Thursday, September 28, 2023

"Three Versions" Bible Reading

Big Idea: Read the same passage a couple days in a row in a different version each day.

Three Simple Ways to Read the Bible

This month we’ve looked at a couple simple ways to read the Bible to learn from it yourself. Read the Bible and apply it asking the Holy Spirit to teach you.  

These easy-to-remember, easy-to-use methods are great when you are just starting out, trying your hand at personal Bible Reading. 

For the seasoned Bible reader, consider this when you are on vacation and your schedule is disrupted, or when you need a break from an intense series. 

“1-2-3” Ways to Read

1. One Thing to Grab You: Read until something grabs your attention, then reflect on it prayerfully.

2. Two Questions: Read then ask yourself; What does this show me about God? About Mankind?

3. Three Versions: Read 3 days in a row in a different version of the Bible each day.

That’s Greek to Me

The Bible, written mostly in Hebrew or Greek was written in another part of the world in another era.

Bible translation into various languages enable many to hear it in their own language rather than an unknown one. This is huge!

Why so many English Versions?

There are two approaches of Bible translation.

The word-for-word approach values accuracy to the original language. However some of it may sound awkward.

The thought-for-thought approach asks what the author is saying and states the thought in a relevant contemporary way. It is not for scholarly work, but is useful for everyday life.

Both methods have a place. Both give us a different perspective.

With electronic online Bibles, we have access to many different Bible versions for free.

Three Versions Bible Reading

1. The first day, read your passage prayerfully in your typical version.

2. The second day, choose a contemporary version and read the same passage again. Version examples are: New Living Translation, The Message, or the Good News Bible.

3. The third day, try the Amplified Bible. This version sounds a bit like reading a thesaurus, as it puts in brackets more words that explain the meaning of the text.

Extra:  You may want to add a fourth day. If you are fluent in another language, read it that way. Or look at Study Bible Notes. Reflect on the passage and read it again in the version you usually read.

Has your circumstance or mood (such as a headache, a pressed schedule, recent harsh words with someone…) adjusted the way you read the same passage from one day to the next?

As you read the same passage each day, note what new insight you pick up. Is there something you missed? Something said another way that hits you freshly?  

The Bible is living and dynamic, not stale. It is valuable across cultures and moods. Let it touch your life. Let it live in you today! 


Previous: “Two Questions” Bible Reading
Up next: Devotional Bible Study Methods


1. What is your expectation of reading the same Bible passage every day for several days in a row? Boredom? Or is it a way to let it sink in?

2. What is your favorite Bible version? Why?

Thursday, September 21, 2023

"Just 2 Questions" Bible Reading

Big Idea: Read the Bible every day asking yourself what it says about God and mankind.

Reading the Bible does not have to be complicated

It is true that the Bible is a thick book and a lot in it has been debated through the centuries.

Yet it is a book of stories and wisdom for us to know God and find strength. It is meant to be read and pondered over.

Just Two Questions  

Two questions to keep in mind when you read the Bible.

1. What does this passage tell me about God?

2. What does this passage tell me about Man?

About God

Some call the Bible God’s love letter to us.

The Holy Spirit of God moved in the hearts of human beings (2nd Peter 1:21), inspiring them to write for our understanding about how we can know God and live in sync with Him both here and for eternity.

Always, always breathe a prayer to God before you read, asking for His help in understanding.

Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Psalm 119:34 NLT

It may not seem like God is in every passage. But look prayerfully for Him as Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Consider making God in yellow to see Him better.

Ask yourself what you see as His attributes and His character.

Ask how He communicates with mankind.

What do you see as His desire; His guidance for you.

About Man

The Bible often reads like a story. It is full of characters who are both heros and failures. Sometimes the same person is both. Some characters are strange. We all know people like that too!

What do you observe about human nature in the passage?

As you look at the people in the Bible, what are their choices and actions? How do they interact with God? Are they a positive or negative example?

Why does this Scripture Matter?

Keep a log of what you read and observe.

Look at your notes. Ask yourself if you see yourself in your reading. Ask why God matters in the story and how these words might matter to you today.

What can you take away from this reading to stick with you today?

I begged for Your favor with all my heart. Show me Your love because of Your Word. Psalm 119:58 NLT


Previous: “What Grabs You” Bible Reading
Up next: “Three Versions ” Bible Reading



1. What do you wish God would show you about Himself in the Bible?

2. What is your impression of this method? Can you see yourself trying it out?

Thursday, September 14, 2023

“What Grabs You” Bible Reading

Big Idea: To read the Bible till a phrase or sentence grabs your attention, then meditate on it, is a dynamic way to engage with the living Word of God.

Have you ever needed wisdom, opening the Bible randomly hoping God might speak to you? That’s not this Bible reading method.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

The Bible is alive and dynamic, inspired by the Holy Spirit. This same Spirit speaks into your life through the Word of God today. It is fresh and relevant no matter what circumstance you face.

Lectio Divina

The “What Grabs You” Bible reading method is based on a way to read the Bible practiced since 300 A.D. often used by monks to dwell on the Word and meditate on it. It is called Lectio Divina, which is Latin for Divine Reading. 

Though it has been practiced historically by Catholics it has grabbed the attention of Protestants today. The premise is that the Bible is not stale and dusty but living and invaluable for your present situation.

How it works

1. Choose a book of the Bible (like Philippians) or a passage of Scripture (like the Sermon on the Mount).

2. Pray, asking the Holy Spirit, the one who inspired the Bible to speak into your life through the Word.

3. Start reading your chosen passage. Watch for something that speaks to you. It may be in the first verse you read.

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. Philippians s 1:1 NLT

4. It may startle you that Paul and Timothy identify as slaves of Christ Jesus. 

Stop and make it your meditation for today.
  • Why does it strike a chord for you? Do you disagree? Do you find it intriguing?
  • Mull it over in your mind. Read it slowly several times. Speak it aloud.
  • Reflect on it. Consider what it says and what it might imply about God, for the Christian life, etc.
  • Meditate on it prayerfully.
  • Why does this matter? How might it impact my life and those around me?
  • Consider keeping a journal of your insights as you move through the Bible

When to use this method

1. Use this method as your first effort at Bible study. It is very simple, but you get started in the Word and use it, interacting with God on what you read.

2. Use this method for a break from an intense Bible study method such as Inductive Bible Study of a ponderous book, like Isaiah or Romans. This would not be a good long term method for Bible Study.

3. Use this method when you have suffered a loss, are downhearted or struggling.

4. Try this for a period of time when you are seeking God’s Will. Expect God to show you Himself (His character, love and patience) to guide you rather than expect specific direction like “buy the blue car.”


Previous: 3 Payoffs for Regular Bible Reading
Up next: “Just 2 Questions” Bible Reading



1. What is your impression of this method? Can you see yourself trying it out?

2. What benefit do you believe comes from meditation of the Word?

Thursday, September 7, 2023

3 Payoffs for Regular Bible Reading

money fans Bible

The Big Idea: Reading the Bible regularly is hugely beneficial for my everyday life.

Things get out of whack when I get out of a habit. This summer I have been walking the neighborhood almost every day. If I let a couple days slide, it is so hard to get back into the routine.

Bible reading can be like that. I try to read the Bible in the morning before I check email, look up information on my tablet, or do my daily Sudoku. If I get sidetracked I may never get back to it. The next day it’s easy to forget it altogether. That’s a fast slide!

It is easy to get out of a habit. But it is always beneficial to get back to it. The huge payoffs for regular Bible reading for support in your day –to-day challenges are many. Here are three.

To Learn about God

You could take a university class about God or read an online article. But you are better off going straight to the source: His book, the Bible. He wants us to know Him. What you observe and learn about His character in its pages will lift you up as you lean into Him.

Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. Hosea 6:3 NLT

To Understand Human Life

When I look at the news, the world and what happens in our town I shake my head and sigh. There is so much bad stuff going on.

When I read the Bible, rather than beautiful scenes and platitudes, I see real human encounters steeped in a world bent toward evil. There is a very evil presence that tries to shake us up and take over the world. To say nothing of my personal peace.

But as I read the Bible I see God present, reaching out. He desires to be known, respected and wants to care for us. His absolute joy comes from friendship with us, as we lean on Him.

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. James 1:21 NLT

To Strengthen Your Inner Core

I broke a foot last year. Walking now, I still have to work on my core muscles. Abdominals are crucial for balance and strength.

Reading the Bible regularly builds emotional and spiritual core strength. It is full of wisdom and common sense for life. It is not wrought with sugary platitudes. Sometimes what it says is hard. But it is good for our core. We need these strengthening Words of Life.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16 NLT

Over the next 3 weeks we will look at 3 simple ways to read the Bible. Check it out! Bible reading is good for you!


Up next: What-Grabs-You Bible Reading Method
Preview Post : The James Bond of Scripture Spy


1. How are you at keeping good habits such as brushing teeth, exercising, and so on? Why do you develop them or let them lag?

2. Have you ever had a Bible reading habit? Why or why not? Do you agree with the 3 points about Bible reading? What might you add to this list?

Monday, September 4, 2023

Scripture Spy is back!


I have had a good opportunity to rest and rejuvinate over the summer. We did a little travelling but mostly stayed close to home. 

I am looking forward to fall and being back in touch with you! I am changing the blog day of the week  from Wednesday to Thursday. I will keep sending it weekly. 

September blogs will be about Simple Personal Bible Study.

My Bible Study that I co-lead with Tress Rabne starts up this week again on Wednesday and will be on the Old Testament book of Numbers. You can choose to take it online by Zoom or in person at Grace Church of Middleburg Heights, Middleburg Heights, OH. Let me know if you are interested to follow it and I will send you more information.  You can reach me at

One final note: The Facebook page, Scripture Spy is going away, but Scripture Spy Pinterest will continue.