The New Living Translation
The Beyond Suffering Bible: An Interview with Joni Eareckson Tada

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About 1-in-5 people in the USA live with some type of physical disability; 10 million people a year experience a serious mental illness; and 1-in-6 Americans struggle with chronic health conditions, leading to roughly 65 million Americans providing care for someone with a disability or chronic illness.  

[See Bible Gateway Blog post: Tyndale to Release Beyond Suffering Bible

From singer, artist, radio host, and bestselling author Joni Eareckson Tada and the experts at Joni and  Friends Christian Institute on Disability comes the first Bible with study notes that address the topics of disability and suffering. The new Beyond Suffering Bible (website) will release from Joni and Friends and Tyndale House Publishers this October. It’s a combination of both a study Bible and a devotional Bible, with knowledge and insight gleaned from the Scriptures, as well as encouraging words from a wide array of top Christian experts who are often the “go-to” resources when people are looking for direction or next steps when ministering to individuals with disabilities, pain, addiction, and suffering.

 In an exclusive arrangement, Bible Gateway is the first to interview Joni Eareckson Tada (@JoniandFriends) about the worldwide premier of the Beyond Suffering Bible (Tyndale House, 2016).

[See the Beyond Suffering Bible pdf sampler]

Why is this Bible needed?

Joni Eareckson Tada: Suffering always prompts heart-wrenching questions: if God is good, why would He allow this pain in my life? Is God truly sovereign over accidents and birth anomalies, or does the devil set the world’s agenda? How do I counsel people who are despairing of their condition? What are the right choices when it comes to assisted-suicide and other tough ethical issues? For that matter, where does a person struggling with a life-altering accident or illness find peace of mind and a purpose for living?

The answer is the Word of God. Now, most people who suffer realize that the Bible contains answers for their plight; they just don’t know where to look. This was my story shortly after the 1967 diving accident in which I became paralyzed—even in my despair, I knew in a vague way that the Bible held hope for me in its pages. I just didn’t know where to begin. Thankfully, God brought wise Christian friends alongside to help me discover life-transforming precepts in his Word. The Beyond Suffering Bible can be that “wise Christian friend,” helping those affected by disability grasp the goodness of God amidst critical questions about pain and hardship.

Why have you included the word “Beyond” in the title?

Joni Eareckson Tada: Many people in the throes of suffering, disappointment, and despair, feel utterly stuck in their circumstances. They see no hope beyond their day-to-day drudgery of disability routines; but when hurting families place themselves under the shower of God’s mercy, suddenly the clouds part. They realize there’s hope, life, and even joy beyond their suffering. “Beyond” is a word that beautifully reflects Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” What a powerful promise for those who suffer and their caregivers!

Since you’re not a biblical language scholar, what perspective do you bring to this Bible as its general editor?

Beyond Suffering Bible cover imageJoni Eareckson Tada: When it comes to this particular study Bible, there’s great value in a general editor who has an intimate knowledge of life-altering, gut-wrenching affliction. As general editor, I rely on scholars more gifted than I when it comes to the Beyond Suffering Bible’s copious study notes and commentaries—yet even these contributing scholars are acquainted with disability!

The success of God’s Word in our lives is linked intrinsically to our application of its truth. The point behind the Beyond Suffering Bible is to help the reader move biblical insights from the intellect into their daily grappling with affliction and hardship. And as general editor, I want the reader to understand that every commentary, study note, personal profile, and word of counsel is offered up by individuals who are not only skilled in God’s Word, but skilled in applying it when disability feels utterly devastating.

 

How does the emphasis of this Bible answer the ancient question of why God allows suffering?

Joni Eareckson Tada: Most people wish they could erase suffering out of the dictionary. Today’s culture of comfort and instant gratification has no patience for suffering—most people want to drug it, escape it, divorce it; do anything but live with it. Yet suffering is arguably God’s choicest tool in shaping the character of Christ in us. As I often say, “God permits what he hates, to accomplish what he loves.” I can’t think of a better answer to the ancient question of suffering. Even at the cross, God permitted what he hated—the unjust and agonizing death of his own precious Son—in order to accomplish something he prized above his own Son’s cruel death; that is, salvation for a world of sinners. So the world’s worst murder becomes the world’s only salvation.

The Beyond Suffering Bible takes this powerful truth and relates it to our personal struggle with suffering. True, God hates Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury, mental illness, autism, and the rest (these conditions are all symptoms of the Fall). Yet he permits these things to accomplish something far more precious in our lives: patience, endurance, compassion for others who hurt, and refined faith and trust in God, to name a few.

 What features are included in this Bible and how do they contribute to a better understanding of suffering?

Joni Eareckson Tada: One special feature is Faith in Action: Biblical and Contemporary Profiles. The truths of the Bible are never just abstract concepts; they’re always related to real people. So throughout the Beyond Suffering Bible readers will enjoy stories of those whose lives have been touched by suffering and transformed by God’s Word. Some of these are people who are named on the pages of the Bible, but others are contemporary individuals—some well known, others just ordinary people with extraordinary lessons to share with the reader.

It always helps to know that other parents with special-needs children are surviving, and surviving well. Faint hearts are encouraged when they read about others who, despite amputation, spinal cord injury, or psychiatric disorders have a vibrant trust and confidence in God.

How does this Bible approach modern ethical issues related to suffering, such as stem cell research and euthanasia?

Joni Eareckson Tada: Many good Christians are confused about complex social issues of our day, such as doctor-assisted death or medical research which uses stem cells from human embryos. They wonder, ‘Why shouldn’t science use discarded fetuses for research?’ And if someone finds his medical condition intolerable and hopeless, ‘why shouldn’t he have the legal right to end his life?’ Although the Bible does not address these issues in particular, it does provide guiding insights. Sometimes, however, we need help in “connecting the dots” biblically, and the Beyond Suffering Bible provides that guidance. It underscores the scope and extent of what it means to bear the image of God, and how that makes all life sacred. Once the reader firmly grasps the truth of human exceptionalism under our Creator God, then the answers to confusing cultural issues begin to be clear.

What do you mean when you say after years of suffering you believe God allows one form of evil to expose another form of evil?

Joni Eareckson Tada: God turns on its head one form of evil—suffering—in order to defeat another form of evil—that is, our transgressions. It happened at the cross, and it occurs in the lives of followers of Christ every day. For instance, I deal daily with chronic pain and, at times, my pain feels like a lemon that God “squeezes,” revealing my sour attitude, peevish spirit, and tendency to complain or grumble. Did not God use my pain to expose my sin, I might—like many of us—not be aware of the sin of which I’m capable. But we’re not the paragons of virtue that we’d all like to think we are. And so, to shatter that myth, God will use suffering to expose the stuff of which we’re made.

We’ve got to remember that the core of Christ’s plan is to rescue us from sin. Our pain, poverty, and broken hearts are not his ultimate focus. True, he cares about these things, but they’re merely symptoms of the real problem.

God cares most not about making us comfortable, but about teaching us to hate our transgressions and to grow up spiritually to love him. In other words, God lets us continue to feel much of sin’s sting through suffering while we’re heading for heaven. This constantly reminds us of what we’re being delivered from; exposing sin for the poison it is.

What Bible passages do you see as especially helpful when in the throes of suffering?

Joni Eareckson Tada: Often when people are diagnosed with a life-changing medical condition, they feel overwhelmed. They feel choked by darkness and hopelessness. Those are times when answers simply do not suffice. That’s because answers don’t always reach the problem where it hurts: in the gut and in the heart. God knows this, and so he gives us Ecclesiastes 3:4 which speaks of a time to weep and mourn. In Romans 12:15 we’re told to “mourn with those who mourn.”

It’s why when I feel overwhelmed by chronic pain, I’m always helped by Isaiah 50:10 — “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” This scripture reminds me that the Bible isn’t quick to give answers; it mainly gives the Answer. When we hurt, God doesn’t always give us lots of words; he gives us the Word; the Word made flesh who is intimately acquainted with our grief and suffering. That’s what helps the most.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Joni Eareckson Tada: I’m constantly using Bible Gateway during my writing and research. It’s quick. It’s easy. And it provides countless translations to pull from. It really is a ‘one stop shopping’ place for all my reference work!


Bio: Joni Eareckson Tada is founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. Joni and Friends provides practical support and spiritual help to special needs families worldwide, and equips thousands of churches in developing disability ministry. Joni is the author of numerous bestselling books, including Joni: An Unforgettable Story, Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story, Diamonds in the Dust, Heaven, When God Weeps, A Lifetime of Wisdom, A Place of Healing, Life in the Balance, Making Sense of Suffering, and A Step Further, winner of the Gold Medallion Award. Joni and her husband, Ken, have been married for over 30 years.

This interview originated on the Bible Gateway Blog and is posted here with permission of Bible Gateway @biblegateway 

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It’s time for the Church to Lead

The Prayer of Jesus

17 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

“I have revealed you[a] to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;[b] now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me.[c] I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

Footnotes:

  1. 17:6 Greek have revealed your name; also in 17:26.
  2. 17:11 Some manuscripts read you have given me these [disciples].
  3. 17:12 Some manuscripts read I protected those you gave me, by the power of your name.

 

17:21 For believers, becoming one with one another is an outgrowth of the union they enjoy with Jesus himself, a union modeled on the oneness of the Father and the Son. may they be in us: Through the power of the Spirit, believers would experience a profound spiritual intimacy with the Father and the Son and be transformed (John 14:20, 23; 1 Jn 4:13). • Disciples of Jesus represent him, so their conduct and relationships with each other reflect the credibility of Christ in the world. When there is disunity, infighting, and intolerance, their testimony to the world is unconvincing. When people observe the community of believers, they know that it represents Jesus; a unified, loving community convinces the world to believe (John 13:35; 1 Jn 3:11).

17:22 The community of believers should display the same glory that Jesus displayed from the Father.

17:23 that the world will know: If the church lives in the Spirit, reflects God’s glory and love, and shows unity sustained by a shared knowledge of God, then its testimony will astonish the world.

NLT Illustrated Study Bible

 

Two black men killed by police and captured on video. Seven police officers killed by a black man, also on video. America is reeling. I know that I am. We have been forced to face our hatred in living – and deadly – color. It is not a pretty sight. Amid the anger and sadness I have wondered what to say and how. How do we move forward, find healing? How does the church lead?

I am trained as a pastor. I serve as an elder. I help make and market Bibles for a living. I have preached in the last week on the need for Christians to take prayer seriously and the failure of the Church of Jesus Christ to act as the Church. I have participated in a beautiful, moving, and important multiracial, multidenominational prayer service. I have seen the Church begin to step up and say that enough is enough.

Here is the truth of the matter. We have a problem in our country which goes far deeper than race but it is not less than race. Unfortunately it is a problem that lives in the church. Hiding in the crevices of our lives, whispering in the darkness. It lies, saying to one group “there is no problem” and to another “see, they do not care”. And we, the people of God, the bride of Christ, are divided no less than the culture at large.

It is wrong. It is sin. There is no other way to put it. Jesus calls us to unity, to oneness, as a body – His body. There can no longer be a place for avoiding, for hiding, for acting as if this is not an issue that we must, as the Body of Christ meet headlong. Frankly, we must do more than claim to belong to Christ, more than claim to believe the Bible is true. Instead we must live that way.

Our hypocrisy is not a new phenomenon. Christians have always struggled with it. Early 19th century Danish Philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard, wrote:

The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard (The Plough Publishing Co., 2002, pg. 193)

Jesus, in his final prayer before his arrest, prays for his disciples, for his Church – “all who will ever believe in me.” (v.20). His most clear and urgent prayer is for the unity of his people. Not a superficial unity, but the same kind of unity that is had by the Father and the Son. This is, as the notes in the Illustrated Study Bible elaborate, an outgrowth of our union with Jesus.

Insofar as we do not have unity, do not have love (John 13:34-35) for our brothers and sisters in Christ – no matter their ethnicity or culture, socioeconomic status or any other thing which might be used to divide – we are not following the example of Christ, we are not heeding Jesus’ prayer. Even more, we are failing to show that we are indeed his and we cause the name of God to be derided not glorified. We are pretending that we do not understand.

Shame on us. We must repent of our divisions, our callousness and suspicion, our apathy and hatred. We must love one another. We must be unified in Christ. We must show that world that we are his and we will not sit idly by.

We cannot do this if we do not reach out to one another. The time for talking is done. It is time for us to stop pretending we do not understand. It is time for us to, as Kierkegaard said, actually live out what we say we believe.

Father, in this time of division and hatred, we pray that you would give us, your church, a spirit of unity and love for one another, that you would cause us to live out our faith, that we would be convicted by your word and show the world that we are yours. May the world glorify your name because of us. It is in the name of your Son through the power of your Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.

 

Kevin O’Brien is Bible and Reference Brand manager at Tyndale House. He is a husband, father, Church elder and lifelong Chicago Blackhawks fan who very rarely can be found tweeting @kevinrobrienthm.

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Celebrating a Milestone, Continuing a legacy.

ChrisBkAward®  ISB Gold Medallion cover ChrisBkAward® Gold Medallion

The Bible team is celebrating here at Tyndale! This week we received the news that our Illustrated Study Bible won the ECPA Bible of the year award. There were some really great Bibles nominated, so it was really encouraging to hear that the ISB (as it’s known around Tyndale) won.

I got a chance to be involved with the Illustrated Study Bible almost from the start, so I got a chance to interact with almost all of the people who were involved in its development, manufacture, marketing, and release. There are a lot of people who you will never see, whose names you will never know, yet all were a part of getting this amazing project accomplished.ChrisBkAward®

Tyndale has always been about making the Bible accessible to everyone, no matter who you are, where you’re from, whether you are new to the Bible or have been reading it for fifty years, we want to create Bibles that help you connect with God. The Illustrated Study Bible is the continuation of a legacy. Beyond that of our founder Ken Taylor who created the Living Bible and the scholars who created the NLT and the notes and features in the Illustrated study Bible. Irish monks were illuminating manuscripts well over 1200 years ago, Bibles from the 1800s often included amazing woodcuts and dictionaries and color maps. There are lots of reasons why, but at least one was to make the Bible known and understood by the people in those times and places. Visuals help us to “see” what God is saying to us.

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Research tells us that over 50% of the brain is involved in visual processing, and that the inclusion of color visuals increases our likelihood to read by 80%. Increasingly we communicate through images. Instagram has 400 million active monthly users, YouTube gets 4 billion video views a day! So our goal with the Illustrated Study Bible was to create a Bible that would speak to today’s visual generation.

So we asked ourselves, ‘what if we were to treat the illustrations, the visuals in a study Bible as more than just something to add to sales copy or to catch your eye?’ ‘What if the images included actually helped you understand what you were reading?’ Our answer was the ISB.

A study Bible is supposed to do more than convey information, it’s supposed to be a catalyst for life change, a tool to help us connect with God. We believe that the Illustrated Study Bible does just that.  To ensure that everyone experiencing the Illustrated Study Bible we are offering a free download of the Book of Acts,  including every verse, note, image and more, at www.openmyeyes.com/Bible.  We’re confident that you will see the world of first century Rome and the expansion of the Church in a whole new way.   Celebrate with us! Kevin O’Brien, Bible Brand Manager, Tyndale House Publishers

 

 

 

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The Aetherlight Bible: Combining God’s Word with Gaming

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Where does God’s Word fit in a gaming world? “Right in the middle of it!” says Tyndale House Publishers and Scarlet City Studios. The two organizations have formed an exciting partnership to bring the gospel story to young gamers. Tyndale’s new Aetherlight Bible releases this summer and is built around themes from the new action-adventure online game The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance.

“Tyndale House grew out of the efforts of Dr. Kenneth Taylor as he worked to make God’s Word accessible to his children,” said Blaine A. Smith, associate publisher at Tyndale House Publishers. “For over fifty years, Tyndale has been focused on providing innovative ways for people to connect to God’s Word. This new partnership with Scarlet City Studios enables us to engage children in a game environment with the truth of Scripture. We are excited to join with Scarlet City Studios to create this Bible and help parents engage with their kids in an environment they understand.”

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance is the first digital engagement experience of its kind. The Entertainment Software Association reports that 59 percent of Americans play video games and more than 50 percent of US households have at least two gaming consoles. In only four years the gaming industry has seen an increase in sales of more than 200 percent. The Aetherlight game aims to help young people see their stories in the context of God’s story via a world that is grounded in the biblical narrative. The companion Bible will help families build upon the bridge between the game’s allegory and the words of Scripture. Through different media forms, Tyndale House Publishers and Scarlet City Studios are bringing God’s Word into this unique market.

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance is more than a game,” said Tim Cleary, Scarlet City Studios’ Aetherlight world builder. “It’s an immersive experience that, carefully balancing theology and theatrics, brings to life the biblical narrative for a digital generation. It connects Scripture and real-life application through the world of Aethasia as a high-quality, state-of-the-art game that allows players to experience the mission of God in Scripture for themselves. It’s fantastic, then, to be able to offer a physical, tactile Bible to match this rich experience.”

The Aetherlight Bible pairs the timeless truth of the Bible with full-color inserts, unique footnotes, and exclusive game art. Connecting the dots between the game’s allegory and the grand narrative of Scripture, The Aetherlight Bible will help young people engage with God’s story in a fresh way and encourage them to explore their own part in the adventure.

The clear and easy-to-understand New Living Translation is perfectly matched to the needs of young readers. Alongside unique game-based content, it allows young people to immerse themselves in this story, seeing the echoes of Scripture in their Aethasian adventures, and draws an online generation back into the Word.

Join the Resistance today, and play the online game at www.theaetherlight.com.

Be sure to look for the Aetherlight companion Bible in stores and online this summer!

About Scarlet City Studios: http://www.scarletcitystudios.com/ Scarlet City Studios was established in 2012 with the sole intention of bridging the cultural, historical, and pedagogical gap between the contemporary world of preteens and the world of the Bible by advancing biblical engagement through interactive media, learning frameworks, and creative transmedia products. Scarlet City’s unique framework is based on the principles of faith, hope, and love—telling great stories, nurturing genuine innovation, and fostering real encounters.

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Inspire Bible Mother’s Day Giveaway

Enter to win an amazing INSPIRE BIBLE JOURNALING TOTE full of supplies for your FAVORITE Mom!!

 Here’s the grand prize:

Bible journaling supplies_main

Contents (over $225 value)

Inspire Bible

Canvas tote

Pink canvas pencil bag

Illustrated Faith journaling mat (7” x 8”)

2 rolls of Recollections washi tape

Recollections roller date stamp

Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen (2.0mm)

Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen (.4 mm)

Caran d’Ache Classic Neocolor II water-soluble pastels (10 colors)

Pentel Arts Aquash water brushes, assorted tips (pack of 3)

Artist’s Loft watercolor set (28 colors)

Artist’s Loft neon acrylic paint set (6 colors)

Crayola Twistables colored pencils (30 colors)

Faber-Castell eraser pencils (set of 2)

Koh-I-Noor blender pencils (set of 2)

 

5 winners will also be chosen to receive a copy of the Inspire Bible!

5 copy giveaway

 

Here’s how to enter:

Fill out the Gleam form below. Follow the directions for sharing to earn extra entries. We will chose the winners on May 5th!

Inspire Mother's Day Giveaway

 

Coming soon from the Inspire line…

Softcover – August 2016

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Large Print – September 2016

Inspire LP_HC 3D

Inspire: Psalms – September 2016

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Inspire Bible Easter Basket Giveaway!

We’re excited to announce that the Inspire Bible NLT is releasing this week! Inspire is a new single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible that will be a cherished resource for creative art journaling. It is the first Bible of its kind—with over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations spread throughout the Bible. Full-page and partial-page Scripture art is attractively displayed throughout the Bible, and the illustrations can be colored in to make each Bible unique, colorful, and customizable. Every page of Scripture has two-inch-wide margins, with either Scripture line-art or ruled space for writing notes and reflections, or to draw and create. The generous font (8.65) ensures optimal readability, and quality cream Bible paper is great for creative art journaling. nspire is the only single-column, wide-margin Bible available in the popular New Living Translation, and it is designed uniquely to appeal to art-journaling and adult coloring book enthusiasts.

  • Deluxe Hardcover edition features a lovely, teal imitation leather over board, with beautifully-designed full-color page edges, a matching ribbon, and an elastic band closure.
  • Deluxe LeatherLike edition features a beautiful, vintage floral printed LeatherLike over flexible board, with matching aquamarine-patterned page edges, a matching ribbon, Smyth-sewn durable binding, and an elastic band closure.

To Purchase or to learn more by click here.

inspire pic

 

To celebrate the launch we’re giving away a special Easter basket containing a copy of the Inspire Bible NLT and more!

Here’s what you could win:

Easter basket ($100 Value)

Easter basket contains:

Hardcover Aquamarine Inspire Bible

Crayola Twistables colored pencils (30-pack)

Artist’s Loft watercolors (28 colors)

Crayola Extreme Colors colored pencils (8-pack)

Crayola Metallic Colors colored pencils (8-pack)

Sticko sticker packs (6 packs, with nearly 600 stickers)

Rose Art artist paint brushes (set of 6)

Washi Crafting Tape (1 roll)

Easter bunny

Wooden Easter basket

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Here’s how to enter:

Use the Gleam form below and follow the directions to share about the Inspire Bible NLT and this contest using your social media accounts. You’ll earn an extra entry each time you share. If you don’t have a social media account, that’s ok! Chose the option to “Answer a question”, or “visit a website”, these will count as your entries.

Thanks for stopping by and helping us spread the word about this amazing Bible!
Inspire Bible Easter Basket Giveaway!

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Four Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Love the Bible

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As Christian parents, we want our children to develop a love for Christ and know that the stories in His Word are true and still meaningful today.

So, how do you foster a love of God’s word in your children?

How do you encourage them to appreciate the Bible, make it applicable to real life, and continue to read it as they grow older?

Start when they are young!

Make the Bible come alive to them as you share stories that capture their imaginations and teach them about the character of God.

Kids love to interact with books and the stories they tell.

However, in this time of digital, interactive, and animated content, children expect to be entertained more than ever before.

Providing a way for them to learn more about God without staring at a screen of some kind is becoming much harder to do – but it is not impossible.

Below are some ways you can make learning about the Bible fun without the help of tablets, TV, or any other type of screen.

  1. Find books that encourage your little ones to act out the stories you are telling. Watching them as they pretend to walk on water, or pretend to see for the first time will be fun for you and for them.
  2. As you read through a book with your child, think about ways you can put the lessons learned into practice. Some examples would be taking dinner to a sick friend, cleaning up the neighbor’s yard, or sponsoring a child who needs help. Plan together and help others!
  3. Create small craft projects that help them remember and engage with the stories you read together. Some craft ideas include:
    • Have them find as many pictures of bread and fish as they can, and glue them into “baskets” showing God’s provision for our needs like the time Jesus took care of the 5,000 hungry people who were listening to him teach.
    • Use brad fasteners to create a moveable scene retelling the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites
    • Let them color Joseph’s coat of many colors with their own design
    • Be creative and come up with ideas of your own!
  1. Find books that have creative formats that will engage your kids. And what is more fun than a book that is also a toy? Bouncy Bible Buddies are fun, interactive, engaging stories from the Bible written for kids 3-6 years old. The easy grip handles turn these lovable animals into carry along friends. Push the handle down to make them bounce! This creative and fun design will draw little ones in time after time and help them learn more about God’s word and His love for them. Daniel in the Lion’s Den and The Lost Sheep are available now!

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There are many benefits to sharing these experiences with your children.

You will build a stronger relationship as you spend time together, your child will learn to love God’s word, and who knows – you might even learn a few things yourself.

Linda Howard is the Acquisitions Director of Children & Youth at Tyndale House Publishers.

 

 

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Tyndale, ShareWord Global and LifeWay Partner to Distribute Over 200,000 Bibles in China

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Five years ago, Tyndale explored how to purchase Chinese-language Bibles and create a cause campaign with Christian retailers to help provide God’s Word to the millions of Christians in China who do not have Bibles. It was amazing to think that God would use us to help reach the largest population on earth with the gospel.

There are 1.4 billion people living in China, and it has the fastest growing church in the world. ShareWord Global president Peter Marshall reports that 12.5 million people become Christians each year in China, but only four million Chinese Bibles are printed annually.

As we pursued opportunities, God moved powerfully. The China Christian Council (CCC) approved printing and distributing Chinese Union Version Bibles to government sanctioned Protestant churches in China. Leaders from Tyndale House Publishers and ShareWord Global met with executives from every national Christian retailer to present the Gospel for China campaign. LifeWay Christian Stores approved the campaign and asked us to implement it in 15 weeks. Tyndale came together in a big way to create in-store POS, a church kit, banner ads, e-blasts, press releases, and social media posts, and to revise a video and develop a bookplate. Plus, the team had to create, print, and deliver three sample copies of Chinese Union Version Bibles to every LifeWay Christian Store. Over 201,000 Bibles were purchased by LifeWay customers in ten weeks. All glory to God!

A team of Tyndale and ShareWord Global staff traveled to China to distribute Bibles to Christians through registered churches. The Chinese church experience is very different from going to church in the United States. First, you have to arrive early to get a seat. Second, people actively listen to your message. They are hungry for the gospel, want to learn, and are focused. Third, there is very little cultural Christianity in China. If you attend a Christian church, you are serious about your faith. The final major difference is that very few Christians have Bibles of their own because the Bibles are either unavailable or people cannot afford to purchase one. With your help, we are making a difference in the lives of Chinese Christians by distributing over 201,000 Bibles from the Gospel for China campaign. Join us in praying that God will provide millions of Bibles for the church in China.

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His Excellent Word Blog Review of the Premium Value Large Print Slimline

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OVERVIEW.  Any economy Bible is not going to fare as well here as a Bible with premium print and paper, but for what it is, the PVLPS does a good job. I spent two weeks doing my daily Bible reading out of the PVLPS, except for a morning or two when I had left it at the church building the night before.  Here’s what I thought: SIZE.  No problems here.  In fact, I might go so far as to say the size is excellent.  The PVLPS doesn’t have the paperback-like form factor that I generally prefer in reading Bibles, but the combination of large page size and light weight has an appeal all its own.  I wouldn’t think twice about one-handing the PVLPS, and I never noticed it as a physical object when I was reading from it. LAYOUT.  Love the column width here.  Purely love it.  Despite claiming to be a large-print Bible, with 9-point font, the PVLPS isn’t, really.  However, 9-point font in a 6” x 9” has another consequence.  Because the page is so wide and the print is relatively small, you get a lot of characters per line, even in a double-column Bible.  Generally, I’m happy if a double-column Bible has more than 40 characters per line.  The PVLPS has something like 47 cpl. That line length works just fine in prose.  It’s amazing in poetry.  As anybody who reads Bible reviews knows, text set poetically is the nemesis of double-column Bibles.  Because most lines of poetry in the Bible are longer than 35-40 cpl, the conflict between poetic line and column width produces a bunch of one-word “widows”, last words of lines that are shoved down to the next line due to lack of space. Not so with the PVLPS.  During the review period, my Bible reading schedule took me through Song of Solomon, which in the NLT is entirely set in poetry (in addition to being rather frank about the subject matter).  Line-length problems were so few and far between that I didn’t even notice how good the line length was.  There are several chapters in the PVLPS version of Song of Solomon that contain only a single widow, which is ridiculously good for a double-column Bible.  Props to the designer! The gutter in the PVLPS is only a quarter-inch wide.  In a thicker Bible, that might cause some problems.  However, because the PVLPS is slimmer, it doesn’t need as much gutter in the middle of the Bible as a Foundation SCR-sized Bible might.  There aren’t enough pages to pile up under the page that you’re reading, forcing text to slide down into the gutter.  I’d be happier if the PVLPS had a ⅜” gutter, which is typical in larger Bibles, but it works fine as is.  This isn’t a Bible where the gutter bugs me. In addition, the PVLPS is a black-letter Bible, which makes reading it easier.  This is, in fact, one of my favorite things about low-end budget Bibles.  It’s more expensive to print the words of Christ in red (or pink or orange or. . .), so in an effort to cut costs, publishers go to black-letter.  Cheaper and less distracting—it’s a win-win! Sadly, the PVLPS isn’t line-matched.  I’m not sure why not.  This is a 2012 design, well after line-matching became a thing in the Bible-publishing world.  Like all thinlines, the PVLPS is printed on relatively lightweight, translucent paper, so it’s a Bible that really would have benefited from line-matching.  It isn’t, so when the Bible is opened, the paper has a sickly grayish-yellow hue that is reminiscent of the China-print Foundation SCR’s from 10 years ago.  This is not a happy association for me to make. However, I do like most things about the setting of the PVLPS.  I think the 9-point FF Meta Serif is a great choice for the text of a Bible (hooray for a Bible that uses text figures instead of titling figures!), and I think the bolded, italic sans-serif section headings make for a nice contrast.  This contrast between serifed text and bolded, italic, sans-serif headings is one of my favorite things about one of my favorite Bibles, the Zondervan NASB Thinline.  It’s nice to see the stylistic choice repeated in the PVLPS. I like the chapter numbers and page headings in the PVLPS too.  The one thing that I don’t like is the book titles.  They’re small, and they’re set in a dingy gray bar that comes across mainly as a failed effort to be cool.  Tyndale would have been much better served to use a more traditional style of titling.

PTS size

 

PRODUCTION QUALITY.  Well. . . the PVLPS is a low-end China-print thinline.  Each of those things by itself is a red flag; together, they pretty much guarantee that the text block is going to have some problems.  So it is here.  The ghosting in this paper is so bad that it looks like each text column is set in a light-gray sidebar box.  I’m not much bothered by ghosting, so I can read the PVLPS just fine, but those who are sensitive to intrusions from the spirit world would do well to look elsewhere.  As for the print quality itself, to be honest, I can’t really tell.  The ghosting tends to make fine lines in the Bible look a little blurry, whether they actually are blurry or not.  I think, though, that this is actually a pretty good print job as China-print print jobs go.

PTS Romans 3

Overall, the PVLPS does some things that are really important to me really well, and it falls short in some areas that aren’t as important to me.  I liked using this one for a reader.  I liked it well enough that it’s got me thinking.  I’ve already resolved that in 2016, I do not want to use the NASB for my daily readings.  In fact, I want to read from a translation that’s as different from the NASB as I can get. I might use the KJV (which I suspect everybody ought to read through at least once anyways), but I’m also considering using a dynamic-equivalent translation.  I’d been thinking most about the REB, but my Cambridge REB Standard Text is a Bible with some serious gutter problems.  Now, I’m thinking about giving the PVLPS a shot instead. CONCLUSION.  Self-evidently, any Bible that reads well enough to have me considering it for a daily reader is a good reader.  I’ll give it a 9/10 here.  Overall, then, the PVLPS nets a strong 25/30, mainly by virtue of being a good reader in a convenient size for super-cheap.

All photos courtesy of Brian Meyer

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Tis the Season

In Acts 17:16-33, there’s a story about Paul preaching in a place in Athens called Mars Hill. Mars Hill was the place where philosophers and religious teachers came to have conversations about their latest ideas. We have two equivalents to Mars Hill today: university campuses and coffee shops. On one fall Wednesday afternoon, as is our custom, I met with a group of high school guys at our local Mars Hill—Starbucks—for snacks and spiritual conversation. The guys wanted to read and discuss the book of Matthew. We skipped the genealogy section of chapter one and jumped right into the story of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25). Each of the Gospels provides a unique perspective on it. Matthew’s is especially colorful. So was our conversation.

Our discussion of this well-known passage quickly settled around this question: If you were Joseph, how would you feel? What would you do? The woman you are betrothed to is pregnant. We misinterpret that word betrothal and call it an engagement. It was a binding contract for a future marriage. In fact, betrothal was just as binding as marriage. It lasted twelve months during which time the couple took vows of celibacy. Breaking betrothals was rare and accompanied by a hefty penalty on the party who didn’t fulfill its obligations. Divorce was a word used to describe the ending of a betrothal due to infidelity. The betrothal period ended and the marriage began when the husband brought his new wife home.

Joseph and Mary’s year-long betrothal went according to plan until she became pregnant. Joseph knew the baby wasn’t his, but he was a good guy and decided not to embarrass Mary. He planned to divorce her quietly.

Here’s where our conversation got interesting. As we talked about what it would be like to be in Joseph’s sandals, the guys locked in on the words broken trust and betrayed. We talked about the times we’ve been in situations where people we trusted did something to break our trust, how we felt, and what we did. Walking away from friendships in those moments seems like the logical step.

Alone and pregnant in the ancient world was no picnic. Embarrassed families would often disown women who found themselves in the same situation as Mary. Fortunately for her, Joseph’s visit with an angel changed his mind, and he took her home to be his wife before the betrothal year was over. No ceremony, no reception.

My young theologian friends determined that despite his feelings, Joseph hung in there with someone who he was certain had broken his trust and betrayed him. Even after the angel’s visit, Joseph still had a choice. No one would blame him for cutting his losses and moving on, even though the baby was put there by God. With some Holy Spirit nudging, Joseph stayed the course. He hung in there and strengthened his commitment to someone who, under normal circumstances, would be put out.

Each of the guys then identified at least one Mary in their lives—someone who they felt had broken their trust and whom they would like to put out of their lives. Some Holy Spirit nudging took place as we discussed what they would do to hang in there and strengthen their commitment to those people.

The Christmas season is often a time of reflection about our relationship with God, family, friends, and some who used to be our friends. Which of those do you sense a need, desire, or direction to strengthen in some small way, even though you feel hurt or betrayed? Determine that step, and take it. I’m betting you won’t regret it.

Get more articles to help you live out your faith, check out our free e-devotions, discover the NLT, and find just the right Bible at http://www.newlivingtranslation.com.

Jack Radcliffe is a husband and father of four; Coach (www.redwoodcoach.com); seminar presenter for Parenteen (www.parenteen.com); ministry consultant with Youth Ministry Architects in Nashville, TN; Dean of The Youth Ministry Institute of the Tennessee Conference UMC; and adjunct professor at Martin Methodist College. He has an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and a DMin in Practical Theology, Adolescent Development and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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