{Book Review} The Compass Bible

{Book Review} The Compass Bible

The introduction to Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life makes a good point: The English language has altered dramatically in the last four centuries, but have our Bible translations kept pace?

The Voice translation {used in this Bible} — a collaboration among pastors, scholars, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists —  focuses on meaning and experience. It’s meant to engage the modern reader and move them through the narrative of the Bible more seamlessly.

The heart of the project is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works, while remaining painstakingly true to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts,” says the preface.

Here are a few features of this unconventional study bible:

  • Italic type in this Bible indicates words not directly tied to the translation of the original language, but words that highlight the nuances of the original, help complete ideas, and provide readerswith information that would have been obvious to the original audience. {These additional words are meant to help modern readers better understand the text without having to stop and read footnotes. I like this! Certainly helps with continuity.}
  • Delineated material expands on themes in the text. It’s set apart stylistically in a different or larger font, and, while not taken directly from the original language, it includes cultural, historical, theological, or devotional observations.
  • Screenplay format identifies dialogue and avoids the repetition of conjunctions, articles, and certain verbs. It helps greatly in immediate comprehension and intensifies dramatic presence during public reading of Scripture.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of The Voice, the NIV, and KJV, using Matthew 5:14-16:

The Voice (VOICE)

14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

New International Version (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

King James Version (KJV)

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

While Compass calls itself a study bible, it doesn’t  have the heft, weight, background, or resources that I think of in a study bible. {I use the NIV Life Application Study Bible.} It does include some simple resources that I really like, though.

They include:

  • A 365-day reading plan through the whole Bible
  • A 40-day retreat with Jesus (provides daily New Testament passages and a simple 7-step format for your devotional time)
  • The Road Map to God’s Promises {I love this! Twelve pages of scripture references for topics ranging from “What The Bible Has To Say About God’s Faithfulness” to “What To Do When You Feel Discouraged.”}
  • A user-friendly topical guide

Perhaps this piques your interest, and you’re looking for a fresh approach to get into God’s word? This Bible may be an excellent fit for you. {I’m thinking my husband will enjoy reading this translation and the clean, masculine look of the gray, embossed, faux-leather cover makes this Bible something he’d be happy to carry with him.}

Maybe, you have a solid study or devotional Bible in a traditional translation, and you’d like a more modern approach to supplement your reading? Again, I think this Bible would be a nice addition to your collection, though you may not be comfortable with this as your only Bible, or main Bible. {This is where I fall on the spectrum.}

Or, perhaps, you’re a traditionalist and you struggle with any translation other than King James Version. Then, this probably will feel very foreign to you. {Ahem, mom, this is for you!}

So, what’s the bottom line?

Would I buy a copy of this book? Maybe. I like that I have it, and will refer to it, but it would be a supplemental Bible for me, not my “main” Bible.

Would I borrow it? Definitely!

Would I recommend it to a friend? Depends on the friend. For someone struggling to get into the Bible or feeling like the Bible is relevant to them, yes. For a friend who’s a more mature Christian and who has a “pet” translation, no.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Thomas Nelson. This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage, which helps keep this site up and running… so, thank you!

{Book Review:} The Five Love Languages of Children

{Book Review:} The Five Love Languages of Children

Many of you may be familiar with New York Times bestselling author Gary Chapman’s popular marriage book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Having read and enjoyed that book, I was curious to see how the love languages concept applied to children. I’d put The Five Love Languages of Children on my Amazon wish list a while ago, and when I saw it offered to bloggers for review, I ordered my print copy {I’m old-fashioned like that} right away.

“You know you love your child. But how can you show it so they really feel loved?” asks the book cover.

5 love languages pull

We’re a busy household with three kids — ages 3, 8, and 10 — as well as stay-at-home-mom me, and dad, who travels all too frequently {he’s been gone two ENTIRE WEEKS out of the past five, though that’s extreme}. I write/blog, run a small Etsy shop, sell essential oils, and, of course, cook, clean, run errands, and wrangle kids. I like to decorate and bake and dive into everything seasonal. I cook from scratch often. I host a local foods dropoff-pickup on my front porch. I recently began leading a weekly women’s Bible study in my home.

Long story short, I like to keep active and get my hands into lots of different things — but this translates into far too many “not nows” and “Mommy’s busy.” I’ve been suspecting for a long time that I care for my kids’ physical needs, but don’t always do as good at filling their emotional “love tanks,” as Drs. Chapman and Campbell would say.

Enter “The Five Love Languages of Children.” I found the book imminently readable and packed with real-life examples and stories. I enjoyed reading chapters on each of the five love languages and found each of these chapters’ ending sections with specific ideas on how to “speak” that love language to your child very helpful.

5 love lang questions

I have to admit I jumped pretty early to the “Love Language Mystery Game” in the back of the book and had my daughters select their answers from a list of questions designed to uncover their love languages. {My son, obviously, is still too young, so I have to observe over time to discover his love language.} But, as I read the chapter “How to Discover Your Child’s Love Language,” I realized I need to practice careful observation, as well as referring to their “test” scores, to really discover how to speak my children’s individual love languages fluently.

The book also delves into issues such as:

  • Discipline and the Love Languages
  • Learning and the Love Languages
  • Anger and Love
  • Love Languages in Single-Parent Families
  • Love Languages in Marriage

I enjoyed this book, and found it a welcome reminder of Paul’s wise words in Corinthians that “the greatest of these is love.”

So, what’s the bottom line?

Would I buy a copy of this book? Yes.
Would I check it out from the library? Yes. 
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Moody Publishers. This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage, which helps keep this site up and running… so, thank you!

From Idea to eBook Online Course

{Book Review:} The Outcast

{Book Review:} The Outcast

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently found several great ways to get and read books – for free – and one of those is joining up with publishers to review books. Today’s post is my first book review.

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim — a retelling of the Scarlet Letter – takes the Nathaniel Hawthorne classic and re-imagines it in the modern-day setting of an Old Order Mennonite community. The story unfolds through the voices of dual narrators — Rachel, the unwed, young mother, and Amos, the deceased father of Rachel’s brother-in-law.

Rachel refuses to name the partner in her sin, but most discerning readers will almost immediately suspect who the father is – which was a bit of a disappointment to me, who wished the identity of the father would have been handled with a lighter hand, so we could have had that mystery to relish for a bit longer.

outcast 2

The story’s central tension revolves around Rachel and her twin sister, Leah – as well as Leah’s husband, Tobias, who obviously holds Rachel in great disdain, and Tobias’ younger brother, Judah, who’s been in love with Rachel since they played together as children. As Rachel leaves the community that’s shunned her, she makes her way in the outside world, forming new connections and friendships outside cloistered Copper Creek, but she also finds out that the life of her son, Eli, is in danger.

So, here’s what I liked about the book:

• It was an easy, summer read – a beach book. I realize that the subject matter is “heavy,” but the writing style was light.

• I liked the whole idea of re-thinking the Scarlet Letter in a modern-day Mennonite community. I thought that was perfectly suited to the classic’s storyline, and I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes perspective. {As someone who grew up on a farm bought from an Amish family and lived in a community that included a small Amish population, I do have a personal interest in the Amish and Mennonites I remembered – not as curiosities to stare at, but as everyday people who were my friends and neighbors – growing up.}

• The longer the book went on, I thought the author really found her groove and showed the use of rich, descriptive language.

outcast 3{{Above, you can see the results of a little mishap with some coffee!}}

Here’s what I didn’t like:

• The book was very confusing at the beginning, and for some readers, they wouldn’t get past that and keep reading. Let me give you an example. The book opens at a funeral and is narrated by Rachel. By the third paragraph, though, we are already in a flashback in Rachel’s mind, taking us back to her childhood days. This flashback lasts about two pages until we go to another flashback – one where Rachel’s mom comes to Rachel when she is disgraced. Then, that turns into a musing of when Leah got married, during yet another timeframe. Then, by the ninth page, we are in the company of the book’s second narrator, Amos, that man whose funeral the book opened with. Confused yet? I was.

• I was never really sold on Amos {Rachel’s brother-in-law’s father} as the second narrator. I understand that he provided an interesting viewpoint, but that viewpoint could have been achieved by a third-person narrative, which wouldn’t have seemed so forced.

• As I mentioned earlier, I felt the father of Rachel’s child was too obvious too soon. Perhaps that was the author’s intent, but I would have preferred a bit of mystery to entice me to keep reading. There were several other plot twists that occurred later in the book, and I appreciated those, but the paternity question could have sustained the momentum of the early part of the book better.

So, the bottom line:

Would I buy a copy of this book? No.
Would I check it out from the library? Yes.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Depends. {It would be a no for my more literary friends.}

Fun fact: My dad was at my house babysitting one evening, and the rest of us were gone for about five hours. This book had just arrived in the mail and was sitting on the coffee table. He read most of it that night, and finished it up the next morning!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House.

You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream

You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream

God has a dream for you, your talents, your life that has never been and never will be duplicated by anyone else…You have what it takes to fulfill the dream God has for your life, and no one else does.

— Holley Gerth

Today marks the official launch of You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You by Holley Gerth.  I was lucky enough to receive an advance e-copy of the book, but I plan to buy my own copies, both to gift and keep. It’s that good.

Holley takes you on a journey to discover and fully pursue your own God-sized dream.

She helps you identify your strengths and skills and craft a LIFE statement {a kind of personal mission statement}. She guides you through inertia, fear, and misconceptions about God-sized dreams, and helps prepares you for inevitable setbacks.  The book also counsels on on self-care and stress management, showcases real-life God-sized dream stories, and finishes by “commissioning you,” the book’s grand finale — a God-centered pep talk.

And, Holley achieves all this in a down-to-earth — yet elegant — and spirit-filled prose.

If you think you may be a God-sized dreamer, or know one in your life, I’d highly recommend this book. You can click on the link in the first paragraph to go right to Amazon, where You’re Made for A God-sized Dream is available in either a print or Kindle option.

Where will your God-sized dream take you? Only God knows. Start the journey today.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you click through the link and make a purchase, I will earn a small percentage. It’s clicks like these that help keep this site up and running, so thanks!