What do we believe? Like, what do we really believe?
I think I believe a lot of good things about God. But sometimes I wonder — where did these good things come from? Have I formed my view of who God is based on my circumstances? My culture?
Do I hold a set of beliefs because I’ve created my God in my image?
We live more vibrantly when we we lay down our preconceived notions of who he is. We come to the table of life abundant when we realize we’re on this big, giant journey of belief.
Zondervan sent me an advance copy of Believe, NIV, a Bible designed to help Christians wade through the muck and mire to see God’s truth through a fresh lens. A follow up to the popular, The Story, Believe, NIV is designed as an easy-to-follow abridgment of the NIV Bible. (They also have a giveaway copy for one of you! Enter at the end of the post.)
I’ve never seen anything like Believe, NIV, and I thought it’d be really interesting to get a pastor’s perspective. So, I asked Jonny (Remember when he graduated with a Master’s in Christian Thought?) to share his thoughts on Believe, NIV.
Here’s what he had to say:
What it is: Believe, NIV is a collection of scripture passages (with intermittent editorial comments, helpfully made in italics to differentiate them) that have been curated and organized to move a Christian through three stages:
- What we believe (the basic doctrines of the Church)
- What we should do (the practices of the faith)
- What we are becoming (this section is built around the fruits of the Spirit).
In a pleasant twist, Believe completely ditches chapter and verse numbers, which allows the reader to move through passages as a whole which helps the reader lose themselves in the story. So often we see scripture as being segmented and divided, and this fresh (or rather, ancient) approach moves the reader away from segmented thinking and toward a more holistic understanding of the Bible.
What I liked: Believe, NIV makes the Bible more accessible than it often seems to be. Without chapters and verses, passages flow in a way that is more natural and helpful to readers who are seeking big ideas rather than tiny details. Overall, it’s a helpful book with a very natural progression that could help Christians to read and understand their Bibles in new and better ways.
What I’m hesitant of: By their very nature, editorial choices about what passages to use and how are ultimately interpretational and theological decisions. Readers should approach Believe, NIV with this fact in mind, recognizing that the organization of the book is putting forward a particular interpretation of scripture, not necessarily the only or even most correct interpretation. I don’t have any specific issues with the editorial decisions in mind as I make this caveat, but it is important for readers to understand nonetheless.
Who might like it: While Believe, NIV is a book that could be helpful for any Christian, whether they’ve spent their whole life in the Church or have recently converted, it is probably those Christians who haven’t spent a ton of time in Scripture who could most benefit from the layout and editorial choices made in Believe, NIV. While the Bible as a whole can be intimidating, Believe, NIV breaks the major themes and story of scripture into easily understandable and consumable portions.
A companion book, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus released jointly with Believe, NIV this month. Written by Randy Frazee with Robert Noland, it explains how to grow as a follower of Christ and become more like Him in our thinking, actions and character. It can be read either in conjunction with Believe or separately as an individual study.
Does this Bible/book combo call out to you? Or does it sound like a good fit for someone you love? January is a great month to start fresh, and it’s not too late to start a resolution to spend more time in Scripture. Zondervan let me know that they would love to send a copy to a Many Sparrows reader — how sweet is that?
Let’s make it easy to enter.
Comment why you’d like to receive a copy in the mail. Want an extra entry? Follow me on Instagram. I’ll draw a random winner next week! xo
Disclaimer: Affiliate links used when applicable.