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Five Bible Verses About Love for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day arrives this week! This may be the time of year that we talk most loudly about love, but Bible Gateway’s usage statistics show us that we long to understand and experience love throughout the year: the word “love” routinely tops our annual list of most popular search terms on Bible Gateway. Love is something people associate closely with God and the Bible. So what does the Bible say about love?

The Bible speaks strongly and often about what true love is. Sometimes the Bible speaks of romantic love—the kind of love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day. But more often, when the Bible speaks of love, it’s referring to something different and deeper—something that should form the basis for our relationships with everyone around us, regardless of our emotional connection to them. Here are five places in the Bible that talk about what love means and looks like in practice.

1. Love is patient, love is kind: 1 Corinthians 13

Perhaps the most famous Bible passage about love, this quote is often recited at weddings to describe the ideal marriage relationship. As appropriate as that is, this passage isn’t talking specifically about just romantic love. Love is not an emotional feeling, but rather it’s rather an attitude of consistent grace and humility:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

2. Perfect love casts out fear: 1 John 4:18

This passage from 1 John explains that we can understand what love is by looking at who God is:

God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. — 1 John 4:16-18 (ESV)

3. Be joyful in hope: Romans 12:10

Biblical love isn’t a passive attitude the characterizes us. It’s an active characteristic—a conscious choice made to avoid hypocrisy and evil and to live a life of service:

Let love be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil. Cleave to what is good. Be devoted to one another with brotherly love; prefer one another in honor, do not be lazy in diligence, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord, rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer, contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. — Romans 12:9-13 (MEV)

4. Love your enemies: Matthew 5:43-48

In case we were starting to feel too comfortable with this understanding of love, Jesus famously challenged his followers to extend that same love to include even those who hate and harass us:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. — Matthew 5:43-45 (NRSV)

5. Love the Lord your God with all your heart: Mark 12:30-31

Jesus himself, asked to identify the most important of God’s laws, instead highlighted the underlying principle that defined them all:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two. — Mark 12:30-31 (GNT)

The Bible’s words about love are often encouraging but sometimes challenging. How do they fit with the popular understanding of love? When you tell your spouse or significant other that you love them, is that love just romantic? Or is it also defined by the type of ongoing grace and service described in the Bible passages above? And is that love evident in your everyday relationships with friends, coworkers, and even enemies?

Dream Big, Think Small: An Interview with Jeff Manion

Jeff ManionHow do you build a life of significance? How do small persistent daily steps lead to tremendous and lasting results? What does it mean that great lives are built on the foundation of a holy redundancy; a steady faithfulness?

Bible Gateway interviewed Jeff Manion (@ManionJeff) about his book, Dream Big, Think Small: Living an Extraordinary Life One Day at a Time (Zondervan, 2017).

You write, “Success in the Large Things requires deep, abiding commitment to the Small Things.” What are the “Large” and “Small” things you’re referring to?

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Jeff Manion: The Large Things might include a thriving marriage or ministry, financial stability, or spiritual maturity. The Small Things are those nondramatic daily behaviors that move us forward in these areas over an extended period of time: such as the habit of resolving conflict swiftly, offering regular encouragement, saving money from every paycheck, and carving out quiet time each and every day. These Small Things feel insignificant when weighed individually but amass over time to build the most critical areas of our lives.

From the Bible, how do we know God wants us to concentrate on the Small Things?

Jeff Manion: Follow the lives of the heroes of the Bible. What tends to jump out are the monumental earth-shaking events. But dig deeper and you’ll often discover a steady, faithful, consistency in smaller things.

Before David’s encounter with Goliath, he’s faithfully watching his family’s flock of sheep (1 Samuel 17:15). Before the dramatic story of Daniel in the lion’s den, the aged servant is faithfully praying, day after day (Daniel 6:10). Carefully read through the ministry of Jesus, and you’ll discover that most of his miracles emerge from settings where he’s devoted to the comparatively mundane tasks of teaching or praying (Luke 5:16).

The extraordinary events of the Bible frequently emerge from lives devoted to ordinary faithfulness. I believe these mundane events are recorded in Scripture to remind us of the significance of faithfulness in the Small Things.

How does your book differ from the concept of “the power of positive thinking”?

Jeff Manion: In Dream Big, Think Small, the emphasis is really on the “think small” part. The focus is less on the dreaming and more on the small daily habits that form our lives—those repeated behaviors that make or break us. Many want to change the world—or at least their corner of it—but grow impatient with the time and sheer redundancy required to effect lasting change. “Thinking positively” is worthless if unaccompanied by steady, faithful, movement.

Why is faithfulness a quiet virtue?

Jeff Manion: Faithfulness generally doesn’t make a lot of noise. It’s built on the repetition of routine activity—that capacity to bring ourselves again and again, usually in the same way, and often to the same people, for an extended period of time. Because of this, it ceases to be new and interesting. It’s rarely attention grabbing. The power of faithfulness is in the sum of its activity over time, but the individual actions are rarely spectacular. Thus, it’s quiet when measured from day to day.

What does the Bible want us to learn from the ant?

Jeff Manion: In Proverbs, King Solomon councils the listener to observe how ants have little power but store up food for winter (Proverbs 30:25) by making steady trips back and forth to the anthill. The proverb uses the ant as an example of what can be accomplished through steady, faithful, activity.

In the matter of attending to “small things,” how should a person care for and strengthen their soul? Guard their heart?

Jeff Manion: Soul care is daily work. Don’t rely on a mountaintop weekend or life-changing sermon to renovate your life.

The work we do daily in quieting our hearts before God, asking for guidance, and dining on the story of the Bible can provide daily food for our daily growth.

What is the power of gratitude?

Jeff Manion: Daily gratitude evicts anxiety and envy. When I chronicle the innumerable blessings that flow into my life, I am less prone to fall into anxious worry (Philippians 4:6), or view others as blessed while I am shortchanged.

What does it mean for a Christian to persevere?

Jeff Manion: The opposite of perseverance is to give up. To call it quits. To throw in the towel.

In Galatians 6, Paul admonished young believers Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

The harvest is linked to our perseverance: the capacity to keep moving forward when we feel like giving up.

Explain your statement that goodness grows slowly?

Jeff Manion: Whether investing your life as a parent, a coach, or a pastor; these investments don’t tend to show their impact overnight. The Bible uses farming imagery: you plant, you cultivate. Then you wait. You never harvest in the same season that you plant. Goodness rarely produces immediate results. It tends to grow slow like a fruit producing tree.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Jeff Manion: I use Bible Gateway virtually every week. It saves a ton of time in locating Scriptures I’m looking for. I’m also able to swiftly move from translation to translation to see how a particular verse or story is worded in another version of the Bible. I’m deeply grateful for Bible Gateway.


Bio: Jeff Manion is the senior teaching pastor of multi-campus Ada Bible Church (@adabible) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for over 30 years. He’s the author of The Land Between, Satisfied, and Dream Big, Think Small. His great joy is digging deeply into Scripture and passionately teaching the story of the Bible in a clear and relevant way. Jeff enjoys running, cycling and hiking. He and his wife, Chris, have three adult children and are proud grandparents.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of February 12, 2017

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
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Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
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Lent Has Narrow Appeal, LifeWay Research Reports
Baptist Press
See Easter-related resources on Bible Gateway

Why an Incredible New Discovery Proves That the Dead Sea Scrolls Belong to Israel
FOX News
NPR: Archaeologists Excavate 12th Cave They Say Once Housed Dead Sea Scrolls
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Jesus and the Culture of His Day: An Interview with Craig A. Evans
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Biblical Artifacts Provide Reassurance About Earth’s Magnetic Field
San Diego Union-Tribune
Read 2 Kings 18:1-19 and Isaiah 36-39 on Bible Gateway

The Art of Illumination: A Modern Bible Uses Medieval Techniques
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Saint John’s Bible: A Work of Art

Bill to Require Bible History Elective in All West Virginia School Divisions
The Register-Herald

Bill Would Require Bible Classes in Kentucky Public Schools
US News & World Report

Demand Outstripping Supply for Bible Teachers in New Zealand Schools
The Southland Times

Goal to Provide the Entire Country of Belize With a Bible or Christian Book by November
Mission Network News

Museum will Showcase Bible from the Battle of Bunker Hill and Washington’s Revolutionary War Tent
FOX News

Historical, Ancient Bible Stolen from St. Louis Book Dealer
KSDK News Channel 5

Testament to Their Marriage: Couple Compete in Worldwide Bible Contest
The New York Times

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Leading a Bible Study? Bible Gateway Plus Makes Your Job Easier

Are you the leader of a regular Bible study or church small group? If so, you probably spend a fair amount of time getting ready to lead weekly or monthly discussions about Bible topics and passages.

That preparation is hard but rewarding work. And unless you happen to be a pastor, you probably prepare for those study discussions with a relatively limited arsenal of Bible study tools at your disposal. Most of us have a study Bible or two on our bookshelves, but certainly not the depth of Bible help represented by an expensive library of commentaries and reference works.

Does that describe you? If so, Bible Gateway Plus was made for you. It’s designed to give you easy and inexpensive access to a library of Bible study helps that would be prohibitively expensive to own in print. If you haven’t tried it yet, take it for a spin for 30 days free and see how it makes your Bible study easier and more Here’s what your 30-day free trial of Bible Gateway Plus provides:

1. Access to over 40 digital study Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, and other references.

You’ll get access to dozens of top-quality Bible reference books—with each entry displayed right alongside the Scripture being discussed! These aren’t just ebooks that you’ll need to laboriously search through; these are keyed to individual Bible verses and are displayed right next to them on Bible Gateway. When you look up John 3:16, Bible Gateway Plus collects every note about John 3:16 from its library and makes them available to you.

What’s more, those 40+ books represent a wide swath of theological perspective. And they aren’t niche titles; they’re prominent reference works that are used by pastors, scholars, and Bible students around the world. They range from the popular NIV Study Bible to the comprehensive Expositor’s Bible Commentary to the accessible How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Click here to see a full list of titles in the Bible Gateway Plus library.

2. An ad-free Bible Gateway experience.

Banner ads help pay our bills and keep Bible Gateway available, but we understand that they can be distracting. Bible Gateway Plus membership removes banner ads from Scripture pages on Bible Gateway, so you can read and study without distraction.

3. For February only, we’ve added the much-loved NIV Application Commentary on Genesis to the Bible Gateway Plus library.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is one of the best and most accessible resources on Genesis available. If you’re involved in a Bible study that’s reading through or regularly referring to Genesis, this is the perfect time to start your free 30-day trial and get access to this useful reference.

We meant what we said above—Bible Gateway Plus was made to help you. There’s no risk involved in starting a 30-day free trial—you’ll get full access to Bible Gateway Plus during the trial period and can cancel anytime. So if you haven’t yet tried it out, start your trial today and see why thousands of Bible Gateway visitors have upgraded their experience with a Bible Gateway Plus membership!

Make your Bible study easier and more rewarding. Click here to sign up for your free 30-day trial!

Helping Kids Love the Bible: An Interview with Sheila Walsh

Sheila WalshTeaching children to love God’s Word is an important part of parenting. Kids need to see for themselves how God worked in people’s lives through the stories of the Bible and how Jesus infuses all of Scripture.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, 5 Minutes with Jesus]

In the following question-and-answer, Sheila Walsh (@SheilaWalsh) talks about her books, Where Do I Find Jesus? (B&H Kids, 2016) and The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook (B&H Kids, 2016).

[Browse books by Sheila Walsh in the Bible Gateway Store]

What inspired you to write The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook series for children?

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Sheila Walsh: I want children to understand how amazing the Bible is. It’s the best adventure book and the greatest love story ever written. Even greater than that, we’re invited into this adventure with God and the love story is all about how much we’re loved.

This series is intended for children ages 4-10. How do you hope children will grow by reading the newest books in the series, The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook and Where Do I Find Jesus?

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Sheila Walsh: Our culture is flooded with people and places giving all sorts of messages to our children. Our little girls are being told they’re not pretty enough or not thin enough. Television provides poor role models for little boys as to what it means to be brave; to be a true hero. My prayer is that as children discover how loved and valued they are by God, through reading The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook, they’ll grow strong in him.

I can’t think of anything in life being more important than knowing that your child has a relationship with Jesus. I’m praying that many children will come to a place of understanding that having a real relationship with Jesus is not just for moms and dads but for them too.

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How does The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook correspond to The Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional and how can families use them together?

Sheila Walsh: My heart in writing The Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional was to make it fun for families to come together at the end of the day, spend some quality time together laughing and learning about God and each other. With The Bible Is My Best Friend Storybook there’s now an opportunity to dive in deeper to some of the Bible stories and grow in faith.

Enlarge this page sample from The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook

How do the unique illustrations bring the stories to life?

Sheila Walsh: Sarah Horne is such an amazing illustrator. Her love for God and her out-of-the-box creativity have taken stories we thought we knew and given them fresh life. Who knew that it was so much fun getting onto Noah’s ark?

How can parents use the resources in The Bible Is My Best Friend brand—specifically these two new releases—to help children understand the role of God’s Word in their lives?

Sheila Walsh: The Word of God is the foundation stone for life. When children begin to understand that every question they have is addressed in the Bible, then they know where to turn when life is hard. We all—children and parents alike—need to be reminded of the grace and mercy of God, of the power of forgiveness, and of our future and our hope. With the new Bible Storybook, families can read together about the love of God that started way back in the very beginning. Parents can help their children understand that even when we let God down, he never lets us down. He’s a faithful, loving Father.

How will these resources help parents in leading their child to Christ?

Sheila Walsh: Where Do I Find Jesus? is a wonderful place to start if your child has questions about having a faith of their own. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to explain what it means to know Jesus, so I pray that this book will help.

What are you most excited about with the release of these two new books?

Sheila Walsh: I’m excited about children getting excited about God! I long to see hundreds and thousands of children begin the great adventure of life with a personal relationship with Jesus and his love-letter, the Bible, in their hearts and hands.


Bio: Sheila Walsh is a powerful Bible teacher and bestselling author from Scotland with over 5 million books sold, including 5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy and The Longing in Me. Her international ministry has reached more than 5.5 million women by combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with the transforming power of God’s Word. Calling Texas home, Sheila lives in Frisco with her husband, Barry, her son, Christian, and three little dogs. You can reach her at braveheartsisterhood.com.

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Thinking About Marriage? New Devotions for Singles and Dating Couples

Are you dating and wondering if your relationship is ready for marriage? Or are you single but wondering if marriage is part of God’s plan for you?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got two short new devotions dedicated to helping you (and your significant other, if you have one) think through the exciting (and maybe intimidating) topic of marriage! Visit our Devotions to Prepare You for Marriage page to sign up for one or both of them!

These devotionals are perfect for reading on your own, but you can use them as the basis for discussion with a significant other. It’s never too early or too late in a relationship to think about where it’s heading, and how you can cultivate a relationship that honors God!

Visit our Devotions to Prepare You for Marriage page to sign up today!

“Which Bible Translation is Best?” — Part 2: Word-for-word Bibles on Bible Gateway

Recently, we offered a few thoughts in response to the common question “Which Bible translation is the best?” Today, we’ll continue the discussion with a look at one type of Bible translation that you can find here at Bible Gateway: word-for-word Bible translations.

A word-to-word Bible translation is a Bible that aims to hew as closely as possible to the wording and grammatical structure of the original text. (The more technical term for “word-to-word” is formal equivalence.) Whenever possible, a word-for-word translation tries to translate each word, phrase, and concept in the original text with an exactly matching word, phrase, and concept in the target language. People sometimes call this kind of Bible a “literal” translation.

What’s Important to Know About Word-for-word Bible Translations?

1. They aim to reduce the “human interpretation” factor in Bible translation. By sticking as closely as possible to the original words and structure, these translations reduce the number of major interpretative decisions that a translator has to make—and thus, reduce the chance that fallible translators will make the wrong translation choice and distort the meaning of the original.

2. “Word-for-word” is a goal to be aimed at, not completely achieved. Because no two languages are exact 1:1 matches to each other, it’s not possible to create a 100% word-for-word translation (certainly not one that is comprehensible). While translators may try to be as “literal” as possible, they must inevitably make many interpretive decisions, sometimes choosing the best of several unsatisfactory options. And it’s not possible to completely remove fallible human interpretation from the mix—even the decision to translate a Bible word-to-word is an interpretive act! Nonetheless, a word-for-word translation tries to keep translation compromises to a minimum.

3. Their language is unique and memorable. Because they’re translating a vocabulary and sentence structure that are quite far removed from modern spoken language, word-for-word Bibles have a unique voice that truly stands out from modern writing and literature. You might use words like majestic, soaring, or inspiring to describe them—perhaps even “old-fashioned,” but in a positive sense. If this style of language appeals to you, you’ll want to be sure to listen to them as well as read them—so visit our library of audio Bibles to get the full effect.

4. They work especially well when paired with a Bible commentary or other study tool. Because these Bibles’ language and phrasing can differ from modern English, you’ll benefit from keeping a commentary or study Bible handy while reading, to help you sort out unusual or confusing terms and phrases. Bible Gateway’s digital commentaries and study Bibles are very useful for this purpose. (Bible Gateway’s study library includes several good free resources; if you upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus membership, you’ll get access to additional study materials, some of them specific to word-for-word Bible translations—like the King James Study Bible and the NKJV Study Bible.)

Who Will Most Appreciate a Word-for-word Bible?

Consider a word-for-word Bible if you:

  • Want a Bible experience that is closer to the vocabulary and phrasing that its original audiences read and heard.
  • Love majestic language and phrasing.
  • Have access to a good study Bible, dictionary, or other tool to help you when you run across unfamiliar terms.

Four Word-for-word Bibles to Start With

Bible Gateway has many Bibles that lean toward word-for-word translation. Here are a few prominent ones that would make a fine starting point for anyone looking for this kind of Bible reading experience.

1. The Authorized (King James) Version: Easily the most famous word-for-word Bible translation, the King James Bible has had a lasting impact not only on Christianity but on the English language itself. Its majestic language and memorable turns of phrase have cemented it in our cultural consciousness. Many popularly-known and oft-memorized Bible verses use the language of the King James Version; if your early encounters with the Bible were with the King James Version, you probably have a nostalgic connection to its language as well! Although it draws on other English translations, it remains a reasonably literal translation.

The King James Version is still widely used today across the English-speaking world. Here’s a sample Bible passage from the Authorized (King James) Version:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (AKJV)

2. Young’s Literal Translation: A very literal translation of the Bible by Robert Young in 1862. This translation vividly highlights both the advantages and drawbacks of the word-for-word approach: it sticks quite close in many places to the structure of the original biblical languages, but as you can see from this sample passage, it’s not always easy going for modern readers. But like many such translations, even its difficult-to-read sections have an appealing poetic quality to them.

Here’s a sample Bible passage from Young’s Literal Translation:

Wherefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Christ, unto the perfection we may advance, not again a foundation laying of reformation from dead works, and of faith on God,

of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on also of hands, of rising again also of the dead, and of judgment age-during,

and this we will do, if God may permit,

for [it is] impossible for those once enlightened, having tasted also of the heavenly gift, and partakers having became of the Holy Spirit,

and did taste the good saying of God, the powers also of the coming age,

and having fallen away, again to renew [them] to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (YLT)

3. English Standard Version: One thing you may have noticed about a lot of word-for-word translations is that they’re old—although they may have been revised and updated through the years, many of them (like the previous two on this list) have their roots in Bible translations that are often centuries old. This can lead to some added reading difficulty, as you combine the quirks of word-for-word translation with archaic English vocabulary. But that doesn’t need to be the case! The English Standard Version is a very popular word-for-word Bible that uses modern English while still employing a formal equivalence translation philosophy.

Here’s a sample passage from the English Standard Version:

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (ESV)

4. The Amplified Bible: One of the most unique Bibles in our library, the Amplified Bible aims for a word-for-word translation… with some interesting tweaks to help convey the original text’s meaning. The Amplified Bible uses “amplifications” in the text to help readers understand concepts that might not be clear in the text. These amplifications include:

  • Explanatory notes in [brackets] that clarify concepts which the English translation doesn’t convey
  • (Parentheses) to provide alternate translation possibilities for certain terms
  • Italics to indicate words which aren’t in the original texts—often used for words like and or or, which the English language requires for readability

This Bible is a fascinating way to really dig into the nuances of translation and the original languages, and is probably best suited for Bible study (as opposed to casual reading or memorization). Here’s a sample Bible passage from the Amplified Bible:

Therefore let us get past the elementary stage in the teachings about the Christ, advancing on to maturity and perfection and spiritual completeness, [doing this] without laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of teaching about washings (ritual purifications), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. [These are all important matters in which you should have been proficient long ago.] And we will do this [that is, proceed to maturity], if God permits. For [it is impossible to restore to repentance] those who have once been enlightened [spiritually] and who have tasted and consciously experienced the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted and consciously experienced the good word of God and the powers of the age (world) to come, and then have fallen away—it is impossible to bring them back again to repentance, since they again nail the Son of God on the cross [for as far as they are concerned, they are treating the death of Christ as if they were not saved by it], and are holding Him up again to public disgrace. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (AMP)

More Word-for-word Bibles at Bible Gateway

The four Bibles above are just the beginning! We encourage you to explore the many more word-for-word translations available at Bible Gateway, including:

There are yet more for you to peruse in our Bible library. While exploring these Bibles, we also highly recommend using the side-by-side Bible view on Bible Gateway to compare how two or more Bibles translate the same passage.

Hopefully, this has helped you to understand and appreciate the word-for-word Bible translation approach, and given you some good places to start reading these Bibles for yourself! In the next post in this series, we’ll introduce you to Bibles which take a different approach: the thought-for-thought or dynamic equivalence philosophy. Until then, have fun digging into these Bibles—and let’s be continually grateful that God has preserved His Word through the centuries for us to read today.

The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: An Interview with Kyle Strobel

Jamin GogginThe Bible teaches a seemingly contradictory way to power: weakness. Are Christian leaders increasingly succumbing to the temptations of power and forgetting Jesus’ words to first give it up? What can be learned from the insights of J. I. Packer, Dallas Willard, Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, and other spiritual giants?

Bible Gateway interviewed Kyle Strobel (@KyleStrobel), who, with Jamin Goggin (@JaminGoggin), authored the book, The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church That Has Abandoned It (Thomas Nelson, 2017) (book website).

Kyle Strobel

What does the Bible say is Jesus’ path of power?

Kyle Strobel: Scripture is clear that Jesus could have employed what we normally think of as “power” any time he wanted. He tells Peter that if he wanted he could appeal to the Father and receive more than 12 legions of angels at his disposal (Matt. 26:53). The structure of the Gospel of Mark, for instance, is a journey from his calling in ministry as the Messiah (what we normally think of as a position of power), to the true task of the Messiah—walking the way of the cross. The whole of Mark turns on the key question in Mark 8, “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27) Most people wanted Jesus to offer power, and Jesus instead points to the cross. Jesus presents us with a different sort of power.

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In the way of Jesus, the way Philippians 2 claims is a descent down the ladder of power into service, is, paradoxically, where we come to know true kingdom power. But kingdom power is built on a different foundation than worldly power and it functions according to a different system than the flesh. Kingdom power is power found in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Kingdom power is trusting that without Christ you can do nothing (John 15:5). Kingdom power is believing that if you try to save your life you’ll lose it, but if you lose it for Christ you’ll find it (Matt. 16:25). The question we’re faced with is: Will we trust in this way for real kingdom power?

How and why has the church abandoned it?

Kyle Strobel: When Jamin and I started this project we were inundated with stories of churches employing worldly power, but it was often not done with wicked intent. In other words, the churches had good goals in mind, but they failed to seek them in distinctively Christian ways.

Everything we do in life has a goal and a means by which we attain that goal. Our temptation is to believe that having the right goal is enough, but then turn to the wrong means to attain that goal. As Paul says in Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

The temptation the church continually faces, and has given into in many places, has been to try and sow the Christian life in the flesh and yet still believe they’ll reap in the Spirit. This is warping our churches from within. We must accept both Jesus and his way, and not simply accept Jesus and try to follow him according to the power system of the world.

What we have to be confronted with, in our Christian lives and in our ministries, is that Scripture is incredibly clear on this point: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). But do we really believe that Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness? That’s the question that should plague modern churches that have become incredibly savvy. We need to ask ourselves—really discern in our hearts—whether or not we’re interested in Christ’s strength in our weakness, or if we’re just interested in strength.

What happens when Christians embody a worldly approach to power and try to use that to advance Christ’s kingdom?

Kyle Strobel: When Christians embody a worldly approach to power they’re not trusting in the way of Christ. As James puts it, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4) This comes right after James compares two different ways of living—the way from above and the way from below—and it’s not irrelevant that he goes on to say, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).

This is the way of Jesus; it’s the way of entering into weakness to rest fully on the power of God. Ultimately, when we employ worldly power, we’ll be able to construct impressive edifices, but it won’t be the building Jesus is constructing. Like the disciples who proclaimed, “Look Rabbi, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” (Mark 13:1), as they gazed upon Herod’s temple complex, we, too, are often easily impressed with feats of human strength. But the kingdom of Christ is built on an entirely different economy. In the economy of the kingdom, the people of God are known not for feats of power, but for the power of love (John 13:35).

Even now I find that, like the disciples, I’m often really impressed with the kind of power people wield in their own strength, and less impressed with the kingdom power wrought in weakness. I, too, need eyes to see and ears to hear the kind of work that Christ is interested in.

How does love factor into the proper use of power?

Kyle Strobel: Scripture advances two ways of power: the way of the world and the way of Christ, and each of these two ways has unique economies of power.

In the way of the world, we find power in strength for control (and possibly domination). In the kingdom we find power in weakness for the sake of love and humility. In the kingdom, love is power, but this kind of love can only be discovered through our weakness, dependence, and abiding in Christ alone. To bear fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) for the kingdom is to trust and abide in both Christ and the way of Christ. This fruit is oriented ultimately by love, and by Christ, which is why we have to abide in his love to thrive in his kingdom (John 15:9).

One sign that we’ve given ourselves to the way of the world is when we can no longer understand love as true power in the way of Christ. For many of us, myself included, we tend to assume that “power” is always worldly power. When worldly power is our assumption, the Christian life, and especially the church, will fail to make any sense to us. We’ll inevitably seek to use worldly means to enact kingdom ends, and, once again, we’ll reap what we’ve sown.

What’s the most powerful resistance to the way of evil?

Kyle Strobel: Jesus has defeated the powers and principalities on the cross, and Scripture tells us that he’s triumphed over them and put them to open shame (Col. 2:15). That victory is already won by Christ. Therefore, our resistance to evil will entail our abiding in Christ and trusting in his way.

But this is counterintuitive. We don’t want to trust in his way. What we want, in our flesh, is to conquer evil ourselves. In our flesh we want to employ our strength in autonomy to dominate and win.

But Christ took evil upon himself and accepted death on the cross. He humbled himself before the Father and was raised in glory. That’s the only way Christian power works—through an abiding trust in Jesus. This is the only way evil will ever be vanquished in full. Our calling in faith is to trust that Christ has done this, and he has done this for me.

How do you want your book to change readers?

Kyle Strobel: We hope that this project will confront readers with the reality that every Christian already has a power system they trust in; and for most of us, it’s not a distinctively Christian sort of power. Maybe more than anything else, the world’s views have shaped how many Christians understand power, and so they’ve given themselves to a way of life that ultimately undermines the Christian life rather than fueling it. If we give ourselves to worldly power for the sake of the kingdom, as we believe many are, it’ll destroy us from within. Our hope is to cast a vision for a different sort of way: the way of Jesus.

How has this project impacted you?

Kyle Strobel: The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb was the hardest book I’ve ever written. I was constantly confronted with places in my heart that wanted to seek out my own power rather than Christ’s, or to employ worldly means of power rather than the way of the kingdom. It was a humbling project. But over and over again, as we sat at the feet of the sages we interviewed, we kept being pointed back to Christ. We don’t lose hope because our hope is not in ourselves, but in Christ. This book led us into our weakness, but it was there that we discovered Christ’s strength anew.

Bio: Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel have co-authored several books, including Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals, Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself, and The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb.

Jamin Goggin serves as a pastor at Mission Hills Church. He has been in pastoral ministry for eleven years, including several years as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Saddleback Church. Jamin speaks and writes in the areas of spiritual formation, ministry and theology. He holds two Masters degrees and is currently earning a PhD in systematic theology. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Kristin, and their three children.

Kyle Strobel is a professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and is an emerging voice among evangelicals on spiritual formation, discipleship, and theology. Kyle speaks regularly and has written for Pastors.com, Relevant magazine (and RelevantMagazine.com), ChurchLeader.com, and DeeperStory.com. Kyle lives in Southern California with his wife, Kelli, and their two children.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of February 5, 2017

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Sophisticated Defense System Discovered at Biblical-Era Mining Camp
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Documentary Answers: Are the Biblical Events of Genesis Real-Life History?
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Bible to be Translated into Russian Sign Language Beginning with Gospel of Mark
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Warm Reception for Uganda’s Lumasaaba Bible
United Bible Societies
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Wycliffe Associates Anticipating Record Number of New Bible Translation Starts for 2017
News Release
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Wycliffe Associates—Helping to Translate the Bible Where Persecution of Christians Is Severe: An Interview with Bruce Smith
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Lost City of Atlantis Tied to Biblical City of Tarshish
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The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is Now Available for Bible Gateway Plus Members (February Only)

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is now available on Bible Gateway PlusWe’re excited to announce that throughout the month of February, the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is available as part of the Bible Gateway Plus digital library!

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is as deep as it is accessible: you can confidently use it for everything from personal Bible study to sermon preparation. If you’re a Bible Gateway Plus member, you can log in and access it right now! If you aren’t yet a Bible Gateway Plus member, click here to try it free for 30 days (and get access to the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis along with dozens of other titles).

The book of Genesis contains many of the Bible’s most famous and important stories, yet a casual reading of those stories often raises as many questions as it answers. That’s where the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis can help, equipping you to explore questions like:

  • What does a modern Bible reader need to know about the literary genres and styles used in Genesis?
  • Should we understand the Creation account, the Flood, and other important stories in Genesis as literal history?
  • How should we approach difficult stories like Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac?

The Tower of Babel--explore it in the NIV Application Commentary on GenesisOne of the the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis’ most important features is its relentless focus on the text of the Bible. Rather than trying to fit particular answers or a specific theological perspective onto Genesis, it instead sticks to what the text itself reveals to us. That means thoroughly examining the original language and cultural background to help you explore and answer questions yourself. Despite this depth, you don’t need an advanced degree to use and understand it—it’s written to be accessible to anyone, whether it’s your first time reading Genesis or your 50th.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is one of the best reference works on Genesis available, and we’re thrilled that it’s part of the Bible Gateway Plus library. But remember, it’s only available throughout February, so don’t hesitate! If you’re a Bible Gateway Plus member, log in to start exploring Genesis today. (If you need a refresher on how to access your digital library, follow this short tutorial.) If you’re not yet a member, start your free 30-day trial today so you don’t miss out.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis now on Bible Gateway Plus