A remarkable new study Bible is just being released, one that I’m convinced will be immensely helpful to many.
Several months ago, when I was sent links to large portions of this Bible, I was immediately captivated by it. I was walking with friends of ours in the raw grief of their tragedy, and I found myself reading the Beyond Suffering Bible not only through my eyes but also theirs. I can’t say enough about the value of this monumental work. To integrate God’s Word with such sparkling, honest, and Christ-centered insights was brilliant. I don’t know how this Bible could be better or more complete!
Here’s more about it:
This is the first study Bible created specifically for those who suffer and the people who love them. Though struggles can sometimes seem endless, God’s hope is infinite. Crafted by the world-renown experts at Joni and Friends, the Beyond Suffering Bible tackles tough questions about suffering head-on. It is a vital resource for individuals, communities, and churches who want to delve into God’s Word to try to understand suffering and persevere through difficult times.
Each book of the Bible has an introduction, orienting readers to the vital information they need to help them understand the book more fully. But the Beyond Suffering Bible goes beyond a basic book introduction, focusing on key suffering and disability themes that are addressed in each book of the Bible.
My wife Nanci and I deeply love Joni Eareckson Tada. With her warm-hearted exaltation of God’s sovereign love, she has profoundly impacted our own lives and ministry, along with countless others. She’s a living example of the verse she quotes in her introduction: “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees” (Psalm 119:71).
Though they are also practical, one thing that’s striking is the depth and substance of the comments. This isn’t surprising to those who know Joni. One night in 2006, Nanci and I had dinner with Ken and Joni at their home. I remember looking through her bookshelves and seeing Spurgeon and all her theology books, hearing her speak words of adoration of Jesus our King, seeing her tears of hope and joy, and thinking, Here’s a sister who is gold. Pure gold. (And Ken is terrific too!)
The Beyond Suffering Bible is not only attractive but also highly readable. The additional materials—profiles, devotionals, words from Joni, connection points, study notes, intros, and topical guides—are exceptionally well done. Rather than distracting from God’s Word, they are so in tune with it that they actually lift it up, giving the Word its rightful place.
There are ten different Bible reading plans that deal with everything from a proper view of healing, to extending comfort to the suffering, to the role of the church in regard to suffering and disability. Many of the insights are breathtaking and paradigm-shifting.
While this Bible would be wonderful if only used by those with chronic pain and disability, even world-class athletes and scholars face devastating personal and emotional crises, grief, anxiety, fear, profound disappointments, and depression. The least physically and mentally disabled people still live in a fallen world of suffering where they need to have eyes to see and reach beyond. Indeed, the Curse has disabled all of us, which is why we so desperately need our Savior!
My expectation was that the Beyond Suffering Bible would be great for the disabled, as well as pastors, health professionals, and family and friends who are close to those who are suffering. But in fact, my high expectations were exceeded. After actually going through a good part of it, my conclusion is, this will be great for everyone! It’s hard for me to imagine any person who loves God and loves people not loving this amazing resource. I believe our Savior and King will use it powerfully.
I asked two of our EPM staff members to look over this book and let me know what they thought. I wondered if perhaps my love for it was over-the-top and they might be a little less enthusiastic. Independently, they both told me they were blown away by its features, insights, warmth, and power.
I will personally give the Beyond Suffering Bible to many. (Check out this video of Joni talking about the features of this great resource.) No matter what’s going on in your life, I highly recommend you check it out. I believe our Redeemer will use it powerfully!