How We’re Learning

by Kori Yates

Growing up, I learned Scripture from the King James Version. As I got older, I found reading the New International Version was easier to understand and work through.

Attending churches over the years, I have been interested to see what pastors use in both teaching and study, because sometimes they’re different.

Sitting in Bible studies, I have listened as others have read from different translations to help us all understand a bit better.

No doubt we all have a preferred version we regularly read from. Some folks I know use one version for study and one for “church-going.” It took me some years to decide what really worked for me and what the benefit of the others could be. With online resources, it has become easier to read from different translations without the need to buy six or seven different Bibles.

Translations. It’s a debate that could keep going, but I would submit to you that there are benefits to reading multiple translations as we study. In in-depth study, the different translations can give us better understanding of context and meaning. At other times, reading from different translations can really speak words of truth into our hearts.

Recently, a friend shared this Scripture:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4 – NIV)

This is how I would read it in my personal study Bible, but looking it up in different versions helps me understand a bit better and hear it differently. Some examples:

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4 – NASB)

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4 – ESV)

 At that time, this song will be sung in the country of Judah: We have a strong city, Salvation City, built and fortified with salvation. Throw wide the gates so good and true people can enter. People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. Those who lived high and mighty he knocked off their high horse. He used the city built on the hill as fill for the marshes. All the exploited and outcast peoples build their lives on the reclaimed land. (Isaiah 26:1-6 – MSG)

You can see some of the differences and the benefits of such study. You may have even tried this yourself. I do like the ability to see it phrased a bit differently, to help with understanding and also because some of the words jump out at me when put a different way.

For example, I love the version that says “the Rock eternal.” It sounds strong, yet in The Message version it says, “in the Lord God you have a sure thing.”

The differences are good and helpful so many times! If you’ve never checked out the differences in versions, here is an easy graphic that helps me understand them a bit better and also helps me to read them differently.

What version do you read regularly? Do you read different versions for different purposes?

How to Read Different Versions of Scripture:

  1. Choose – Decide on a piece of Scripture, whether a chapter or just a few verses, that the Lord has laid on your heart.
  2. Pray – Ask God to show you what He would have you learn or see in the verses you read.
  3. Read – Read it first from the version you regularly use, then read it from two to three other versions. You can use Bibles you have or online resources to look them up.
  4. Write – Make notes of differences in the versions or things that jumped out at you.

Your Turn:

Try this with some of my favorite verses: Jeremiah 17:3-18. (You’ll notice that verse 8 is our Planting Roots verse!) I would love to hear how the Lord speaks to you through that!


Lord, teach me something new today. Speak to my heart as I read your words.

Additional Resources:

Mardel Translation Information: Translation Information:


Join Kori in San Diego at our next Strength2Thrive Conference on October 28!

Find more information and register here.

You don’t want to miss it!


[inlinkz_linkup id=738333 mode=1]