These are just a few questions that are always popping up when it comes to using a Bible. There are a multitude of translations out there and there will soon be a brand, spanking new translation called the Common English Bible that has been in the works for several years with some reputable biblical scholars. And you can get a free copy of the New Testament before it comes out. Sweet!
I’m not the expert on choosing a Bible. But I do know the difference between them all and what I personally prefer to use in my own study and reading (NRSV with comparison using The Message and the NIV). Check out my overview of some of today’s more popular translations. And Gretchen Wolff Pritchard offers a great article on Choosing a Children’s Bible.
For adult study, I prefer these NRSV editions (with equal opportunity links):
It’s that time . . . evaluating the past program year and planning for what is to come.
This often includes deciding what curriculum will be used with children, youth and even the adults. There is a vast array of materials out there, and it is often tough to choose what might be the best one suited for your congregation, your young people, your volunteer teachers.
Take time in making your choices. Don’t do it alone – assemble a team to research, study, and hopefully try a test run with a sample or two. When looking at each resource, look at several lessons at possible, as well as different age levels. A good run of thumb is to ask yourself these questions:
Purpose: Why was it written? Does it match our needs?
Theology: How is God depicted? Who is Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The People of God? Is it in keeping with my church’s / denomination’s theology? How is creation, sin, judgement and redemption explored?
Type: Is it lectionary-based, Montessori-approach, Rotational/Learning Center, Thematic? What type will support our goals?
Lessons: Is there supportive material for teachers? Engaging and a variety of activities for learners? Special supplies or typical on-hand materials needed?
Bible:How is the Bible used? What version? Are Old Testament stories told? New Testament? Gospels?
Worship: How is prayer included? Is it important to have lessons on the sacramental traditions? Creedal statements? How is Baptism and Communion explained?
Publisher: Is it affiliated with any particular denomination that may impact the lessons and theology?
Cost: Does it fit in my budget? Is it reusable? Dated? Extra pieces that need to be purchased for the program to work?