Sometimes the Bible is Greek to Me!
Although my childhood had a lot of religion, it didn't have a lot of "bible". So as a young adult, when I began to want more than ritualism and tradition, I didn't know very much about reading God's word for myself. In fact, I didn't even own a bible back then. The simple process of purchasing one was rather challenging since there were so many options to consider. I still remember my first trip to the Christian bookstore and the clerk who realized exactly how ignorant I was on the subject. She had asked me, "Do you want the Old and the New Testament, or just the New?" I replied "Why would a person want the old version if it's already been rewritten and updated?" I was grateful that she "straightened" me out with gentle, clear words to help with my first bible purchase.
Back then, I was at a point in my life where I had discovered that not everyone believed as I'd been taught about God. I'd seen that some people based their beliefs on what the bible said, rather than on long-standing church doctrines. So I wanted to learn exactly what was written in the bible, often called the "word of God", and make my own choice. And thus began my 24th year of life, in which I spent every spare moment trying to grasp the truth about salvation as God speaks it, not as the clergy had been speaking it to me for almost two decades.
Many verses convicted me of the errors in my prior religious instruction, but only after I received some wise advice to always pray to the Holy Spirit for understanding before sitting down to read the bible. In 2nd Timothy 3: 15, I found this message: "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." With that, I felt somewhat ripped off because for all the holy traditions I'd participated in while growing up...I hadn't been taught the word from the Bible itself.
In Exodus 15:26 it says: “If you wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Many verses told me that just obeying the commandments and being a good person was not enough for eternal salvation. Instead, one night I accepted real salvation based on grace alone, totally undeserved, which I received by faith in Jesus' death on the cross. What a change for me! Now some thirty years and many bible versions later...I still know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is so vital to understand the words that God speaks in Holy Scripture.
In my walk with God since becoming a soldier for Him, I've shared my faith with many other seekers...each of them at different points along the path to finding the truth about God. I've seen that others also struggle to choose a bible version and simply know where to start reading. They can be confused about the overall organization of it before they can start to grasp meaning in the written words. That's why bible study helps and basic instructions can be so incredibly helpful to those seeking God's voice.
The words in scripture are our only reliable route to the Truth! In the gospel of John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me." As a Christian, my work for the Kingdom is to guide people to Jesus. That's why I promote the reading of God's Word and I encourage people to learn to hear God's voice!
Can you imagine a color-coded study Bible and multi-media application that highlights when God speaks to you? Operation Light Force (OLF) is a ministry devoted to equipping people to do what Jesus did, setting captives free, healing and preaching. Richard Mull is both the President and Founder of OLF and is the General Editor of the God Speaks Bible and many other books. He's been featured on TV and in the media. This new study bible is intended to make God's words easier to understand by all who seek Him. Check him out for yourself and help us spread the word.... literally.
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