I've always read the New King James Bible, but when I saw a green King James Bible six years ago, well, I decided that maybe KJV was close enough. And then I discovered that I liked the KJV much more than the NKJV. I'd thought that the only difference was in the thees and thous, but there is more diction that's more archaic. Yet it made the lit student in me more immersed and more excited to read (it may not be the most common opinion, but I know I'm not the only one who thinks the King James is exciting).
Since then, I've read it through a couple times. And yes, I mean read through: I've been reading the Bible like a book, cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation. Do I recommend everyone read it that way, no. Is it wrong to read it that way, though, I don't see why. (Especially if you are getting exposure to the Word through other sources, like church sermons or Bible studies or other books or whatnot.) Will I always read it this way, I don't know, probably not. But for now it seems to me good. As I came through to the end this time, though, I thought perhaps to do something different.
So I decided that I would keep the cover to cover style but with a study Bible. The next question became, which study Bible? There are so many--and many will come in a couple of different translations so that you can choose the one you like best. Ultimately, though, I decided to get one that only came in NKJV, which I suppose is just as well because if I want to start memorizing verses (which I haven't really specifically set out to do much before), those do tend to sound a little . . . different if you start reciting KJV.
Anyway. I chose The Woman's Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. All of the designs and commentary and articles are by women with a focus on that aspects of the text that apply most specifically to women. Being that in my little experience with women's Bible study books I have found that I don't care much for the style, I did have some hesitation. But being right now just about done with Genesis, I find that that doesn't apply here. This isn't so much about commentary as about reading the text itself, with the footnotes and mini articles providing context and application as you go along. It's more keeping you awake to what you're reading than anything--as well as providing that important historical/cultural context.
As I have been in that state of reminding myself to look to God for my identity, I have found it refreshing take up a book like this. So as we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, if getting back into Bible reading, continuing your reading, or taking up Bible reading for the first time, don't be afraid to put some time into deciding which Bible to read. Maybe you want to read a study Bible or maybe just the text itself right now; maybe you want to be cool like me and read the King James or maybe you want to read one of the super modern translations. A big leather-bound or a mini flowery book. You do get to choose. Because we're all different personalities and all at different stages of our lives. The main thing, though, is the Word that we are all reading.
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