Understanding the Bible Changes Everything

We are Bible people. Well, we claim we are. 

“You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know that you are the Holy One of God.”

So says Peter to Jesus in John 6:68-69. 

But do we read it?

If we don’t, why not?

If we do, do we understand what we are reading?

And why does it seem to make such little impact in the things that we really believe, in the way that we live our lives?

These are questions that haunt pastors, both for the people we minister to, and for ourselves. 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Has the Bible become so familiar that we can no longer hear its message? We hear the words, know the stories, and think that we know its message. That we know Jesus. And so we no longer read. Secretly, we are no longer moved by those words of eternal life. 

Or perhaps the words sound foreign, confusing. There is a distance that we cannot quite overcome. Individually the words make sense. We grasp their meaning. But taken as a whole, things get fuzzy, meaning slips through our fingers and understanding eludes us. 

Whether the message has become so familiar that we can no longer hear it or the message feels distant and distorted, Apollos Watered is committed to helping you hear, read, understand, and be captured by the message of the Bible. That’s why we are pleased to announce that we have partnered with the New Living Translation as the official Bible of Apollos Watered. 

When it seems like every podcast, YouTube channel and Instagram personality has sponsors and endorsement deals, it can be hard to know how genuine the partnership is or if the spokesperson (that would be us) really believes in the product. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should add that I used to work for Tyndale House Publishers on the NLT team. I have helped to concept, create, and market NLT Bibles. The reason I went to work at Tyndale in the first place was specifically to work on the NLT. I believed in it before I worked there, and I still believe in it after working there. The decision to partner with the NLT was not one we made lightly, but it is one we are excited about. When Travis first asked me to come on board with Apollos Watered, I immediately said yes because of his heart for the Church around the world. His vision for helping people to reimagine what discipleship is all about. For helping people understand the message of the Bible no matter who we are or where we are.

Apollos Watered, Travis and I, believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is far bigger than we imagine. It crosses time and space, it breaks barriers of culture, ethnicity, gender, and class. As Paul says “there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

To be the Church as we were intended to be, to reach the people we are called to reach, we need to be able to communicate God’s Word in a way that breaks through both our familiarity with the Bible and our distance from its message. For years, Travis and I have led small groups, taught classes, and preached the Bible both at home and, in Travis’s case, around the world. Over and over, we have had to overcome both issues. Over and over, we have found ourselves using the NLT to help people understand the message of God.

The NLT is a gift that has helped us to minister more effectively to the Body of Christ no matter who or where we are. 

We trust its scholarship. If you have listened to any of our “Deep Conversations”, you know that scholarship is important to us. Ninety international scholars contributed to the NLT. Some of the best in their field. Many who worked on other important translations too. You can learn more about them here.

We value its approach. The New Living Translation follows in the footsteps of William Tyndale whose desire to make the Bible accessible to everyday people, not the educated or the clergy, led to the development of the King James Bible. It follows in the footsteps of Ken Taylor, whose paraphrase, the Living Bible, took the English-speaking world by storm in the 1970s. The NLT broke new ground by taking the dynamic rendering of a paraphrase and combining it with the latest scholarship and precision. You can learn about the translation process here.

We love that the NLT is understandable worldwide. Business, entertainment, and social media, have made English a global language. Because the NLT was designed to be read aloud, because it sounds the way we talk, that means it is increasingly understandable not just in Chicago, Memphis, and LA, but in Cairo, Mumbai, La Pas and hundreds of other places around the world.  

The NLT connects with readers around the world because it is easy to understand, because God’s message to us, today, almost leaps off the page and into our hearts and minds. Because the NLT is so clear, you will find yourself reading longer and understanding more than you ever have before. Understanding the Bible really does change everything.

At Apollos Watered, we believe that true discipleship is not about programs but the pursuit of Christ. We believe that the message of Jesus really does matter. It really does change everything. We have some exciting things in store: conversations with NLT translators and writers, use of the NLT in our materials, even some giveaways. The NLT is helping us to complete our mission:

Water Your Faith

so that you

Water Your World.

Our thanks to Tyndale for their partnership. If you are new to Apollos Watered, give us a listen wherever you listen to podcasts and check us out online at Apolloswatered.org.

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Kevin O'Brien