Encounter the Bible

The Bible is the most popular book in world history and has played a huge role in the shaping of Western civilization and Canadian society. But more importantly, the Bible changes people and leads them toward eternal life. If you’re exploring Christianity, one of your first steps should be to get personally acquainted with this unique book.

What Is the Bible?

The Bible is the sacred text of Christianity. Yet, the fact that it is holy does not mean that it dropped from heaven or that it is simply a set of instructions dictated by God. The Bible is a collection of books and other documents written over a long period of time. Its authors are real people, and they address realities within their own settings. Some authors record messages dictated by God, but many do not. One example of this second category of writings is the Letter (or “Epistle”) of St. Paul to the Romans, which is a real letter written by an early church leader named Paul to real Christians in Rome. In it, he discusses issues and questions that were relevant to the recipients at that time. The Bible, however, is not merely a human work. God was behind the whole thing, behind every word, guiding the authors so that they produced exactly what he wanted written down. And what he wanted written down is meant to guide us to an eternal relationship with him, our loving Creator.

If you would like to learn more about the Bible, this five-minute video will give you a helpful introduction.

How Do I Read the Bible?

Because the Bible is not a mere set of instructions, you should not flop it open at random and expect whatever you read to be God’s directions to you for the day. In many cases, interpreting a passage correctly requires training. But don’t let that stop you from experiencing the Bible for yourself. You should dive in and enjoy the written Word of God with some guidance. It’s better not to start at the very beginning. A good introduction would be the Gospel of John (also just called “John”) and one of the other three Gospels: Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Each of these four books tells the story of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection from a unique perspective. They get at the heart of the Bible’s message, and they are fairly easy for beginners to understand.  But still, don’t do it alone. Please connect with us and let us walk alongside you.

You may find it more convenient to read the Bible digitally than in hard copy. There are free Bible apps, the most popular being YouVersion, and BibleGateway is an excellent option for people reading from a web browser.

What Translation Should I Use?

The Bible was originally written in ancient languages. In order to make it accessible to English speakers, scholars have spent countless hours translating it from these languages into English. The classic English translation is the King James Version (KJV), which was originally produced in the 1600s. It uses words like “thee,” “thou,” and “peradventure.” You should probably avoid it. In the last fifty years or so, scholars have produced quite a few excellent and up-to-date translations. One of these would be a better choice for you. At St. Hilda’s we use the English Standard Version (ESV) for readings in our church services. But don’t get hung up on translations. What’s most important is that you read the Bible. And don’t forget to let us know how it’s going!