My kids come to me all the time, asking me questions that I do not know how to answer at the moment. My daughter will ask me how many people live in Africa. My son will ask me the name of the 23rd president. I never frown upon them asking me questions, even the ones I cannot answer off the top of my head. I will openly admit that I Google it. I have even applauded my children for taking initiative to search on Google for items, because I want them to seek information when they have questions.
When I was younger and I had questions, I would go to the library, look through the card catalog, and find books or encyclopedias on the subject. I would read till I found the answer. Now today we have the Internet, and with the ease of a search engine, we are able to have information at our fingertips. Sitting in front of a computer screen, with fingers on the keys, you can feel like you are the smartest person in the world. Click, click. You know the answer. Click, click. Easy solution.
Life isn’t filled with easy solutions though. God left us with His Word. Some people call the Bible an instruction manual. There are people who believe the Bible should be consulted over any important issue. I am one of those people. I read my Bible daily, and if something arises in my life where I am lost, I pull out my Bible. Reading your Bible daily is a great habit to get into, and I doubt you will complain about it later.
Now when you are searching on Google for answers, there are chances that you may get the wrong answer. You have to look at the site you are led to and make sure it’s reputable. You wouldn’t want to look up medical information on a site about race cars. Just as you would talk to a car mechanic regarding your car, you hopefully would desire to seek a well-known medical source base for an answer.
You may be asking yourself why I am bringing this up at all. If we are looking for a reputable source, and we are considering the Bible our life manual, then it should be cut and dry. We read the Bible; we have our answers. I’m not going to argue about reading your Bible. I encourage reading. I challenge the interpretation. I challenge whether you are allowing the Holy Spirit to move within as you are reading.
Some people read the Bible for what they want. I know people who are sinning, who look for a verse that says what they are doing is not so bad, or is forgiven, and then they are satisfied. They got what they wanted. They feel better. They misinterpret or twist Scripture so that everything is okay. I have even witnessed some people saying they will find out what they need to know by paging through the Bible, and where they stop— that is what they are supposed to read. It’s like the Bible itself is not sacred, and the great Book doesn’t hold anything but some random verse on some random page that some higher power stops you at as you play Bible roulette.
The Bible can and should be consulted over any life matters. I recommend getting a reputable translation you are comfortable with for your better understanding. I have my preferences with translations; however, I don’t want to force you to side with my favorite translations. I am partial to the New American Standard Bible, but I usually recommend the New International Version. Most scholars point to the N.I.V. translation. I find it’s important to look at the publisher as well. Zondervan has a stellar reputation. And no, I am not being paid for an endorsement; Bible scholars will agree that they are founded on providing the best.
My main issue, is not necessarily the translation of Bible being used, but how the Bible is being read. The Bible is not just any book– it is THE BOOK. It is not to play games with or to be looked at for the meaning you want it to have in your life. The Bible is God’s Word. He left us His Word to read, to remember, to teach, and to guide. We cannot handle it like a Google search and pick and choose links. We cannot say we like a verse that says we will be blessed, but we don’t like a verse that says we are to give our life as an offering. It’s not selective reading.
Finally, when we read, it’s okay to consult commentaries and other references; however, it is vital that we consult the Holy Spirit above all. We were left the Spirit to guide us– allow the Spirit to do just that, and you will find that the Bible is such a great gift from God. You will not get all the answers, or even some of the answers you were seeking right away; however, continuous Bible reading and communication with God (prayer) is important and it is transforming.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 [NASB]