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Infographic: The Status of Christianity Around the World

Africa is now home to the most number of Christians in the world. An infographic by Center for the Study of Global Christianity (@CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary shows that more than 631 million Christians reside in Africa, comprising 45% of the continent’s population.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Unexpected Christian Century: An Interview with Scott Sunquist]

Latin America is estimated to have 601 million Christians. Though a smaller number compared to Africa, it represents the majority of the continent at 92%.

According to, as of 2017 the top 10 African countries with Christianity as the highest percentage of the national population are:

  1. São Tomé and Príncipe (Central Africa) – 97.0%
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (Central Africa) – 95.8%
  3. Angola (Central Africa) – 95.0%
  4. Rwanda (East Africa) – 93.6%
  5. Seychelles (East Africa) – 93.1%
  6. Equatorial Guinea (Central Africa) – 93.0%
  7. Lesotho (Southern Africa) – 90.0%
  8. Namibia (Southern Africa) – 90.0%
  9. Swaziland (Southern Africa) – 90.0%
  10. Zambia (East Africa) – 87.0%

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Biography of Christianity: An Interview with Ian Shaw]

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Bible and the Spread of Christianity: An Interview with Brian Stiller]

After Africa and Latin America, third on the list of the continents with the most Christians in 2018 is Europe with 571 million (77% of the population), Asia with 388 million Christians (9%), North America with 277 million Christians (76%), and Oceania with 29 million Christians (71%).

For the purposes of its data collection, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity identified those as “Christian” to include Catholics, Protestants, Independents and Orthodox. Excluded are “unaffiliated” Christians and “double-counted.” Catholics have the highest percentage of followers worldwide (49% of Christians), followed by Protestants (22%), Independents (17%), and Orthodox (12%).

As of 2015, Christianity is still the world’s largest religion, according to Pew Research Center. Christians make up 31.2% (2.4 billion people) of the world’s population (7.6 billion).

Click to enlarge this infographic of 2015 statistics by Pew Research Center

The following map by cartoMission (@cartomission) illustrates the projection of Christianity by 2020:

Click to enlarge this infographic map by cartoMission projecting global Christianity statistics in 2020

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Bible News Roundup – Week of July 15, 2018

[Return daily during the coming week for updates]

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New Contemporary Bible Translation in Works for Indonesia
Mission Network News
Read the Bible in multiple languages on Bible Gateway

Bible Printed in 1477 Sells for $13,300 at St. Gregory’s University Auction
The Oklahoman

Search for Manawatū’s Oldest Bible Stretches Back to 1599
Manawatu Standard

Two-Thirds of Churchgoers Have Invited Someone to Church
LifeWay Research

Infographic: The Status of Christianity Around the World
Bible Gateway Blog

UK’s First Religious Freedom Envoy Pledges to Stand by Persecuted Believers
Premier Radio
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Verses for the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

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The State of the Bible 2018: Most Americans Want to Read the Bible

Buy your copy of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

More Americans are expressing interest in increasing their interaction with the Bible, according to the annual State of the Bible 2018 research—commissioned by American Bible Society (@americanbible) and conducted by Barna Group (@barnagroup).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The State of the Bible 2018: Five Types of Bible Readers]

State of the Bible 2018

The report reveals a majority of Americans, 57%, declare they wish they used the Bible more than they currently do. While 89% of those who are considered Bible Engaged desire to increase their Bible use, 70% of those considered Bible Neutral are also interested in greater time with the Bible.

[Select a Bible Reading Plan that’s right for you from Bible Gateway]

The findings of Americans’ growing desire for more of the Bible are among a number of Bible statistics recently released about Americans’ beliefs and behaviors.

  • 48% of Americans are considered Bible users—meaning they watch, listen, pray, or use Bible content or text in any form outside of a church service three to four times a year
  • 35% use the Bible every week
  • 62% report reading the Bible because it brings them closer to God
  • 25% have read the Bible in its entirety
  • 66% express some curiosity to know more about the Bible including 29% who express a strong desire

State of the Bible 2018

  • 63% say they’re interested in knowing about who Jesus is; 31% are strongly interested.
  • 65% say their level of Bible use is the same as it was a year ago.
  • 58% say the Bible has impacted the way they live their lives
  • 85% believe the Bible has resulted in their willingness to engage in their faith more and show more loving behavior toward others (84%)
  • 71% say they’re more generous with their time, energy, or financial resources
  • After reading the Bible in the past week, 97% of adults say they gave some or a lot of thought to how it might apply to their lives.
  • Respondents say the Bible encourages: Generosity (81%), Patience (81%), and Serving the poor (78%).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Latest Bible-Related Research]

An overwhelming majority (82%) of Americans own a Bible in their household. When asked which version of the Bible Americans prefer, the King James Version (KJV) still tops the list at 33%. But, there is growing interest in the New International Version (NIV) as 14% prefer it—up from 10% in 2011. Preference toward the King James Version dropped seven percentage points since 2016 and 12% since 2011.

[Read Bible Gateway Blog posts that Introduce You to the Bible]

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5 Books to Help You Understand the Bible Better

Michael Bird

Michael Bird (@mbird12) is lecturer in Theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He is an Anglican priest and is the author of several books including Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction, Romans: The Story of God Bible Commentary, What Christians Ought To Believe, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, and An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans.

Buy your copy of Evangelical Theology in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day     Buy your copy of Romans in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day     Buy your copy of What Christians Ought To Believe in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day     Buy your copy of Evangelical Theology Video Lectures in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Bible Gateway asked him for the five books he would recommend to help people understand the Bible better. Here’s his reply.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Did the Early Church Invent Jesus’ Divinity After the Fact? Michael Bird Discusses Bart Ehrman’s New Book (And An Unusual Rebuttal)]

Michael Bird: This is a hard task; so many good books out there; one’s I’ve learned from and benefited from. But, if I had to pick, I’d probably go with this fabulous five:

Buy your copy of Jesus and the Victory of God in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every dayJesus and the Victory of God by N.T. Wright
For me, reading this book was like leaving The Matrix. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of reading the Gospels, not just the hors d’oeuvres ahead of Paul. Instead, Jesus really is the reason why we have Christianity, and the historical Jesus is not a myth or chimera of history. As I tell my students: Paul rocks, but Jesus reigns. Read this book while wearing two pairs of socks, because the first pair will be blown off. 

Buy your copy of The Resurrection of the Son of God in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day Buy your copy of Surprised by Hope in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every dayThe Resurrection of the Son of God / Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
Personally I think Wright’s Resurrection of the Son of God is the best treatise on the resurrection in church history like ever (big claim I know), but for those who want something more digestible, readable, and practical, I recommend his Surprised by Hope. It is Wright’s bestselling book for a good reason. It’ll inoculate you against eschaton-weirdo-mania and yet show you the importance of kingdom, resurrection, and new creation!

Buy your copy of The King Jesus Gospel in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every dayThe King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight
Scot is a friend of mine and I reckon this book is Scot’s best and it will prove to be a classic. This book gives readers biblical precision and theological clarity about the gospel. There’s a difference between evangelical gospel presentations and the biblical gospel. You’ll learn how the gospel relates to the biblical storyline—no, you can’t jump from Genesis 3 to Matthew 1—and how the gospel is about Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Tolle lege! 

Buy your copy of Romans in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every dayRomans 1998 edition by Thomas R. Schreiner
Tom Schreiner is one of the best evangelical Pauline scholars there is, have been, and might yet be. Sensible exegete, sober theological comments, attention to detail, and easy to read. I love this commentary on Romans, by far the best in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) series, a robust and informative read. Seriously, students should build shrines to Tom Schreiner for his ability to explain complex exegetical debates. But Tom has sadly changed his mind on all the stuff I liked about this 1998 edition and his 2018 revision will espouse different reviews on the “righteousness of God” and the “wretched man”—et tu Tom? So, for the love of Martha, buy a copy of the 1998 edition before it goes out of print! Then buy the 2018 revision so you’ll appreciate how good the 1998 edition one is! 

Buy your copy of The Apostolic Fathers in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every dayThe Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations by Michael Holmes
The apostolic fathers are the sequel to the New Testament, best translation to read them in my opinion is Mike Holmes’s. But make sure you order the right one, the third edition, Greek and English. And while you’re at it, read more primary sources, like Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha, Philo, and Greco-Roman classics.

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The One Thing Christians Dare Not Abandon

John S. DickersonBy John S. Dickerson

The foundational rupture in the tectonic plates of Western civilization is the breakage along the fault line of truth. The very concept of truth as we have known and inherited it is a Judeo-Christian concept.

Germany became a post-Christian nation after its seminaries and universities rejected the Scriptures as God’s perfect, revealed truth. The United States has become a post-Christian nation after its best seminaries and universities—founded as teaching centers for the Word of God—rejected Scripture as God’s perfect, revealed truth.

As American culture drifts further and further from anything Christian, the pressure to abandon the authority of the Bible will increase proportionately, even within churches and Christian institutions that once elevated God’s Word. Where the old view of Scripture as the Word of God was once tolerated, it will become increasingly offensive, out of style, scoffed at, and scorned.

We must remember that this pressure to abandon Scripture is not only social; it is also supernatural and satanic. Already within mainstream media and large metropolitan cities, it is tolerable to be a “Christian” in a relaxed sense. The dividing line is those Christians who take the Bible seriously. The “fundamentalists” are the dangerous ones—so the thinking goes.

As culture passes the Post-Truth tipping point, we will see some churches and ministries cave under pressure to make less of the Scriptures. Some recently popular teachers have already caved under this pressure. Every few months, we see another prominent Christian thinker, writer, blogger, artist, or leader become so zealous to be “relevant” that their cultural sensitivity first eclipses scriptural authority and then expels scriptural authority entirely.

In our ministries and on our boards, we must bear in mind that many incoming younger Christians who sincerely love Jesus will not have been taught the importance of the infallibility of Scripture or related doctrines that elevate the Word of God as the authority for all we do and believe. Many young Christians have placed their faith in Christ, but they are still thinking from a Post-Truth paradigm that has been deeply indoctrinated into them by the culture

And so, aware that this will be the cultural drift, not only in the broader culture, but also within Christian institutions, we must resolve to remain rooted in the Christian Scriptures as the authority for all we will do and believe. Scripture must be our authority on every issue in the culture, as well as our life-giving guide for every facet of our lifestyles.

We must resolve this on a personal basis. We must teach this in our discipleship and training. We must make this the anchor for our Christian families if we wish to stand strong amid the currents of a post-Christian and Post-Truth culture.

We must resolve to keep the authority of Scripture a top priority, written and elevated in our selection of board members, pastors, and faculty. No amount of charisma, gifting, or proven effectiveness can justify a Christian leader who degrades the Word of God by making it anything less than the sole standard for all we will do and believe.

As a millennial, I know that some of my peers will call me closed-minded or outdated for writing these things. I invite them to do so, and I will take it as a compliment. The historical record is clear. Beyond nations like Germany, we can look to the mainline American denominations that abandoned the doctrine of inerrancy during the early 1900s. Today those denominations are empty, dead shells of their former selves. In addition to their empty parking lots and vacant real estate, most openly praise the moral opposites of God’s best designs.

Whether we feel it in our bones or not, we must always operate with this awareness: any ministry or family that abandons the authority of Scripture (no matter how noble the argument for it) is one generation away from abandoning Christianity entirely.

And so for these reasons, we do here declare with purpose and resolve that in a world where truth is feelings-based, we will remain rooted to the Christian Scriptures and their life-giving direction. No matter the cost, we will elevate the Christian Scriptures as the standard for all we do and believe. We do this because:

  • We love our children, and we want them to experience the life, light, and truth
    found only in the pages of the Bible.
  • We love our Savior, and we would not know his words or his heart apart from the Scriptures.
  • We have seen that the words of God lead to life.
  • Our enemy the devil functions primarily in the realm of
    ideas and deception, scheming from Eden until Revelation 20:10
    to undermine the words of God, the promises of God,
    and the very Living Word of God.

Lest we forget, it was Jesus who said, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” If we lose the doctrine of Scripture, we not only abandon being on Jesus’ side in the great struggle, but we also lose the ability to even know what His side looks like—since His words are recorded in Scripture.

God reminds us repeatedly that the violent conflicts of human history are waged in the battlefield of ideas: “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

And again God warns us, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive . . . not lovers of the good . . . conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

In the 1800s, the German universities were the pinnacle of science and intellect. As they rejected God and His Word, they retained a form of godliness, empty of spiritual power. History has proven—time and again—the deadly end for every people who reject the authority of God’s Word.

And so we resolve: In a world where truth is feelings-based, we will remain rooted to the Christian Scriptures and their life-giving direction.


Taken from Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World by John S. Dickerson. Click here to learn more about this title.

Hope of Nations by John S. DickersonEvery week a terrorist attack, riot, or political scandal makes the headlines—and we feel the world around us shaking again. We struggle to separate truth from biased statements and hope from naïveté. We wonder how we got here and where these uncertain days will take us.

One of the world’s top investigative reporters, John S. Dickerson, addresses this post-truth, post-Christian society in his latest book Hope of Nations.

This book shows us how and why the world is changing, where those changes will lead, and what it looks like to live like Christ in today’s society. With fascinating historical and political background, Dickerson helps us understand the five major forces driving global change in the world today; why violent displays of Islam continue resurfacing; the incoming moral, social, and political impact of American millennials; ten ways to respond biblically to trends shaping the world right now; and how to live with Christian courage and compassion in tumultuous times.

Among the youngest award-winning journalists and a seminary-trained pastor, Dickerson brings his reporting skills, generational perspective, and biblical insights to this groundbreaking book.

Get a larger view of what is happening with your community, your government, and your international neighbors in this thoughtful look at global events in light of your unique Christian calling. Learn more at

John S. Dickerson is a prize-winning research journalist, a seminary-trained pastor, and a frequent commentator in national news outlets like USA Today. He aggregates cultural trends, sociology, and historical understanding to give biblical insight into world events and Christian living today. John’s first book, The Great Evangelical Recession, has equipped tens of thousands to understand the future of the church in the United States. John serves as the Lead Pastor of Connection Pointe Christian Church in the Indianapolis metro area. Learn more at

The Spirituality of a List-Checker Doer: An Interview with Katie Reid

Katie ReidWhat does it mean for overachieving women to rest as God’s daughters without compromising their God-given design as doers? Are you a to-do-list-checker like Martha in the Bible who wants hope-filled freedom without abandoning your doer’s heart in the process?

Bible Gateway interviewed Katie Reid (@Katie_M_Reid) about her book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done (WaterBrook, 2018) (read the first chapter).

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Why do you think the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 causes so many women to feel guilty?

Katie Reid: Since Jesus told Martha that she was worried and distracted and that her sister Mary had chosen what was better, we often feel guilty for being wired like Martha. We feel like Mary was the poster child for getting it right and that Martha was discounted because she was worried and distracted.

In John 11:5 we see that Jesus loved Martha and her siblings. His correction wasn’t a scolding but an invitation to walk in freedom instead of fret.

Many of us have tried to shed the skin of efficiency because we’ve misinterpreted this passage to mean there’s something wrong with being made like Martha.

We usually assume that Jesus was criticizing Martha for working too hard. Would you say that’s true?

Katie Reid: I don’t think Jesus was criticizing Martha’s work ethic here. In fact, unless he was going to multiply loaves and fish, fast from a meal, or have a late dinner, someone had to prepare the food. Instead, Jesus addressed Martha’s heart in Luke 10. He wasn’t asking her to stop being a doer; he was reminding her she was a daughter too.

We assume that Jesus was asking Martha to sit down physically like Mary was, but what if he was inviting her soul to rest—even while she continued working?

In John 12:2, we see that Martha is serving again, yet Jesus doesn’t correct her this time. Here, Martha serves from a place of strength and peace instead of a place of striving and stress.

What drew you to write a book about the story of Mary and Martha? What’s unique about your interpretation of this story?

Katie Reid: If Martha had a fan club, I’d be president of it. I so relate to Martha and her ultra-responsible ways. For years, this passage in Luke 10 bothered me. If nobody works, nobody eats, right? I really wanted Jesus to tell Mary to get up and help her sister out. But upon closer examination, I realized how much Jesus loved Martha and wanted her to know that too. He wasn’t asking her to neglect her responsibilities but to trust him to care for her.

Made Like Martha is written for those who love checking things off their to-do lists and who may feel some angst when they read this account in Luke. It’s written from the perspective of a doer for other doers (although Mary-types are enjoying it too; it’s helping them understand their Martha-friends better).

You write in your book that many of us assume God is mad at us or disappointed in us. Why do you think that is? How have you found healing in your life from that assumption?

Katie Reid: When you view the world through the lens of perfectionism, you often feel frustrated with yourself and others (and even God) for things not turning out like you want (or expect) them to. For almost 40 years I felt like God was mad or disappointed in me. I was expecting myself to be flawless, which is completely unrealistic. It was a losing battle.

But, God knew, because of our sin, that we could not attain perfection apart from his supernatural intervention. So God sent his unblemished and only Son to die for our sins (past, present, and future) and rise again. If we choose to believe in Jesus as Savior and confess him as Lord, we are made clean; perfected, because of what Christ did on our behalf.

For me, the healing came when I realized that Jesus satisfied God’s wrath for sin and that his love for me was not based on whether I succeeded or failed.

If we’re in Christ, our position in his heart is secure. He loves us—even when we’re short-fused, whether or not we have a quiet time, even in the midst of tackling our to-do lists.

You make a fascinating comparison between Satan’s twisting of God’s words to Eve in Genesis and our interpretation of Jesus’s words to Martha.

Katie Reid: This was one of the most exciting revelations God gave me during the book writing process. The blinders came off and I could see how we’ve been allowing Satan to discount our design by adding to what Jesus said to Martha, in Luke 10.

Jesus did not say that there was something wrong with being made like Martha. And he never asked Martha to be Mary.

Jesus pointed out one thing that Martha needed to work on but he wasn’t criticizing the totality of who she was. We don’t have to apologize for being doers because we’re designed that way, on purpose. Let’s stop buying into the lie that correction equals rejection.

Good works should be our response to his love but they aren’t a means to obtain (or keep) his love. His love for us has been proven and settled once and for all, on the cross.

I can’t wait to see modern Marthas freed to be the women he’s designed them to be; fearfully and wonderfully made.

How can this new understanding of Mary and Martha keep us from judging others or ourselves?

Katie Reid: This new understanding helps usher in grace for others and ourselves. I love my Martha friends and my Mary friends. The world needs both types. But our behavior is not what makes us more or less pleasing to the Lord. When I realized God created me to be a doer, I felt more comfortable in my own skin and temperament. It also produced more understanding for others.

My Martha friends are my go-to gals for getting things done, and my Mary friends help me slow down and rest so I don’t burn out. Both are necessary—they’re not inferior or superior to one another. We bring different perspectives to the table. We’re stronger and better together.

How can we think of Jesus’s words to Martha as an invitation rather than as a criticism?

Katie Reid: I think this goes back to what we believe about Jesus. He wasn’t out there pummeling people with judgment on earth (although he had every right to do that); he led with kindness and compassion without compromising the truth. He didn’t mince words with Martha, but he demonstrated care and concern by inviting her to choose what was better, as Mary had. Again, he wasn’t saying that Mary was better than her; simply that she had chosen what was better in this instance.

Jesus was inviting Martha to exchange her striving for settledness, because that was good for her. He wasn’t asking her to become someone else or someone more, but to remember who he was and who she was in light of him.

On a practical level, how can we sit at Jesus’s feet even as we go about our busy days and fulfill our God-given call to accomplish things? In other words, what does it look like to rest even as we get things done?

Katie Reid: When you’re convinced that you’re a beloved daughter of a good and caring Father, a security and calmness fills your heart. This isn’t something you muster up, but something we ask God to help us grasp.

There’s value in having down time and quiet time, but many of us don’t know how to experience a sense of calm in the midst of our chaotic lives. I believe our soul can be at rest even when our hands are busy, as we remember that Jesus is not a guest to impress, but family to enjoy. He resides within us; he doesn’t leave when our quiet time ends.

You write about receiving God’s grace in the middle of the messes. What do you mean by that? How do our Martha personalities make us resistant to messes?

Katie Reid: The story of the prodigal son is a great example of God meeting us in the middle of our mess. The prodigal’s father had every right to reprimand his son for making bad choices. Yet, he patiently waited for his return and threw a big party when he came home. The son deserved punishment, yet his father clothed him with grace instead. And the same is true of our Heavenly Father.

I experienced something similar when I asked God to help me get well in the midst of a season of workaholism. He met me in my mess and provided a gift instead of punishment. He didn’t keep me at arm’s length but wrapped me up close; providing a fresh start and new life.

Marthas often crave order and find themselves frustrated when things aren’t going according to plan. But Jesus is the only one who can bring true peace even in the midst of our mess. When we realize that perfection isn’t up to us, it’s in us—and his name is Jesus—we begin to see that even in the mess, we’re not alone.

What do you mean by “stop striving for what is already yours”?

Katie Reid: Many of us are trying to earn God’s approval and favor, but as I mentioned before, we already have that if we’re in Christ. I spent so much time and energy trying to prove I was worthy of God’s love. But when we realize we don’t have to strive for what’s already ours, we walk taller and freer, knowing that our worth is not dependent on our productivity but cemented in Christ.

My brother is a few years younger than me; he has Down Syndrome. His worth is not based on how productive he is, nor is mine. We have worth because God says so, and it’s not based on how many items we check off our list. Now, our to-do list has value but it doesn’t determine our value. We could never do enough to achieve our salvation. We’re saved by grace and not works.

You contrast a “hired help mentality” with a “beloved daughter” way of thinking. What’s the difference? How do we live out that difference?

Katie Reid: A hired help mentality is one that thinks it’s all up to you to take care of yourself, like your worth is based on what you do and you might lose what you have if you aren’t good enough.

A beloved daughter’s mentality is based in trust; knowing that love isn’t based on what you do but based on who you belong to. A beloved daughter knows she’s adored even when she messes up.

1 Peter 5:7 in The Message reads, “Live carefree before God because he is most careful with you.”

Some of us have taken on things that were never ours to manage. In our ultra-responsible mindset we’ve placed extra weight upon ourselves, bogging us down with worry and exhaustion. As God teaches us how to live like a daughter instead of a slave, we begin to cast off the heavy weight we’ve been carrying and place it upon his most capable shoulders.

God has works prepared for us to do—but our position in him isn’t dependent on our behavior or performance. Isn’t that such good news?!

The idea of keeping things balanced can feel like an uphill climb for busy women. How do you personally maintain balance as a working woman?

Katie Reid: When I hear the word “balance” it makes me think of my one and only gymnastics meet, where I fell off the beam multiple times and was totally embarrassed. I tried to perform perfectly and toppled under the pressure.

The same can happen to us, if we’re approaching balance as something we need to perfect. I prefer to use the word stewardship. I can’t do it all, but I can do the next thing well. It’s impossible to give equal attention to everything on my plate, but I can ask God to help me see who and what needs my attention at present. When I think of all there is to do it’s overwhelming, but when I focus on what’s next, it seems more doable.

We’re humans, not machines, and we will not always get it right. When we receive God’s grace and extend it to others, we learn to work from a place of peace instead of striving, knowing that it’s not all up to us to keep the world intact.

As a modern Martha who has five children, what advice do you have for navigating your to-do list when it comes to parenting?

Katie Reid: When I got married I typed up a 9-page wedding agenda, so everything would run smoothly, but five children later, my to-do list and directives are shorter—they have to be for our sanity. With each child, I’ve chilled out more (although I’m still a get-it-done gal). When you realize how much is out of your control, you either fight for it (and drive yourself and everyone else crazy) or you learn to go with the flow better.

We’re a work in process for sure, but there are several things that help us stay afloat (but mostly Jesus). We’re busy, but we try not to have each child do more than one or two extra-curricular activities during a season. We want them to try new things, but not wear themselves out either. We also try to protect one day each week (usually Sundays) where we don’t do much after church but nap, hang out, read books, and play outside. This down-time helps us recharge for the rest of the week.

We also believe in the power of delegation. Our family is a team: we each do our part to keep things keep moving. When one member is really busy, we try to lighten that person’s load so they’re freed to focus on what they need to get done.

I think it’s important for busy moms to focus on what they’ve accomplished, instead of all there is left to do. There will always be more to get done, but as we celebrate what we and our children have completed it helps foster gratitude instead of stress.

Bio: Katie Reid is a firstborn overachiever and a modern-day Martha. As an avid blogger at, Katie provides posts, articles, letters, and other resources for try-hard women on an ongoing basis. She encourages others to unwind in God’s Presence—through her writing, as well as through her speaking—as they find grace in the unraveling life. Katie has published articles with Huffington Post, Focus on the Family, iBelieve, Crosswalk, MOPS, (in)courage, God-sized Dreams, Purposeful Faith, Inspiring Families, and many other websites. She is also a contributing writer for and and has been syndicated on Katie is a devoted wife of a youth pastor and a homeschooling mother of five children, who resides in the middle of Michigan.

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Rescue in Thailand, Rescue for Us All

Once in a while the attention of the whole world is focussed on an act of salvation. That is what has been happening in these days when, in Thailand, 12 boys on a soccer team and their coach are being rescued from a deep dark place in the middle of a cave system. The story is captivating because of the severity of the dilemma. The 13 are stranded two-and-a-half miles inside the mountain where they were for more than a week before being found. The way out is flooded. Monsoon rains threaten to overwhelm the caves. The passageways are extremely tight in places. The rescue involves long swims through water clouded with mud, an extremely difficult task even for highly trained technical divers. Many thought their situation was hopeless.

Cave rescue illustration

We are captivated by this kind of unfolding drama because there is nothing better than a story of rescue. And because we all know we ourselves need to be rescued in one way or another.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, “God Has Never Left Us Down Here”]

Two months ago I had to be rescued after falling nine feet off a ladder onto the concrete floor of my garage at home. My pelvis was fractured, my arm broken. I could not move. So I called for help. Then I screamed for help. Then my wife heard me inside the house, made the emergency call, and soon an ambulance was at our house. I was rescued.

The Bible is a story of rescue. God created the world as a good place, then it became corrupted and dangerous. But God did not leave the world broken. He saved those who were faithful to him. He freed the Hebrews from the wicked imprisonment of Pharaoh in the Exodus. David talks over and over in the Psalms about how God saves. So do the prophets. And then we come to Jesus, whose name in Hebrew, Yeshua, literally means salvation.

The biblical word salvation means rescue. It means someone bigger and better, stronger and wiser, does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The necessity of salvation takes nothing away from human dignity. Rather, it gives us back our own lives. Whether we realize we need rescue or not, we still need rescue. It just makes sense for us to admit it, and to live in such a way that we respond to the rescue.

The Thai boys and their coach were not able to save themselves. They needed to be rescued. I could not move after I fell on my garage concrete floor. I needed to be rescued. And in our spiritual lives, we are not able to save ourselves from our sin, or from evil, or from the fear of death. We need to be rescued.

Jesus came to save us. And he did it by laying his life on the line. By giving up his life. The New Testament describes God’s decisive saving act as redemption, reconciliation, adoption, justification, and more.

“Redemption,” from the world of the marketplace, says that through the sacrificial death of Christ we have been bought out of our slavery to sin. Like slaves who are purchased in order to be set free, God supplied the price and received the price. This is true freedom, but a freedom that comes from being owned by God: “you are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Reconciliation” comes from the world of relationships. The shattering effects of sin in the world led to estrangement. We are separated from each other, and separated from God. But in Christ, and in his sacrifice, God provides a bridge. By faith we are on God’s side, and God calls us his friends.

“Adoption,” from the realm of the family, means that we become, through the sacrifice of Christ, true children of God.

“Justification” is from the world of law courts. To be justified means to be made right with God. It is what happened to Abraham when he believed God’s astounding promise. Justification by grace through faith is a foundation of certainty. As Paul put it: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies? Who is he who condemns?” (Romans 8:31-34).

So there is a multitude of ways the New Testament makes clear that we need rescue, and the rescue is real.

We rejoice with every young boy rescued from the flooded caves in Thailand. And we rejoice that God has done what we cannot do for ourselves by rescuing us through Christ.

See “A Prayer of Faith and Salvation” from Mel Lawrenz’s book, Prayers for Our Lives

Standing Strong Through the Storm of Persecution

Standing Strong Through the Storm

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

This passage from Psalm 1, which appears at the conclusion of the daily devotional, Standing Strong Through the Storm, helps us understand what it means to “stand strong” through the trials and tribulations of the life of the Christ-follower.

Paolo Uccello's depiction of the stoning of Saint Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr

Paolo Uccello’s depiction of the stoning of Saint Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr

If the struggles of the persecuted Christians around the world have been weighing on your mind and heart lately, you might be interested in this devotional. Standing Strong Through the Storm is the free daily devotional by Open Doors that highlights true stories about believers who held to their faith even in the face of suffering.

Despite the serious topic of the devotional, Standing Strong Through the Storm is one of the most inspiring devotionals in the Bible Gateway library. These aren’t merely stories of misery and suffering; they’re tales of courage and faith that hold up under fire. It makes for encouraging devotional reading, and it’s also a good way to open your eyes to the persecution that happens around the globe.

Subscribe to receive it free via email here.

“After a whirlwind passes by, the wicked are no more, but the righteous stand firm forever.”Proverbs 10:25 (CEB)

Bible News Roundup – Week of July 8, 2018

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The State of the Bible 2018: Most Americans Want to Read the Bible
Bible Gateway Blog

Unshakable Hope Book Launch and Signing with Max Lucado at Museum of the Bible August 6, 7 PM
Museum of the Bible
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Hope for the Hopeless: An Interview with Max Lucado

Bible-Reading Marathon Held on St. Sophia Square in Ukraine Where 2018 Is Proclaimed the Year of God’s Word
Religious Information Service of Ukraine
Read the Bible in Multiple Languages on Bible Gateway

A Million Bibles for Cuba
Mission Box

How the Bible has Shaped the History of Australia
ABC Overnights
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Reading the Bible with America’s Founding Fathers: An Interview with Daniel Dreisbach

400-Year-Old King James Bible Found Abandoned in Manawatū Church Cupboard
Read the King James Version (KJV) Bible translation on Bible Gateway

Getty Museum Buys Illuminated 700-Year-Old Bible
The Jerusalem Post
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, A Collection of Bible Museums & Exhibits

Lamentations And Fish Oil: Skálholt’s Bible Exhibition Unveils Iceland’s Struggle With Translating God’s Word

Couple Completes 30-Year Mission Translating Bible into African Language

Meet the Man Who Assembled the NVI Bible Translation Team
Read the Nueva Versión Internacional (NVI) Bible translation on Bible Gateway

The Reason This Christian Archaeologist in Israel Is Using the Bible as a Guide for Digging
Breaking Israel News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Latest Biblical Archaeology Research

Archaeologists Uncover Gate to Biblical City of Zer (Bethsaida)
The Jerusalem Post
Read about Zer in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about Bethsaida in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about Bethsaida in the Encyclopedia of the Bible on Bible Gateway

Mind-Blowing 1,600-Year-Old Biblical Mosaics Paint New Picture of Galilean Life
The Times of Israel
National Geographic: Biblical ‘Spies’ Revealed in 1,500-Year-Old Mosaic

Archeology Digs Into the Bible
The Stream

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Quiz: Fancy Footwork in the Bible

2018 World Cup trophyThe 2026 World Cup will be hosted by the USA, Mexico, and Canada. It’s expected to be the largest edition of the tournament with 48 teams playing 80 matches across 34 days. Sixty of the tournament’s matches will be held in the USA; Mexico and Canada will host 10 games each.

The 2018 World Cup has been underway in Russia with 32 teams playing 64 matches in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The competition is going into its final matches, with the championship game scheduled to take place July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

We thought this would be a good opportunity for you to see how well you know the fancy footwork that’s in the Bible. Have fun taking this brief quiz. After completing it, sign up for one of Bible Gateway’s free Bible Reading Plans to help you become even more familiar with Scripture, reading at your own pace.

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