Ilegal Bible Reading?

Here’s the rest of the post from Wednesday.  We’re talking about avoiding Bible Boredom…

When we were little, my cousin Karl had some weird ideas about road signs.  And one of them was that this was the only place deer could cross the road legally.

Somehow he thought deer would understand (maybe because of the picture of themselves that they’d recognize) and line up to cross only where they saw that sign.

Over the years I’ve had some weird ideas about what was “legal” Bible reading…you know…what “counted” on the cosmic scoreboard of spirituality.

When I was in college, you hadn’t really read the Bible unless it was at 6 a.m. for at least 30 minutes (after you had done the prescribed minimum of 15 minutes of prayer, using A.C.T.S don’tcha know, and before the 15 minutes of journaling) and it had to be the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD version of the Bible.

Poppycock.

God want us.  Our whole being, fully engaged with Him, whatever that looks like so that He can love us well and morph us into people who look more like Him.  He speaks joy and courage and comfort and direction into our lives as a gift.

So here’s the extra little secret that I referred to on Wednesday.  You may like it, but you may not.

When I was in High School, the book that I didn’t want to read was The Brothers Karamazof.  I know, I know…a classic, and it may be your favorite, but for me it was Cliff Notes all the way.

The Message version of the Bible is kind of like the Cliff Notes of church world – a dynamic equivalent in contemporary language.  Yep, you’ll miss out on some nuance and exact translation, but it’s ok. It’s legal!

If reading the Message will give you a fresh start at interacting with God’s word, go for it!  And as a bonus, check out Solo, an uncommon devotional that uses The Message and provides a passage of Scripture for every day of the year, from Genesis through Revelation, so you get at least one passage from every book of the Bible.

What I like about it is that it leads you through the passage in a practice of repeated readings and listening for words or phrases that God might impress upon you personally.  It asks a couple of guiding questions without commentary so it really forces you to engage with the text.

What “rules” do you resist about Bible reading?

7 thoughts on “Ilegal Bible Reading?

  1. Wow, Laura, this was such a blessing today. I love the MESSAGE but always felt it was for “dummies”. You are right, Poppycock, I am Not going to think that way anymore! I will enjoy it as a “dynamic equivalent in contemporary language”!!! After 7 years of BSF, I think I will finally look forward to reading a Bible that is relevant and applicable for today! Also, I cant wait to get the Solo devotional!!! By the way, what college did you attend that was so structured (for lack of a better word)? Thank you for your blog!

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    • So glad this was encouraging to you Pam! I think there’s a place for all different types of translations, and certainly NASB is going to be better for in-depth study where you want the word for word translation as much as possible. But I think God can use the freshness of the MESSAGE to bring new perspective and shake us up a bit.

      It wasn’t my college, but more the culture of the south where it was located. It wasn’t a “rule”, but felt like an unwritten expectation. And certainly, some of that pressure was my own legalistic bent in that season of life!

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  2. Hi Laura – Thank you for all your blogs! Had to respond to this one – as about 2 months ago my best friend and prayer warrior – who lives far from IL had asked if i wanted to go through Solo with her. We have tried reading books ‘together’ before but had not always had great results. But this has worked really well for us! We skype once a week (most weeks!) and talk through 3 days of the devotion…so it will take us two + years to read through the devotional but that is fine for us – as we are getting SO much out of our time doing the reading in the Message and pondering the questions and thoughts that follow the reading. We spend about two hours ‘together’ reading and chatting through what He told us through this devotional – technology has some wonderful benefits and this is certainly one for us! We laugh as we comment – who knew Leviticus could be so rich!!
    The Message and Solo have provided a fresh way to enjoy His word – thanks for confirming it is LEGAL too!! ; )
    Hello to your beautiful daughters!!

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    • Sandy, I’m so glad you’ve loved Solo as I have! And what a GREAT idea, your long-distance conversation around it with your friend! Love it – thanks so much for sharing! Others of us may have to try that too.
      Also, I just found a smaller travel version of SOLO, New Testament 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Spiritual ADD | Awake my Soul

  4. I’m reading daily from The Message during this season of my life. In fact, I get teased a lot at church because I’m so fond of it these days. It’s fresh, it’s a new perspective. I’m grateful!

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    • Me too! Sometimes we “hear” a certain translation so much that I think we need something to shake us out of auto-pilot listening 🙂 Glad you too have enjoyed the freshness of the Message!

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