September 20, 2019

Bible Prayers: NEW! the Book of Bible Prayers

Bible Prayers: NEW! the Book of Bible Prayers: After decades of researching what the Bible has to say about prayer and buying a bunch of prayer books that weren’t quite what I wanted, I felt led to collect the actual prayers in the Bible then prayer-a-phrase (prayerfully paraphrase) them into THE prayer book I personally want and need. If you do, too, you’ll be happy to know the Book of Bible Prayers is now available on Amazon.

May this book draw us more deeply into God's Word and empower our prayer lives in Jesus' Name.

September 16, 2019

Kingstone Bible: a novel adaptation

This 3-volume graphic adaptation of the Bible from Kingstone is a novel heavyweight edition for youth from middle grades through teens. And when I say “heavyweight,” I mean that figuratively and literally. According to the information on Amazon, the set  weighs over 12 pounds!

Why so weighty? The heavily inked graphic art illustrations and the thick pages (stitched into sturdy hardback covers) carry a lot of weight, but then, so does God’s Word.

These graphic novels don’t present a word-for-word translation of the Bible, of course, but are more akin to comic-style Bible story books for older youth. Therefore,  the text takes liberties in portraying the words, thoughts, and feelings of the people involved. However, scriptural references to the actual biblical events are located at the bottom of each page.

Although I wish more emphasis had been place on those Bible references  (perhaps in a larger font), the opening pages of “The Epic Story of God” assures us that the publisher “attempts to cover the revealed and inerrant Word of God in serialized art form.”

In each volume, that art seems to capture well the dress, customs, and general appearance of relevant eras, (though I do wonder about the muscular appearance of Job!)

The dark colors also seem heavy to me, as do the somewhat scary covers. But then, I’m not the intended reader for this edition, which our teen and tween children or grandchildren will surely love!


Mary Sayler, ©2019




July 16, 2019

Which Bibles capitalize pronouns for God?


Does it matter if a translation of the Bible uses capital “H” instead of lower case for He/Him/His pronouns referring to God? In the eternal scheme of things, probably not. Nevertheless, I prefer it.

Why? Two reasons:

1.) Capitalizing pronouns that refer to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a way of honoring God and showing esteem.

2.) Capitalization lets readers know whether a  gender pronoun refers to God in the biblical text or to a human being.

If you’re now wondering which translations of the Bible use capital “H,” regardless of the publisher, here’s a list of the ones I found, thanks to a search of a pronoun-laden verse on Bible Gateway.

 TVB – The Voice Bible



Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer and life-long lover of God’s Word in the many translations we're blessed to read, study, and absorb



June 29, 2019

The Wiersbe Study Bible


Published by Thomas Nelson, who kindly sent me a copy to review, The Wiersbe Study Bible brings us, “Preaching Outlines,” cross-references, maps, an ample concordance, “BE Transformed” devotionals, and the comfort print text of the NKJV, New King James Version of the Bible.

What makes this particular edition unique, however, are over 7,800 footnotes,  comprehensive book introductions and extensive notes from Dr. Warren Wiersbe, who’s well-known for his “BE series” and “Back to the Bible” radio ministry.

In sidebar features entitled “Catalyst,” Dr. Wiersbe calls attention to Bible themes and characters then connects them with our lives today. For example, in 2 Kings 6:16, Elisha prays for God to open his servant’s eyes to see the Army of God surrounding them. Then, in this “Eyes to See” catalyst, Dr. Wiersbe comments:

“Centuries after God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant, the apostle Paul wrote that we should prepare ourselves with God’s protection, ‘for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Eph. 6:12). That verse also reminds us that we have invisible allies in spiritual warfare. We may never be able to see God’s protection the same way Elisha’s servant saw it, but we can be confident that God is watching over us. We are surrounded by God’s faithfulness and love.”

Then, turning to one of my favorite passages in the New Testament, John 17, which is often referred to as “The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus,” we find these notes for the opening verses:

“Jesus was preparing Himself for the sufferings that lay ahead. As He contemplated the glory that the Father promised Him, He would receive new strength for His sacrifice (Heb. 12:1-3). But He also had His disciples in mind (John 17:13). What an encouragement this prayer should have been to them! He prayed about their security, their joy, their unity, and their future glory! He also prayed it for us today, so that we would know all He has done for us and given to us, and all that He will do for us when we get to heaven.”

Such excellent reminders and helpful features make this an outstanding choice to study at home or take to a Bible discussion group, which, Lord willing, I’ll do tomorrow.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer, reviewer

To order, click on your preference:

The Wiersbe Study Bible, leathersoft, burgundy, thumb-indexed




June 14, 2019

One Big Story: Epic


With its animated artwork, clear language, and quotes from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), One Big Story: Epic will draw children and pre-teens into a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

Published by B&H Publishing for BHKids and distributed by Lifeway, who kindly sent me a copy to review, this well-done edition features thick pages, colorful illustrations, and a hardback cover that ensure the kind of sturdiness meant to last throughout childhood and beyond.

The disadvantage to all this care is the weight of the book might be a bit much for, say, a 7-year-old. However, the sewn-in pages allow the large volume to stay open if kids sit at their desks or, more likely, flop on a bed or floor to read.

Since “epic” is a popular word, even the title has children in mind. As the Introduction says: “We often use it to say something or someone is awesome or spectacular. Whether it’s epic fails, epic movies, or epic cookies, people use this word all the time.”  

However, that opening page goes on to explain the true meaning by saying, Epic is traditionally defined as a special kind of story that shares the deeds of a great hero or tells the history of a special people,” making the Bible “the greatest epic ever written.”

To encourage young readers to make the same discovery, six colorful pages of “Contents” present lively titles and relevant drawings for each of 40 sections in the book.

In addition to the Bible stories themselves, pertinent questions have been scattered in sidebars to help children apply what they’ve learned. For instance, the story of Jonah includes these words: “God wants us to show mercy to others, even our enemies. How can we show this mercy to others today?” 

And, inserted into the story of Daniel, we find the question: “Where or when is it most difficult for you to obey God?” 

In the New Testament account of the betrayal of Jesus, we read: “God uses all things for His glory and our good, even acts as terrible as Judas planning to betray Jesus. How does knowing this help us trust God during difficult times in our lives?”

This may be an excellent choice for acquainting children with God’s Word, but, with questions like those, adults just might find the book speaks to them too!

Mary Sayler, poet-writer, reviewer




May 14, 2019

40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith


Published by Bethany House, who kindly sent me a copy to review, these 40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith spotlight “in-between” verses and bring faith-building insights from speaker-author Laurie Polich Short. As she explains in the Introduction, “The lesser-known Scriptures that we pass over help us discover new angles that can breathe life into our faith.”


In the first chapter, for example, the author considers how, “In the garden, we see God setting the stage to woo rather than control humanity.”  The chapter ends with “Reflection,” followed by three questions that cause us to think about how the text affects us personally. For instance, we're asked, “How does Genesis 3:3 speak to the way you perceive God’s boundaries?”


The chapter, “For Our Own Good,” points out that, “At first glance, the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5 might be viewed as restrictive and limiting. But Deuteronomy 10:13 gives us a perspective into God’s commandments that helps us see them in a different way. Moses tells the Israelites that observing the commandments is not primarily for God’s approval, but for their own good. The freedom we think we’ll find by escaping these boundaries is actually found by living within them.”

The aptly named chapter, “Too Much of You Is Not Enough of God,” begins with a quote from Judges 7:2 when “The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands’.”  By asking Gideon to decrease his armed forces, “The Lord works with Gideon to increase his faith….” 

The prospect of a small army caused concern, of course – as does having what we perceive as too little of anything – but as the author says, “The more fear or insecurity we have, the greater our opportunity to let God shine. Sometimes the very center of your fear will be the place God wants you to go.”

A variation of that theme appears in the chapter, “Trusting the Greater Plan,” which begins with Paul’s words in Philippians 1:12, “I want you to know, brother and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

As the author explains, “We can pray for our circumstances to change, but Paul encourages us to spend our energy and time on what God may want us to do while we are here. This perspective allowed Paul not only to witness to the prisoners and guards assigned to him, but to write letters to encourage the churches he could no longer visit. Had Paul not gone to prison, the New testament might look different – because he would have been visiting the churches instead of being limited to writing to them.”

This reminder of God’s far-reaching plan helps us to realize how much God cares – how much God loves us. Then, as the last chapter suggests, we’re better prepared to focus on “Making the Invisible God Visible.”  How? As 1 John 4:12 says in the opening verse, “No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

By placing our faith in The Word as given in 1 John 4:12, we can see how “The power to show the invisible God to the world is laid out in this verse. The way we love shows people whether the power of God within us is genuine. No amount of theology can prove the existence of God more than this simple act.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer, reviewer


To order your copy of this highly recommended book, click here: 40 Verses toIgnite Your Faith.




May 9, 2019

KJV Giant Print Bible


If you love the
King James Version of the Bible (KJV), you might want to check out the KJV Bibles Store, who kindly sent me a review copy of the reasonably priced leather burgundy KJV Bible in giant print, published by Christian Arts Publishers.

The box itself is impressive as though each Bible is a gift, which the Word of God surely is!

Thumb-indexing will hasten your search for a particular book of the Bible during a study, class, or discussion group and simply help you find what you’re looking for as you read – and re-read this reader edition – at home.

To ease your topical search for specific verses, this Bible offers a concordance and unique “Verse Finder,” which is divided into sections, topics, and locations of chapter/verse. For example:


  • When You Need – has headings of “acceptance,” “forgiveness,” “mercy,” or “wisdom.”
  • When You Feel – includes such headings as “afraid,” “burned out,” criticized,” “tempted,” or “worried.”
  • What The Bible Says About – subjects such as “angels,” “astrology,” “confession,” “parenting,” “pride,” “work,” or “worship.”


Although I prefer thicker paper, the 14-point font is clear and amply inked. The cover has a nice feel, allowing the book to lay flat when opened, and, compared to the high cost of other leather-covered Bibles, this one comes at a premium price!

Those features and a manageable size (less than 6x9”) make this two-column Bible pleasant to hold as you read and a joy to hold onto as you study God’s Word.


Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer, Bible reviewer


Premium Leather Burgundy KJV Bible Giant Print, thumb-indexed