Is there a best Bible for singles? Wait. Back up to the real question: If the Bible is boring and out of date, why would I want to read it at all?
That's exactly what I thought many years ago, until I discovered something that turned my opinion about the Bible upside down. We'll get to that shortly, but first let's deal with the most common objection to reading the Bible.
No doubt you're thinking, "How would I find the time?" Your schedule is so crazy it seems impossible to squeeze any more into it.
You've heard it said we make time for things that are important to us. If that's true, the only way to work something new into an already full schedule is to do a ruthless review of what truly is important.
Regular Bible reading demands you reorder your priorities. Think there's nothing you can cut out of your day? Then you're not being ruthless enough.
Spending 15 minutes less time a day on social media will give you the Bible reading window you need. Or, spending 15 minutes less time a day texting will also free up some space.
Some people do their daily Bible reading just before they go to sleep for the night. While that can help with worry and a racing mind, I've found that I'm tired by then and can't concentrate as well. If you're really beat, it's too easy to skip your reading altogether.
When I started reading the Bible every day, I did it while eating breakfast and still do. It's an encouraging way to start your day. If you're one of those people who tosses back a cup of coffee and races off to work, it really is worth the effort to get up earlier so you can enjoy a calm breakfast with God.
Some may think it's disrespectful to eat while you read the Bible, but I look at it this way. God is feeding you both physically and spiritually. When you understand all your food (everything, actually) comes from God, it makes you appreciate it more.
After not having time, the second excuse people use for not reading the Bible is "I don't understand what I've read."
Here's the secret to unlocking Scripture: a good study Bible.
If you don't own a study Bible, they contain the entire text of the Bible but so much more, including explanations of each book of the Bible, details on main characters, themes, most important verses, and how each book fits into the overall story.
The real treasure is the footnotes. Study Bible footnotes aren't like the source references you see in other books. They explain the verses, and believe me, some things are nearly impossible to understand without them. You don't want to skip these footnotes.
Bible footnotes are written by Bible scholars who spend their entire lives studying Scripture. These experts are like having a Sherpa guide right with you as you read.
Many years ago, I started with the Life Application Bible, seen at left, which helps you apply God's Word to your circumstances in a practical way. This version is especially good for new Bible readers and for singles. After a few weeks, you'll be convinced the Bible is totally relevant to modern times. When I was younger and dealing with the common problems of loneliness, depression, anger, and worry, I found the Life Application Bible a real encouragement.
Today I read the ESV (English Standard Version) Study Bible, which is my favorite. Its footnotes and explanations simplify what you're reading and give valuable background and cultural details. At left is my ESV, on a bookstand I made from scrap lumber. This puts it upright and makes it easier to read while I eat breakfast.
Because I'm a Lutheran, I frequently read the Lutheran Study Bible, which explains God's Word from the perspective of Lutheran theology. If you're a Catholic, you'll want to choose the New American Bible St. Joseph Edition or the Catholic Study Bible.
I own the NIV (New International Version) Study Bible but was disappointed in it. Its footnotes are not nearly as complete as the ESV Study Bible.
Popular TV preachers Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, and John MacArthur all have published their own study Bibles with commentary and articles they have written.
Before you buy a study Bible, talk with your pastor! Ask for his or her recommendation. Your denomination or church may require a specific translation.
Christians believe the Bible is the written Word of God. Do you get the full impact of that?
It means the LORD provides a way to speak to you personally.
Theologians will tell you the Bible is a living book, and it's the only living book ever written. It interacts with your mind in a way no other book can because the Holy Spirit speaks to Bible readers individually. It's the same words for everyone, but the Spirit tailors the application to your personal character and circumstances.
The Bible doesn't change. God doesn't change. We change, however, due to the work of the Bible and the Holy Spirit upon us. Reading the Bible is one of the most important ways to grow in Christ.
Let me tell you something I've learned after more than 50 years of reading the Bible every day. God will speak to you through Scripture, but he won't do it in an audible or dramatic way.
The Holy Spirit is subtle. In my own life, I believe what I learn from the Bible is usually a silent message. God's instruction or something he wants me to understand goes into my subconscious. Later, I get the answer I was seeking by meditating (thinking) about what I read or it comes through a prompting of the Holy Spirit.
So don't expect fireworks and booming voices when you read the Bible every day. Instead, approach it with a surrendered spirit and God will reward you. Understanding comes in increments, but it does come.
The Bible for singles is the Creator of the Universe stepping into your life with the wisdom you need to cope. For us unmarried folks, it's a special gift because we can feel "less than" in churches that focus so much on marriage and raising children.
Once you get into this habit, I think you'll find it one of the most exciting experiences of your life. I can't wait to read the Bible every morning. To know God keenly wants to talk to you is a humbling thing. That's care and comfort. That, fellow single, is love.
Of the many Bible sites online, these two will prove invaluable to you.
www.biblegateway.com contains a variety of research tools, but I find its word and verse search tools outstanding. You can look up any word or verse in Scripture and even find how it's rendered in different Bible versions. I use this site all the time.
www.gotquestions.org is just what it sounds like: a Bible question-and-answer site which, at last count, had over 700,000 questions answered. And if you can't find an answer after searching, they'll even answer your question individually in an email--for free!
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