Can you give me some Bible-reading tips?
Seeing as we're in an apologetics-based Christian band that focuses on Bible teaching, we feel it's important for us to read our Bibles every day. (We thought it was important before we were in ApologetiX, too :) We get asked time to time for Bible-reading tips, so we asked our lead singer/lyricist, J. Jackson, for his input:
"Some people who start reading their Bibles every day comment that they can't always remember what they read that morning. I've heard of a pastor who pointed out that you don't always remember what you had for breakfast, either, but it still nourishes you, and it will still give you strength for later. As somebody who's been reading the Bible every day for 16 years now, I totally agree. You'd be amazed at the stuff you pick up and use later that you don't even consciously notice while you're reading. And the Bible itself says that the Word of God is 'living and active' (Hebrews 4:12) and it doesn't return to Him void without accomplishing the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
"And, you know, it doesn't take that long to read it the whole way through. If you start in Genesis and read three chapters a day (except for Psalms, which are shorter chapters, so you should read about 10 of those a day when you get there), you'll be finished in about a year. Or you can just read one Psalm a day in addition to your daily reading, and you'll be done in less than a year, and you'll also have read through the Psalms twice!
"If you've never read the Bible before, you might want to read the New Testament first. Some people prefer starting in John (since it focuses on Jesus' deity and His mission to the world), others in Mark (since it's the shortest Gospel and allows you to get a whole book under your belt the quickest) and others in Matthew (since it's the first book in the New Testament and focuses on how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy). Those are all good places to start, and the best advice we can give you is to never finish; keep on reading, even after you've made it through all 66 books. You'll learn more every time.
"As the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.'
"There are many good Bible translations, and different people have their own preferences. For my personal Bible study, I like to use the New American Standard Version (an excellent word-for-word translation), the New International Version (a good thought-for-thought translation, slightly easier to read than the New American Standard Version), the King James Version (the best known English version and beautifully phrased, although slightly harder to read because of the 17th Century English it uses), and the New King James Version (a version that uses similar phrasing to the King James Version but more modern wording). I've read and owned a number of study Bibles and my favorite thus far is the New Geneva Study Bible."
"Some Bible translations are better than others, but one to avoid at all costs is the New World Translation, published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses). It deliberately distorts and misinterprets the original scripture text to support Watchtower teachings, particularly their denial of the deity of Christ. Although the New World Translation has changed over the years, it has repeatedly been proven to contain many faulty translations. The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society claims to have well-qualified Hebrew and Greek scholars as their translation committee, but they have kept their identities secret, and no recognized Hebrew and Greek scholars have expressed approval of the New World Translation."
Our lead guitarist and producer, Karl Messner, started a Bible reading program for our fans in 1999. If you'd like more information, check out the FAQ on that in the "Boys in the Band" section.