If grief were a destination, no one would choose to go there. It’s the inescapable, often unforeseen turns that land us in that sorrowful place.
We’re told grief is something we must go through, but what if the dark tunnel goes on and on? What if we find ourselves stuck there?
Jen shared how God’s Word was the Truth that set her free from grief. Her story is told in the hope that it comforts and dispels the darkness for others.
For over a decade I carried the heavy burden of grief.
On April 2, 2009, I got the call that wrecked my world. My only big sister had been tragically killed in a car accident.
She was my best friend and second mom. We spent every birthday together, talked daily, and never argued. We had so many things planned.
After the call, I went to her house to pack up her things, and the pain broke me. There was her wet towel, her Bible, all her things left like she would be right back. When she got in the car that day, my sister didn’t know she’d be hit head on and die because a driver couldn’t wait to read a text.
I felt like I died too. Without her, I had no idea who I was. I shut down parts of my life because I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy, just like she didn’t deserve to die. The grief consumed me, and though I didn’t want to carry it, I also couldn’t seem to give it up. I felt like my grief was the last act of love I was giving her.
I wanted to be free from the pain. I wanted to let it go without letting her go. So I saw a therapist and a psychologist, but nothing was helping. I kept reading my Bible, and nothing clicked. Until one day . . .
I read a verse that I’d read a million times before, usually in the King James Version, but on this day I read it in the New Living Translation. It was Isaiah 57:1-2:
Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.
These words hit me like a ton of bricks and gave me the breakthrough I’d been longing for. Tears started streaming down my face when the truth hit me. No, my sister didn’t deserve to die, but she did have God’s protection. He can see what we can’t, and He was keeping her safe. My sister is now resting in His peace!
Finally, I could let go of the pain, suffering, and grief—because I knew that she was in the most beautiful place and that one day we would be together again. I felt a huge weight lift from me.
God is so good and so faithful. The grief I carried after my sister’s death stopped me from fully living, and it made me sick and depressed. But there is such power in God’s Word. Praise God!
I highly encourage you to get the NLT because it is much easier to understand and less intimidating than other translations. I am forever grateful for the NLT because through it and with Christ, I have finally found freedom from my grief.
We would love to hear your NLT Story. You can share it with us here
*Photos are stock photos
A Few of Our Favorite Things (Well, Favorite Bibles)
Tyndale House Publishers
When you think of the brown paper packages tied up with string or whatever wrapping paper you use during the Christmas season, what do you hope is inside? From the practical to the sublime, Christmas wish lists can represent what’s going on in our lives. This year, the Bible team’s wish lists include some gifts with eternal significance: Bibles! Which one is on your list?
Massie: I hope to find The One Year Bible for Women under my tree this year! It is a beautiful Bible broken down into 365 readings, so I can be sure to meet my goal of reading the entire Bible in a year. It not only allows me to sit in the Word each day but also has insightful, inspirational devotional thoughts written for women. It is just what I need to fill up my spiritual cup each morning and set me on the right path for the day. I hope The One Year Bible for Men, which has devotionals written for men, is under my tree as well so that my husband and I can read the Bible together and discuss what we took from the reading each day.
Amy: I’m hoping to wake up on Christmas morning and find The One Year Chronological Study Bible under the tree. Like other One Year Bibles, it will help me read through the entire Bible in a year. This one presents the events of the Bible in chronological order, which I find really enhances my understanding of and appreciation for God’s unfolding story. On top of that, it’s both a study Bible and a devotional Bible, which is like getting two Bibles in one! And I love the way the 14 eras of the biblical story run across the bottom of every page, acting as milestones and showing which era I’m reading in so I’ll always be able to see where I’m at in relation to the rest of the story. This Bible will require a higher level of commitment than most One Year Bibles, and I’m ready for the challenge!
Jeff: I’ve fallen in love with the NLT Large Print Thinline Reference Bible, Evergreen Mountain LeatherLike. As part of the teaching team in our church’s high school ministry, I’ve found this Bible is the perfect combination of highly readable and easy to hold while speaking. In particular, I love the way the chapter numbers are called out, making it very easy to keep my place while teaching. The Smyth-sewn binding and trim size mean that this is a Bible that stays open anywhere—on a pulpit, on a music stand, or even on your lap! And Filament gives me easy access to resources that I can share to the TV from my phone, especially Bible Project videos. Finally, I love the poignant reminder on this cover: to look not to the mountains but to the Lord for help.
Claudia: I would like the NTV Inspira Bibleunder my tree this year. I am a huge fan of the Inspire Bible, and for many years I was longing for a Spanish edition to be published. I love the fact that this Bible is in my favorite Bible translation, so now I have the opportunity to journal while I meditate on God’s Word. I’m also a very visual person, so I’m sure I’m going to enjoy all the beautiful illustrations and also express my creativity through my own drawings. I picture this Bible being one of the treasures that I will pass on to my next generation.
Becky: This Christmas I’d love the NLT Thrive Creative Journaling Devotional Bible. This is a lay-flat journaling Bible that not only looks beautiful but also is comfortable to read and easy to hold in your hands. Its perfectly designed pages invite you to reflect and then journal your thoughts in the lined margins, which appear on every page. This Bible also features a collection of short daily devotionals that are affirming, practical, and memorable. Whatever your concern or struggle, this Bible will help you find assurance in God’s Word and encourage you to thrive every day of your life. I love being able to capture the verses that are most meaningful to me in the margins of this Bible. And there’s plenty of space to add artwork, stickers, stencils, or other ephemera, if desired.
Callie: This year, I’m wishing for the NLT Art of Life Bible. While I’m not an artist or heavy journaler, I love the wide margin design that this Bible offers and the space that it gives me for jotting down notes. I’ve thumbed through it before, and the drawings of animals, plants, and Bible character portraits are so beautiful! Plus, it has captions that connect each illustration to Scripture so I can learn interesting facts and parallels that I never would’ve known otherwise. This is a Bible that I know I will enjoy for years to come.
Jim: When you look at several Tyndale Bibles, you’ll note a lot of common elements: the written text of God’s Word (we feature the clear and accurate New Living Translation), beautiful and durable covers, a table of contents, Bible index, and other common features. But what I want for Christmas this year is an edition of the NLT Large Print Thinline Reference Bible that is equipped with the Filament Bible app and, yes, a zipper. When I previewed this Bible, I was struck by its unique qualities. It is a remarkably thin Bible—I thought at first that it was a New Testament, but it’s the whole Bible! The Large Print edition is super readable, but the type is not oversized; it’s “just right” for my eyes. I like the Messenger Stone and Camel cover—a TuTone brown cover. Although it’s LeatherLike, part of it looks and feels like cloth. Here’s why I love the zipper feature: I’ll keep this Bible in my backpack, which can be hard on books and Bibles, but having it zippered will protect the pages. Translation notes and cross-references in the lower right corner of each two-page spread help make this a nice reading Bible with just the right amount of references. There are two additional features in the back of the Bible: the “Tyndale Verse Finder,” which is organized by theme, and the fabulous “Visual Overview of the Bible,” with full-color maps and charts.
Sibley: Gift giving brings me so much JOY! For Christmas this year, I’d love to give my mom the new Inspire Bible in Spanish—la Biblia Inspira NTV. We’ve always bonded through art, and I have so many happy memories of us doing crafts together and inspiring each other to be more creative, so this is right up our alley. Bible journaling will be something completely new for both of us, so it will be a really fun experience for us to try, and it will be even better since we’ll be able to spend more time connecting with God and his Word. When I first saw the Inspire Bibles and portions in the New Living Translation, I fell in love with the artwork and cover designs. And even though I also love the NLT, I’m so glad that it’s available in Spanish now in the Nueva Traducción Viviente. It will make reading and understanding the Bible much easier because it’s in our native language.
Evie: I absolutely love the DaySpring Filament Bible Signature Collection’s Personal Size Giant Print Bible. I don’t even need a font size that big, but I just can’t get enough of that cover. I would love to see it under my Christmas tree. In addition to having a gorgeous cover, it contains the words of God speaking to me through the New Living Translation and access to thousands of resources available through the Filament Bible app, making this such a perfect gift. I can delve into Scripture and just read without distractions, basking in God’s truth. Then, I can go back to places where I have questions or want to know more, scan the page number with my phone, and do a deep dive into what I am reading with resources available in the Filament app.
A Spark of Hope for a Bible-Reading Revolution
Tyndale House Publishers
According to the American Bible Society’s most recent “State of the Bible” report, the number of people disengaged with the Bible has seen a sharp increase. This continues the discouraging trend of people in America moving away from reading their Bibles. Why are people turning away from the Bible? How do we change this? What can bring people back to God’s Word? It’s not easy to find answers to these questions. But we are seeing hope.
Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience is helping people to reengage with Bible reading. By removing distractions like chapter and verse numbers, the Bible is put back into its narrative form. Readers can experience the Bible like the original audiences would have experienced it—as a collection of letters, poems, stories, and more that tell God’s beautiful story of love for the world he created.
Though the Bible engagement numbers can seem daunting, the individual stories of people reading Immerse and growing as communities of believers brings a spark of hope. A spark that can quickly spread as God transforms individuals and communities who are finding their place in God’s story.
Read Their Stories:
“I didn’t grow up in a church home. As a result, I’d never really had the time or energy to read the Bible on my own. It was very intimidating. WhatImmerse did for me was to make it accessible in so many ways. Short readings that were understandable stories. Any time I’ve been exposed to the Bible, it seems that it’s all these random verses that made sense in small bits, but it was hard to understand why. I’d heard names of people in the Bible but didn’t understand their part in God’s plan.Immerse was in modern language that literally immersed me in the stories of the Bible, which gave me a new perspective on all the people that I’ve learned about. Each week during our study, we would review the four questions included with the readings. I also was able to get to really know the women that I was studying with. I felt as if we were discipling each other, which I feel was Jesus’ intent. I would highly recommend this style of reading to anyone who wants to give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!”
“I worked through a few of the books with groups of guys at church. Six of us went through Messiah, and even though we all had read the NT before, using Immerse made it fresh. One guy remarked, ‘It’s like reading a play.’ We all enjoyed it so much and wanted to bring other guys in. So we split our group into three groups and invited other men to be a part of it as we went through more Immerse studies. Even reading the laws (in Beginnings) was exciting—way more than it had ever been for us!”
“My church has made it a yearly commitment to read one of the Immerse books in the fall. The first year we went through Messiah, and I was instantly hooked. I theoretically knew of the Bible as a story, but I had never experienced it in that way. Suddenly, people like Peter, John, and Paul all came to life for me. I started seeing them as fully fleshed-out people that grew and changed as the story progressed. This new insight was amazing, but it pales in comparison to what happened next. I was working at my church office, and I overheard two of our members talking. Normally I wouldn’t have even noticed, really, but their conversation caught my attention because I realized they were talking about that week’sImmerse reading, and just like me, they were starting to understand Paul as a more full person. All three of us, separately, sat down to read the Bible in a new way, and all three of us had encountered people like us in the story. That encounter built us up; we now understood our biblical heroes as humans, not unattainable symbols. More importantly, it also brought us together because we experienced this revelation as a community.”
“I would have called myself a Christian at any point in my life, but it wasn’t my faith, it was my parents’ faith. In sixth grade, I decided to make my faith my own. Acting on this, I thought it was time to read the entire Bible, but I didn’t know how to begin. In the past, I set out to read Matthew, but I couldn’t even finish that. Reading the Bible seemed unachievable. Then I found Immerse. The same stories are just formatted a little differently. You feel as if you are reading a novel. You can look at the bigger picture and not just the individual stories. Without the chapters and verses as distractions, I made it through the Bible in just over a year. Fast forward to now, I am in tenth grade. I am reading the New Testament again. I am reading with Immerse and annotating. Reading your Bible directly or reading with Immerse will provide the same information, but Immerse provides an easy way to look at the big picture and see the Bible as the unfolding story in which we all fit.”
*Photos are not of the people who shared their story
A Love of God’s Word Is Contagious!
Tyndale House Publishers
by Molly Jo Nynam
Naomi was so excited about the Tyndale Bible she bought her husband, Andrew, that she wasn’t sure she could wait until Christmas to give it to him. At age 37, this would be his first study Bible and the first time he would have God’s Word in the New Living Translation—Naomi’s favorite.
“Reading the NLT makes reading the Bible real, regular, and more vivid. I don’t have to wonder about word meanings and definitions. It comes alive so you can connect with it,” Naomi said.
“And study Bibles are great because you have resources right there in your Bible. If you’re not sure about something, it’s explained right there. If you’re wondering how something applies to your life, you can find that too. And when you see how prophecies have been fulfilled, you have further proof that this is the Word of God.”
Her love of God’s Word is not just apparent, it’s attractive—like the warm, magnetic glow of a long-burning, consistently stoked fire.
Having grown up in a Christian home with a single mother and one brother, Naomi is thankful for a heritage that immersed her in the church and God’s Word.
“I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a Bible,” Naomi recalls. “I grew up dirt poor, but my mom always made sure we had Bibles. Beginner Bibles, Life Application youth Bibles—even if they cost a whole day’s wages. We would line the covers with contact paper to help preserve them and read them until the bindings fell apart.”
Naomi has had the joy of seeing Andrew grow exponentially in his faith since he’s been reading his new Bible. And though he also enjoys reading God’s Word digitally, she said, “There’s something about holding it in your hands. He definitely cherishes his new Bible.”
And what would Naomi say to people who don’t read the Bible or have given up on finding help in God’s Word?
“There are people who think the Bible isn’t applicable. I would encourage them to have a Bible that’s easy to read and to ask God to help show them what they are meant to see that day. And if you don’t have a hunger for reading the Bible, ask God to give you a hunger. You’ll be amazed at what happens if you pray!”
“Recently, I read an article about Christians and Jews in Ukraine praying and reading Psalms 31 and 27. They’re under attack by the Russian army and they’re reading Scripture while bunkered down in the subway. Why? Because they know whatever problem you face, whether it’s an attack on the battlefield, an illness, the loss of a family member, or maybe just struggling to find purpose, the Bible has an answer for that!
“If people are turning to the Bible while listening to air-raid sirens and hiding from actual missiles, surely it has something for you in your situation as well!
“I hear people say things like ‘I wish God would just speak to me’ or ‘I wish God would give me a word,’ but if you aren’t opening your Bible, you’re missing out on hearing His voice. The Bible isn’t just ‘a word’ it’s The Word. So if you want to hear from God, first pray, then open your Bible and start reading and listening to what He has to say.
“God is faithful. He never walks away from us. And if you are far away from God, it’s never too late to walk back.”
The challenges of 2020 brought about something amazing in the life of Levi Gonzales. When the pandemic, the turmoil of the election, and the uncertainty of life left him feeling anxious, depleted, and desperate for God, he decided he needed a total “reset.”
And he was willing to take what some might call radical steps to revive his heart, steady his soul, and renew his mind. He also knew the source of what he needed was found in God’s Word.
Levi said, “I used to read a lot of my Bible. It was pretty common for me to sit down and read an entire book of the Bible, but over the past three years there was a career change and a move, and I wasn’t reading as much. I was desperate for a reset; for God’s word to realign my thinking. I needed to run away from the world, ignore the news, delete social media. I needed to get God’s perspective. So my initial plan was to read through the entire Bible in three months.”
Levi talked with his wife about his plan, and she was fully supportive, knowing that after Levi worked his full-time job as a software engineer, nights and weekends would be set aside for Bible reading. As it turned out, Levi most frequently settled into his wife’s comfortable chair, often reading 4-5 hours at a stretch.
“I was in the Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake City and chose this Bible. When I was talking with my wife about getting back into Bible reading, she was looking into the NLT. I also have friends and family that read it and enjoy it. I liked the font size, and the Bible was easy to hold up,” Levi explained.
Three months seemed like a rigorous pace, but after acquiring his new Bible and starting to read, things did not go as planned…Levi read the entire Bible in 30 days!
He said, “I’ve read through the whole bible before but this time, at this speed, I was able to really see the ties and connections back and forth between books of the Bible that align historically and prophetically. And seeing the grand picture of Scripture… witnessing the story of redemption unfolding… it was what I needed to be reminded of the absolute and sovereign control of God.
“I feel like the NLT does a great job of explaining what it is trying to say. It is so easy to read. I don’t have to guess at what I’m reading, and I needed a translation that did all the heavy lifting for me.”
His method, his motivation, and his advice for Bible reading all go hand-in-hand.
“My advice is to soak up as much as God’s Word as you need. Consume as much nourishment as you need. Goals are not for goal’s sake, but for what you get out God’s Word,” Levi shared.
“My method was to not go about it like many who start in Genesis and try to read through. I tried that before and got burnt out in 2 Samuel. I feel like I need a little more Jesus at that point!” So Levi’s approach was to follow his interest.
“I just picked a book and read it all the way through, most of the time in one sitting. As I tackled each book I mixed Old and New Testament, usually not in any order and sometimes historically backwards. I read what piqued my interest at the time, because you put more effort in what you’re interested in.”
It was a method that not only led Levi to far exceed his initial plan, it also led him to achieve the results he needed.
“Who I am now, after doing it, is a much less stressed and anxious person.”
In our world of sound bites, scrolling, and skimming headlines, reading Scripture may seem like an idea destined to fail. And inviting people to read the entire Bible through in one year? Well, that seems even less likely to attract “followers.”
Yet right now, people around the world are committed to—and enjoying—regularly reading the Bible at a pace that takes them through the entirety of God’s Word in 365 days. Grace Fellowship of Kent, a church in the Seattle suburbs, serves as one example of how this goal can take root, grow, and bear great spiritual fruit in individuals, families, and communities.
According to church elder Kristopher Galvin, the idea started in late 2018. A man who had grown up in the church had moved away and then discovered The One Year Bible. He became an enthusiastic proponent for this reading program and had recommended it to his friends and family. When he moved back to Grace Fellowship of Kent years later, he pitched the idea to the elders.
The church website expresses well why the elders chose to elevate the goal:
God has provided such a great blessing in His Holy Word, the Bible. This unique and remarkable book describes and demonstrates His many immeasurable qualities and illuminates the only path to eternal life with Him, which is through His only Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. It gives meaning to history, context to our present life and hope for the future.
The Bible provides believers in Jesus with tools to live a life that is consistent with our faith and to share the good news of Jesus with others. The only way to realize those blessings is to read it, meditate upon it, and pray about it. These are some of the reasons that the folks at Grace Fellowship of Kent are reading through the whole Bible in one year.
It’s not a one-time “bucket list task” to complete the reading in a year. Better analogies would be eating and breathing—something to do every day. In our busy daily lives, it is so beneficial to have a daily schedule for exercising your mind and soul to “work out your salvation” (Philippians 2:12) and for “eating a healthy diet” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Like a precious letter from someone you are in love with, you will want to read it all, again and again.
Galvin shared, “We encourage people to follow The One Year Bible reading schedule, so we are all reading the same verses each week; usually about 20 minutes per day. This schedule includes daily selections from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs, so readers don’t get bogged down in just one book.”
If you’ve ever attempted to read through the Bible and lost your steam somewhere in the seemingly endless genealogies, you’ll understand the advantage of doing it this way!
Galvin added that community is also a key success factor. “When people see other people enjoying and succeeding with it, they realize they can do it. And by using the same schedule, we’re all ‘on the same page’ each day, which facilitates discussions and prayers in our small groups and during our Sunday worship service.”
The Bible reading emphasis in the church started with offering free One Year Bibles in the New International Version to start the reading program on January 1, 2019. Later, a young man suggested adding the New Living Translation (his favorite). After the elders researched, reviewed, and approved that translation, the young man gladly donated a stack of New Living Translation One Year Bibles.
Galvin said, “We also saw that other interesting formats like The One Year Pray for America and Pray for Life Bibles and the larger-print slimline NIV edition struck a chord with people. So now we are actually giving away more of those.”
The church continues to regularly provide One Year Bibles for free. Anyone who attends is encouraged to take one—or more—to give to friends as they invite them to join the Bible reading program. So far, the church has distributed a total number of copies equal to over 200% of its regular Sunday attendance!
Could you start a Bible reading program in your sphere of influence? With people everywhere hungry for Truth and with the power of prayer, you could be the next trendsetter who elevates the Word of God and its ability to create more faithful followers.
Interesting Fact: About one-third of the church body at Grace Fellowship of Kent has one or more Chinese speakers in the family. Their sermons are translated into Mandarin.
WayFM Bible Partnership Changing Lives
Tyndale House Publishers
We love being able to partner with incredible ministries like WayFM to help get God’s Word into the hands and hearts of people wanting to better understand who God is and his purpose for their lives. Through our WayFM partnership thousands of our HelpFinder Bibles have been sent out to help people go deeper into Scripture and easily find answers to some life’s toughest questions.
We hope you are as encouraged by Pastor Chad’s words as we are.
by Pastor Chad, Director of Ministries at WayFM
An incredible ministry that we have at WayFM Radio is our Free Bible Ministry, which exists because of our partnership with Tyndale. One of the encouraging elements of this ministry is that we ask people why they need a Bible. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but almost every week I am amazed by the varying reasons.
Here are a few reasons from last month:
“My husband, our two children, and I are starting over from scratch after getting out of my family’s toxic home, and I’m not able to get anything from the house, including my Bible. I know I can get a Bible on my phone, but that comes with distractions and I want to give all my attention to God.” Mariah, Panama City, FL
“Mom sent me to my first church camp this summer. Camp Fuego in Louisiana. It was amazing. I came home on fire for Christ. Unfortunately, my Bible has 9 missing books at the back of it. Not sure how it got damaged. Mom says the Word is like food for my soul. Can you send me some ‘food’? My soul is hungry. I am 14 years old.” Billy, Sherman, TX
“I want to start my own spiritual walk with God. As a person raised by Wiccans, I never felt their beliefs reflected who I was, and buying a Bible by myself is a difficult thing to do, including going to church.” Tara, Shelby, MI
“I was homeless and addicted to heroin. I listen to your station and it gives me hope and I have become closer to the Lord! I would like to learn more, but money is really rough right now.” Amy, Louisville, KY
“It’s been too long since I’ve read or studied God’s Word. WayFM has inspired a tugging in my heart to grow closer to God and to learn more about Jesus.” James, Anna, TX
Each month, we gather a group of supporters, listeners, and staff to prepare the Bibles to mail out. Before each Bible mailing, we read many of the stories from the current list and pray that the power of God’s Word will impact the recipients in great ways.
Let us remember the words of Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
“My life changed when God led me to read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible in one year!”
Those words are in all caps and lead the message Pamela Nicholson gives on her website, a ministry to aimed at single women but open to all, called Life in Sweet Abandon.
Pamela was single for 20 years between her divorce and current marriage, so she knows the struggle of the single life. “When Scripture says that a day is like a thousand years, it sure seemed like that for me on so many days during my singleness, especially on holidays and Valentine’s Day!” she recalls.
When God brought her an amazing husband, he encouraged her to start a ministry to share her love of God’s Word and all He had taught her with others. After praying about it, her successful career had no hold on her, and Life in Sweet Abandon was launched.
“It was 2014 when I first saw the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Biblein a Christian bookstore, and I asked for it for Christmas. I had read many Bibles in my life and was looking for a way to be strategic in my reading. This Bible has 1833 pages (without the front and back material); perfect for reading 5 pages a day,” Pamela said. “My life changed when I met with God and allowed Him to speak into my heart. I wasn’t reading what someone else thought about God, I was hearing God speak to me through His Word and fill my heart and mind with His truth.”
Her experience with God’s Word, her reasons for selecting the NLT, and the plan that she followed are now shared on her website and with over 100 followers on her Facebook page:
“The words seemed to jump off the page and come to life! I love reading the Bible in the order in which the events happened!
Why this version of the Bible? The New Living Translation combines the latest biblical scholarship with a clear, dynamic writing style that communicates God’s Word powerfully to all who hear and read it. It renders the message of the original texts of Scripture into clear, contemporary English that was written to be read aloud. With a focus on clarity, The New Living Translation invites readers to go deeper into the biblical text to discover God’s story for their lives and the world.
There are excellent resources scattered throughout the book.”
Pamela has many stories of lives changed through reading the NLT like Kathy
“Since this is the first time for me to read the whole Bible, I am glad I read a chronological Bible. It helped me to see the order of the big pictures. Also, the study notes are easy to understand, which has helped me to get things quicker. I like that there are photos and charts and maps and nice images to go along with scripture. I am a visual person so I enjoy charts and images. A few other things that helped make this a success this year, a set of Bible highlighters, the daily chart has really helped me stay on track and also attending the Story of Scripture at North Point last Jan. A big picture overview was the perfect introduction. One more thing I do is to write down my prayers in a journal in the morning. It helps me to look back and see that God did answer certain prayers so I am glad I have a nice morning routine now.”
There’s another story that is particularly close to Pamela’s heart.
“When my stepmom passed away, my dad was single again after 30 years of marriage. He saturated his mind with God’s Word, and I believe that because of it, he did not sink into depression,” Pamela said.
“Dad has many Scriptures memorized in King James, but when I say, ‘Now dad, tell me what that means,’ he says, ‘Well I don’t know.’ But then, when he reads that same passage in the NLT, he says ‘Now that makes sense.’ That’s why I love to get this Bible in people’s hands. They can understand it and it sinks into their hearts.”
When working on the New Living Translation there were many priorities including creating a translation that was accurate, true to Biblical scholarship, engaging to read, understandable so truth could be applied and lived out in daily life, and a translation that was crafted to be ideally suited for public reading. What a joy to see that vision come to life through ministries like her.Bible. We are so thankful Jenny Steinbach, associate producer of this amazing audio Bible, shared her story with us.We think you will love it too.
“How could God allow so much pain and suffering in the world?” Sarah asked as we sat in the crowded student union at University of Western Ontario. I could relate from my own struggles with painful emotions that clouded the message of Jesus, even though I sat in church for many years. I pulled my maroon Living Bible out of my backpack to try to answer her questions about God and clearly communicate his Word. As a Cru staff member, my passion has always been to help people connect with God in meaningful and understandable ways. I discovered that people without Bible knowledge could not understand the scriptures until they heard it in modern English.
Fast forward to my years as a mom at home to four active little boys, my “quiet time” was very limited but my worn One Year Bible New Living Translation was a sanity saver as I read and reread it. Having a plan for each day was very helpful. Eventually my mother-in-law came to the Lord in her seventies and I bought her the same Bible. We had fun talking on the phone and discussing our daily readings. She was first generation Italian and not a confident reader. Seeing her grow because she could understand made me so happy.
A few years ago, I was working with the Cru City ministry in Orlando and enjoyed discipling women who were struggling with long term unemployment and poor self images.
I loved getting out the door and settling into the car with a cup of coffee to drive to work—until I got into rush hour traffic again. One morning, a red Toyota suddenly stopped in front of me and cut into the exit lane ahead of a long line of traffic. Anxiety kicked in as I checked my review mirror hoping I wouldn’t get rear ended at 60 miles per hour. I needed recovery time once I got to the office to be ready to face my teammates and coach our students. After work that evening, there was a heavy rainfall in Orlando and it took 90 minutes to get home.
Audiobooks became a great solution to distract me from the challenging drive to and from the office. I wanted to be Spirit-filled by the time I arrived at work to coach people who needed to trust God with their employment struggles. And listening to audiobooks on the way home was a way to unwind. I heard great men’s and women’s voices read some wonderful books for those two hours spent on the road every day. Sometimes, I listened to the Bible too, but the longer I listened, the more it felt as if something was missing.
I explored more Bible apps but soon learned that they used the same audio files of the exact same male readers. I was looking for something different. I was simply looking for a pleasant woman’s voice to read Scripture with compassion and kindness, yet with the authority God’s Word deserves. This was a silent space in the audio book world.
One Sunday, my pastor gave a sermon about a woman from Ethiopia who had started an orphanage and was trusting God to provide for 100 orphans. The tears flowed because I felt distant from God’s work and powerless to change that. Then my pastor asked, “How has God gifted you?” and “What is the world waiting for you to do?”
The Lord spoke deep in my heart and told me that I had the background to produce a women’s audio Bible. I was shocked and afraid to tell anyone, but I woke up every morning feeling a burden to find a way to make this happen. Eventually I told my husband and my team and then had to find another job placement. This project was out of the box for Cru, but the Lord led me to the radio team, which had the expertise and the studio to help make this happen. Since Cru is such a large organization, where we fit into the mission, this is the first individual project I have ever owned.
Sometimes women’s jaws drop when they hear the idea of a women’s audio Bible because they grasp the need, but have not ever thought of it before. From my years helping to distribute the Magdalena film, in which Mary Magdalene narrates the story of Jesus, I knew that women who had experienced abuse or had emotional barriers to listening to God’s Word in a man’s voice, would experience a deeper connection with God. Globally, I knew there was a hunger for God’s Word in the “heart languages” of women too.
I wondered, if a modern Bible translation could be recorded in English, be available for free and utilize voices from different ethnicities, could it connect with younger listeners and those who learn orally? To me, only the New Living Translation would meet this need. Could this audio Bible serve as a model to women leaders in other language groups and be replicated in a way they could use to reach the women of their countries?
Thus began the adventure of producing her.BIBLE in women’s voices. It began with a simple, personal longing to give women a “voice” as they hear God’s Word. We have our first partner, who is passionate to produce an audio Bible in women’s UK voices and we eagerly look forward to the Lord raising up women to produce their languages in their available Bibles.
Sometimes it seems we are connected to everything, but each other. Ever try to start a conversation with your child about his or her day and met with, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” Sometimes the hardest part is getting the conversation going. The Hands-On Bible is a great way to start a conversation. With interactive games, activities, crafts, and questions it helps you connect as a family and to God through His Word. Watch this video to see Jaxson and his dad enjoying the Hands-On Bible.