I just finished reading through John's Gospel again, only this time in King James text. I had previously read the King James text of this Gospel, but God knows I didn't really take much from it. It had been recommended as a good starting point for me from a Christian friend of mine, so I went out and purchased a small pocket sized bible without paying any attention to the version or translation, buying out of a simple love of the leather cover and gold binding. When I first read through it, I paid little heed to the message of it. It was the King James translation, and I found it difficult to follow, and perhaps more importantly, quite boring to try and read. I sluggishly made my way through it, reading every word, or at least sounding every word in my head so that I could tell myself that I at least READ every word, even if I truly didn't READ every word. I simply wanted to be done with it so that I could say that I had done it. It brought back memories of my first attempts to read the bible as a child, which was to say difficult and problematic. I began to fear my new found faith in God. If I couldn't bring myself to read and enjoy the bible, then how could I ever walk properly in my faith? The scriptures were an all - important component of my faith, the foundation of all my learning and spiritual growth. Even though I had finished it eventually, I certainly didn't feel satisfied at my learning of it. Though I may have retained some of the stories, such as Jesus feeding the 5000, or healing the blind man, I certainly didn't take away any meaning from these miracles, and I certainly was no closer to understanding Jesus' purpose here on earth than I had been several months before when I had no desire to learn of Him at all!
I then came into possession of a NIV study bible that belonged to my wife's grandmother who had recently passed away. I believe this to be the first bible that truly captured my attention and I believe it to be because of the translation. It was written in a way that was easy to follow and easy to enjoy. It was like reading a novel from one of my favorite authors! I must have blown through that entire bible front to back in about a month. It was then that I realized the problem. I went through it too quickly! I managed to acquire much of the historical knowledge, though truth be told even that is fading now to the point where I need refreshers, but I gained no spiritual knowledge from it, no growth at all. I came to be rather mistrustful of the translation, for sure it was easy to read, but it was almost too easy to read, painlessly repressing my desires to slow down and derive the meaning in the words. After all that reading, I was really no closer to understanding God than I had been a month before.
Months later, I bought a King James study bible from a Christian book store. I ran into similar obstacles as I did with the other KJV bible I had picked up before, which was to say, difficulty in understanding the material. This "ye olde English" was a little rough to pick up on! But I felt I had to learn it, and I had to learn the bible and the message from THIS translation, and so I kept at it, reading here and there. Finally about a week ago, I decided to read through the epistles, and while turning to Romans, I stumbled upon John, and, for some odd reason, decided to stick with THIS book. I read through slowly, but surely, even making use of the footnotes and scripture cross references to truly try and capture a complete picture.
And after this reading, I felt completely new! I can't even describe it. Everything seems much clearer now, my life and future seem far less frightening. I've let go of so much anger and hatred that I had building inside of me, and all it took was a full, slow, reading of John. I've read through Matthew in KJV and didn't get this kind of revelation from it. I've decided to keep this method for all future readings. Needless to say, I feel absolutely reborn! I feel closer to God than I ever have been, and more secure in my life than I ever have been, despite my constant feelings of inadequacy in God. I know that He will guide me in the ways He chooses, and I think I finally understand how to listen to Him now! My wife is finally coming into her faith, beginning her growing journey as well, beginning bible studies, and I'm happy that I can help her in her walk as well.
I'll be putting up a full analysis of John on my other blog site, "The World Needs God", soon. Thank you for listening, and I hope we can discuss other moments of revelation in your lives and what triggered them for you!