When physically hungry and tempted by Satan, Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy,
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
His other responses to Satan also relied on an application and quoting of scripture (Matthew 4:7,10) instead of human reasoning (or conflicting traditions of men).
Why were the Holy Scriptures given to us?
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Thus the Bible itself states that it is the source of doctrine so that God's followers can be complete and do what God wants.
It is necessary to read the Bible, because,
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they have itching ears, they will heap up to themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and, and be turned aside to fables" (II Timothy 4:3-4).
Jesus prayed to the Father to,
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17).
The Psalms declare,..."Your law is truth" (Psalm 119:142b).
Since God's law and His word are the truth, how can you know the truth without reading the Bible or hearing it read?
Reading the Bible is the way to measure whether or not something is true. The Bible teaches us doctrine and how to live.
Paul was a preacher of God, but how would people know this? They would know it from their knowledge of the Bible.
How do you get knowledge of the Bible? First by reading it. Then by studying it.
When Paul preached in Berea it was reported that,
"There were more fair-minded (margin - noble) than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word in all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily; we should too.
One of the sayings of our Church is, "don't believe us, believe what we say only if it is in the Bible". Scripture was inspired by God (II Timothy 3:16) and was not the opinions of its writers. Its prophecies came from God, "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:20).
In addition to providing instruction, doctrine, and correction, reading the Bible even helps you to learn the thoughts and intents of your heart.
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
The Bible was primarily written in Hebrew and Greek--it was in those languages that God's Spirit inspired the writers of scripture--not English, not Latin. Thus unless ancient Hebrew and classical Greek are well known to you, you will need to read a translation of the biblical texts.
Two of the most commonly used English translations are the 1611 King James Version (KJV) and the 1982 New Kings James Version (NKJV, which is used predominantly). Both of these are attempts to be a word-for-word translation, which usually better for Bible study that paraphrase versions of the Bible. For daily reading I now tend to use the New Kings James Version as it is one of the more accurate translations (though it, like all translations I have read, contains some translator errors/biases) and uses modern language. I have read several other translations.
I used to use the KJV a lot more, but it is difficult for many to understand--younger people have trouble with the old English it uses and non-native English readers find it confusing. Plus, it, despite the beliefs of some, also has translation errors (the KJV mistranslates Acts 12:4, Hebrews 4:9, 1 John 5:7-8, etc. )--it is not superior to all other versions as some believe. Nor does the Bible ever suggest that God's Spirit would lead translators to produce a better version that the original Bible (as some KJV and some Septuagint advocates seem to believe).
Sometimes for clarity, I will cite the NIV (New International Version). Though it is not always a word-for-word translation, sometimes it gets certain words more correct that the NKJV or KJV do.
In many Catholic related articles I will normally use the 1610 Douay Rheims translation (DRB) or its later version--but because it is a translation of a translation (Jerome translated the Bible into Latin near the end of the fourth century and Douay-Rheims is a translation from Jerome's Latin into English) I do not consider that it should be a primarily used translation. Catholics also use the New Jerusalem Bible--it is more of a word-for-word translation that the DRB. It is the primary English-language version used by Catholics outside of the USA. And I because it is uses more modern language, I find the NJB helpful, especially if I am mainly reaching Catholic audiences.
One of the newer translations of the New Testament I am aware of is called A Faithful Version (AFV), and its second revision came out in November 2004. I have used this sometimes.
Sometimes it is helpful to read multiple translations which can help your understanding, although sometimes translator bias can be a problem (some on-line Bibles and helps can be found at this link for Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet). But the more you actually read the Bible, the more you should be able to discern the truth as opposed to biased traditions of men.
In our day and Jesus' day, many were relying on their own opinions and not God's.
Jesus was not please when He said,
"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy about you, saying:
'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:7-9).
The obvious way to know the difference between traditions of men and the doctrines of God is to read the Bible. And it properly understand it, the Bible needs to be studied (see also What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?).Remember, since it has been prophesied that the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine and will turn aside from the truth (II Timothy 4:3-4) and that since God's word is truth (John 17:17), please read and study the Bible regularly so you will be able to discern between the truth and fables.
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