Hi Life Church! Doing the Bible is the first of our Core Values at Life Church and in order to do the Bible we have to learn the Bible and teach it to others. This page contains some Bible resources (including reading plans) that we recommend. We especially want to call your attention to:
- 1 Approaching the Bible
- 2 Understanding the Bible
- 3 Bible Versions
- 4 Online Resources
- 5 Bible Apps
- 6 Purchasing Bible Resources
- 7 Reading Plans: Life Church Bible Reading Project
- 8 Resource Lists (for your convenience)
- 9 Acknowledgements
Approaching the Bible
Some background for urban disciples:
- Christianity is not a western religion! It is a middle-eastern religion that has had a significant, yet sadly inadequate influence on the west.
- Christianity is “revealed” religion – it is entirely about God taking an initiative to communicate specific truths to us and our response to his initiative. It is NOT about us finding our way to God! If God did not exist, Christianity would be meaningless. If it turned out that God exists, but hasn’t actually communicated anything, then Christianity would be meaningless. We are entirely dependent on God’s desire to make himself known. If God did not want to reveal himself to us we would have no hope of finding him or figuring him out.
- The Bible was not written in English! The English language did not yet exist when the Bible was written. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic; the New Testament was written in Greek. Every English Bible we have is a translation from these languages.
- When you read the Bible you are eavesdropping on a conversation that God had with someone else. You are eavesdropping with his permission, indeed his encouragement, but you are still eavesdropping and you need to interpret everything from the perspective of the initial audience. The Bible was written for us, but not directly to us.
Understanding the Bible
Perhaps the best way to understand the Bible is by approaching it the way the founders of The Bible Project do:
The Bible is a small library of books telling a unified story that leads to Jesus.
Introduction To The Bible
For greater insight we strongly encourage you to check out our Following Jesus course which includes the following unit:
This course will provide you with important background for understanding the Bible!
The Bible was not written in English! The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic; the New Testament was written in Greek. Every English Bible we have is a translation from these languages.
We strongly recommend that you read or listen to the Bible in a modern word for word translation such as one of the following:
- New International Version (NIV)
- English Standard Version (ESV)
- New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- BibleSpeak | The Best Bible Name Pronunciation Tool Available
We do not use the King James Version (KJV) since it uses outdated English that will get in the way of your understanding of the text. We also do not recommend using paraphrase, or idiomatic versions such (The Message, The Living Bible, etc.) since these make it harder to directly engage the words from the original languages. We do not recommend using the Amplified Bible since it can give the misleading impression that all of the potential meanings of various Biblical words are actually intended at any given point at which that word appears. Finally, you should never use the New World Translation by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (The Jehovah’s Witnesses). Here are some resources to help you better understand your Bible:
- The Bible Project: How To Read The Bible
- Dynamic and Formal Equivalence
- Making of the Bible [Extended Version] Tim Mackie (The Bible Project) – YouTube (02:09:11)
Checkout these resources:
- The Bible Project: Choosing a Bible Translation – YouTube (00:00:57)
- The Bible Project: History of Bible Translation – YouTube (00:01:00)
- Life Church: Learn The Bible – YouTube List
- Life Church Discipleship Resources – YouTube List
The Bible Project is an amazing resource that includes dozens of excellently produced videos and study guides that will greatly enhance your understanding of the Bible.
The site also includes a 1 year Bible reading plan that you can download.
This Bible reading plan is the online version of the One Year Bibles available in print in various versions (NV, ESV, etc.). From this web site you can do your Bible reading on the standard plan (January 1 – December 31) or you can create a plan with a start date of your own choice. You can even order the One Year Bible in print!
You need to memorize scripture! The Navigators TMS will help you hide God’s Word in your heart!
- Bible Hub – Online Bible study tools (including Hebrew and Greek tools)
- BibleSpeak | The Best Bible Name Pronunciation Tool Available
- Center For The Study of New Testament Manuscripts
- The Chosen: The First Original Series About Jesus Christ
- International Bible Society Daily Manna From The ‘Net
- Bible Gateway – Read Bible passages in multiple versions
- YouVersion – Read Bible passages in multiple versions
- Read Scripture
- BibleProject App: Learn How to Read the Bible | BibleProject™
- Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more
- Biblica | The International Bible Society (original publishers of the New International Version)
- Christian Books, Bibles, Gifts & more. – Christianbook.com
- Outreach Bibles – ChurchSource (purchasing partner for Biblica – great source for inexpensive Bibles to give away for outreach)
Recommended Bible Study Resources
We strongly recommend that you use a specific set of commentaries as you study the Bible with us. These are available from our:
- The Old Testament For Everyone by John Goldingay (available as a set or individually)
- The New Testament For Everyone by N. T. Wright (available as a set or individually)
The Bible Experience
Inspired by…The Bible Experience is an audio version of the Bible published by Zondervan. The script used is the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) Bible translation. The re-enactment was performed by a cast of more than 200 African-American actors, singers, musicians, poets, personalities, and clergy, including 3 Oscar winners, 5 Golden Globe winners, 7 Emmy winners, and 23 Grammy winners. Members of this cast include Blair Underwood as Jesus, Samuel L. Jackson and Paul Adefarasin as God, Kirk Franklin as Simon Peter, Angela Bassett, Dule Hill, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington in the Song of Songs, LL Cool J as Samson, Eartha Kitt as the Serpent, Bishop T.D. Jakes as Abraham, and Bishop Eddie L. Long as Joel. The original music score was composed by Grammy award-winning producers and performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
We are now recommending that our members use one of the following Bible reading plans:
- BibleProject Reading Plan | BibleProject™
When you subscribe from the web page you will get a weekly email of readings.
- Read Scripture
This app incorporates a plan for reading through the entire Bible using resources from The Bible Project.
This app offers you a number of Bible reading plans. Register on Bible.com below to select reading plans that you can use with the app.
- Bible Reading Plans & Daily Devotionals | YouVersion Bible
When you register yourself on this web site, you can choose plans that you will be able to access from the YouVersion app:
- BibleProject | One Story that Leads to Jesus | Devotional Reading Plan | YouVersion Bible
- BibleProject | The Bible | Devotional Reading Plan | YouVersion Bible
- BibleProject | Books of the Bible | Devotional Reading Plan | YouVersion Bible
- BibleProject | Biblical Storyline Reading Plan | Devotional Reading Plan | YouVersion Bible
Resource Lists (for your convenience)
- Life Church Discipleship Resources Amazon.com List
- Life Church Discipleship Resources – YouTube
- Tim Mackie: Matthew – YouTube
Please join me in acknowledging the key people who contributed to this material!