You may have noticed that I sometimes quote scripture from translations of the Bible other than our beloved NIV. There’s a very simple reason for this …. I believe it’s possible that over-familiarity with certain verses of scripture can cause them to lose their impact and relevance in our lives.
Many of you, like me, were brought up in Christian families. At our parent’s knee or in Sunday school we learnt to recite certain verses by heart. If I suggest ‘John 3:16’ ‘Psalm 23’or ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ – I’m sure we could launch immediately into pretty accurate memorised responses. (In my case these would be from the old King James Version – the only Bible ever used in my parents’ home!) But oh how easily the words trip off our tongues.
So here’s my challenge – has familiarity caused the essence, power and divine purpose of His Word to lose its impact? Do we honestly meditate on what these precious words of life mean as we expertly regurgitate them like a student who’s memorised a Shakespeare quote for an English exam?
Here’s a little tip that has honestly revolutionised my relationship with the written Word of God. When your daily reading brings you to a passage that you already know ‘off by heart’ – try looking it up in a version you don’t often use. You don’t need to purchase expensive ‘hard copies’ – they’re almost all available on the internet via various free Bible ‘aps.’
Of course it’s important to check that a version you’re unfamiliar with is reliable and accurate –chat with church leadership to put your mind at rest! Two versions I highly recommend are the Amplified Bible and The Passion Translation. Both of these expand meanings and draw out wonderful nuances from the original Hebrew and Greek texts. I’m not suggesting we set aside the version we feel most comfortable with. But it’s a wonderful way of breathing ‘new life’ into a passage of scripture that over-familiarity may have caused to become ‘stale.’
For example, here’s The Lord’s Prayer from the Passion Translation (Matt 6:9-13)
“Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your Name be the centre on which our lives turn. Manifest your kingdom realm and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven. We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever, Amen.”
And Hebrews 13:5 from the Amplified Bible
“For He, God Himself has said ‘I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake nor let you down or relax my hold on you. Assuredly not!’”
Wow! Did He really say that?