In case you haven’t visited a bookstore of any kind lately or don’t just browse around Amazon for the fun of it (hey, grad students can dream, right?), let me offer you a tidbit of information: there are a LOT of Bibles available today—literally, tons of Bibles. There are different translations, various styles, made for diverse audiences, contrasting theologies at work—to say nothing of the plethora of languages in which the Bible is now available. In many ways, this dissemination of Bibles is good—people have more access to better translations and more applicable versions of the scriptures than at any other time in history. Yet the sheer smorgasbord of options is not without its problems, namely, which Bible should you read?
Personally, I employ two rules to help answer this question: First, read more than one Bible—take advantage of the options you have available in order to get as well-rounded a perspective as you are able. Second, among the multiple Bibles you’re using, try to have at least one geared toward your “niche”—at least one that offers you resources for where you are in life. One such resource is The Maxwell Leadership Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2014).
The Maxwell Leadership Bible stands as a great Bible for anyone serving in a position of leadership. A combination of Thomas Nelson’s New International Version and John C. Maxwell’s insights into effective and Biblically-sound leadership principles, this Bible includes a number of superb leadership resources. Most compelling are the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and “21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader” found throughout and helpfully indexed in the back. These articles are Maxwell at his best, combining critical thinking about leadership skills and the wisdom of scripture to teach and inspire leaders. If you’re a leader, especially a Church reader, the insights in this Bible are well worth your read.
Beyond merely sliding some of Maxwell’s insights into a Bible, the notes and leadership sections of this Bible actually correspond to the narratives and messages being relayed in the Biblical text. Even in sections where “niche” Bibles often fall silent, such as Wisdom literature or the Prophets, there are plenty of profiles and “read-as-you-go” notes worth engaging. Especially helpful are the introductions to each book of the Bible, which include insights on God’s role in the narrative of scripture, notable and influential leaders, and lessons of leadership found in that particular book. Additionally helpful are the “Leadership Highlights” noted in each introduction, pointing out various notes and insights which are drawn out from the text.
Likewise, the rear matter is valuable, providing not only helpful indices of the in-text resources, but also including a number of articles and resources. These include: “Winning with People”, “25 Ways to Win With People”, “Talent Is Never Enough”, “The 360 Degree Leader”, “The Difference Maker”, “Ethics 101”, “Thinking for a Change”, and “Today Matters.” Primarily adapted and simplified from Maxwell’s other books and lessons, these tools are a valuable addition to a Bible committed to thinking about leadership. Finally, the solid, hardback construction of this Bible is worth praising, as is the quality of the general interior design.
A common shortcoming among “niche” Bibles involves their lack of information designed to provide historical and theological context to readers. Unfortunately, this criticism applies here as well. A three page introduction from Maxwell, a one page call to leadership, and a three page preface on denominations and translations, helpful as they each may be, do not an effective Bible make. Additionally, the introductions to each book are a little too focused on leadership profiles—the information is great, but greater balance would have been appreciated. As with other “niche” Bibles, it’s important that The Maxwell Leadership Bible not be read in isolation, but instead relied upon for its strengths and read with other Bibles and resources.
Overall, this Bible comes highly recommended for those in positions of leadership within all fields, not just in the Church or ministry of some form. The lessons and resources of this Bible, when combined with the lessons and wisdom of the Bible text, make The Maxwell Leadership Bible a superb resource worthy of your attention.
I received this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.