The most powerful translation of the Bible is not found in words alone but in the ways that individuals live out its teachings. This point was made clear by one of my favorite people. This week at church, she told the story of four ministers discussing the pros and cons of various translations of the Bible. Each one stated which version they liked the best.
The first minister said, "I like the King James version because the Old English style is beautiful and sounds the most reverent."
The second minister said, "I prefer the New American Standard translation because it is the nearest to the original languages."
The third minister said that he liked the practical way the living Bible paraphrases the text, making it accessible to younger readers.
The three ministers waited while the fourth minister sat silently. Then, finally, he said, "I guess when it comes to translations of the Bible, I like my dad's the best. He put the word of God into practice every day. It was the most convincing translation I have ever seen."
The fourth minister understood that the best way to understand and apply the Bible is not through a specific translation but through the actions and examples of those who live out its principles. It is not enough for Christians to read and study the text. They must strive to embody its teaching in a way that displays its truth to those around them.
The Christian's actions should align with their stated beliefs. This means looking for opportunities to put the Bible's principles into tangible practices. Those who have never picked up a Bible can be introduced to its message through the lives of those who live it out.
Christians should also not be afraid to share their own experiences with others. Learning how scripture has helped them through life's big moments encourages others to follow in their footsteps. Lastly, Christians need to keep learning.
Though actions are louder than words, it is still important to continue learning. Attending church services and Bible studies is essential to becoming mature in the faith. Learning to live out biblical principles happens best in a community.
Psalm 119:105 states, "Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
This text speaks of only one path in life. God's word illuminates the path showing its obstacles and guiding us safely through them. Still, the Christian living out his word's teaching becomes a light that cannot be hidden. They are the best translation.
Michael Hurlbert is associate pastor at First Christian Church in Carson City.
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