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21 November 2017

My Bibles


One of the questions that I frequently get asked is what edition(s) of the Bible am I using. Three times in the past two days people wanted to know what I'm using, so here you go.

My most basic resource is my LDS edition of the King James Version of the Bible: all of the traditional text you'd find in any KJV, but with footnotes that include all the rest of the volumes of scripture in the Church's cannon.

LDS Bible Study Guide

Although the "quad" version -- with the Bible bound into the same volume as the Book of Mormon -- is not as tough as getting a separate Bible and "triple", I always buy the quad because it pleases me to have a very literal fulfillment of prophecy in my hands:

The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become on in thine hand.
-Ezekiel 37:15-17 (emphasis added)

My quad is what I reach for when I want my scriptures. It would be remarkable how books written in such dramatically different times and places: ancient Israel, ancient America, and modern America, can be so completely unified in message and doctrine, if they were all from different minds. However. They all point to Christ. He is the Lawgiver; the prophets in the various times and places are scribes, not authors: Christ is the Author. So it makes perfect sense that they are in perfect harmony.

I've also got a chronological Bible; it's KJV as well.

LDS Bible Study Guide

I must admit... not a lot of thought went into choosing this: I walked into Barnes and Noble and grabbed one off the shelf. I was in a hurry. I think I had little kids with me... that didn't want to be at the store. The entire process of selection was probably less than five minutes from the time I arrived at the Bible section to when I headed to the checkout. It's pretty basic: just a paperback. Very few study tools; no footnotes at all. Not at all an expensive one; I just wanted something plain that would set it all on a timeline that I could put a bookmark in.

See, the cool thing about studying the Bible is that because there's this huge community of believers with whom we share the Bible, there are a ton of resources for studying it. Lots of different styles of reading plans: 90 days, or a year, or two years. The traditional order or chronological reading plans or plans that sample from all over. Tons of resources out there. My son had asked me to read it to him in story order, and looking at the chronological schedules, I knew that I needed to have a book to move through, rather than attempt to keep track of a piece of paper to tell me where to read from. I know from experience that I'll make a brave start, get distracted, lose my paper... and be defeated by the project. That's not how I wanted to do things with my son, so I bought a book. Now my younger son is also reading through the Bible with me, and so the book as two bookmarks in it.

Apparently, there are multiple ways of organizing things chronologically: there's some disagreement on the details. I don't really care. The one that I grabbed off the shelf that day has been fantastic for me, but I suspect another would have served just as well. Having it in story order means that there's a strong narrative to attach the doctrines to -- and that means that I remember them better. That I'm not bogged down in unending genealogies or other repetitive passages. We get through them, and then the narrative picks back up where it left off. Knowing where Isaiah and Jeremiah and especially the "small prophets at the back of the book" fit into the story... it makes a huge difference in knowing where they fit in the story; starting to see how they interact with each other is pretty amazing.

Those are the only two print Bibles I have right now. I also use the Church's Gospel Library app and the online scriptures edition quite a bit. I love the search feature that lets you search for any word anywhere it appears. I love that I can limit the search on the website to scriptures only -- or have a look at the larger library. And I've got a big fat Strong's Concordance that makes me a very happy girl. My husband got it for my birthday a few years back; I love it. That's not a Bible edition, exactly, but it's worth mentioning: it's a bit like the Bible Dictionary. It explains the Hebrew and Greek words that the Bible was translated from. Every word in the whole thing: Old Testament and New Testament. My dictionary-loving language-geeky heart is in love with this study tool.

LDS Bible Study Guide

Going forward, I've got my eye on a couple more Bibles. If I was going to get a second English translation, I'd probably pick up a nice copy of the NIV. Most likely the selection process will be at B&N again... and I'll just grab a simple one, like I did with the chronological version. I do also have a Japanese edition, but I haven't dug into it much yet, just some memory work with the kids, and a word study on "intent" so far. However, I know from reading the Book of Mormon that using a second language (even if you're still a beginner at the language) is a key to new insights into familiar passages. It's a slow process, but it's totally worth it. I sometimes use the Bible Gateway to look at a collection of Bible translations together, and see how a number of different teams translated the passage I'm interested in. That can be very interesting. And I've got "Nothing New Under the Sun: A Blunt Paraphrase of Ecclesiastes" and "Grace is Not God's Backup Plan: An Urgent Paraphrase of Paul's Letter to the Romans" both by Adam S. Miller on my wishlist. Those two come highly recommended by my brother-in-law. And the more that I wrap my head around Bible geography, the more helpful and illuminating that is. I've actually started drawing and painting maps of various journeys for my scripture journal. The process of building a map is really instructive, and I highly recommend it.

And that's what I use.

1 comment:

Anne Chovies said...

I will use the Bible Hub online sometimes. It has multiple versions or editions of the Bible available. It also has a Bible timeline that's pretty easy to use. I like it.


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