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Bible News Roundup – Week of July 12, 2015

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1500-Year-Old Mosaic Containing Bible Verse from Isaiah Discovered in Turkey
Read Isaiah 65:25 on Bible Gateway

95% of Jewish Israelis Have a Bible at Home; 6% of Those Are Not Sure Where It Is
The Jerusalem Post
Read the Bible on Bible Gateway

Literacy through the Bible in Cambodia and Laos
Evangelical Focus

Kentucky Man Recovers Dad’s Bible from Charred Church Debris

Pocket Bible Lost During World War Two Lands Home After 70 Years
The Telegraph

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

50th Anniversary Celebration of the NIV Commissioning Continues with “Made to Share” Quarterly Theme

Click to visit the NIV Bible websiteIn celebration of the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the world’s most read modern-English Bible, the New International Version (NIV), Biblica (@BiblicaMinistry) and Zondervan (@Zondervan) have partnered on a year-long commemorative #NIV50 campaign featuring quarterly themes to recognize the powerful impact that the NIV has made on the Christian church. The third theme of the year is Made to Share.

[See our blogpost: 50-Year Anniversary Celebration Continues with the NIV Bible: ‘Made to Study’]

[Browse the Bible Gateway Store to see the many editions of New International Version Bibles.]

Made to Share centers on the belief that everyone deserves the best and most accurate translation of Scripture, and that the Bible should be made as accessible as possible to all who wish to experience it. This has been at the heart of Biblica’s ministry for over 200 years. Today, Biblica seeks to provide that same precision and readability for the world’s top 100 major spoken languages.

Click to enlarge this NIV Bible Timeline

“We have been helping people around the world fall in love with the Bible for over 200 years, so I couldn’t be more passionate about the Made to Share NIV 50th Anniversary campaign,” said Carl Moeller, CEO at Biblica. “This theme acknowledges our commitment to faithfully putting God’s Word in the heart languages of people, so everyone is able to truly understand it. The NIV was intentionally designed for this kind of continuous refinement, so that it remains as accurate and accessible as possible. We’re proud to be a part of this year-long celebration.”

[See: Live-Blog: Doug Moo’s Special Message on Bible Translation (Live Presentation from ETS 2014).]

When the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) was first commissioned to translate the NIV, the goal was to create a readable version for the entire English-speaking world. Translators from the United States, Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand were involved in the process to ensure that it would appeal to all English-speaking audiences. A top priority for the CBT was that the NIV allow for future revisions of the text, as new scholarship would inevitably emerge that would provide fresh understanding of the original languages and texts. Because of its unprecedented readability and precision, the NIV has become the world’s most-read modern-English Bible translation with over 450 million copies distributed worldwide.

Visit to read several stories related to the Made to Share theme under the “50th Anniversary” tab.

[See our blogpost: Zondervan to Release NIV Zondervan Study Bible]

In celebration of this significant anniversary, Zondervan will add a vital member to its study Bible family. The all-new NIV Zondervan Study Bible focuses on “unpacking God’s story,” first book-by-book, then as collections of biblical literature, and finally tracing the Bible’s complete witness to the gospel. Bible students from every walk of life will grow deeper in their understanding of Scripture as God’s story is unpacked by nearly 20,000 new, comprehensive verse-by-verse study notes; a four-color interior with over 60 informative charts; more than 90 maps; hundreds of photos; and a library of 28 articles by award-winning scholars covering numerous theological themes and topics. More information is available at

[Sign up to receive the free NIV (and other versions) Bible Verse-of-the-Day in your email inbox from Bible Gateway.]

[Download the free Bible Gateway App, on which is available the NIV and many other Bible versions.]

The Modern English Version on Bible Gateway

Modern English VersionBible Gateway has added the Modern English Version (MEV) translation of the Bible to our library of more than 200 Bible versions (also see our Twitter List of Bible versions). The MEV “formal correspondence” translation seeks to maintain the beauty of the 400-year-old King James Version language while balancing it with fresh clarity for 21st century Bible readers.

The MEV is a translation of the Textus Receptus and the Jacob ben Hayyim edition of the Masoretic Text, using the King James Version as the base manuscript. The MEV uses capitalized references for God.

Click to enlarge this comparison chart

Click to buy your copy of the KJV/MEV Parallel Bible in the Bible Gateway StoreThe Committee on Bible Translation began its work on the MEV in 2005 and completed it in 2013. The intent was to translate historical facts and events without distortion while translating in a way that readers of all backgrounds may understand the message that the original authors were communicating to their audiences. The goal was to translate Scripture accurately without loss, change, compromise, embellishments, or distortions of the meaning of the original text.

[Click to see all the editions of the Modern English Version Bible (Passio, 2013) in the Bible Gateway Store.]

Bible News Roundup – Week of July 5, 2015

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
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HarperCollins Christian Publishing Establishes Exclusive Bible Publishing Agreement with BibleMesh and Kairos Journal
News Release

50th Anniversary Celebration of the NIV Commissioning Continues with “Made to Share” Quarterly Theme
Bible Gateway Blog

Update on Bibliotheca’s High-End Bible Development
Also see our blogpost: A Bible Designed for Beautiful Reading: An Interview with Adam Lewis Greene

Kuna (Panama) Bible Dedication
New Tribes Mission
Watch Bible531 trailer
Read the Bible in multiple languages on Bible Gateway

Wycliffe’s Scripture Use Consultants in Kenya Targeting Oral Communities
Mission Network News

Scripture Union Launches Bible App for Children
Guardians of Ancora
Download the free Bible Gateway App

Albuquerque, New Mexico Organization to Beam Bible in Thousands of Languages to People via Satellite

Deaf Bible Society Aims to Share God’s Word to 80% of World’s Deaf by 2025
Christian Today

Can You Read Aloud 11 Minutes Each Day? You’ll Read the Bible in a Year.
Assembly Hub

Hudson Taylor and the Founding of China Inland Mission, 150th Anniversary
Don Sweeting

World’s Smallest Bible Would Fit on the Tip of a Pen

Poll: 30% of Secular Israelis Have Never Read Tanach
JP Updates

Ancient Ritual Bath Found in Possible Birthplace of John the Baptist
Live Science
Read about John the Baptist in Luke 1 on Bible Gateway

In Combustible, Muslim Karachi, A Christian Erects A 140-Foot Cross

Most of the Busiest USA Airports Have Dedicated Chapels
Pew Research

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Freedom is What We’re Made For: A Surprising Look at God’s Law

[Dr. John DicksonThis guest blogpost is by Dr. John Dickson (@johnpauldickson). He holds a PhD in history and is the founding director of the Centre for Public Christianity. Dr. Dickson is an Australian speaker, historian, minister (Anglican), husband, and father.

This post is adapted from his recent book A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible: Inside History’s Bestseller for Believers and Skeptics (Zondervan, 2014).]

The Old Testament constantly describes its laws as “life,” “joy,” “blessing,” and true “freedom.” This will puzzle a modern reader, who is used to thinking of freedom as the power to choose any course of action. Surely “thou-shalt-not,” a phrase repeated endlessly in the Ten Commandments, is the epitome of restriction and authoritarianism.

Well, no! This confuses sentence grammar with practical reality.

Click to buy your copy of A Doubter's Guide to the Bible in the Bible Gateway StoreOf course the Ten Commandments are stated negatively—for the simple reason that only a few things really are forbidden and pretty much everything else is there to be enjoyed.

Would we really want positive commands—lists of what we are allowed to do? If you’re at the top of a snow-covered mountain, do you want to be told the 450 different ways you may ski down, or would you prefer to be told the few rough patches to avoid so that the rest of the hill is yours?

No one puts it better than the early twentieth-century British intellectual G. K. Chesterton:

The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Commandments is an evidence…of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted, precisely because most things are permitted and only a few things are forbidden.

An optimist who insisted on a purely positive morality would have to begin (supposing he knew where to begin) by telling a man that he might pick dandelions on a common, and go on for months before he came to the fact that he might throw pebbles into the sea; and then resume his untiring efforts by issuing a general permission to sneeze, to make snowballs, to blow bubbles, to play marbles, to make toy aeroplanes … and everything else he could think of, without ever coming to an end. In comparison with this positive morality, the Ten Commandments rather shine in that brevity which is the soul of wit. It is better to tell a man not to steal than to try to tell him the thousand things that he can enjoy without stealing; especially as he can generally be pretty well trusted to enjoy them. (The Complete Works of G K Chesterton [Ignatius Press, 1989], 32:18)

“Freedom” today is often defined as the power to choose any course of action. “Live and let live” is the only rule. Many talk like this, but it can’t be right. Freedom cannot be the capacity to do whatever we choose. Some choices are destructive and enslaving, to ourselves and to others. Speak to an alcoholic, a workaholic, the young man addicted to pornography, the tragic adulterer, the friendless millionaire. Some “free” choices are enslaving.

“Freedom” is surely better defined as the ability to become what I am made for. As contemporary philosopher and theologian David Bentley Hart writes,

“We are free not merely because we can choose, but only when we have chosen well. For to choose poorly, through folly or malice, in a way that thwarts our nature and distorts our proper form, is to enslave ourselves to the transitory, the irrational, the purposeless” (Atheist Delusions [Yale University Press, 2009], 25).

Christians have always said that living God’s way puts us in harmony with God’s world and with his purposes for our lives. God’s ways “work” in the way that a manufacturer’s instructions work or the advice of an expert works. In the Old Testament, this promise held the form of blessing and long life in the land God had given Israel: “Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time” (Deuteronomy 4:40).

Obviously, things are different in the New Testament, for there is no promised land to live in, and the same blessings are not pronounced on all our material endeavors — contrary to the assurances of the contemporary prosperity preachers. Nevertheless, the New Testament does say that following God’s ways, what is called “godliness,” has more than simply “eternal” benefits. The apostle Paul reminds his apprentice Timothy, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Obedience to God is not a formula for health, wealth, and happiness; often it brings suffering and pain. But the benefits of living God’s way in God’s world are real, as believers will usually testify.
To offer an analogy: I recently crossed a threshold in my skiing. For years I have been too proud to take lessons, content to carve up the slopes in my own effective but not exactly pretty style. In convincing my son to take a lesson last season, I somehow convinced myself it was my time, too. The lesson was a little frustrating at first. The technical way in which the instructor broke down the turn felt onerous—he had me concentrating on timing, edging, weight distribution on each foot, and so on, all at the same time. About halfway through the lesson something clicked. Turns began to take care of themselves. I was no longer fighting the boots, the skis, or the snow. I was free. It turns out the instructor’s directives were not “restrictions,” but paths to liberty in my favorite pastime.

Surfers say the same thing: there’s a moment when you do things just right and you become free on the wave. Singers echo the sentiment — only when you’re in time and in tune are you free. The analogies could be multiplied. The point is the same. God’s ways, embodied in his commandments to love him and those around us, are what we’re made for, and when we follow them, we are free in the true sense.

[This blogpost by John Dickson was adapted from A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible.]

[Also see our blogpost: A Guide for Bible Skeptics: An Interview with John Dickson]

A Word About Faith


This is part of Mel Lawrenz’ “How to Understand the Bible” series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.

One day some religious people, a group known as the Sadducees, tried to draw Jesus into a theological trap on a speculative question about the afterlife. Instead of answering their question directly, Jesus said: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” That was a shocking confrontation. These people knew the Hebrew Scriptures very well. It was their profession and their preoccupation. But because they were using the word of God instead of trusting it, Jesus told them they quite simply didn’t “know” it.


This series is called How to Understand the Bible, but it could have been called How to Understand the Bible in a Way that is Accurate According to the Standards of Language and that is Faithful According to God’s Intent. (In prior centuries book titles were sometimes that long!)

In order to get out of Scripture all that is there for us, we have to read it both as an ordinary text, and an extraordinary one. This is not a contradiction. We must follow the rules that apply to ordinary language because this word of God came to us in the ordinary forms of letters and oracles, poetry and proverb, simile and metaphor, and all the other ordinary ways ordinary words work. We must read Scripture naturally, in other words, and not by some artificial assumptions about the words of the Bible. It is all-important, for instance, for us to read portions of Scripture in their context because words have meaning only in context. We expect other people to understand what we say in context out of fairness, not quoting us in a way that misrepresents us. We should show God the same respect. We like to quote individual Bible verses as answers to complex problems, but our application of a verse is only as good as our understanding the verse in context. No prophet or apostle would have ever conceived of his oracle or epistle chopped up into such tiny bits.

We must also read Scripture with eyes of faith as a body of extraordinary texts. Not everybody who reads the Bible considers it the Holy Bible or the word of God. But if you do, that will shape your understanding.

The Christian thinker Anselm of Canterbury (c.?1033-1109) famously said: “I believe in order that I may understand” (Credo ut intelligam). The principle is otherwise known as “faith seeking understanding,” as it was expressed by Augustine of Hippo in the fourth century.

Putting it simply, these leading thinkers and many others have said it is when our lives are connected with our Creator, when our minds and hearts are awakened to his power and presence, when we are “believers,” that we will begin to understand the way things really are.

Knowing the Bible is not the ultimate objective. Knowing God is. Really knowing God. And knowing God via the revelation God has given of himself, not our imaginary constructs. This is exciting! When we commit ourselves to knowing the Scriptures, we are truly embarking on a life-transforming experience. And the real beginning is when we say, “I believe…”

Get the whole book version of How to Understand the Bible here. Not yet signed up to receive “How to Understand the Bible” via email? You can follow along here at the blog, but we recommend signing up for email updates here. “How to Understand the Bible” is available as a print book at

Mel Lawrenz is Director of The Brook Network and creator of The Influence Project. He’s the author of thirteen books, most recently Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership.

The Emotionally Healthy Leader: An Interview with Peter Scazzero

Peter ScazzeroHave you ever felt stuck, powerless to change your environment? Do you feel too overwhelmed to enjoy life, unable to sort out the demands on your time? Are you doing your best work as a leader, yet you think you’re not making an impact? Perhaps you need to integrate who you are with what you do by developing a deep, inner life with Christ.

Bible Gateway interviewed Peter Scazzero (@petescazzero) about his book, The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World (Zondervan, 2015).Click to buy your copy of The Emotionally Healthy Leader in the Bible Gateway Store

Explain why any leader of people needs to be emotionally healthy to be effective.

Peter Scazzero: Emotionally healthy leaders possess a significant level of self-awareness and, as a result, love well.

Unhealthy leaders lack, for example, awareness of their feelings, their weaknesses and limits, how their past impacts their present, and how others experience them. They also lack the capacity and skill to enter deeply into the feelings and perspectives of others. They carry these immaturities with them into their relationships and everything they do.

Emotionally unhealthy leaders also engage in more activities than their combined spiritual, physical, and emotional reserves can sustain. They give out for God more than they receive from him. The demands and pressures of leadership make it nearly impossible for them to establish a consistent and sustainable rhythm of life. In their more honest moments, they admit that their cup with God is empty or, at best, half full. I like to say it this way: Their “being with God” is not sufficient to sustain their “doing for God.”

How did you diagnose your own emotional unhealthiness as a leader?

Peter Scazzero: My journey to integrate emotional health and spiritual maturity began in 1996 when I hit a wall. I was tired and stressed as a Christian, losing my soul as I was gaining the world (Mark 8:26). I experienced the ugliness of a church split and saw how easy it was for people to know their Bible well and appear spiritual but still be defensive, arrogant, mean-spirited, and unloving. Finally, my marriage wasn’t going well. The lack of any spiritual formation in emotional health was evident all around me and in me as well. There was no running away from it.

What are the characteristics of an emotionally unhealthy leader?

Peter Scazzero: The deficits of emotionally unhealthy leaders are especially evident in four areas:

They Have Low Self-Awareness

Emotionally unhealthy leaders tend to be unaware of what is going on inside them. And even when they recognize a strong emotion such as anger, they fail to process or express it honestly and appropriately. They ignore emotion-related messages their body may send—fatigue, stress-induced illness, weight gain, ulcers, headaches, or depression. They avoid reflecting on their fears, sadness, or anger. They fail to consider how God might be trying to communicate with them through these “difficult” emotions. They struggle to articulate the reasons for their emotional triggers, their overreactions in the present rooted in difficult experiences from their past.

They Do More Activity for God than Their Relationship with God Can Sustain

Emotionally unhealthy leaders are chronically overextended. Although they routinely have too much to do in too little time, they persist in saying a knee-jerk yes to new opportunities before prayerfully and carefully discerning God’s will. The notion of a slowed-down spirituality—or slowed-down leadership—in which their doing for Jesus flows out of their being with Jesus is a foreign concept.

They Prioritize Ministry over Marriage or Singleness

Whether married or single, most emotionally unhealthy leaders affirm the importance of a healthy intimacy in relationships and lifestyle, but few, if any, have a vision for their marriage or singleness as the greatest gift they offer. Instead, they view their marriage or single-ness as an essential and stable foundation for something more important—building an effective ministry, which is their first priority. As a result, they invest the best of their time and energy in becoming better equipped as a leader, and invest very little in cultivating a great marriage or single life that reveals Jesus’ love to the world.

Emotionally unhealthy leaders tend to compartmentalize their married or single life, separating it from both their leadership and their relationship with Jesus. For example, they might make significant leadership decisions without thinking through the long-term impact those decisions could have on the quality and integrity of their single or married life. They dedicate their best energy, thought, and creative efforts to leading others, and they fail to invest in a rich and full married or single life.

They Lack a Work/Sabbath Rhythm

Emotionally unhealthy leaders do not practice Sabbath—a weekly, twenty-four-hour period in which they cease all work and rest, delight in God’s gifts, and enjoy life with him. They might view Sabbath observance as irrelevant, optional, or even a burdensome legalism that belongs to an ancient past. Or they may make no distinction between the biblical practice of Sabbath and a day off, using “Sabbath” time for the unpaid work of life, such as paying bills, grocery shopping, and errands. If they practice Sabbath at all, they do so inconsistently, believing they need to first finish all their work or work hard enough to “earn” the right to rest.

What are the unhealthy commandments of church leadership you write about?

Peter Scazzero: There are four large ones that keep Christian leaders up at night.

The first is that it’s not a success unless it’s “bigger and better.” Numbers aren’t all bad. In fact, quantifying ministry impact with numbers is actually biblical. When it comes to the church and numbers, the problem isn’t that we count, it’s that we have so fully embraced the world’s dictum that bigger is better that numbers have become the only thing we count. When something isn’t bigger and better, we consider it—and often ourselves—a failure. What we miss in all this counting is the value Scripture places on internal markers.

The second big, unhealthy commandment is that what we do is more important than who we are. Who you are is more important than what you do. Why? Because the love of Jesus in you is the greatest gift you have to give to others. Who you are as a person—and specifically how well you love—will always have a larger and longer impact on those around you than what you do. Your being with God (or lack of being with God) will trump, eventually, your doing for God every time. We cannot give what we do not possess. We cannot help but give what we do possess.

The third deadly commandment is that superficial spirituality is okay. Just because we have the gifts and skills to build a crowd and create lots of activity does not mean we are building a church or ministry that connects people intimately to Jesus. I love the Lord’s instruction to Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (see 1 Samuel 16:7).

The final is: don’t rock the boat as long as the work gets done. Too much of contemporary church culture is characterized by a false niceness and superficiality. We view conflict as a sign that something is wrong, so we do whatever we can to avoid it. We prefer to ignore difficult issues and settle for a false peace, hoping our difficulties will somehow disappear on their own. They don’t.

What role does reading the Bible play in building emotional healthiness in leaders?

Peter Scazzero: Without being immersed in Scripture on a daily basis, I don’t believe it is possible to lead others for Jesus and to Jesus. How can we unless we are listening to him?

How should leaders be intentional about creating an emotionally healthy culture in their leadership team?

This takes great intentionality and is something I have learned over time and through a lot of mistakes. Emotionally healthy culture and team building is quite distinct in at least four ways. First, we’re deeply concerned for people’s personal spiritual formation and not simply their work performance. We’re asking questions about people’s inner lives with Christ and resourcing them regularly.

Secondly, we confront what I like to call, “elephants in the room.” This refers to inappropriate or immature behavior that happens on all teams. Only now we address it and treat it as a mentoring/discipling moment.

Thirdly, time, energy and money is invested in your team’s personal development. In other words, we’re not simply talking about the work itself, but them.

And finally, we ask questions about people’s marriages and singleness, knowing this is foundational to any long-term, significant work for God that will stand the test of time.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Peter Scazzero: A great way to get started on this journey is to take the free personal or church assessment found on our website at—either by yourself or with your team. In it you’ll be able to identify if you’re an emotional infant, child, adolescent or adult. And, of course, read through and discuss with your team the The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World.

Bio: Peter Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York City; a large, multiracial church with more than 73 countries represented. After serving as senior pastor for 26 years, Pete now serves as a teaching pastor/pastor at large. He’s the author of two best-selling books: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church. He’s also the author of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Church Campaign Kit and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day. Pete and his wife, Geri, are the founders of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a groundbreaking ministry that equips churches in a deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation paradigm that integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality. They have four lovely daughters.

Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee

Kayla AimeeA pregnancy is counted by weeks and Kayla Aimee (@kaylaaimee) had only completed 24 of the 40 when she unexpectedly went into labor. She thought her church upbringing had prepared her for every circumstance but when tragedy struck and threatened to take the life of her newborn daughter, it felt as though once solid ground had turned to glass beneath her feet, destined to shatter everything she held sacred.

Based on the verse from Hebrews 6:19, Kayla’s poignant and humorous memoir, Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected (B&H Books, 2015), answers the question of where God is in the midst of suffering.

With vulnerability and plenty of wit, Kayla lays bare her struggle to redefine her faith, her marriage, and herself within the context of a tragedy she never saw coming.

Click to buy your copy of Anchored in the Bible Gateway StoreThe following article is an excerpt from Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected.

A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry

Besides the time spent causing a ruckus in biology class, most of my high school years revolved around the various clubs I was in and the local youth group I was a part of. Apparently extracurricular activities look good on a college application (or so I was told), and that is how I ended up as the vice president of the FCA. That stands for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in case you were wondering. You might also be wondering what sort of athlete I was and this is where I will inform you that you don’t even have to be an athlete to join the FCA. In fact, you can be quite poor at athletics. You can even be the vice president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes if you are also the Secretary of the International Society of Thespians. (That’s the Drama Club, for all you non-thespians out there.)

I thought I had all the answers about things like faith and God and spirituality. I mean, people don’t just let you be the vice president of things unless you really know your stuff.

Plus, I was in high school and basically your job in high school is to just assume that you are right about everything. I felt pretty overly confident that I understood how this whole faith
thing worked and was quick to give people answers when they asked. I was like the Vanilla Ice of Christianity: “If you have a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”

If I didn’t know the answer, then I would just tilt my head and reply knowingly, “Job. The answer to that is definitely in the book of Job.” I didn’t fully understand the book of Job myself, but I figured it would get them reading the Bible and gave myself a pat on the back for that brilliant line of thinking. Plus, I figured a whole lot of stuff went down in the book of Job and so there was probably an answer to their question somewhere in there.

I thought about Job a lot back then and how he went through many of the same trials that I was enduring as a high school girl. I mean, sure Job’s problems were that he lost everything he cared about and was covered in festering boils but that was SO SIMILAR to my problems of not being asked to the prom and running out of concealer. Boils, acne, same thing, Job.

It’s not to say that I didn’t know heartache at sixteen. I pressed my face against the window and watched the taillights of my father’s truck disappear down our driveway. I stayed behind in the house the judge awarded my mother in the messiness of the divorce and thought about Job and why bad things happen to good people. As a teenager, life was hard and confusing and emotional. It was also fairly dramatic, thanks to the fact that I was a card-carrying thespian and all. Of the trials and tribulations of faith, though, I would come to find that I knew little.

In the summer of 2001, I spent my days shopping for matching duvet covers for the college dorm room I would share with my best friend when the seasons changed to autumn. States away a young mother held her four-year-old daughter’s lifeless body close to her in a tragic scene that seems so senseless my hands tremble to type it even now. Jody Ferlaak had stopped for breakfast with her family, in the way that you do on many a leisurely weekend morning. High chairs and hot plates and happy faces smeared with syrup in a completely average morning.

There it is again, tragedy, entirely unwelcome and infringing itself upon an ordinary day. One minute she was eating pancakes and the next a car was driving through the wall of the restaurant, severely injuring her toddler son, pinning her six-month-old baby to the wall, placing her husband in a coma, and killing her daughter. Four-year-old Teagan would never know another autumn.

This was the book of Job playing out in modern day, and it was a far cry from the trite advice I was spouting in my naïve youth across the country.

In my early twenties our paths would cross, and Jody and I formed a friendship that blossomed out of a love of paper crafts and late-night phone calls. One winter day I would find myself lying on a bed at a scrapbooking retreat holding her infant son as I mourned the coming and going of another month without a viable pregnancy of my own. I never wanted to complain to Jody though, who walked through life with a sweet spirit in the midst of its hardships. One child buried and another left severely disabled by a woman who had tried to end her own life with a car and wreaked havoc on Jody’s instead. There was much to mourn, and still Jody found much to give thanks for. Friend and mentor, she would spill out her story with such peace that I was in awe of her faith.

Sitting in the dark of the NICU I thought often of Jody and the question of why burned within me. Why my baby? Why did this happen? Why did a good God allow such severity of suffering to fall upon the innocent? I wished then that I could be more like Jody with a disposition of deep and blessed assurance, the kind that people set to music and printed in choir books. I wished that I had the same peace that all of those songs referenced or at the very least a small reprieve from my pain. But I didn’t have any answers to the whys. My faith was as broken as the little girl lying under the lights, and we were both struggling just to make it out alive.

The hospital chaplain stopped in to see if he could visit with us just as alarms began blaring to signal the rate at which the numbers on the screen were dropping and a nurse worked briskly to push oxygen manually into my daughter’s lungs as her skin mottled gray with the lack of it. The kind man of the cloth reached out his hand and the former vice president of the FCA snarled at him to get out. It wasn’t that I quit believing. It was the fact that I did believe. The chaplain could speak a prayer over us but those words couldn’t be spun into a cord that would keep my daughter here, and that—not the promise of a heaven—was all I wanted.

What I had was a problem. And I couldn’t solve it.

Not on my own.

The above excerpt is from Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected. Copyright © 2015 by Kayla Aimee. Used by permission of B&H Books. All rights reserved. Taken from pp. 32-35.

Bio: Kayla Aimee is a writer, mother, and slightly spirited southern girl who spends her days uncovering hope and humor in unexpected places. She makes her home and garden in northern Georgia with her husband, Jeff, and daughter, Scarlette. Kayla shares stories of faith, family and her favorite things at

Bible News Roundup – Week of June 28, 2015

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
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Verlyn D. Verbrugge, Zondervan Author and Editor, Passes at 72
News Release

Business Owners Display Faith by Scripture, Actions
The Clarion-Ledger
Search for Bible verses on Bible Gateway

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Bible Translation
United Bible Societies
Read the Bible in multiple languages on Bible Gateway

Achieving Accurate Bible Translation

International Network of Children’s Ministry’s Dispatch Program Welcomes the International Children’s Bible
Read the International Children’s Bible on Bible Gateway

Books & Culture Symposium on the Historical Adam
Books & Culture
Four Views on the Historical Adam by Matthew Barrett, Ardel Caneday, Denis Lamoureux, John H. Walton, C. John Collins, William D. Barrick, Gregory A. Boyd, and Philip G. Ryken (Zondervan, 2013)

Deaf Bible Making a Change to Help 75% of Deaf Community
Mission Network News

Prison Fellowship International and Bible League International Partner to Distribute the Bible to 25,000 Prisoners
Christian Newswire

Lincoln Cathedral Bible Volumes Reunited After 300 Years
BBC News

400-year-old Bible Arrives in Mendi, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
EMTV Online

Volunteer Helps Send Bibles Worldwide
The Star Phoenix

Midwest City, Oklahoma Woman on Mission to Reunite Bible with Owner

Omaha, Nebraska Area to Host its First Scriptorium, Where Memorized Bible Verses are Presented by Individuals
Gretna Breeze
See “Scripture Memorization,” part of Bible Gateway’s Scripture Engagement section

Blackduck, Minnesota Holds Public Bible Reading
The Bemidji Pioneer

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

What Are Some Good Disciplines for Reading Scripture?


As we near the end of this part of the series of “How to Understand the Bible,” we take up one very practical question: what can we do to make sure we are reading Scripture regularly?

I still cherish my boyhood memories of going fishing with my grandfather. It seems like it was yesterday. One day while I was sorting through the wide variety of tackle I had collected, fidgeting with lures and sinkers and bobbers and the rest in my fancy tackle box, my grandfather looked at me and said: “Mel, you won’t catch a thing unless your hook is in the water.” Of course, he was right. His hook was always in the water, and he had much more to show for it.


The main principle of reading Scripture for a lifetime of spiritual growth is: just read it. Don’t spend too much time looking for the “just right” study Bible, or other helps. Don’t neglect reading Scripture because you are in a period when you are having a hard time understanding it. And don’t slow down because you have not found a plan that is right for you. Put your hook in the water. Something will happen.

Here are some guidelines for a lifestyle of fruitful Bible reading.

1. Follow a plan, but vary the plan year by year. There are plans that are structured for reading the whole Bible in a year, or two years. The plan may go from Genesis to Revelation, but some plans have you read an Old Testament portion, a New Testament portion, and a Psalm every day, for instance. One very ambitious plan has you reading the whole Bible in 90 days. I like doing that every couple of years. It takes me about a half-hour of reading a day. One plan gets you through the four Gospels in 40 days. Another goes through just the New Testament in a year. There are holiday reading plans for Lent or Advent which really help us focus on the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. You can find verse-of-the-day devotions, but they are of limited worth because you do not get the broad scope of the story of Scripture. Bible Gateway is a good place to find a wide variety of plans.

2. Do not give up. If you start a reading plan in January and falter in March, getting hopelessly behind the plan, just choose another plan for the year. Keep your hook in the water. If all else fails, just read a chapter a day. Consider a day incomplete unless you read something in Scripture.

3. Use a simple tool for a schedule. I like printing out a plan on a single sheet of paper and having it tucked in the back of my Bible. You can use an online scheduling function on your computer or mobile device, but make sure it is a function that is easy to use and easy to access.

4. Decide whether you will make notes or not. Writing your thoughts and questions down as you read helps with comprehension, and many people do it faithfully. I have generally preferred not doing that, however, because I know I will keep reading every day if it is just me and the Bible in my hand. It is different when I am studying Scripture for a group I am in or a teaching I am preparing in which case I take careful notes. You should figure out what works best for you. If taking notes does not bog you down, do it. You will have an accumulating treasure.

5. Know the time of day that is best for you, and set a pattern. This is really important. Lifestyle is about regularity. Most people eat and sleep on a preferred pattern that works for them. So it is with reading Scripture as a lifestyle. I like the early morning when it is quiet in the house and my to-do list isn’t pressing in on my mind. Others find a lunch break or the evening better.

6. Read introductions to Bible books. If you’ve gotten through Numbers and are ready to dive into Deuteronomy, don’t just plow ahead. Take a few minutes to read an introduction which will orient you to the context, circumstances, date, themes, and author of what you are about to read. Study Bibles, for instance, have concise introductions that are no more than a page, for instance, The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan) and The ESV Study Bible (Crossway). But you can get longer introductions in Bible dictionaries or handbooks. Some excellent choices are The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the New Bible Dictionary, and the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

7. Allow time for reflection. In today’s hectic world this gets squeezed out, but it is essential. This may mean shutting your Bible, closing your eyes for five minutes and thinking about what you’re read, speaking to God a word of thanks or frustration or inquiry. I find taking a walk after reading to be an excellent way to let the thoughts circulate around in my mind. If there is a single verse, or even just a phrase or a single word, that strikes you powerfully, take some time to ponder it. God the Holy Spirit may be placing a marker in your mind which will be important at some later point in your life. Commit to this: read and reflect.

Get the whole book version of How to Understand the Bible here. Not yet signed up to receive “How to Understand the Bible” via email? You can follow along here at the blog, but we recommend signing up for email updates here. “How to Understand the Bible” is available as a print book at

Mel Lawrenz is Director of The Brook Network and creator of The Influence Project. He’s the author of thirteen books, most recently Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership.