Manna & Mercy Bible Study: Before We Begin

What Bible should I use?

My Hebrew professor used to say, “The best Bible to read is whatever Bible you will read!” Some of us like more word-for-word translations, like the New International Version. Some of us prefer word-for-word translations that try to be more inclusive (saying “brothers and sisters” where the original text said “brothers”, for example), like the New Revised Standard Version (Emmy’s go-to) or the Common English Bible. Others like versions that are more story and paraphrase, which can be easier to read but also have more biases and interpretation of their writers, like Eugene Peterson’s The Message. Read whichever one you like! Watch Austen Hartke break it down further.


I feel like I don’t know enough.

None of us do. (Not even our resident Greek scholar Josh, although in the rest of our estimation he’s pretty close.) That’s why we use a book, and resources, and most importantly — each other. Our questions, wonderings, and gaps in knowledge are as important as the answers, because they push us towards greater understanding and life.

Introductory Videos from the Manna and Mercy Video Series by Alan Storey

Just as world maps distort either shapes or sizes when a globe is reduced to a flat surface, so our “map” of the Bible has often been distorted – leading to death and destruction rather than abundant life. Watch the clip.

As Christians, the litmus test for understanding Scripture can be: would Jesus say “Amen!” to this interpretation? Would Jesus want us to imitate that concept or action? Instead of “having faith in Jesus,” we need to ask, “what did Jesus have faith in?” Watch the clip.

When reading the Bible we should ask: What does the passage say about God? What does it say about human beings? What does it say about creation, the environment? What does the passage say about the relationship between creation, God & humanity? Watch the clip.

We need to honor the original context in which the Biblical account is written in order to properly understand the meaning. To learn the context of a passage we must ask: Who is the author? Who is the audience? What is the date and social setting? And what language is being used? Watch the clip.