Friday, October 15, 2021

The Radiant Virtues Bible - Interacting with the Word through art and journaling

The Bible is a book not just to read but to interact with. Some might seek out cross references. Others may look for archaeological insights. Some might research cultural implications. Some may even explore the original languages. Some may want to artistically interact with the Word, and if that’s you then
The Radiant Virtues Bible may be just for you. Saying that, I must say this is not a coloring book, but an invitation to spiritual interaction and introspection through art and journaling.

The Radiant Virtues Bible, which contains the full text of the popular NIV translation, guides the reader through a 52-week journey of the Bible with well-written and thought-provoking devotionals all 52 of which come with a coloring page related to that week’s reading. The devotionals are centered on the three virtues of 1 Corinthians 13 – Faith, Hope, and Love. These virtues are also emphasized throughout the text with passages highlighted the color that corresponds to each virtue.  In addition, there are beautiful Scripture graphics scattered throughout along with margins on each page for your notes and reflections. Included in the back of the Bible are detachable, artistic cards. Additional reading plans are provided as well as a Table of Weights and Measures (this Bible has no maps, concordance, or study notes other than the basic NIV textual notes).

If you, or someone you know, has an artistic inclination, then this Bible could provide an outlet for regular Bible reading that is not available in any other Bible that I have seen. I love that it includes the entire Biblical text allowing the reader to explore the context and overarching message of the most popular and oft-quoted verses in Scripture which can often be misinterpreted devoid of the Biblical context. A real value I see in this Bible is the opportunity it provides for the reader to return months or even years later to relive their journey and even to add to it with new insights into the Word.

Download a sample here.

I have received The Radiant Virtues Bible for free as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, #BibleGatewayPartner, with the agreement that I would submit this review. The Radiant Virtues Bible can be purchased through various online stores including the FaithGateway Store.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

See. Feel. Act.

Jesus was a master teacher, and one of his most often employed teaching techniques was telling stories. These short stories utilize people, objects, and situations that we are all familiar with – things like farming, working, weddings, buildings – and then uses them to make a spiritual application. These stories are often called parables and some of them are so powerful that they are familiar even to people who have never read the Bible. Everyone has heard of the lost sheep, the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the pearl of great price.  All of these familiar phrases have their origin in one of these stories of Jesus. They are really quite remarkable and if you haven’t read them you need to!  

I recently taught on one of these parables, the Good Samaritan. It’s a story of man traveling a treacherous road and is robbed, stripped of his clothing, and left for dead on the side of the road. Three people pass by, but only one stops to offer aid. The first two are known to be religious people, a priest and a Levite, who certainly know what they should do but, for reasons Jesus never reveals, they pass by on the other side. The third man is a Samaritan, a race of people not regarded as especially pious and, for the most part, despised by those who were (or thought they were). This is the man who stops and cares for the victim. He is the one who is good. To the original Jewish audience, the fact that the hero of the story is a Samaritan would have been utterly shocking, for Samaritans and Jews were notorious enemies. The point of the story is that the command to love our neighbor extends to everyone in need, not just to people we like or agree with.

The parable is quite simple. It destroys any boundaries we create that deem some people worthy of our love and others unworthy. We all know that we should love everyone. So why don’t we?

As I contemplated this story I noticed that there was a critical disconnect in the priest and the Levite that wasn’t present in the Samaritan. As Jesus tells the story he notes that all three saw the same thing – a man on the side of the road obviously in need, but only the Samaritan felt compassion.  And there was the critical difference. The priest and the Levite saw but didn’t feel. The Samaritan saw and felt.

Seeing people in need is not that difficult. Everyday we find ourselves walking alongside people who are hurting – at work, at school, at the store, at church. There are literally dozens of people that we encounter weekly who need something that we can help with. So why don’t we help more often, if at all?

Perhaps there is the same disconnect in our lives as well – we see but don’t feel. Either we have become so callous to pain that we no longer are moved to compassion or maybe we turn our heads so quickly and pick up our pace that we easily dismiss the hurting people around us. In any case, I think we need to work on our ability and willingness to be compassionate. For only when the Samaritan sees and feels does he act.

And isn’t that what real love is? Seeing, feeling, and acting. May God help us stop and offer help to those wounded and hurting on the treacherous road of life. Chances are, you’ll come by one today.