Showing posts with label God’s Word. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God’s Word. Show all posts

July 30, 2018

God’s Word: The Apocrypha


Using natural English and the closest equivalent to the primary languages of the Bible, God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society has provided a contemporary version of The Apocrypha, which they kindly sent me to review.

The word “apocrypha” means “hidden” or “secret,” but the books really weren’t. They first gave hope and inspiration to God’s people during their exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, where the people learned to speak, think, and read in Greek, rather than Hebrew. However, Jewish scholars decided not to include the books written in Greek when they canonized the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) many centuries later.

Nevertheless, during the time of Jesus most people - both Jews and early Christians - accepted the books as inspired, and New Testament writers even quoted them. Many more centuries later, the King James Version (KJV) of an English translation of the Bible included the books, where they remained until the Reformation.

Happily, these “deuterocanonical” books are now being returned to many English versions, giving us a clearer view of biblical times and situations that occurred between the old and new testaments. In addition to those historical texts, such as 1 and 2 Maccabees, the apocryphal books include wisdom writings relevant to today. Consider, for example, this passage from the God's Word translation of the Book of Wisdom, Chapter 1:

Verse 1. “Love justice, you rulers of the world.
Consider that the Lord is good.
Be sincere in your search for him.
Verse 2. Those who don’t test him will find him.
He will reveal himself to those who obey him
.”

Verses 6b-7. “God is a witness to people’s hidden feelings.
He has keen insight into what they think,
and he listens to what they say.
The Lord’s Spirit fills the world.
The Spirit holds everything together
and understands everything people say.


For another example, Wisdom 3 begins, “People who worship the true God are in God’s hands.” And verse 9:

Those who trust the Lord will understand what truth is.
Those who are faithful will live in a loving relationship with him,
because he is kind and merciful to the people he has chosen.


Another spiritually insightful book, Sirach, (one of my favorites) has this to say in Chapter 1, verse 13:

Everything will end well for people who fear the Lord.
They will be blessed on the day of their death
.”

Or Chapter 4:20 & 21:

“Don’t be ashamed to be yourself.”
“Don’t remain silent when one word could make things right.”


Or Chapter 10:11:

“All authority on earth is in the Lord’s hands.
He will appoint the right leader for the right time."

Amen!

Mary Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, reviewer

God’s Word: The Apocrypha





June 23, 2018

God’s Word: The Bible in clear, natural English


Translated directly from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, GOD’S WORD Translation Large Print Bible: The Bible in Clear, Natural English comes to us as CNE:

Clear, Natural English

and

Closest Natural Equivalent


Even the title of this translation is clear, natural, and the closest equivalent to the anthology of books we call the Bible -- God’s Word (GW.)

To produce the fresh, reliable, relevant translation aimed for, biblical scholars and reviewers followed these guidelines established by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society:

“The first consideration for the translators of GW was to find equivalent English ways of expressing the meaning of the original text, ensuring that the translation is faithful to the meaning of the source text. The next consideration was readability; the meaning expressed in natural English by using common English punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and vocabulary. The third consideration was to choose the natural equivalent that most closely reflects the style of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text.”


What more could we ask?

And yet, there is more! Not only does this quality paperback use a 12-point font that aids our eyes and understanding, the single-column format provides the natural flow of text with which we’re familiar as we read any book in English. Chapter headings and sub-headings then help us to locate a passage easily and keep our place as we read privately or study with a discussion group. The book lays flat when opened too.

Free of distracting footnotes, the “Bible Study Helps” in the back of this reader edition offer such unique features as an A to Z topical guide with scriptural references on “The Teachings of Jesus” followed by an “Application Index” of Bible verses and the topics to which they refer.

But it’s the translation itself I love and appreciate. For example, Jeremiah 17:14-15 says:

“Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed.
Rescue me, and I will be rescued.
You are the one I praise.
People keep asking me,
‘Where is the LORD’s word?’
Let it come’.”


Yes! Let it come! And, as it does, may we truly listen and readily understand what God is saying to us.

Mary Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, reviewer

God’s Word: The Bible in clear, natural English, paperback




May 3, 2018

God’s Book of Proverbs


God’s Book of Proverbs,
which LifeWay Christian Resources kindly sent me to review, provides “Biblical Wisdom Arranged by Topic” in order to “give you God’s guidance in matters related to everyday life.”

Using biblical text from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) published by Holman, the book groups topics alphabetically in the Table of Contents followed by headings ranging from “Anger,” “Beauty,” “Calamity” to “Wealth,” “Wickedness,” “Wisdom,” and “Wonder.”

Slightly larger than a typical paperback, this cloth-covered hardback edition makes an attractive, nicely sized book to give as a gift and/or keep in a purse or side pocket of a car, which is where my copy will most likely reside after this review, so I’ll have insightful, meditative-type reading material handy whenever I’ll be in a waiting room or any waiting mode.

To give you a few examples, I turned to “Discernment,” which lists 16 Proverbs such as:

The one who understands a matter finds success,
and the one who trusts in the LORD will be happy
.”
Proverbs 16:20

Counsel in a person’s heart is deep water,
but a person of understanding draws it out
.”
Proverbs 20:5

Under “Guidance,” you’ll find 43 Proverbs to guide your decisions, while “Happiness” has a couple of pages with such insights as:

Bright eyes cheer the heart;
good new strengthens the bones
.”
Proverbs 15:30

"The one who understands a matter finds success,
and the one who trusts in the LORD will be happy
.”
Proverbs 16:20

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones
.”
Proverbs 17:22

Those verses might especially speak to people with achy joints, arthritis, or aging bones! However, all of us can deepen our trust in the LORD with prayer, praise, regular Bible study, and these faith-building Proverbs that not only show us how God can be trusted, but that God knows our human nature and our spiritual needs.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, reviewer

God’s Book of Proverbs, hardback




March 5, 2018

The #Bible: Reading is Believing


God's love seems like an abstract concept, but reading the Bible makes it real. Through God’s Word to us, we can feel the Holy Presence with us. We can discover the way to love God, other people, and ourselves. We can learn what true love is and how we can become part of that Eternal Life of Love.

As we read the whole Bible, cover to cover, we can also see how the Law, Prophets, and Wisdom books point to Christ. Jesus Himself confirms this when “beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures,” Luke 24:27, New American Standard Bible (NASB.)

In Luke 24:44-46, the risen Christ also said, “'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

If we don't understand what we're reading or we feel confused about the character, will, and purposes of God, we can pray for the Lord to guide us and give us insight. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope,” Romans 15:4 (NASB.)

In an encouraging letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, “you have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:15-17, New Living Translation (NLT.)

Another word on the Word comes in Psalm 119, which I encourage you to read in the many translations presented by Bible Gateway. Or read my favorite renderings of Psalm 119, also found on Bible Gateway.

Comparing various translations will let you know which ones you prefer. If you don’t have a copy of that particular one, type the name of the translation into the Search box on this page to read reviews of Bibles translated from the original languages into your favorite English version.

May the Lord continue to bless your continual reading of God's Word.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018

...

October 27, 2017

What the Bible Says about the Bible

Every morning, Bible Gateway emails me a Bible verse for the day. Today’s scripture reminded me of the power we have when we see and believe what the Bible has to say about the Bible:

“God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions,” Hebrews 4:12, Common English Bible (CEB.)

Reading the Bible brings into focus the relationship God developed with His people – an ongoing relationship that wasn’t just for a particular time and place, but for all times, all places, and all of us – here and now.

In Deuteronomy 12:28, for example, Moses received God’s Word, which said:

Observe and obey these words I’m commanding you, so things will go well for you and your children because you followed what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.

Psalm 106:12 tells us, Our ancestors trusted God’s Word and praised God in song.

The whole earth may do the same! As Psalm 147:15 says, God gives a command to the earth, and whatever God says is quickly done!

When we don’t know what to do or are feeling vulnerable, we can take comfort in Proverbs 30:5: Every word of God is tried and true – protective armor for those who take refuge in Him.

This source of care and comfort isn’t only for a troubling moment though. As Isaiah 40:8 tells us, The grass dries up. The flowers wither. But the word of our God will last forever.

The same can be said for every word Jesus gave. Even before His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, Jesus was known for speaking truth from God’s perspective. As Luke 5:1 reports: One day as Jesus was standing by Lake Gennesaret, crowds of people pressed around Him to hear God’s word.

In Luke 11:28, Jesus told us to expect to be blessed when we hear God’s word and put it into practice.

After He ascended into heaven, His followers came together to pray. Then, after they prayed, the place where they’d gathered began to shake! And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit! And they began speaking God’s word with confidence, Acts 4:31.

As people listened to those early believers, they, too, began to believe, and the church grew. In Acts 12:24, however, the Bible doesn’t mention the growth of the church or of Christianity. Instead, it says, The word of God continued to grow, spread, and increase.

That’s what it’s about! Our faith isn’t about the size of our church membership or our church buildings or number of denominations. It’s about letting the Word of God grow strong in us and spreading that Word to others.

What power we have in God’s Word!

What power we have when we believe the Bible means what it says about the Bible!

As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:15-17: Ever since you were a babe in Christ, you have learned Holy Scriptures that helped you to be wise in a way that led to salvation through your faith in Christ Jesus. Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, training, showing mistakes, improving, and exercising character, so those who belong to God will be equipped to do everything good.


Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, poet-writer and author of the new book, What the Bible Says About Love.


September 25, 2017

Bible Promises to Live By for Women

In Bible Promises to Live By for Women, which Tyndale House kindly sent me to review, Katherine J. Butler has collected and grouped relevant scriptures from “Abandonment” to “Worship” into one small book you can easily carry with you for a quick burst of spiritual energy from God’s Word.

As the “Introduction” tells us, “God knows the immense power a promise holds and has filled his Word with promises for his people. Some of God’s promises provide us with strength, perseverance, and encouragement to guide us through everyday life. Others speak to the deep desires inside each of us as we long to know that our future holds joy, security, purpose, value, and companionship. And because God has declared that his Word will last forever, we can trust him to keep…every promise.”

Using the alphabetically arranged table of contents as your guide, you’ll find over 500 verses on topics that mean the most to you at any particular moment. In addition, a brief word of encouragement provides a preface to the Bible verses chosen for this little edition.

And small it is! In about 4.5 x 5.5 inches, the linen-textured gray cover, featured as imitation leather, envelopes the pale blue-green pages with the font in a medium shade of blue-green. Although very attractive, this presentation might be harder for some to read. Also, the book does not lay flat when opened, but it should slip nicely into most purses or shoulder bags to give you a timely word from God’s Word.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017

Bible Promises to Live By for Women, linen-look gray cover




November 25, 2016

The KJV Expressions Bible

The KJV Expressions Bible published by Hendrickson, who kindly sent me a complimentary copy to review, brings us a quality hardback edition of the King James Version of the Bible with double-spaced lines in 2” margins on nice cream paper. The side spacing provides room to note interesting information or insightful comments in a study group, jot down thoughts that come to you as you read in private, or write down the date as you claim a scripture in prayer.

The 8-point type is a bit smaller than I prefer now, but it’s a clean font with ample black ink and words of Christ in red.

In the back matter, this reader edition includes:

Harmony of the Gospels
Miracles of the Old Testament
Miracles of the New Testament
Parables of the Old Testament
Old Testament Prophecies of the Passion
Parables of the New Testament

Around the attractively designed brown hardcover, a cardboard wrapping mentioned a concordance and end-of-verse cross references, which my review copy does not have. But if you're looking for a journaling edition to “Catalog your spiritual journey and God’s redemptive plan in your life,” as the cover wrap suggests, this makes a good choice and a nice gift too.

Mary Harwell Sayler


The KJV Expressions Bible, hardcover