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Feb 17, 2020

Warm greetings to all of you who often or sometimes listen to my podcasts. Welcome to this first update for this year.

Here are some of the things I have been doing in my Bible-reading hobby recently:

I always want to follow the Digging Deeper Daily Reading plan in some form. I’m still not tired of it, and I want to up-to-speed when people comment about it. So this year I’m following my original Digging Deeper Daily YouVersion reading plan with 9 people sharing in the group with me. I have never met any of them personally, but two of them are long-time long-distance friends and prayer partners who have shared many times with me by email.

I listen to the 3D plan using the dedicated Android app for the podcast. If you are an Android user, I recommend that app, but it’s not easy to find in the Play Store. Search for this complete string: daily bible reading phil fields. Even being so specific, the app currently comes in third in the search results! I am using that app to listen one day ahead of everyone that started the plan on January 1st. I want to be a day ahead so that I can catch mistakes. My original recordings contain a few mistakes, and I have fixed a few of them. However, as I follow along in the NLT, I have found that many times the differences in the NLT text compared to my recordings is due to my having used an older edition of the NLT rather than newer ones. Newer editions were released in 2007 and 2015. 

While I keep checking off the days in my YouVersion Digging Deeper Daily reading plan, I am actually not reading daily in that app. This year I am using the MyBible reading app. The MyBible app is one of two that I know of that includes the 3D reading plan, and I find it very quick to navigate to the different readings each day. (The other app that includes the 3D reading plan is QuickBibles. QuickBibles is only for Android devices, while MyBible has both Android and Apple apps.) If any of you are interested in checking out the MyBible app, I hope these two observations may be helpful:

  • I value the MyBible app because it allows me to also see the Biblical source texts and get definitions and grammatical parsing of every word.
  • It takes a little time to set up the MyBible app to put all the plethora of features to work for you. For instance, to quickly access the reading plan button, you will need to use the settings and place that button in the header bar. 

 

The other thing that I have been spending a little time on is improving the audio recordings for the second semester of the Read To Me Daily YouVersion reading plan. I will finish that in just a couple of days, so the better recordings will be ready for any of you currently/ following the first semester of the RTMD plan now.

I have a new podcast series that some of you would have noticed. I have released three episodes of the EveryWord podcast. This is a podcast series for those who enjoy studying details found in God’s Word. In every episode I will read from Dr. Wilbur Pickering’s fresh-sounding translation of the New Testament, to which he gave the name, “The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken.” Dr. Pickering’s translation is based on the Majority Text of the Greek New Testament, which is also called the Byzantine Text. I consider the Majority Text to be superior to the Eclectic Greek Text which was used as the basis of most of the NT translations of the last century. Dr. Pickering’s translation is full of interesting footnotes, which I read and comment on. I hope that beginning soon more high quality Bible translations will be based on the Majority Greek Text rather than the Eclectic Greek Text. To learn more about all this, please see dailybiblereading.info and look for one of the three EveryWord podcasts.

Last week, for the first time ever, I got to visit the YouVersion headquarters near Oklahoma City, OK. I was able to meet with three people I have frequently corresponded with, and three others who help to make things happen behind the scenes. The headquarters is a beehive of activity, with more people working in it than it was designed for. I was able to discuss various things with them about the use and promotion of our Plain Indonesian Translation, and various things about my reading plans, which I have submitted in both English and Indonesian. They received me so very warmly, and part of that is because people who are their partners seldom show up to visit them. 

One of the things I discussed with them is the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan. Many of you know that that is a 365 day plan. Well, before Christmas I spent several days bringing the daily devotional text up to Youversion’s new guidelines, and giving each day a theme image. But then, all that work somehow got lost in cyberspace. My visit to the YV headquarters confirmed that the edits cannot be retrieved.  If there is anyone out there who has time to do some very exacting copy/pasting into an Excel spreadsheet with 365 rows, please let me know. 

In December, I concluded that the stand-alone forum for BibleReaders was not going anywhere, and reluctantly started a new Facebook group. I waited until mid-January to close the BibleReaders forum.  I have appreciated our smaller new Facebook group— the 2020 3D Bible Reading Group— which currently has 129 members. This group will be open for just this year. Next year I will either start a new group, or do something else. The other way to hear news from me is by visiting the ReadThisFirst pages at dailybiblereading.info. Look at the Stay Connected page and sign up for our email updates. 

If you have any comments or corrections to anything you hear in my podcasts, my favorite way for you to communicate those things to me is to use the Contact button at the very top of the dailybiblereading.info site. Or if you have already used that button before, just write an email to me using the same address that I used to reply to you.

I leave on February 18 for 7 weeks in Indonesia. Here are my prayer requests:

  • There are issues remaining from our consultant checks of Genesis and Exodus that need to be cleared up. Genesis has been particularly difficult for our translation team. Please pray that we can finish those two books.
  • We praise the Lord that the two most popular Bible reading apps in Indonesia are showing not just our Plain Indonesian Translation’s New Testament, but also 4 little books of the Old Testament. Please pray that people will enjoy Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Jonah. Please pray that the presence of these books will prompt people to pray for our translation team.
  • It looks like I will be giving about nine presentations in various places in Java and Papua, including fellowship groups, seminaries, prison groups, and even in a Bible school program that is for prison inmates. You may think that I would be OK at speaking because I have a podcast. But I have never been good at public speaking. It doesn’t help that the situations I find myself speaking in are so different. It throws me off if people can’t see the presentation slides I am showing, or if I can’t use the visual aids at all. Please pray for me.
  • Please pray that our non-profit Bible organization in Indonesia will find someone talented who would like to take on a ministry of communication, handling our website and social media promotions. 
  • Please pray for my health. I have had dizzy spells recently. We agree with our doctor’s treatment, and this is probably just something temporary. But all the same, please pray for me.
  • It is exciting that we have 29 people in an online course that our organization is offering about how to understand and use different Bible translations. Please pray that this will be part of sharing the news about how our NT translation supports and complements the main Indonesian Bible. The two translations, and others out there, are not at odds, but give people better ways to get the full meaning of God’s Word.
  • One social media post by one of the people in that class said that 70% of Christians in Indonesia are not interested in reading the Bible. The person said, “We need a Bible that young people enjoy reading.” Well, that’s what we are making, and the NT is published. But Indonesian people need to hear about it. Please pray that people who have lost interest in Bible reading will give our translation a try. And that people in rural areas who struggle to understand the default Bible translation will find out that there is an understandable alternative.
  • I talk to Gale every day when I am gone. Please pray for Gale in managing the pain and mental fuzziness that is part of her chronic condition.