In seminary, I had a church history course with Garth Rosell – one of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s finest professors. He has such a winsome spirit and has a passionate heart for seeing God’s people grow.
Anyway, at one point he commented how we Americans are obsessed with collecting Bibles. You have a Gideon’s Bible someone gave you, your Bible from confirmation or Sunday School or whatever. Your “Study Bible.” But then you wanted something with more zing so you got the Serendipity Bible or the Spiritial [fill in noun] Bible. Oops – you don’t have a variety of translations. Gotta get a few more Bibles. Did you hear about the Word Study Bible….and on and on and on. Rosell lamented how we have an abundance of Bibles while Christians throughout history have hungered for God’s Word and so many have been without.
So – when I heard about the Mosaic NLT (Tyndale), I was skeptical. I am going to be teaching a Christian Formation course next year and I wanted to have my students use something that would give their Bibles something to aid in their character-building and in their communion with God.
I tend to shudder at most cheesy “spiritual formation” Bibles, but I also did not want to simply throw at them a study Bible with academic notes.
In comes the Mosaic NLT. It has a running text of the New Living Translation – uninterrupted! That means that you can read Scripture along without notes and “reflections” and fad-ish sidebars.
What makes this Bible special is the lengthy front-matter. It is a “mosaic” of devotional thoughts and sermons and reflections from such diverse people as William Shakespeare, Horatio Bonar, Lauren Winner, Clement, J.R.R. Tolkein, Peter Abelard, excerpts from the Book of Common Prayer, Brian McLaren, and a variety of modern everyday people.
These Mosaic bits (that form a whole which glorifies Jesus) are grouped in weekly readings; and the weeks are meant to follow (roughly) a traditional church calender. It is done in a way that almost any church tradition (mostly mainline I am guessing) can use it.
My favorite aspect of the Bible is the use of Christian art from the Bread and Fish mosaic (4th century AD) to modern art (and everything in-between).
Rather than giving my students a “chicken soup for the soul” kind of devotional Bible, this allows a host of voices from all of Christianity (globally and temporally) to speak into the lives of Christians.
Lest one think this is all words of wisdom from spiritual gurus and not from bona fide academically-trained Christians, I was encouraged to see these people’s excerpts: Karl Barth, Bonhoeffer, Albert Einstein (?), J.I. Packer (of course), Miroslav Volf, and Kallistos Ware.
Also….the word of Sufjan Stevens makes an appearance…
Anyway, I don’t think this needs to be the 10th Bible you own, but I am both a fan of the NLT and I think the idea of a Mosaic of readings and artistic impressions is useful.
If you do buy one, as my students will probably be required to do, perhaps you can give away one of your (probably many) old Bibles to someone that doesn’t have one.