Despite having access to more Bibles than ever before, Bible reading and engagement are in freefall. What can we do? Glenn Paauw and Paul Caminiti from the Institute for Bible Reading have done extensive research to try to answer that question and find ways to change the trajectory of Bible reading. It was from this quest that Immerse: The Reading Experience was birthed. It is a simple yet revolutionary way to reengage with the Bible as individuals and in community.
Watch the Immerse Story:
Not Just Another Article on Biblical Manhood
Tyndale House Publishers
by Stephen Arterburn, teaching pastor at Northview Church, Carmel, Indiana; founder and chairman of New Life Ministries; editor, Every Man’s Bible;and coeditor, The Life Recovery Bible
Is there anything that has not been written about biblical manhood? Books, articles, and videos abound with calls for men to demonstrate character, integrity, authenticity, and especially “servant leadership.” In an attempt to not write what has already been written over and over again, I present the following ideas.
First, the term servant leadership is an inaccurate and inadequate description of Paul’s instructions to men in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. A “servant leader” stoops to serve only when he chooses to do so; it is a very tidy role with a narrow focus on serving others. Yet it is already obvious to most Christian men that they need to avoid misinterpreting Scripture as a call to biblical demandhood instead of manhood. They understand that Paul’s words set a standard far beyond that of servant leadership.
Biblical manhood calls us to “Die to Yourself Leadership,” and it is not easy or tidy, which is perhaps why it is not taught in leadership seminars. It is not about coming in from a day of golf and helping with the dishes after dinner. The biblical mandate calls for sacrificing being the fourth man in the foursome outing whenever the family needs us to be present with them.
It is not just being willing to pay for a child to get Christian counseling; it is also getting help for ourselves so we can lead the way by modeling the humility and willingness required to obtain help.
Biblical manhood goes beyond playing catch with the kids and showing up for their games. It is showing up and supporting a son who would rather rock climb, bowl, dance, or sing because he doesn’t like contact sports.
Being a provider and protecting the family are important, but being present is a far greater priority. When we are with them, we need to be fully there, engaged and connected, rather than glued to a television screen, laptop, or cell phone. We need to be eyeball-to-eyeball with family members, downloading love to them.
“Die to Yourself Leadership” refuses to be a donor to the fatherless generation. Even when we’re tempted to abandon our families and let our kids be raised by their mother, we don’t follow through with it. We stay and work through the problems to prevent all sorts of new problems and traumas that come with divorce.
Biblical manhood requires us to do what we don’t want to do exactly at the time we don’t want to do it. We courageously do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, no matter the consequences—because it is the right thing for any man to do. All our actions are based on the truths of the Bible—not popular philosophy, current culture, or feelings that would keep us from going beyond being just a man to being God’s man, daily dying to self.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-20, NLT
Ever since God gave the Ten Commandments, some have been tempted to think he enjoys making people miserable and taking away their happiness by denying them earthly pleasures.
The truth is, God wants to give us something much better. But in order for us to receive it, we need to clear some room in our lives. Often, that means getting rid of sins or bad habits that are using up the space God wants to claim. Instead of filling our lives with sexual immorality, impurity, greed, and obscene stories (Ephesians 5:3-4), God wants us to be full of thankfulness. Instead of drunkenness (5:18), God wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Suppose you’re walking along the beach and find an old treasure chest. But when you pry it open, it’s full of sand, not gold coins. Now suppose someone else comes along and offers to give you as much gold as you can fit into the chest. Sounds great, right? Except for one problem: The chest is already full. In order to accept the gold, you’d have to dump out the sand. You’d need to make as much room as possible for the more valuable treasure. Unless you get rid of the sand, the chest will never hold anything of value.
The same goes for the sins in our lives—the sand in the treasure chest. They may provide temporary pleasure, but they won’t deliver lasting fulfillment. Sexual promiscuity may provide an immediate thrill, but the long-term results are catastrophic—it will never provide real happiness. On the other hand, true love for another person and for God can fill us up to overflowing. Drunkenness provides a temporary giddiness or forgetfulness, but it’s nothing like the true peace and joy that come from knowing and loving God.
It’s our choice. We can fill up our lives with whatever silly or sinful things we choose, or we can let God fill us up with the things that will bring ultimate fulfillment.
There is so much suffering in our world that it can be hard to know how to respond. We are going to use the HelpFinder Bible to see how the Bible answers questions about suffering and how we can respond.
Who among us does not suffer, bearing persistent pain and hurt? Sickness or disabilities, broken relationships, insufficient resources—these are all sources of pain and suffering. Some are by chance, like an auto accident that maims us or a disease that cripples or takes the life of a loved one. Some is by neglect, such as our failure to prepare for times of pressure. Some is by design, where we willingly take on enormous responsibilities in order to achieve some goal. Some are because of sin, where we willingly go against God’s commands and then must suffer the consequences. Whatever the source, we all feel the dark shadow of suffering. While the Bible never promises a life free from suffering, it does assure us that God is with us in our pain.
How do I stay close to God in times of suffering?
PSALM 126:5-6 | Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Recognize that suffering is not forever. In the dark hours of the night of suffering, it is hard to think of a morning of joy and gladness.
LAMENTATIONS 3:32-33 | Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. Recognize that God does not want you to suffer and that his compassionate love and care will see you through it. A loving God does not enjoy the adversity and pain of life which must come your way.
MATTHEW 17:12 | “And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.”
LUKE 24:26 | “Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”
JOHN 3:16 | “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Recognize that Jesus himself suffered for you. He suffered the agonies of the cross, which embraced not only the incredible physical suffering but also the unthinkable suffering of bearing the sins of the entire world.
ROMANS 8:17-18 | And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
HEBREWS 2:18 | Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Recognize that suffering is not forever and will end when those who believe in Jesus are welcomed into heaven.
How can I respond to the suffering of others?
1 CORINTHIANS 12:26 | If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. When one Christian suffers, it should hurt us all, for we are all members of Christ’s body—unified. If one part of our body hurts, sympathetic pain is sent throughout our entire body. So it should be in the body of Christ. If you know someone who is hurting, suffering along with that person can bring them comfort and hope.
GALATIANS 6:2 | Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Seek to provide whatever practical support you can for a person who is suffering.
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4 | God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. Suffering enables you to comfort others. Wounded healers are more effective than healers who have never been wounded. Why? Because they have wrestled and agonized over the same questions, and they know they don’t have all the answers. Woundedness may appear to weaken you, but it actually makes you stronger.
Promises From God PSALM 147:3 | He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. 2 CORINTHIANS 1:5 | For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.
Throughout Scripture we find people being transformed and finding purpose by connecting with God through his Word. Let’s take a look at King Josiah to see what happened when he started reading God’s law. We will also use notes and features from the Life Application Study Bible to find out what can happen if, like Josiah, we read and apply God’s Word to our lives.
2 Chronicles 34:14-21, 31-33
While they were bringing out the money collected at the Lord’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses. Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord‘s Temple Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan.
Shaphan took the scroll to the king and reported, “Your officials are doing everything they were assigned to do. The money that was collected at the Temple of the Lord has been turned over to the supervisors and workmen.” Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.
When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the Lord‘s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord. We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.”
The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord‘s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors.
So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the, Lord the God of their ancestors.
“The Book of the Law of the Lord” found by Hilkiah was probably the book of Deuteronomy, which had been lost during the reigns of the evil kings. Now that it was found, Josiah realized that drastic changes had to be made in order to bring the nation back in line with God’s commands. This account is also recorded in 2 Kings 22:8-13.
It is human nature to treat sin lightly—to make excuses, blame somebody else, or minimize the harm done. Not so with Josiah. He was so appalled at the people’s neglect of the law that he tore his clothing to express his grief. True understanding of our sins should lead to “the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience” that “leads us away from sin” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Do you tend to excuse your sin, blame others for what you’ve done, or pretend your sin wasn’t so bad? God knows how sin harms us, and he does not take it lightly. He wants us to respond with true remorse as Josiah did.
When Josiah read the book that Hilkiah discovered (34:14), he responded with repentance and humility and promised to follow God’s commands as written in it. The Bible, God’s Word to us, is “alive and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12), but we cannot know what God wants us to do if we do not read it. And even reading God’s Word is not enough; we must be willing to do what it says. There is not much difference between the book hidden in the Temple and the Bible hidden on the bookshelf. An unread Bible is as useless as a lost one.
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.”
“How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” Psalm 119:103, NLT
Easter baskets are often filled with sweet treats, but at our house, we wanted to find something sweeter than candy to give to our kids. According to the psalmist, Scripture is even sweeter than honey. And we know it is the sustaining bread of life to help our kids—and us—develop an appetite for a deeper relationship with God. What joy to open a new Bible on Easter morning and together read the Resurrection story! Now that is sweet!
Looking for something sweeter than candy for someone you love? From kids to teens and beyond, Tyndale Bibles offers engaging Bibles that help your loved ones savor God’s Word.
What if you could not just read but also taste, feel, and smell Bible truths? What if the Bible was filled with games, crafts, and even snacks to make Bible stories come to life? Wouldn’t that make it the coolest Bible around? Enter the Hands-On Bible! This Bible takes you beyond just reading to truly experiencing the Bible through activities that you can do together with your child, making Scripture relevant, fun, and memorable. See the options
Packed full of notes and features, the Boys Life Application Study Bible is easy to use and helps answer questions that preteen boys may have about God and life. The notes help them learn to think biblically about real issues they face, such as self-esteem, friendship, and peer pressure. Discovering God’s will for their lives has never been this much fun! Learn more
A one-of-a-kind discipleship resource, the Girls Life Application Study Bible helps girls draw closer to God and establish healthy relationships with those around them. It includes over 800 Life Application notes, plus full-color features that are designed to help girls learn more about the Bible, understand the big story, meet Jesus, know what it means to follow him, learn how to share their faith with others, and gain practical faith and relationship skills that will help them live out what they believe. See this Bible
Inspire Bible for Girlsis designed to draw girls deeper into God’s Word and to inspire creativity and connection with God. Over 500 beautiful full- and partial-page Scripture line-art illustrations to color are attractively displayed throughout the Bible. In addition, there are over 300 devotionals, journaling prompts, and interesting Bible facts to enhance girls’ coloring and creative journaling journey through the Bible. Girls can leave traces of their faith throughout their Bible for a unique treasure that will truly inspire! Explore Inspire Bible for Girls
Created by some of DC and Marvel’s best comic book artists,The Epic Bible transports readers through a visual journey of Scripture. From Eden to eternity, this stunning hardcover edition engages even the most reluctant readers with brilliant and dramatic full-color graphic art. Packed with action and powerfully illustratedThe Epic Bible brings a fresh lifelike view of Creation, the story of the Israelites, Jesus’ life on earth, and the early church. Order the EPIC Bible
The Teen Life Application Study Bible is filled with features designed to meet the challenges and needs of today’s high school students. Combining traditional study Bible features like book introductions, textual notes, person profiles, and maps with application-oriented features focusing on choices, real-life issues, and real-life stories of actual teens, the Teen Life Application Study Bible helps answer the tough questions and grounds teens in their faith.
Linking to remarkably creative audio and video resources, the NLT Streetlights New Testament explains Christian truth to young people and serves as a basic discipleship tool for ministries. Its unique tone and approach to the gospel have strong appeal for those in an urban culture.
A Few Other Ideas . . .
Maybe you are looking for an Easter gift for a young adult or someone else in your life. Here are some ideas:
These beautifully crafted Bibles offer a simple and engaging reading experience. By simply scanning a page with your phone or tablet, the Filament Bible app gives you access to thousands of study and worship resources, including videos and content curated to the specific page you are reading. See all the Filament Bibles
Ever had a book you just couldn’t put down?Immerse: The Reading Bible takes away all the distractions and gets you right into the story. With no chapter and verse numbers and a cover that feels more like a novel than a Bible, it’s like reading the Bible for the first time. Start falling in love with the Bible all over again.
This Bible weaves the beautiful NLT text into a rich tapestry of artwork illustrating many living things mentioned in Scripture. Captions highlighting their significance and the wide-margin design offer readers a unique way to meditate on Scripture by focusing on God’s creation. Featuring 450 original hand-drawn illustrations in a unique style, this Bible encourages contemplation and visual interaction with the Word.
Receive the Gift
Tyndale House Publishers
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23, NLT
A closed hand cannot receive a gift, no matter how great it is, how much the giver paid for it, or how powerfully the person receiving it might benefit. Therefore, closed hands and hearts can never receive God’s gift of eternal life and the eternal debt of sin paid.
So how will you respond to Romans 6:23?
If you sense you have a debt of sin that has never been paid and are convicted that your life needs an answer for the wrong you are a slave to, then come to Christ. Receive His gift of eternal life. He is merciful and generous, and He will not turn away anyone who humbly opens his or her heart to accept His life paid on behalf of their debt. He will free you from sin, death, and eternal condemnation. That is an incredible gift!
If you have received this gift, don’t forget what Christ has done. The gift still applies to us today, especially through the sin struggles we all face this side of heaven. God’s grace is sufficient for your past, present, and future. His gospel is the gift that keeps giving generously. You are no longer a slave to sin if you are in Christ!
Listen to Romans 6 from the Streetlights Bible
The Streetlights New Testament was created to cut through all the misconceptions about the Bible. To encourage you to listen to, read, and study it yourself with fresh ears and hearts. With a scan of a QR code readers can access the Streetlights audio New Testament and additional engaging content designed for youth. Learn more about Streetlights.
Exploring the Filament Bible Experience
Tyndale House Publishers
The Filament Bible Experience is a unique, engaging encounter with God’s Word. It pairs a beautiful print Bible with the Filament Bible app, giving you access to a depth of resources that simply cannot fit in a bound Bible. You do this by simply scanning the page number on the page you are reading to access study notes, profiles, devotionals, videos, interactive maps, music, and more that relate to the page you are reading.
You get a stunning Bible that is easy to read and carry, with nothing but the precious Word of God on its pages, and an amazing portal to a vast array of curated content. The content is divided into three sections: Study, Reflect, and See. We are going to share videos that will help you explore each of these sections. We also are including a video on how to get started so you can see how easy it is to start your Filament Bible Experience.
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.”