Showing posts with label Our Sunday Visitor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Our Sunday Visitor. Show all posts

December 15, 2014

Christmas gifts for all sorts of Bible readers

This post comes later than intended and, very likely, I accidentally omitted some of my favorites or yours. Nevertheless, this will give you a quick list of highly recommended editions of the Bible to check for your Christmas giving and your own Christmas list.

Catholic readers
Catholic Study Bible
Catholic Women’s Bible
Little Rock Catholic Study Bible
Jerusalem Bible
New Catholic Answer Bible
New Jerusalem Bible
Saint Mary’s Press College Study Bible
The Saints Devotional Bible

Adventure Bible for Early Readers,
Adventure Bible,
Bible storybooks for children
Bibles for children
Catholic Children’s Bible
Catholic Teen Bible
Catholic Youth Bible
ESV Children’s Bible
NIV Teen Study Bible

Evangelical readers
ESV Study Bible
Gospel Transformation Bible,
Holman Study Bible
Life Application Study Bible
MacArthur Study Bible,
New American Standard Bible, wide-margin, goatskin

General readers
African Heritage Study Bible
Amplified Bible
Anselm Academic Study Bible
Complete Parallel Bible
Common English Study Bible
The Lutheran Study Bible,
New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha
The Message with deuterocanonical aka apocryphal books
NIV Study Bible
Oxford Study Bible, Revised English Bible with Apocrypha
Thompson Chain Reference

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.


March 8, 2014

The Saints Devotional Bible

When Our Sunday Visitor sent me a review copy of this lovely edition of the New American Bible revised edition (NAB+), I welcomed the opportunity to get better acquainted with inspired Christian writers, who became known by the early church as saints because of their strong faith and exemplary lives. With the inspired writings of 200 saints highlighted in the front pages and their bios in the back of The Saints Devotional Bible, I discovered Christians with whom I identified and connected as though being introduced to timeless friends I now look forward to meeting in person in eternity.

Meanwhile, we have the good company of saints on earth as the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) refers, about 100 times, to those who love Jesus Christ, while the Douay-Rheims provides 119 such references, according to my search on Bible Gateway.

So, how do we become more recognizable as the saints we’re intended to be? Or, to put it another way, what do “The Saints and The Bible” want to tell us today? In the article by that title, we see these headings to headline our quest:

Saints Study Scripture.
Saints Memorize Scripture.
Saints Pray Scripture.
Saints Use Scripture in Spiritual Warfare.
Saints Seek Guidance in Scripture.
Saints Proclaim Scripture.
Saints Apply Scripture.

To further guide us, this highly recommended edition includes “Readings from the Saints,” a list of 94 key topics or themes, helpful footnotes throughout the text, and additional inserts, which provide “a mini-course on understanding, praying, and applying Scripture drawn from the teachings, writings, and examples of the saints.”

In the section inserted for “Saints On Scripture,” for example, I met and fell in love with St. Ephrem (306-373), who said, “The Lord has colored his Word with many kinds of beauty, so that everyone who scrutinizes it can contemplate what he loves. And he has hidden all treasures in his word, so that each of us might find a treasure in what we ponder.” Yes! Then, as St. Ephrem wisely cautions, “Let him who discovers one of the riches of his Word not think that there is nothing else in the word of God but what he has found. Let him rather realize that he has been able to discover only one thing among many others.” Again, amen!

As the Living Word, the Bible continually has more to offer to those who seek. Another favorite, St. John Cassian (360-433) put it this way: “In order to keep God always in mind, you should frequently pray this verse: ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue’ (Ps 70:2). With good reason this text has been selected from all of Scripture as a method of continual prayer. It encompasses all the emotions that human beings can experience. We can effectively apply it to any circumstance and use it to resist every temptation. “ For example, “When a headache or drowsiness interferes with my spiritual reading, I must say, ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue.’ When I cannot fall asleep at night, I must sigh and pray, ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue.’” And, “When anger or envy threatens to disturb my peacefulness and embitter me, I must force myself to pray, groaning, ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue.’” Amen, amen, and amen.

Although space and publishing rights prevent my including all of the wonders found in the “Saints on Scripture” section, the headings let you know what early Christians wrote about with saintly wisdom and inspired words unbound by time or space:

Experiencing the Power of the Word of God
Reading Scripture: Essential for Christian Living
Pursuing God in Scripture: Practical Advice on Reading the Bible
Scripture Leads Us to Eternal Life
Understanding Scripture Through Faith in Christ
The Inexhaustible Richness of God’s Word
We Need a Guide to the Bible
Scripture and Tradition
Understanding the Spiritual Sense of Scripture
Putting God’s Word into Practice
Scripture as a Mirror of the Soul
Finding Her Way in Scripture
Patterning Their Lives on Scripture
Minding Our Thoughts with Scripture Meditation
The Benefits of Mediating on Scripture
Meditating on a Scripture Verse
Praying With Scripture
The Psalms and the Christian Life
The Gospel and the Christian Life
A Method of Continual Prayer
When God Speaks to Us in Scripture
Using Scripture in Daily Life
Formed by God’s Word
From Study to Action

© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer

The Saints Devotional Bible, paperback

January 2, 2014

Catholic Women’s Bible

The word “catholic” means universal, which aptly describes the Catholic Women’s Bible with its timeless, universal appeal to women everywhere. As stated in the introduction by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker (one of my favorite contemporary devotional writers): “We have tried to highlight some of the women without whom God’s plan for humanity would not have unfolded as it has…. Their situations and circumstances may be different from ours, but the longings and dreams haven’t changed.” With colorful inserts to acquaint us with women throughout the Bible, we “come to realize that these women are not just figures out of a distant past. They are our sisters.”

In addition to these unique features, the visually-appealing cover speaks of light and levity and seems to draw the reader to look up and into the pages of scripture.

Published by Our Sunday Visitor, those scriptures comes to us in the revised New American Bible, which includes deuterocanonical books often referred to by Bible publishers as “apocryphal.” Also, other Christian publishers often place deuterocanonical books between the two testaments or after Revelation, whereas a Catholic edition interweaves the books according to their primary category.

At the beginning of this Bible, for example, “The Names and Order of the Books of the Bible” lists “Biblical Novellas” (Tobit, Judith, Esther, and I and II Maccabees) as located between the books of history and books of wisdom. Then, besides Job , Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), “The Wisdom Books” include The Book of Wisdom and The Wisdom of Ben Sira (aka Sirach), whose inspired words continue to inspire those of us who read them.

In referring to the deuterocanonical or apocryphal books, we’re talking, of course, of the Hebrew Bible aka Old Testament. In any New Testament Bible published by any publisher, you will find the same books in the same order with the same devotion among Christians – male or female – in any church anywhere. However, Christian women who want to relate to the women of the Bible will welcome this lovely edition where we meet such interesting but often overlooked people as “Mrs. Noah: Standing by Her Man” or Asenath “Joseph’s Egyptian Wife” or the prophetess Anna with her “intuitive nature” or “Mrs. Peter: The Woman Behind The Man,” each of whom helps us to learn more about ourselves and one another and, ultimately, the “Bride of Christ: The Church.”

©2014, review by Mary Harwell Sayler

Catholic Women’s Bible, paperback

December 20, 2013

The Catholic Teen Bible

When Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) kindly sent me review copies of their recently published editions of the newly revised New American Bible (NAB), I picked up The Catholic Teen Bible, intending to leaf through quickly until I had more time to study each of the books. However, the pages opened to one of the many colorful inserts, generously supplied throughout the edition, and I was hooked.

Here’s what I read:

Who is Jesus?
Son of God. Savior. Messiah. Lord. Master

These are all ways to describe Jesus. But what do they mean? And why does Jesus matter?

Obviously, important questions, right? When you have important questions, it’s vital that you go to the right place to get your answers. When we’re talking about Jesus, the place to start isn’t in movies, television specials, or novels.

The place to start is in the gospels. That’s right. If you’re really serious about wanting to know more about Jesus, don’t waste your time anywhere else. Read a gospel – or two! – from beginning to end. Reflect, think, and pray.

That example gives you a glimpse of the honest, down-to-earth tone and practical, teen-friendly wisdom from the author and high school teacher of religion, Amy Welborn. For another example, I'll again use the OSV format with teen appeal:

What is prayer?

Prayer is talking to God, but it’s more than that. It’s even more than listening to God.

Prayer is being tuned in to God and responding to his presence in your life.

That can mean talking, listening, or just being. It can mean singing, drawing, or writing. It can happen alone or with others. It can be joyful, grateful, hopeful, and even angry.

The spiritual insights in these inserts will help Christians from any denomination, but you’ll find “Catholic specific” information too. A good example comes with a turn of the page as the above insert goes on to explain something people in general often wonder:

Why pray to saints?

Catholics believe that death is just the beginning – it’s the beginning of new life with God. So that means that the people who have died and gone to heaven are still around – they are part of the Church, or the Communion of Saints.

So Catholic prayer to saints is absolutely no different than asking your next-door neighbor to pray for you. When we pray to saints, we don’t worship them. The word “prayer,” in its origins, just means “ask.” If you actually read the prayers to saints that Catholics pray, you will see that’s what they’re all about – asking these holy men and women to pray for us, just as we ask our friends on earth to pray for us as well.

In the next few weeks, Lord willing, we’ll discuss the other review copies OSV sent, but giving them a quick peek now, I see that a clearer font and nice quality white paper has been used for the other editions, whereas The Catholic Teen Bible has pages similar to newsprint. However, the price for this book is much less than for the others, so I suspect OSV wanted to provide a very affordable Bible for teens who will be grown up before we know it. With this Bible, they’ll be growing spiritually too.

©2013, Mary Sayler

The Catholic Teen Bible, paperback