Mostly older translations--Darby, KJV, etc, but still wonderful for the diversity of translations.
Bible and Bible Study: January 2006 Archives
I have been asked, "Where do I start to read the Bible?"
The answer differs for each person. But from a strictly Carmelite perspective, the answer is always the same. Read whatever incites you to love. Read first for love and incidentally for knowledge. Whatever inspires you to heights of love, read that.
For me, it is in the Old Testament, the end of 1 Kings and the beginning of 2 Kings (bet I shocked you with that one), the end of the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jonah and some of the lesser prophets. In the New Testament it is Luke, Phillippians (another shocker), the Letters of John, and the Book of Revelation which I find strangely beautiful and enormously comforting. For some reason, these visions that seem to befuddle and terrify others speak overwhelmingly of mercy, love, and the triumph of Good.
But these are my books, meant for me, inspiring me to love. They will not be the same for everyone. This is one of the great things about having a library in a single book. For others, other books will speak loudly and strongly, they will lead you to love.
St. Teresa of Avila said that it is not to know much, but to love much. The purpose of all study, all knowledge, all intellectual endeavor is ultimately to know God, to love Him, and to will what He wills. Some of us skip the intellectual step--at least the intense portions of that--and head straight for love. Of course there is no love without knowledge, but a surfeit of knowledge can easily impede the heart.
So, my advice to any who might ask--go to where Jesus speaks to you. Is there a particular problem? Did Jesus address it with another person? Start there. No problem, go to where you can simply look upon a person you admire and grow in love.
The purpose of all our study is a single goal--the Shema. "Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength." And we show this love by loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Seek the Lord where he may be found,
call to him while He is still near.
The Spirit and the Bride say come,
let all who hear say come,
let him who is thirsty come take the water of life
without price. (paraphrase of Revelation 22:17)