When I think about Christian publishers such as Crossway, the word “integrity” comes to mind. For example, two of their books recently reviewed on the Christian Poets & Writers blog show the integration to aim for between Christianity and the arts. Lord willing, such resources will encourage us as communicators for Christ to gain a glimpse of the God-empowered effect our poems and writings can have in a literary realm.
But it’s the integrity - the integration of the spiritual realm with everyday life that comes to mind in Crossway’s new presentation of the English Study Version (ESV) in the Gospel Transformation Bible.
We’ve talked about the ESV in “Bible editions for research and accuracy” and also the “ESV Study Bible gives you a one-volume library.” Besides that edition, which I turn to for research before beginning a new writing project or leading discussions in my Bible study group, I found a reader edition in an incredibly soft lambskin cover for summer reading and, okay, I admit it, an occasional hug.
Obviously I’m a fan of ESV and the quality produced by Crossway. So when I heard of their new themed edition of ESV, I requested a review copy and got a sampler of this soon-to-be-released treasure.
Unlike other releases of ESV or other editions, what’s different about the Gospel Transformation Bible (GTB) is its approach. Instead of repeating or condensing the background information in the notes and study aids of the ESV Study Bible, the GTB takes a new tack. It focuses on the transforming power of God’s love.
Even if we read a Bible story dozens of times, we might still feel disconnected or short-circuited from God’s love, a love meant to be The Transformer – power source, energy supplier, convertor, and converter of our lives. With the goal of reconnecting us to that love in the GTB, the Introduction states, “Every text, seen in its redemptive context, is reflecting an aspect of humanity’s fallen condition that requires the grace of God.”
Grace of God! Grace of God – how often have we called upon that loving mercy when we deserved, well, nothing. But that ongoing Grace did not suddenly appear with Jesus’ birth. From the beginning of time, God has provided for, loved, and proclaimed goodness over creation, over us. And shortly after the Fall, God began a plan of redemption we can track from Genesis to Revelation, especially with the notes in this edition to guide us as we read.
What a faith-builder! What a Holy Presence we find throughout Holy Scripture when our eyes have been opened to see! And what integrity the GBT brings to our reading and our Christian lives by showing us how “the unfolding gospel truths in any given passage of Scripture motivate and enable believers to honor their Savior from the heart – in short, how grace transforms.”
©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler
According to the information I’ve received, Crossway plans to release the Gospel Transformation Bible by the end of September but until September 2 will offer a 50% discount on paperback and quality leather-covered copies. In case you see this after those dates, I’ll post an Amazon ad for GTB in hardback.