[Review] NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible, edited by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., from Zondervan

Publisher and Publication Date: Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. August 24, 2021.
Genre: Bible.
Pages: 2208.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: I received a complimentary hardcover copy from Bible Gateway as I am a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. I am a Bible Gateway Partner. #BibleGatewayPartner. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Bible readers.
Rating: Excellent.

Link at Zondervan/Church source.

Church Source which is the website for Zondervan Bibles and books.

Link at Amazon.

Link at Christian Book.

Link at Faith Gateway Store.

Link to read an excellent interview of R. Albert Mohler, Jr. The link is from Bible Gateway who conducted the interview.

Features of the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible:
1. Text size is nine point.
2. Note size is eight point.
3. Cross references are located in the center column.
4. The commentary notes are located at the bottom of the pages.
5. Double column Bible.
6. The titles, Bible books, numbers (not the numbers by the verses), dividing lines are in a medium golden brown color. This reminds me a little of the NIV Study Bible Fully Revised Edition. It is the same color scheme.
7. For each Bible book there is a two to three page introduction to that book.
8. A 310 page NIV Concordance.
9. Fourteen pages of glossy color maps. The maps are from International Mapping.
10. Words of Christ Jesus in red.
11. One medium golden brown satin ribbon.
12. The NIV translation sponsor is Biblica. Link to read about the NIV translation at Biblica. Link to read about the history of the NIV translation at Biblica.
13. The introductory material located in the front section of the Bible: Table of Contents, Alphabetical Order of the Books of the Bible, Abbreviations and Transliterations, Quick Start Guide, The Grace and Truth Study Bible: Introduction, Acknowledgments, List of Editors and Contributors, and Preface.

The Bible is available in hardcover, soft leather-look brown, soft leather-look brown-indexed, soft leather-look, navy blue; soft leather-look, navy blue-indexed.

This is a quote from the Preface about this Bible’s translation of the NIV:
“In obedience to its mandate, the Committee has issued periodic updates to the NIV. An initial revision was released in 1984. A more thorough revision process was completed in 2005, resulting in the separately published TNIV. The updated NIV you now have in your hands builds on both the original NIV and the TNIV and represents the latest effort of the Committee to articulate God’s unchanging Word in the way the original authors might have said it had they been speaking in English to the global English-speaking audience today.” Page Xlll.

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest. I like the NIV translation but it is not my favorite. Nevertheless, I own several NIV Bibles.
The first NIV Bible I owned was in 1990.

BSF or Bible Study Fellowship International uses the NIV translation. As a member, I can use any translation but all the Bible texts in the notes and questions are in the NIV Translation.

What I love about the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible:
1. The Bible text print is easy to read. It is nine point. It is bold print. The type font is an easy format.
2. I love the explanation and placement of Bible passages that are not in the earliest of manuscripts. I am referring to John 7:53-John 8: 1-11. I have looked in several of my Bibles to see how they handled the placement of this section. In the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible it is located in the Scripture passages portion and not set apart in anyway except to include double brackets. There is nothing written in the commentary notes. Right before chapter eight begins there is in brackets the following: “[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53-8:11].” In the NIV Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible, the portion of Scripture is in italics. There is a brief explanation in the commentary notes. The NIV Study Bible Fully Revised is the same. The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible is the same except there is a longer write-up in the explanatory notes. It is stated: “The comments below treat the verses as if they accurately describe an actual event.” Page 1458.
3. The NIV translation is a readable translation. It is easy to read. It flows easily for reading silently or out loud. It is an easy translation to memorize.
4. I love the commentary notes.
5. I love it R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the General Editor.
6. I love the maps. They are aesthetically pleasing and on thick paper. Out of all the Bibles I mentioned in #2, NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible is the best for maps.
7. The ESV Gospel Transformation Bible has an 81 page concordance. The NIV Study Bible Fully Revised Edition has a 147 page concordance. The NIV Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible has a 100 page concordance. The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible’s concordance is 310 pages. It is extensive and impressive. I love it!
8. The features most important to me is the translation followed by readability. Even though the NIV is not my number one favorite I still like the translation. I love the bold print text that is easy to read. I love the layout and form of the Bible. I love love the concordance. I love the maps. I love the commentary notes.

This is an excellent Bible!

Links for social media:

NIV Bible at Facebook. At Twitter.

Zondervan Bibles at Facebook. At Twitter.

Bible Gateway at Facebook. At Twitter.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. at Facebook. At Twitter.

https://www.biblegateway.com/
I am a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member.
#BibleGatewayPartner or BG2.



[Review] Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren

Publisher and Publication Date: InterVarsity Press. January 26, 2021.
Genre: Nonfiction. Prayer. Christian growth.
Pages: 205.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers wanting an in-depth study of prayer, and the Christian life of suffering.
Rating: Excellent.

To read more information at the publisher: InterVarsity Press.

Another book review from Christianity Today magazine by Rachel Joy Welcher.

Link @ Amazon

Link @ Barnes and Noble

Link @ Christian Book

Author Information:

Author of Liturgy of the Ordinary and Prayer in the Night. Prayer in the Night is her 2nd book. She writes for Christianity Today magazine and a columnist for The New York Times.
Website/Twitter/Facebook

A podcast from Tish Harrison Warren. How Grief is our Companion in the Christian Life.

Further Reading:

Link to read An Order for Compline Prayer
Another source from St. Judes

A new edition, The 1662 Book of Common Prayer published by InterVarsity Press. This book has a publishing date of March 2, 2021.
Goodreads link
To read more information about this book: InterVarsity Press.

Summary:

Prayer in the Night is based on the last Anglican prayer of the day. It is called Complin or Compline. Compline is an office of the day. It is the last office or prayer of the day before sleep. It is the Night Prayer.
Originally there were 8 formal times of prayer.
Matins
Lauds
Prime
Terce
Sext
None
Vespers
Compline
In the mid 1500s, the prayer times were shortened to Morning Prayer and Evensong or Evening Prayer. Compline is a bedtime prayer. In brief, Small Compline is a few Scriptures are read from Psalms and the Gospel, the Lord’s Prayer is recited, thanksgiving prayers are said, a collect, and other prayers are spoken. An example of a prayer, “Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” The quote is taken from The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, page 685.
I wanted to give my readers a little information about Compline because I knew nothing about this prayer before reading Prayer in the Night.

The book is organized as:
Part One-Praying in the Dark
Prologue
1. Finding Compline
2. Keep Watch, Dear Lord
Part Two-The Way of the Vulnerable
3: Those who Weep
4. Those Who Watch
5. Those Who Work
Part Three-A Taxonomy of Vulnerability
6. Give Your Angels Charge Over Those Who Sleep
7. Tend the Sick, Lord Christ
8. Give Rest to the Weary
9. Bless the Dying
10. Soothe the Suffering
11. Pity the Afflicted
12. Shield the Joyous
Part 4-Culmination
13. And All for Your Love’s Sake

The chapters are from the 2nd prayer located on page 685 in The 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

My Thoughts:

Prayer in the Night is a perfect book to read NOW because NOW is filled with deep fear and anxiety over so many troubles in this life.
It is difficult to not read or watch the news and not be impacted. I have to read the news in snippets here and there. I get updates from The New York Times on my phone, but I don’t read them all, it’s just too much.
Last evening we went out to eat with our closest friends and neighbors. Kerri has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. It is in her thoracic spine and lungs. She has had a rough treatment plan with adverse reactions causing more pain.
Our eldest son has severe depression and PTSD.
Our oldest grandchild has multiple physical problems. We are waiting to see if another condition will be diagnosed.
Our grandson has autism and other health problems.
My husband has had 3 surgeries in 1 year.
I have other family members and friends who are suffering.
The list is growing.
I am often awakened in the night and cannot return to sleep. So I pray.

Prayer in the Night spoke to my heart in so many ways. It is a book that I cherish. It is a book that I learned from. It is a book that ministered to me right where I am at this moment in time. It is a book that comforts. It is a book that encourages. It is a book that seems personally written to me. It is a book that I will read again and again.

Other reason why I love Prayer in the Night:
1. She mentions several times that faith is a gift. I believe this too. Faith is a gift from God.
2. At the end of the book there are discussion questions and practices for each chapter.
3. Quotes are used from some of my favorite authors: Flannery O’Connor, Madeline L’Engle, Anne Bronte, N. T. Wright, John Calvin, C. S. Lewis, and St. Augustine.
4. Grief is apart of being human. I have summed up the full quote she wrote. Grief is not something we sometimes experience. It is apart of being human.
5. Chapter 4 explores the fear of what might happen next. I too, and because I have experienced traumatic events in life, fear what is next. This chapter has been a soothing balm.
6. In chapter 12, the fear of letting go and being joyful. It is a scary thing to let go. It is scary to allow myself to let go and feel joy because “joy is risky.” Page 151.
7. One of the last statements in the book is powerful and true: “The love of God has the last word.” Page 171.

[Review] Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren

Publisher and Publication Date: IVP. First published in 2016.
Genre: Nonfiction. Christian growth. Worship in everyday life.
Pages: 184.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of Tish Harrison Warren. Readers of worship in everyday life.
Rating: Excellent.

Liturgy of the Ordinary was the 2018 Christianity Today book of the year.

Link at ChristianBook.com. Best price today at $9.99.

Link at Book Depository.

Link at Barnes and Noble.

Tish Harrison Warren’s author page at IVP.

Tish Harrison Warren’s website.
Tish at Facebook
Tish at Twitter @Tish_H_Warren.

Tish is a priest in the Anglican Church of North America. I’m unclear about the specifics in her current role as a priest. To my knowledge Anglican’s do not have female priests. It is possible she was a priest before the Anglican Church in North America originated in 2009 (previously it was Episcopal).
She is a writer for the New York Times newspaper. She is a writer for Christianity Today magazine.
Liturgy of the Ordinary is her first book. The second book is Prayer in the Night.

Summary:

Liturgy of the Ordinary is about the everyday simple things we do in life that are in essence more remarkable than we believe. Our everyday living is a form of worship. Worship is not just Sunday mornings. It is the daily mundane tasks that are also a form of worship.

The foreword is by Andy Crouch.

The eleven chapters:
1. Waking
2. Making the Bed
3. Brushing Teeth
4. Losing Keys
5. Eating Leftovers
6. Fighting with My Husband
7. Checking Email
8. Sitting in Traffic
9. Calling a Friend
10. Drinking Tea
11. Sleeping

I’m reminded a bit of another book by Brother Lawrence: The Practice of the Presence of God.

My Thoughts:

I own this book, and the other book written by Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night to review. I found something similar in both: the word “vulnerable.” In Liturgy of the Ordinary, the word is first used on page 15, which is the start of the book. “Vulnerable” is a word used to describe the first waking moments of our days. The word “vulnerable” is used in Prayer in the Night in regard to while we are sleeping. The word “vulnerable” means susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. When we first awaken we are not in full mental capacity. I need at least a pot of tea to get going. Some people need a big cup of coffee. At night, it is dark, and the imagination can wreck havoc. Night is a time when our minds reflect the days, and our minds rehearse anxieties and fears. No human wants to be vulnerable. But we are.
A few pages later in Liturgy of the Ordinary I am reminded: “As Christians, we wake each morning as those who are baptized. We are united with Christ and the approval of the Father is spoken over us. We are marked from our first waking moment by an identity that is given to us by grace: an identity that is deeper and more real than any other identity we will don that day.” Page 19. I love this point. I love this reminder!

There are several reasons why I love Liturgy of the Ordinary:
1. I love the title and cover. The title is not capitalized. It comes across to me as a humble title. The words and arrangement is humble. The illustration on the cover is an opened up peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A simple meal for a person of every age from 1 to 100.
2. Most of the teaching is topics that we take for granted and don’t believe are all that important in life. These things are certainly not worship. Yet, I learned this is not so. “God is forming us into new people. And the place of that formation is in the small moments of today.” Page 21.
3. This reason is related to reason # 2. I love books that remind me or teach me about things I take for granted as not that important. When I was young I thought life was about doing it big. Another words, I thought life was about the big moments. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned life is really about the everyday living. Most of life is everyday living. Getting up and doing our very best each day, even if that means no other human seems to notice what we do.
4. Chapter 2 talks about my #3 reason: the craving for something big-the opposite of boring. She begins chapter 2 in talking about making the bed. She doesn’t like to make the bed (neither do I).
5. I love chapter 3. Our bodies are to be honored. We are to honor our bodies. “The scandal of misusing our bodies through, for instance, sexual sin is not that God doesn’t want us to enjoy our bodies or our sexuality. Instead, it is that our bodies-sacred objects intended for worship of the living God-can become a place of sacrilege.” Page 44-45.
6. Chapter 4 talks about “failures”, “suffering”, and hardship. “Our failures or successes in the Christian life are not what define us or determine our worth before God or God’s people. Instead, we are defined by Christ’s life and work on our behalf. We kneel. We humble ourselves together. We admit the truth. We confess and repent. Together, we practice the posture that we embrace each day-that of a broken and needy people who receive abundant mercy.” Page 57.
7. Chapter 5 is convicting. I had gotten out of the habit of praying before meals. Actually, I was not even sitting at a dinner table (and we have 2 tables). I have since began praying before each meal. I am sitting at the dinner table for the entire meal (without a cell phone nearby). I sit alone. My husband does not sit at the table. He sits in his recliner in front of the tv and uses a foldable tray. I plan to continue sitting at the table and praying not because it makes me a better Christian. But I do believe this is apart of repentance. Humility. Grace.
8. Chapter 8 touches on sitting, waiting, and patience. These are not easy traits to learn. They probably take a lifetime to learn. However: “God is at work in us and through us as we wait.” Page 111.


Bible Reading Update for August 2021

In the month of August, I read the book of Isaiah. There are 66 chapters in Isaiah.

The daily devotional books I am reading are My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, “Our Daily Bread” magazine, And He Walks With Me by Our Daily Bread, New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, and Augustine Day by Day compliled and edited by John E. Rotelle.

Augustine Day by Day is a convenient pocket size book with lovely layouts of small bite size daily readings. The color of the print is in black and red. With each new daily entry, the first letter of the paragraph is a large letter with artistry. There is an Augustine writing and a prayer for each day. A gold ribbon marker is sewn-in. I came across this book by chance on Amazon. I am thrilled to own it.

BSF or Bible Study Fellowship begins soon. The study is Matthew. We always begin the week after Labor Day. We finish in early May. Our calendar goes by the school year. We have time off for holiday breaks. BSF classes are men’s only and women only. At the evening classes, there are school age BSF classes for kindergarten to 12th grade-both boys and girls. The children attending do not have to be your own. Grandmothers and aunts and neighbors bring children. As long as there is permission from a parent or guardian. For the day women’s classes, preschool age classes are also offered. Lap babies attend with their mothers. At my evening women’s class, we will be meeting in person for lecture and discussion. Plus, we have a choice to be in a Zoom only discussion group. And we can listen to the lecture that has been recorded. Another words we do not have to leave our home. I’ve known women who sit in their car in the parking lot of their work to take part in the discussion via a Zoom app on their phone.
Check the BSF link to find a class in your area. BSF classes or groups are all over the world! It is free to attend BSF, it is free to join, and the notes and questions are free. BSF is non-denominational.

If you are Catholic or of any denomination and looking for a new Bible reading plan. Over at Ascension, there is an organized Bible reading plan. There is also a way to listen to Father Mike Schmitz read the daily Scriptures.
The Bible in a Year with Father Mike Schmitz. This is the Apple podcast link.
This link is to other podcast services. And the ability to sign-up and receive the Bible reading plan.
Ascension on Facebook.
Fr. Mike Schmitz’s videos via Facebook.

At Bible Reading Plan, there is a list of several plans to choose.

The Navigators has three choices in Bible reading plans.

Bible reading plans at Bible Gateway.

Bible or YouVersion is a great source with an app for Bible reading.

The Bible Project. In addition, they have wonderful teaching videos.

ESV has a list of Bible reading plans.

At Biblica, the entire Bible is read in a year and there are three readings for each day.

All the above choices in Bible readings are free. You do not have to pay to sign-up or download the app.

All Scripture links are to Bible Gateway.

Are you reading your Bible!

[Review] A Habit Called Faith: 40 Days In The Bible To Find And Follow Jesus by Jen Pollock Michel

Publisher and Publication Date: Baker Books. 2021.
Genre: Nonfiction. Devotional. Christian growth.
Pages: 256.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers who want to develop a daily habit of Bible reading and a building faith.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon

The Bible translation used is the ESV or English Standard Version.

Further links:
Jen Pollock Michel
At the link above there is a guide for 5 Day Jumpstart to Your Habit Called Faith. In addition, you can subscribe to her newsletter.

Charity Singleton Craig had been leading a group of us in weekly readings of A Habit Called Faith with discussion questions for each week. I recommend Singleton Craig’s weekly emailed “Wonder Report.”

Summary:

I feel that many people wait until the mood hits them to read the Bible. They wait until they have extra time to burn. They are actually waiting on “time” or a “mood” to tell them when to read the Bible. That will never work. Bible reading is a planned event that is on purpose placed in the day’s schedule. And, over time when we place an emphasis and a habit on Bible reading, Bible study, and prayer an interesting thing happens-our faith grows.

In A Habit Called Faith, the book is organized by 40 chapters or days.
After every 5th day of reading, a short story about a remarkable person is used to illustrate the teachings.
Two books of the Bible are the texts: Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John.

My Thoughts:

I’d had my eye on this book before it was published because I subscribe to Jen Pollock Michel’s blog. Then, I read Charity Singleton Craig was leading a mini-reading-study of the book. So I jumped right in with Charity’s motivating blog posts about the book.

I love A Habit Called Faith. I love the title. I even love the Bible books read. Which leads me to the first reason why I love this book:
1. The Bible readings are of the entirety of the two Bible books. The readings are not a picking and choosing of certain verses but of the whole of those books.
2. Deuteronomy is a Bible book that is not examined enough in Christian publishing. I believe this is an aptly chosen Bible book.
3. I love the introduction. Jen Pollock Michel builds her case for writing this book by sharing about a party she attended. When the host introduced her as a believer and later she told a person what she did for a living-a Christian writer-the people already had preconceived ideas about Christians. They didn’t know what else to say and were ready to leave the conversation.
Michel explains later her belief is not a superstitious type thing.
“Faith is not the stubborn insistence, contrary to hundreds of years of scientific observation, that the world is flat. Instead, faith looks a lot like the kind of belief all people practice. It is decided by reason and by emotion, by empirical experience and by gut instinct. Faith is not a rejection of evidence but a careful consideration of it, including the study of sacred texts.” Page 21.
4. Day One is the first few verses of Deuteronomy. There is a God. God is with His people. The words are from God. God spoke to the people through his servant Moses. I love the easy to understand and straightforwardness of Michel’s book.
5. Day Eight is on Deuteronomy 7:1-26. An excellent definition of jealousy is in this chapter.
6. I love the various quotes and personal stories from C. S. Lewis, John Donne, and Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence Bishop, The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina.
7. Wonderful one line memorable quotes are in the book. Some of my favorites: “It takes faith to keep following Jesus-even when the lights go dark.” Page 134. “Faith can begin with as simple a habit as curiosity.” Page 130.
8. The discussion questions are wonderful. These questions are brief but deep.