“Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT
Purification rites were common in traditional African religions. Washing and cleansing rituals served as ways to be freed from curses and guilt for wrongdoing and for violating taboos. The physical act of washing represented moral and spiritual cleansing.
Old Testament Israel also had many purification rituals that were commanded by God (Numbers 8:5-8). Some rituals applied to the priests serving in the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Other rituals prepared the people to be in God’s presence.
Paul told the Corinthians to cleanse themselves from “everything that can defile our body or spirit” (2 Corinthians 7:1) this type of cleansing is done by confessing and turning away from the sins that pollute or soil us. Paul also challenged believers to “work toward complete holiness” because God is holy and just. Elaborate ceremonies are no longer necessary, but repentance from sin and seeking forgiveness are.
I was raised in Bryan, Texas, so I did not think it was unusual to be opening a letter from a woman who lived in Brazos County near Bryan. What follows was anything but usual. She wrote:
“I am filled with joy to inform you that your Life Recovery Bible has changed about twenty lives filled with different kinds of addiction in my community. I regret to inform you that the women (including me) are all locked up in The Brazos County Detention Center in Bryan, Texas.
Twenty-five years ago, I held the first Life Recovery Bible in my hands and quickly passed it on to a woman who was addicted to crack and headed for prison. She went home and, rather than allow her Life Recovery Bible to take on the role of most Bibles as Chief Dust Collector, she actually opened it up and started reading it. Through her drug addicted, half on and half off, cracked brain, she discovered that God could help her out of her addiction and that the path involved 12 steps based on and found within that Bible. The impact was so great and the transformation so radical that she was not incarcerated, and within six months she was helping other young women in their recovery.
Twenty years later I found myself in the midst of some very normal everyday housewives who just happened to be in the Polk County Florida prison after being arrested for making, selling, or being in possession of methamphetamines. These meth addicts, in a weak moment of desperation or a curious moment of living on the edge, decided to try using meth, just once, and never again. But that one time became a lifetime of using and finding ways to make stuff or sell stuff, including themselves, to be able to feed the addiction that seemed to develop instantly with that first hit.
I was invited to join these women, who looked and talked like anything but a hardened criminal, in their daily Life Recovery Bible study. This Bible was a reward for those entering the drug rehab program offered by a group of women who were once addicted and also had been incarcerated in the same prison. They loved this Bible because it was unlike anything they had ever experienced. Up until then, the Bible was just something that was old, difficult to understand, and even more difficult to apply to your life in any meaningful way. But this Bible is different, and there is a reason why.
When Dr. Dave Stoop and I developed this Bible we included many helpful features not found in other Bibles, including devotionals for each of the 12 Steps, The Serenity Prayer, and Recovery Principles. While those provide deep insights and spiritual inspiration, they are not the feature that make The Life Recovery Bible so amazing to anyone in recovery. The most valuable and unique feature is the study notes found at the bottom of each page. Why? Because they are written by recovering Bible scholars who teach at Universities and Seminaries all over the world. They not only have PhDs in Theology, but every one of them has had a problem that involved them in 12 Step Recovery. Rather than a study note having to do with some remote or abstract theological construct, the note speaks to the struggle for freedom within the heart of anyone imprisoned by the power of addiction, incarcerated or not.
The Life Recovery Bible does not bring the Bible into the recovery process. It brings the recovery process back to the Bible where it began. Bill W. and Dr. Bob worked together to develop the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous after they had found victory over an illness that rarely spared the life of anyone who contracted it. Both men had been members of the Oxford Group, which had purported 4 Absolute Truths: Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Un-selfishness, and Absolute Love, which were all based in Scripture. In the transcript from the last talk ever given by Dr. Bob, he tells where he and Bill found the 12 Steps. He said “We got them from the Good Book. Especially the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount and 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.” So The Life Recovery Bible brings the 12 Steps full circle and identifies the true higher power of the 12 Steps as the God of the Old and New Testaments.
Twenty-five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the impact The Life Recovery Bible would have on those around me both in Brazos County and many thousands of miles away from where I grew up. God has blessed this Bible and the people who read it, teach it, and share it, and for that I am thankful. He alone is the true source of recovery and the author of transformation—always has been, always will be.
by Molly Jo Nyman Life is complicated. What if reading the Bible wasn’t? Imagine a gathering of people with only God’s Word in their hands. No DVD curricula, no workbooks; simply a story, if you will, with no chapter and […]
by Ellen Elwell, member of the Tyndale House Ministries International Team Did you know Tyndale House Ministries works with Christian publishers around the world to help minister to the spiritual needs of people in their own languages? Just a few […]
Africa Study Bible launches in five countries
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
“But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.
“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”
“What is his name?”
“Is he married or single?”
“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”
“How so? How can it affect them?”
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”
“Is that his design in settling here?”
“Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes.”
Our lives are filled with moments. Moments of joy. Moments of sadness. Moments of agony. Moments of exhilaration. Moments when life is mundane, and sweet moments of simplicity and rest. All these moments are integral to our individual stories. Stories […]
On a separate thread, Danielo asks whether the NLT is perhaps too dramatic in the way it translates the last phrase of this verse: “I will praise the LORD as long as I live;I will sing praises to my God […]
Spotlight on Samaritan Woman
“‘Please, sir,’ the woman said, ‘give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.'” John 4:15, NLT
The Samaritan woman was an outcast. Samaritans were despised by Jews, and women in that culture had a lower status than men. Because of her reputation, this Samaritan woman went to draw water alone. That’s where she met Jesus. Jesus knew everything about her, and he still wanted to talk to her! The Samaritan woman had been looking for love in all the wrong places; but Jesus showed her God’s love, and that was all she needed.
Sometimes we look to everyone but God for love and acceptance, but God’s love is all we need.
“Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, ‘He told me everything I ever did!’ When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.’” John 4:39-42, NLT
Where did Immerse come from? Turns out, it’s the result of over a decade of research and experimentation by the Institute for Bible Reading (IFBR), the creators of Immerse. We caught up with Glenn Paauw, Senior Director of Content for […]
The remarkable new Filament Bible Collection features comfortable reading Bibles in an easy-to-carry size. But there is so much more: mind-blowing study, devotional and video materials at your fingertips through the Filament Bible app. It’s the future of Bibles: Learn […]
The People’s Perspective— Expectation
“Moses continued, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you yourselves requested of the Lord your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die.’
Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf. But any prophet who falsely claims to speak in my name or who speaks in the name of another god must die.’
But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.” Deuteronomy 18:15-22, NLT .
At times throughout Israel’s history, the people looked expectantly for the “prophet like Moses” who was prophesied in these verses. Such was the case during Jesus’ ministry when people wondered if he could be that prophet (John 1:21; 6:14, for example). And when God spoke from heaven to endorse his Son, he echoed the words of Deuteronomy 18:15: “Listen to him”
(Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). Like Moses, Jesus would deliver God’s people from captivity and institute a new covenant.
This expectation for a Messiah seems to be a universal need. We see it throughout history, in literature and film, across numerous cultures, and in our own lives. Ancient Israel looked ahead for “the one”; we look back to Jesus’ first coming and also ahead, knowing he is coming again. God has embedded expectation into us as an instinct designed to draw us toward him. Cultivate it and let it pull you into his promises. He doesn’t provoke expectations without fulfilling them.
Article from the Life Recovery Bible “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips […]
The new year means it’s time to set your reading goal for the year. For many, this means setting out to read the entire Bible over the next 12 months. If this sounds like you, we have something that can […]
Jim Cymbala’s Reaction to Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience
Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and nearly 5,000 congregants participated in Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience.
Hear what he has to say about this experience, leading the church through the New Testament and their plans for continued reading in the future.
by Joni Eareckson Tada, from the Beyond Suffering Bible This is what God wants—hearts burning with a passion for future things, on fire for Kingdom realities that are out of this world. God wants his people to be aflame with […]
Note from the Swindoll Study Bible “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” 1 Peter […]