live in order to receive the Holy Spirit, and ultimately, salvation in God’s Kingdom.
You can learn much from coming to Church services on the Sabbaths and Holy Days, but your education should not stop there. You can learn every day from reading the Bible, using online resources, reading books and other Christian literature.
Which Bible to Read?
The King James Version is well-known, and was published originally in 1611, the final editing being carried out at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London.
But by the mid-18th century the wide variation in the various modernized printed texts of the King James Version, combined with the notorious accumulation of misprints, had reached the proportion of a scandal, and the University of Oxford produced an updated standard text in 1769.
This is the version reproduced almost unchanged in most current printings. Various printing errors were removed, and a few improved readings were introduced.
Eventually a Revised Standard Version was produced which corrected some more of the errors of the King James Version, as there was a greater understanding of the original Hebrew, in 1885.
There have been many other translations of the Bible since then, and in the English language there are now over 450 versions.
In 1982 the New King James Version was published, which was created to give readers a Bible in modern English, but retaining some of the style of the old King James Version. This gives us a fairly reliable and accurate translation in our own modern language.
Obviously there are many translations into other languages, as not everyone in the world speaks English, for example, a German-speaking person would want to read the Bible in German, and a French speaker in French.
Prior to English Bibles, they were mostly in Latin, which could only be read and understood by the priests and the elite. The average person did not know Latin, so only those who were highly educated stood a chance of being able to read the Word of God.
So the elite were able to control what people were taught from the Bible, and could twist the Scriptures to their own way of thinking and give false interpretations. The people could not argue with it as they had no way of checking the Scriptures themselves.
So there is a great need for people to have the Bible in their own language, which we have today.
There are many English translations you can choose from today. Some are more literal in their translation, and some use paraphrasing to try to explain the meaning but in a way that is easy to understand. There is no excuse for not having a Bible to read in today’s world.
The literal versions, such as the NKJV, NRSV, etc., are good for studying the Bible for doctrine, and for specific topics and commands that God gives us. But if you just want to read the Bible as a book, then a paraphrased version can be useful for that.
Sometimes there are difficult verses in the Bible, where the meaning is not clear, and then comparing with a paraphrased version might help to make the meaning much clearer.
But getting access to lots of Bible versions might be expensive, if you went and bought lots of printed Bibles.
Before computers and the internet, it was harder to have different Bible versions to compare the translations. Since having computers, not only has it been easier to produce new versions of the Bible for us to read, but we can also use computers to read them.
Not only on desktop computers, but also on mobile devices, we now have the Bible. Since Android phones and iPhones became popular, if you have one of these smartphones, it is very easy to get the Bible on your phone, and for free.
There are apps such as Olive Tree, And Bible, YouVersion, and others.
You can also access free Bibles online using dedicated websites. One of my favourites is BibleGateway.com and there are many other Bible websites, that allow you to search the Scriptures by keyword, phrase, or the actual book, chapter, and verse.
When you enter a keyword to search for, it will show you the full list of matching verses. You can click on one, read it, or click to expand to the whole chapter. You can also click on Add Parallel to compare two versions side by side, and you even compare three versions if you have a wide enough screen.
You can also download software to your computer. I don’t know all the programs available, but on PCs there are a couple which I have used. The one I use the most is called Xiphos. You can download it from www.xiphos.org or another popular program is eSword.
Xiphos gives several versions of the Bible, you can choose to download and install the ones you want, as well as commentaries and maps.
It can open several different Bibles at once in the tabs, or just different books and chapters of the same version, so you can switch between different verses quite easily. If you select the King James Version you can get the Strong’s Concordance numbers and the definitions of the words in the section below.
Home Bible Study Course
And of course there is the CGI Home BibleStudy Course. There are 15 lessons you can download from theirwebsite. Click here for the page that allows you to download the PDFfiles for the course.
There are many other helpful videos on YouTube we can learn from as well, and our own sermons and sermonettes are usually webcast onto Facebook, so if you to the CGI UK Facebook page, you can see the videos there.
There are many other resources online that do something similar, there are books, ebooks and videos. So long as you filter everything through the Bible, and reject errors that people might make in various writings or videos, and always check things in the Bible for yourself, just as the Bereans did, in Acts 17:10-11 “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (NKJV)
The point is, is that today there are many Bible resources available to help you in studying the Word of God. You do not have to limit yourself to a printed Bible, nor to just one version.
We need to search the Scriptures for the things that we need to learn, and use the resources that God has blessed us with today. We no longer need to learn Hebrew and Greek (although it’s great if you can), nor Latin, nor old English, as we have many translations to choose from in modern English or any other major modern language that we might speak.
Look at Psalm 119:73–74 which tells us how important it is to learn from God’s word: “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word.” (NKJV)
So whether you are quite knowledgeable or just starting to learn something, it is always good to keep learning, to educate yourself as much as you can. Don’t stop learning. Keep reading books. Keep reading the Bible, and if you don’t get a chance to read it today, then at least meditate on what you have learnt from it.
As it says in Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (NKJV)
Whether in your business and career, or as a Christian, education will make you better at those things. Never think you know it all, or that there is nothing left to learn, or nothing else worth learning.
There are always more things to learn, more understanding to be gained from what you learn, especially from the Bible.
About the author: David King is a member of Church of God International in the United Kingdom, having attended with the Church of God for over 30 years.