So where do I start?
In spite of the great importance of the Old Testament, I would recommend you to start with one of the Gospels in the New Testament. Maybe the shortest and easiest – Mark. Why? Because it is important to learn to know Yeshua more and more, from day to day. He says:
„And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah whom thou hast sent.”
It is also important to learn to know his will for our life. Or, as someone said: „Yeshua didn’t come to get admirers, but to call followers”.
„For I have given you an example…”
In the Gospels Yeshua also tells us what he expects from his disciples:
“Not everyone that saith unto me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
It is a great privilege to be able to read the Bible in the original language, but most people in the world are forced to read a translation. There are many peoples that do not have the Bible at all, or that have only parts of it. Many have only one translation, often a very old one. In the Western world, and especially in English-speaking countries, there is a wide variety of translations.
There are word-by-word translations that try to translate “exactly what is written”. Others, on the other hand, are so “free” that they no longer reflect the original. A classic example of that is the so-called “Living Bible”, which is actually not a translation at all, but rather a paraphrase, or a retelling.
A good translation stays close to the original and the inner meaning of the Word, but still maintains a flowing modern language that is easy for the reader to understand.
Thank God for the Bible
In the past, Bibles were handwritten and they were very expensive. They were kept in temples, synagogues, churches and monasteries. Only priests rabbis, monks and influential rich people had access to them.
With the invention of the printing-press in the 15th century, mass-production of Bibles became possible. But these Bibles were still too expensive for regular people. There were no schools for commoners, so most common people didn’t know how to read and write. They had to be content with what they heard taught in church or saw in the Biblical stories depicted in murals on the church walls. It was widely believed in the church that only properly taught priests could read and explain the Bible. Therefore they didn’t want commoners to have Bibles. People that opposed this belief often had to pay with their lives.
Even today there are countries – such as communist countries or those under Islam’s sharia law – where owning or distributing Bibles is forbidden. Many people in these countries are being kept in prisons or camps for distributing the Word of God.
Thank God that you have a Bible.
Thank God for all the people who have dedicated their lives to the difficult task of translating the Bible.
Pray for the people that are risking their lives daily in order to distribute Bibles, and for the people sitting in prisons for distributing the Word of God.