Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
When you received your free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version from BfA, what did you think? You may have eagerly unwrapped it, taken it out of its cover, and opened it up to look through the pages. But did you ever think to yourself, “This Bible looks great, but how do I use it?”
We wrote this post as a quick-and-easy guide to help you get the most out of your Recovery Version. We’ll answer some questions people commonly ask us after they get a New Testament Recovery from us. If you haven’t ordered one yet, we encourage you to read the rest of the post to see why you’d want one.
What is all the writing at the bottom of the pages?
In the New Testament Recovery Version, the Scripture verses appear above a horizontal line. Footnotes for the verses on that page appear below the line. Sometimes a page has a lot of notes, and sometimes just a few. These footnotes help to explain the deeper meaning of the truths contained in the Scriptures. This is why we call the New Testament Recovery Version “a Bible you can understand.”
Take Matthew 1:1, for example:
What does this verse mean, and why is it the first verse in the New Testament? The footnotes for this verse help us to find out.
To find a footnote, first look at the superscript numbers next to words or phrases in the verse. In Matthew 1:1, the word “Jesus” has a small number 1 next to it, like this: 1Jesus. So at the bottom of the page, look for the verse number and superscript number that match, like this: 11. Let’s read the first part of the footnote for verse 1 in the example below.
Just that one sentence opens up a fresh understanding of both this verse and the whole New Testament. It’s all about Christ! The footnote goes on to explain why His genealogy is included at the beginning of Matthew and how it relates to the different aspects of Christ revealed in each Gospel.
What are the subjects and outlines for?
It’s helpful to know what a book in the New Testament is about as you study it. The Recovery Version provides the subject of each book. For instance, the subject of the book of Matthew is stated in the Recovery Version:
This subject points out that Jesus Christ our Savior is the King. As you study Matthew with this in mind, you’ll notice the many mentions of Christ the King, His kingdom, and the gospel of the kingdom. With this subject, you see how Matthew presents Christ to us as the King-Savior who saves us into His kingdom.
Besides stating the subject for each book, the Recovery Version also provides an outline at the beginning of each book, which is also embedded within the text. The outline lists the major sections and subsections of the book. This gives you an overview of the book, helping you to know where you are in any part of your reading and what the major points of that section are. You may find the outlines to be the most valuable feature of your study Bible!
What is the best way to study it?
Here are two good ways you can use the New Testament Recovery Version as a study Bible:
1. Read through the New Testament consecutively, chapter after chapter, using the outlines and footnotes. If you start at the beginning of the New Testament, for example, you’ll read Christ’s genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew, a long list of mostly unfamiliar names from the Old Testament. The footnotes there will enrich your reading, helping you to see what these names reveal about the wonderful Person of Christ. As a result, you’ll appreciate the genealogy of Christ our Savior.
2. Study a topic using the verses, cross-references, and footnotes.
- Using the New Testament Recovery Version—An Illustrated Guide is an excellent resource for this kind of study. It includes topics to study such as the Word of God, God, Christ, the Spirit, the gospel, and the church—the Body of Christ.
How do I begin?
- Just as with daily Bible reading, it’s best to begin with prayer. Here’s a simple prayer to begin your study:
“Lord Jesus, I open my heart to receive Your Word. Give me a clear mind to understand what I’m reading. As I read and study, deepen my appreciation for Your Word and help me to see You in every verse.”
- Memorize the important verses of the topic or section you study. For example, if you study “The Spirit” using the Topical Directory in Using the New Testament Recovery Version—An Illustrated Guide, you’ll see that “The Holy Spirit” is the first subheading. The first highlighted verse and footnote under this subheading are John 20:221, which indicates that these are key in understanding this topic. This verse, then, would be an excellent one to memorize regarding the Holy Spirit.
- Repeat what you’ve memorized to yourself or to your study companions. Repeating the verses you’ve memorized is like chewing your food to help you digest it.
Speak what you’ve learned from reading verses, footnotes, and cross-references. If you’re studying with others, you can speak to each other. If you’re studying alone, you can speak to the Lord or even yourself, just for practice. Speaking what you’ve learned helps you further absorb what you studied. Speaking to each other helps both the one speaking and the ones listening; everyone is edified.
- End your study time with a prayer related to what you studied. For example, if you studied the topic of the Holy Spirit and focused on John 20:22 and footnote 1, you might pray, “Lord, thank You for breathing the Spirit into the disciples. Thank You that I can also breathe You in as the Spirit. Remind me to breathe You in so that You can be life to me.”
Should I study alone or with others?
Either is fine. You can use the resources we’ve recommended to study by yourself, but it’s especially beneficial to study with others. And your study group doesn’t have to be formal. You can get together with just a couple of friends or family members. Studying together will help you:
- Study consistently by setting a time with others who will help you keep it.
- Practice speaking the truths in the Bible to others.
- Learn from others by praying over and discussing verses you don’t understand.
- Be built up together spiritually with the people in your study group.
Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Studying the profitable, convicting, correcting, and instructing Word of God is a worthwhile endeavor. We hope these simple guidelines are helpful to you and your spiritual companions as you study the Scriptures that have been breathed out by God!
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