The New Living Translation of the Bible (NLT) is one of my favorites – okay, I’ll admit it, I have many favorite Bible translations! I was first introduced to this fresh, clear, accessible and theologically sound translation last year and have enjoyed my readings from it. Tyndale House has paired with Group publishing to release a new addition to their One Year Bible series God Sightings: The One Year Bible NLT which follows a fairly standard daily reading plan. God Sightings: The One Year Bible is also available in the New International Version (NIV).
Each daily reading is pre-arranged so that readers don’t need to flip through the Bible with a chart in hand to find the selected passages. Every day a selection from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs are laid out – a time-tested arrangement that has long been proven to keep interest and attention levels high.
If you’re at all like me and find it difficult to stay focused or organized, this makes reading assorted passages on a daily basis so much simpler – all you need is one bookmark! The One Year Bible series is well-known and loved due to this simple and effective approach. This is my first exposure to the series, so I can’t speak directly to the similarities between this and the other NLT One Year Bibles Tyndale offers, but I imagine that they are essentially the same. The differences are found in the supplementary co-coordinating materials in the God Sightings program.
Not only does God Sightings include an emphasis on reading through God’s word in a single year, but also on personal reflection – watching for God’s work in your life, “God Sightings” in certain areas of spiritual growth. This is accomplished in a variety of ways: churches wanting to implement a group reading plan can do so with God Sightings: The One Year Small Group Leader Guide; individuals can use God Sightings: The One Year Companion Guide to lead them in opening their eyes afresh to God’s presence and work in their lives while journaling their growth; and everyone can take advantage of the program’s social networking elements accessible from the God Sightings website.
God Sightings: The One Year Companion Guide is where Group Publishing’s influence is the most felt. They have designed a 52 session guide for individual reflection, probing, and journaling that is designed to accompany the weekly readings from the God Sightings Bibles. The first session, for example, is entitled “The Start of Something Big” and encourages readers to look for God’s delight of new starts in their own lives. Upbeat, accessible text encourages further thought on the week’s theme, focal scripture passages are shared, and plenty of space for writing answers to focused questions is provided. I love the full color, modern design of each and every page in the guide.
Perhaps most unique however is God Sightings' attempt to take Bible study into the realm of online interactivity on a large scale. Forums are provided for discussing responses to each daily reading as well as a place for general interactions as participants learn to spot God at work in their lives.
A common New Year’s resolution for Christians is to read through the Bible in a year – maybe you’ve already stumbled and missed a few daily readings, or you just haven’t started yet. Don’t let the fact that it’s the middle of January stop you — just jump in; make this the first year of many that you discover God’s hand at work in your life.