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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: "Jesus Calling Devotional Bible"

TITLE: Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, NKJV: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Signature)
EDITED BY: Sarah Young with the NKJV Translation
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2011, (1836 pages).

Some publishers have even produced multiple flavours for teens, for mothers, for men, for various professions, etc. On the one hand, they push up sales of a basic Bible. On the other, they meet a particular need and niche. This book/bible is clearly the latter case.

The first thing readers will experience is the look and feel of the cover. It looks hardy. The cover combines the feel of leather and the sturdiness of a hardcover. It opens up pretty well and stays open even when I leave the book opened at Genesis 1 or Revelation 22. The ribbon bookmark is pretty and non-intrusive to my reading. With well-thought out paragraphing and bold subtitles, coupled with various call-outs, the Bible reading experience is pleasing. What sets this particular Bible/book apart is the devotional content, hence the subtitle. Interspersed throughout the Bible, there are pairs of prayers by various individuals and a devotional response by Sarah Young. I particularly appreciate the openness and honesty about the desire to seek God more in the prayers. I find the words from Sarah Young's devotional apt and comforting. It is like having a pastoral arm of comfort around me when I am struggling through the ups and downs of faith. I appreciate the themes of patience, love, trust, faithfulness, that are all linked to the daily struggles of people from all walks of life. Sometimes, I wish that I am as creative and as open about the prayers offered in the book.

If there is a critique, I must say that the supplementary material is still a little distracting at first.  At times, I find myself opening to pages that contain the devotionals more than the Bible per se. That is my bad. To be fair, over time, once the novelty of the devotional material wears off, readers will tend to read more of the Bible and refer to the devotionals once in a long while for an occasional reminder of our faith journey and a renewed call to trust God. The other critique is that the Bible is more than simply a devotional (Read 2 Tim 3:16). That said, when used in conjunction with conventional Bibles, the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, will enrich the overall Bible study experience.

Closing Thoughts

This is a Bible that contains modern prayers and devotional material to enhance our Bible reading. The best way to use the Bible is first to be familiar with the intent and Sarah Yong's guidance in pages viii-ix.  The topical indexes are at the end of the book instead of the beginning, which is not as intuitive for me. Nevertheless, I recommend this book not just for Bible teachers but also for the general laypersons with a cavaet: Do not make this the only Bible you use for study. Use it with other conventional study Bibles.

I believe the benefits outweighs the critiques I have, simply because the prayers and devotionals are all leading readers closer toward God. That is certainly worth the price of this book-cum-Bible. If anyone asks me where I got this book, I'll be glad to tell them that this is one of the best (if not the best) Christmas gifts this year. Maybe, you can consider this as a gift to someone you love?


"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".

1 comment:

  1. This is the best devotional book I have ever read. I cannot start my day without it. I really feel as if Jesus were talking directly to me. Each daily devotion brings me such comfort, hope and peace. I anxiously look through my bible to read the scriptures at the bottom of the daily devotion. I have had this book for three years now and continue to read it every day. I have shared this book with several co-workers and they now have this book.