Big Q #1 – What is the difference between King James and NIV? Why don’t we read the KJV?
Here’s something you maybe didn’t know about the Bible: it wasn’t written in English.
In fact, long before the English language was ever uttered, the Bible was written over the course of 1,600 years in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. What this means is that the Bible you and I read today is a translation from those original languages into the language we use today, English.
This is where we get different versions of the Bible. You’ve maybe heard of a few of these: The King James Version (KJV), the New International Version (NIV), the New Living Translation (NLT), the English Standard Version (ESV), or the Message (MSG). The reason all these different versions exist is that there is no one way to translate from those ancient languages to English. Some versions translate word-for-word, taking each word and translating it directly into English. Others translate phrase-for-phrase, taking each phrase and translating it into an English phrase that retains the same meaning and close wording. Others sit somewhere in the middle of those two.
Now, this doesn’t make the Bible any less trustworthy. 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is God-breathed” – this means that the Bible is literally the Words of God, no matter what language you read it in (that’s why we use the term “Word of God”). Since there is no one way to translate the Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into English, many (even most) of these versions of the Bible are helpful and beneficial to read!
The version a person reads usually comes down to one thing: preference. Some read the KJV because it’s what they grew up on, what their parents read, or what their church uses; basically, they prefer it because of tradition. The reason we don’t use the KJV often (those we do use it at times) is because it was written in 17th century English, making it difficult to understand for someone not familiar with words like “thee”, “thou”, and “ebenezer” (don’t ask). Reading the Bible in the KJV can be helpful and if you like it and understand it, go for it! But there is nothing “holier” about reading the Bible in the KJV – if anyone tells you that you can tell them that they should go learn Greek and read it in that (just kidding – that wouldn’t be nice)!
If you’re new to reading the Bible, we suggest you start out with the NIV, NLT, or even the Message. For the most part, these versions read the way you and I talk today. The point is, read a version of the Bible you understand, and read it a lot! You can get the Bible on your smartphone with the Bible App and Grace Church has daily readings from the Bible available at everydaywithgod.com. Check those out!
Big Q #2 – How can you be sure you are doing what God called you to do?
Sometimes in life it’s hard to know what to do next.
Where should I go to college, what sport should I play, who should I date, what should I eat for lunch… so many questions, so little answers. It’s easy to get paralyzed by those choices and be stuck, not knowing which choice to make. It’s a great idea in these situations to find out what God wants you to do, but that can leave us with even more questions in the end. Here’s a few things to remember when it comes to what God has called you to do:
1 – Keep it Simple
It’s easy to get over-complicated here. The truth is, God gives us a lot of freedom on what we do in life. If you are a follower of Jesus you have the Holy Spirit living inside you and He will help guide you in making decisions. There’s a great principle here that you can count on: The Holy Spirit will never lead you to do something that contradicts the Bible. If you feel like you should do something but you know it isn’t in line with what the Bible says, that’s not the Holy Spirit leading you and it’s not the right choice. If you have two choices and one of them involves you lying, you can know for sure that the choice to lie is not the one God is calling you to. In Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus sums up what Christianity is all about: loving God and loving those around you. Make sure you do those things and ask God to lead you and you’ll be off to a good start. This is a great reason to spend time reading the Bible too!
2 – Pray
In Philippians 4:6 we learn that we can ask God anything. A great way to learn about God’s will for your life is to ask Him! Prayer is simply talking to God. You can do it whenever, however – you don’t need to kneel down by your beside, cross your hands and close your eyes. Ask God questions at your locker, during study hall, when you wake up, before you go to bed. Just ask Him!
3 – Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask someone who’s been there before for help. Ask your Grace Group Leader, someone on staff, your parents, or just an older Christian what they think. Getting godly counsel is a great way to learn what it is that God has for you to do.
4 – Don’t make it about you
This is the most important part. Proverbs 16:3 says this: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Remember that your life isn’t about you getting what you want. That’s really no life at all. Make your life about what God has for you and he will set you on the right path.