For years now, the New King James Version of the Bible has been the translation I’ve readily gone to. I admit that I didn’t do a ton of research about it, but I heard that it was a close word-for-word translation and so I leaned on it heavily. (Although I also sometimes look up a word in Greek or Hebrew when I want to make sure I understand something or I want to go deeper.)

Thanks to a new application on my phone, (rejoice with me — I now have a phone that doesn’t lose all its contacts if it runs out of battery life) I decided to start reading through the Bible in a different translation with the One-Year Bible reading plan. The plan is built around the New Living Translation, which I’ve never been particularly fond of because the language is so casual it almost feels disrespectful to me.


I admit it, I have a weird thing for words.

Anyway, I decided to try reading the Bible in the NLT thinking it might breathe some fresh life into the word for me, perhaps make me rethink what I understood a verse or passage to mean, maybe cause some new things to jump off the page at me.

Suddenly after just a few days, reading the Word is like ordering something at a restaurant you’ve been ordering for years, and finding it is still the thing you always ordered, but there is new flavor, an interesting new twist, a new taste to it.

I still go back to the NKJV, but I’m pausing and thinking through things I’d taken for granted for a long time because of this simple change.

This Scripture stood out to me yesterday, and caused me to take some extra time chewing up and savoring this bite as soon as it left my fork:

You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. {Psalm 4: 7-8}

How beautiful is this reminder? That many people might have a lot of stuff, a lot of success, what looks like a lot of good fortune, but those of us who’ve put our trust in God can rejoice and be joyful just because of who He is. And if we let Him, He can bring us an unshakeable joy that comes from deep-seated contentment and will not swerve because of our circumstances.

People who call the Lord their God do not (and should not) need great wealth or fortune or fame to have lives that are marked by great joy.

We can get joy, straight from the source of everything good. And that’s Good News, to me.

How do you read the Word? What’s your favorite translation? And what’s your advice for hanging on to the joy of the Lord through the trials of life?