Being the curious and nerdy person that I am, I love finding new sources of insights about my faith. I am super interested in how other people see things and how they explain it. And as most of you probably know, the Bible and Christianity can have some seriously weird and tough parts to understand. I am not a girl who simply accepts what is put in front of her. I need to understand it, and why it is the way it is. So I find myself asking a lot of questions, and going on the hunt for input. Now, because it is faith I am talking about, I am usually not looking for definite answers. Rather I want to find things that help me to make up my own mind about something. In these pages I will share where I get most of that input from.
I have grouped my sources into several different categories (will follow soon):
But I also have some random things that I will share here:
YouVersion Bible App
It will come as no surprise that I use this app regularly. In several posts I have referred to it, especially for its many bible studies. But another thing I love is that it has so many different translations, in both my own native language (Dutch) and English. I read several different translations, depending on what I am looking for. My favorites include:
- The Passion Translation (TPT): only contains the New Testament and the psalms at the moment. But it is a functional translation, which translates thoughts and ideas, rather than word-for-word (formal translation). As far as functional translations go, The Passion Translation and The Message are some of the most beautifully crafted ones, making them very enjoyable to read. (no fire-and-brimstone here)
- The Message (MSG): this takes functional translation to a new level. It does not translate by verse, but almost by paragraph. In that sense it really get to the root of an idea or concept and tries to convey what the original author was trying to convey, but in modern English.
- New Living Translation (NLT) is my go to every day bible translation. It is a formal translation that takes into consideration the entire spectrum of available manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Samaritan Pentateuch. What I like most about it, is its use of modern English, making it easy to read, while still being faithful to the original.
- Amplified Bible (AMP): this is my go to translation for when I want to know what the original author meant, word-for-word. Unfortunately, a lot of things get lost in translation (pun intended, sort of). Often words in one language cannot be completely translated into another language, or at least not capture its entire meaning. Some words don’t have a direct translation, and require a short sentence or some other associated words to fully explain the original meaning. The Amplified Bible aims to clarify the full meaning of a passage by including these implied meanings in parentheses or brackets. So it is not the easiest to read, but it does give me a fuller sense of the meaning behind any given verse. Example:
- Acts 16:31 (NLT): They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.
- Acts 16:31 (AMP): And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus [as your personal Savior and entrust yourself to Him] and you will be saved, you and your household [if they also believe].
- I also have a study bible, but since that it a physical volume, it will be mentioned on the Books page.
The Alpha course was my introduction into the basics of Christian faith. I can recommend it for almost anyone: a long time believer, to really get back to basics; a new believer and a doubter, because it really explains well the core beliefs, while also fostering discussions of differing viewpoints.
Freedom in Christ Course
Freedom in Christ is in my opinion a sort of follow-up to the Alpha course. Where Alpha focused on the general core Christian ideas and beliefs, Freedom in Christ takes those and asks you to explore what they mean in your personal life. It goes deeper, both into Christianity and into you and your core.
I keep a Spotify playlist of my favorite worship songs that I like to listen to, almost exclusively (though I love the radio-function for new suggestions). I update the playlist regularly. You can find and follow it here: Worship Favorites