I’ve Got 99 Bibles….

While I’m an avid reader I haven’t picked up my Bible in some time. This has niggled away at my conscience but there always seems to be something else which gets in the way. It’s hard to put my finger on but one of my ‘problems’ is that when I think about reading it, I can’t decide which one to open. Saying I’ve 99 Bibles is a little disingenuous. I’ve actually got five. But 99 made for a cooler post title.

My first Bible was a zip up, tiny travel New International Version (NIV). It was when I started to explore my faith and I was so clueless I went to a high street bookshop as opposed to a specialist Christian one. They had a very poor selection and I settled for this one, even though I can barely read the print. For a long time, I carried it everywhere with me in my manbag.

It was replaced with a larger, black leather NIV which Fionnuala bought me as a Christmas present. This was my go to text when I was at my most diligent. I’ve read it from cover to cover, scribbling notes in the margins and highlighting verses that spoke to me. I was passionate about my faith then, so much so that I’m almost afraid to open it again and see how far I may have fallen backwards.

Next up was another present from Fionnuala. A beautiful C.S. Lewis Bible, peppered with quotes from my fellow countryman. My problem with this tome is that I love it so much I’m afraid to write on it or do anything to detract from its pristine condition. It’s like an immaculate sports car which sits in the garage as it’s owner is afraid to take it out in case it gets scratched or muddy.

Then I tried The Message version. I loved its New Testament translation, especially Paul’s letters, which really came alive for me. But I struggled with its paraphrasing of the Psalms. As in really, really struggled. Oh and don’t get me started on Proverbs. It proper butchered Proverbs. So, once again, I found myself in my local Faith Mission store, scanning the hundreds of translations on offer.

This time, I plumped for a New King James Version (NKJV). I heard that the NKJ is the most accurate translation of the original text but it reminded me of Sunday School with all its ‘thees’ and ‘thous’. I liked the NKJV but, again, it just was a tad old fashioned for me in its language. And while I love my Kindle, I can’t read the Bible online. I need a physical copy of it in my hands.

Before you all start, I know I’m just making excuses. God’s Word is God’s Word. Just pick up a copy, any copy, and read it Stephen. Let go and let God. The truth will set you free, be it KJV or NIV. Just make it ASAP. It’s a mental block, a hurdle I’m struggling to negotiate. And the longer I stare at them on the bookshelf, gathering dust, the bigger the issue becomes for me. It’s the white elephant in the room.

I know you aren’t all Bible readers but, to those of you who do, any advice would be much appreciated. I’ve been very anxious this last week, worrying about big stuff looming up on the horizon. To the point, I felt on the verge of a total meltdown a few days ago. Thank goodness Fionnuala and Hannah were on hand to keep the blog going over the weekend. I’m glad we are all back under the same roof again though.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

98 thoughts on “I’ve Got 99 Bibles….

  1. Not sure if you have these in your area, but have you heard of Half Price Books? They have used and new books (and accessories). I know they have a multitude of Bibles and Christian literature. They have a website, too: hpb.com

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  2. I think the hardest part about reading the word of God is not knowing where to start! I got the advice a few years ago that if I ever felt “stuck” to turn to Proverbs. Proverbs conveniently has 31 Chapters, one for each day of the month. If I ever don’t know where to turn that’s the first thing I do, check out the date, turn to the matching chapter. Right now I am also loving Phillipians, a book about contentment and thankfulness, I’m also going through 1 Samuel and have been finding it fascinating, especially after reading about the many terrible “Judges” the Israelites had after arriving at their promised land. Anyways the important thing is reading each book in context and asking God how it applies to us today. Once I can connect to the bible on a personal level, my love for it just stirs up and I can’t stop reading it! Hope one of these ideas works for you! Good luck!

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  3. I’ve been reading the same NIV study Bible for years, and every time it gets more notes written in the margins. (it’s falling apart, frankly.)
    I usually start reading from where I left off the day before and read until something stops me (God “says” something to me). Then I stop and think/pray about it. Sometimes I get a nugget in the first one or two verses, other times I read quite a bit before something grabs my attention, but then I get a good perspective on the context. (There is no “usual” amount of time I spend.) When I get to the end of Revelation, I start again in Genesis. It’s amazing how God can show us new things in passages we’ve read multiple times before.
    PS I didn’t know there was a C. S. Lewis Bible. Sounds great. He’s a favorite of mine.

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  4. I think God (well, at least my version of God, and the kind of relationship we have) is chuckling about you and your bible struggle… I think that he (or she, for anyone who prefers) is lovingly aware of your genuine spirit, and the journey you are experiencing, and only wants for you to do what you feel you need to do, and to be who you are, right now. And if this struggle is a part of that, then so be it. I don’t know you, but it does seem to me that you are incredibly self-deprecating and often beating yourself up. I don’t think God needs you to read the bible right now, and would be happy for you to spend your time doing the very things that are unique to you, the individual soul… the wonderful little shard of the great creative force of life. Of course, it may be that you feel that it is you who needs to read the bible, for your own sake – in which case, have faith that God will guide you: close your eyes, pick the one that your hand lands on, and just open it. God will lead you to whichever part is most relevant to you at this moment in time. It’s what I do with self-help books sometimes, having faith that what I need to hear at that moment will be shown to me… and it always is. x

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  5. I love my 1978 NIV. It’s worn out and falling apart, much like me 😊
    You mentioned you loved your NIV, you may consider going back to that version. I noticed a New American Standard in your picture. That’s a great version too. There are many Bible reading plans you can find online. Those can be quite helpful, and may give you a starting point. You could always start in the gospels. You can’t go wrong reading the words of Jesus. Pick a time that works for you and stick to it, everyday. Pray and ask God to reveal himself to you in His word. You could also look up verses on anxiety, fear, etc. Bookmark those and write them down separately. When the anxiety rears it’s head speak the truth of God’s word. His word is living and active. Praying for you as you delve back into God’s word.

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  6. Pick any of them up, say a prayer asking God to meet you in His word, and then listen.

    A reminder from your TR Noble interview last year 🙂

    https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/when-faith-is-fractured-interview-with-fractured-faith/

    5. You took a few months break in discussing faith on your blog and in your own life. What did you realize during that time about your own faith that you struggled to realize before?

    * I realised I couldn’t go it alone and what a patient, understanding God we have. 

    9.  What do you want bloggers and readers to take away from this interview?

    * I hope people realise no matter how much they think they’ve messed up their lives, that God can and will still use them for His purpose. Don’t give up on Him because He will never give up on you. I’m a walking, talking testimony to that. 

    Love you brother 🙏

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  7. Ha, a cooler title indeed, but five is plenty.
    Honestly, I think your own interpretation is more important than the words themselves. No simple word is The Word after all.

    How about this, pick two at once, and read of both. It might help to compare, word for word, for Word.

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  8. I recommend that you start with reading small chunks of Scripture, the version does not matter too much. Since you mentioned being stressed out, Psalm 91 is a great starting point. All you need is a smidgen of faith that God will meet you there…….

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  9. Every time somebody mentions that KJV is the superior bible, I buy a new version of the bible. We have lots, too. It’s increased since we had children. Personally, I like to hop around different versions. I use NIV a lot, but I like the Message and Amplified, and I peek at some of the others now and then, too. I love my bible phone app because now I can verse hop that way. I love the thought of the Lewis bible! I’ll have to snag one someday. Thanks!

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  10. I read from a CEB Women’s Bible and an NRSV John Wesley Study Bible. I prefer the latter because of the notes at the bottom, and I’m realizing that I am intellectually curious enough that I only want Bibles with some sort of notes in the future.

    I simply read straight through the OT and the NT, a couple chapters from each every day (almost every day). Since the NT is much shorter, I’ve lapped it a couple times in the last year, whereas I’m only in 1 Kings in the OT. I keep my less preferred Bible at work for the days when I know I won’t have time to read when I get home. I’m kinda meticulous about having all my OT notes in one Bible, though, so I don’t read it in my work Bible.

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  11. A friend of mine gifted me a “Scripture Journal” for Hebrews. I use it at work for light reading and jotting down questions for more in-depth study later. Being a disciplined runner, I’m sure you know… a set time for “exercise” will generate results…even if they are only incremental.
    Peace to you Stephen

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  12. Hard for me to say because I absolutely love, love, love reading my Bible. Most translations are pretty good – ESV is supposed to be literal yet readable (Hebrew and Greek are very different in their syntax, so some necessary adjustments are made in translation for readability). But if I were you, just pick up one you have and start reading. Someone said Psalm 91, which is great. Actually, all the psalms are great. Hebrews is wonderful, Romans is good. Of course, I’m a big fan of the beginning and the end: Genesis and Revelation. Can’t go wrong, really, except maybe the numerical parts of numbers. Don’t stress over it! Just ask the Lord to guide your reading and then read. Taste and see… (Psalm 34:8)

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  13. So- my two cents… when you’ve been without for a while go back to the one you used the most (black cover?). It helped me remember why I fell in love with Christ in the first place. I have KJV, NASB, NIV (3 different copies), the Living Bible, NLV, and an e-version of HCSB. I still use my favorite copy Sunday morning and another copy for M-F… hang in the “brother” ☺️

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  14. I like Acts and Romans. That would be a good place to start. You could also read Matthew or John for Easter week this week, with special attention on the later chapters from the Triumphal entry to the crucifixion and resurrection. I use the 1984 NIV version. Used it ever since I accepted Jesus back in 1996. Hope that helps. God bless!

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  15. I’m a KJV purist. For one, I’m with you on not butchering Psalms and Proverbs. Sheesh.

    Now, here’s what you do: sit down to breakfast or on the train, open up to the first section you turn to, and read. Don’t skim; lap it up.
    …unless you turn to something like Numbers. 😉

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  16. When I was in Bible college, I heard that none of the translations change what you would gain as far as doctrine. I would personally stay away from the KJV. I don’t think it’s correct that that one has the most accurate translation. As scholars discover new manuscripts and language changes, they update it. I always liked the NIV because I thought it was a good middle ground between the NASB (which tries to be as literal as possible) and the Message one (which I loved, too, when I first picked it up). But yeah, the translation is a little too loose for me…….. I’m sounding like a real nerd now. I’ll stop. 🙂 Whatever you read, I hope it’s enriching for you.

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  17. I’m doing a chronological plan. I’ve been a Christian for *Cough cough* years and never read it all. Mine has been a roller-coaster faith.

    Some of it is hard going, but sometimes I’ve come across verses or passages ‘in context’. It can be enlightening. Also, the odd psalm pops up now and again, in situ.

    So, maybe try a reading plan? 👍

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  18. Stephen, I am so glad you avoided meltdown. Kudos! Like you, I have several gathering dust on the shelf. Not because I don’t read, but because I bought a parallel Bible several years ago. It has side by side the KJV, Amplified, NAS and NIV. So, when the KJV makes no sense to me, I jump across the page to another version for another opinion. I don’t beat myself up when none of it speaks to me and quite often the book lays idle for quite awhile. (Am I headed for hell?)🤔

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  19. I have a few different versions of the Bible as well but unfortunately they are all collecting dust on my shelf. I only crack a Bible in church and sometimes not even then. If you find something that works keep me posted 🙂

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  20. Ah, Steven, you have described well something many folks have asked me as I sit in my ‘pastor’s chair’: “Why can’t I seem to stick with reading my Bible? Here’s a secret I’ll share with you; sometimes I can’t either.
    What gets me through these times when I don’t want to/feel like/have time for my Bible is to simply think about the Author. When I do, I realize He is most worthy of me spending time with the Life Instruction Book He left me.
    I have read many books in my life that have helped me in various ways. I have read plenty for pure enjoyment. But only the Bible, self-described as living and active (Hebrews 4:12) speaks to me in a most personal way. The words don’t always jump off the page at me, but over time they have worked themselves into my heart.
    My sincerest advice: Find a bible reading reading plan that you can make work into your daily life. Choose a translation that best suits you (my personal reading choice is NIV pre-1984) and get to it.
    Getting into the habit of daily reading as slowly changed me from ‘having’ to read it into someone who now looks forward to it. May you be blessed in this way as well!
    Warmest regards (and please keep writing!),
    Chuck

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  21. Hi. I must admit I have not read the Bible in over three years. It might seem odd but I have ptsd as a result of years of spiritual abuse. I am hoping this will be the year I finally open it. Thanks for being candid about struggles reading the Bible. Reasons might be different but the outcome is the same. Good luck to you.

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  22. Honestly, Psalms is the most popular book for a reason. ☺ I started studying it recently and it is so good.
    A great thing to do before you start is pray that God will show you something applicable to your life.
    I like to read one Psalm (or half of one, if it’s longer) and take notes on what stood out to me. It’s also really cool to read commentaries and studies about why certain Psalms were written. I hope you get back to reading your Bible! It is a hard thing to get back into, but it’s so worth it.

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  23. Read it in NIV! and when it talls about a:
    Kingdom of God = government of God
    Heaven = outerspace!
    Sin – simply something not acceptable to Gpd
    Only begotten = artificially inseminated by our supernatural otherworldly God
    Faith = heartfelt intention and belief in God’s power in our personal life
    When you read the scriptures literally, in light of quantum theory in the power of intentional thought, and our space age of the discovery of traces of biological dna​ already discovered…the Bible as a historical book becomes fascinating!!! That is true enlightenment!

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  24. A Bible open and in the hand is better than a Bible on the shelf… Use the fact that it is Holy Week to motivate you. Read the gospels, focus on the parables, read about Joseph and his brothers and their jealousy, ponder the psalms. Its all good. Though not all parts of the Bible are equally useful all the time. Some times call for this and other times call for that.

    The question I would ask you isn’t which Bible are you going to read, but what is keeping you from it? What are you afraid of? What is the source of the reluctance? I trust that God loves you whether you read your Bible or not. That is grace. But I am confident that you will, in the long run, love yourself and your fellow human beings (and all the rest of creation) more if you read it than if you don’t.

    Blessings on your reading,
    Pastor Karla

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  25. PS, Whoever told you the New King James Version is the most accurate translation is full of prunes, in my not so humble opinion. Translation is complicated business. The translators can go one of two ways, or try to meet in the middle. They can either go with the word accuracy translation, trying to keep each work in Greek or Hebrew matched by its appropriate English word. In my opinion the best at this is the English Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version. That isn’t always the most accurate in meaning, however. The other end of the continuum is a meaning for meaning translation. The translator reads a passage, and asks, “How do I best convey the content and the meaning of this passage so my readers will understand it fully?” They don’t try to keep the sentence structure or the cadence. The Message is a very good translation on this end of the continuum. All of the translations are somewhere in the middle because no two languages have the same number of words, they don’t use words to describe concepts the same, stuff like that.

    A very good book that might get you energized to get back into the Bible is Eugene Peterson’s “Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading”

    Blessings,
    Pastor Karla, again…

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  26. As others have shared I enjoyed reading the Bible with the once a day Chronological Bible. Sometimes you just have to do it like a chore. I have to say there are many days like that for myself. But creating the routine will eventually bring you to a point where you look forward and find joy in your reading. I’ve read through the Bible twice like this and I look forward to being able to study each book in a little more depth in journal while I read. Right now time lies all right can’t manage that. To be honest I’m a little bit of a funk myself but don’t feel ashamed or allow the distance in your Bible reading to hold you back from starting. That is purely the devil filling your thoughts to pull you away from the Lord.

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  27. To be honest, whether we are new to the faith or of the more “seasoned” fellows, I think a lot more of us struggle to read the Word than we will let on. It’s so easy to choose something else to do, because when we read Scripture, or at least when I do, I’m always challenged to think, speak and act differently, and that can be uncomfortable. 😉 … a couple of Bibles that I really like is the Thompson Chain Reference (NIV), the Spirit-filled Bible (NKJV) and the Parallel Bible (mine has the KJV, NIV, and NLT all side by side). I like these, because they each have notes at the bottom that give extra info to what I’m reading. I’ve also doing a great app that helps me with reading daily devotions and Scriptures each day: Our Daily Bread. Happy Reading to you! 😊

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  28. There’s an app called He Reads Truth – they have a lot of daily devotionals and studies and tend to go through the Bible book by book. You can also do their studies online for free if you wish. I’ve found the She version {geared toward women} very helpful in keeping me in the Word daily. Start somewhere…anywhere…pick a verse and noodle it. Write about it. Ask God what He wants you to know about it. Leave space for Him to respond {by the way, I’m not very good at leaving space for Him to respond}.

    Thoughts for you to ponder: God doesn’t care how far you’ve backslidden. He just wants you near Him and He wants you to know Him. Any guilt you have about not reading your Bible isn’t coming from the Lord. Nope. He’s right there, waiting to welcome you with open arms, zero judgment and zero condemnation.

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  29. Another thought is to listen to it. I like Brian Hardin’s reading on Daily Audio Bible (dailyaudiobible.com) and I like his comments very much. He uses a different version each week (I think he has a revolving pool of about 7 versions) and reads a portion from the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs each day and goes through the whole Bible in a year. I have been listening to him for about three years now and find it fascinating still. It is good for when you are running (but only on a very familiar safe track, where you might not get run over if you get absorbed into the Word.)

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  30. I’ve got 99 Bibles too…actually 6…lol
    I have one Mr. Faith bought me that’s my favorite. I keep it on our coffee table with my word study Bible with paper notepad and pens. I just got back into reading my Bible. I kept it on a shelf because I felt disappointed in the hand God dealt me, that was my excuse. Truthfully, I was disappointed in myself and what I’d allowed my life to become. A friend of mine had joined a ‘chapter a day keeps the devil away’ Bible reading online group. She was struggling with finding time. I offered to join the group only to support her. While I wasn’t impressed with the group, it did get me back to reading my Bible. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, one for each day. There’s handy lists of daily reading to ensure you read the Bible in a year. There’s apps you can find or alarms you can set. I found that I really started craving the Word when I acknowledged my personal issues and then did a scriptural study on what God had to say about the issues, topics and prayers I was having and saying. I keep my bible out in the open, easily visible, easily accessible and I choose to use the one I was most physically comfortable with. I’ll be praying for you.

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  31. Well you probably don’t need another translation but the one I love and use all the time is the New Living Translation. Also advice someone gave me long ago was not to set a certain amount I must read when I sit down with my Bible – like a chapter or two or whatever. But to read until a verse seems to speak to you – then stop – whether you have read two verses or three chapters or whatever….just stop and reflect on that verse. Mull it around in your mind the rest of the day.

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  32. For me, I stopped reading the Bible when our girls were small. They just required too much. But after a while I felt a nudge from God and got the impression that he was saying, “You’re missing out.” I protested replying, “When do I have time where I’m not being interrupted?” The only time I had to myself was when using the toilet. So I restarted there. Now I read from my phone using the youversion app. Loads of translations to choose from. I’ll be praying that you find your place and time (and translation).

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  33. When I got saved, I started on NIV. After attending a Baptist church, that’s when I got to KJV. Then after that I went to NASB, currently using the NLT and really love it. Though I still have both NASB and KJV as a reference. Pick the one you understand the most but be aware of missing words and verses, which is some of the translations are infamous for. Personally, I’m not much for newer translations like the Message, all you have to do is to have a willing and repentant heart to obey, even though none of it make sense. Always ask the Holy Spirit to speak and explain it to you.

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  34. I recommend trying out http://www.biblehub.com If you are looking for coordinances, discussions, Hebrew root meaning, etc. Tons of resources!

    It shows you tons of different versions for one scripture and that may allow you to see which version speaks best to you. I like NLT and ESV, my to go to is NKJ .

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