Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
ATJ 35 (2003) p. 99
The Leadership Bible, New International Version (Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1998). 1679 pages, paper, $24.99.
The NIV Leadership Bible is one in a sea of different “life situation” Bibles that can be purchased from your favourite Christian book retailer. There seems to be such a plethora of these Bibles, each with its own series of notes for the reader’s edification, it is getting to the point where one might roll one’s eyes and ask, “Another one?”
This Bible, which is also available in hard cover, is replete with leadership tips and mini-studies, as well as a “unique home-page study system” which is laid out in three easy steps on the laminated bookmark, which comes with the Bible. One can use this method to engage in studies under the rubrics of personal development, skills, and relationships, with a great variety of sub-topics under each rubric. These studies are designed to last either one or two weeks and can be used in groups or in personal devotions. Among the “home-page” contents are studies in character, integrity, leader qualifications, wisdom, accountability, conflict management, decision making, time management, interpersonal relationships and servant leadership—all issues that matter to people who are in leadership, either in the church or in the world. There are suggested passages for memorization included in each weekly study.
My own experience in following these different studies is that, while they are faithful to the texts they are set with, they tend to apply more to those who are involved in lay leadership, in the church or outside the church. As a pastor, I found some of the applications somewhat pedantic, but that may be why they didn’t call it the “Pastoral Leadership Bible”. Occasionally, I found that the hermeneutics were stretched a bit to come up with the leadership principles that are applied, particularly in the Old Testament. However, if one is prepared to overlook these—and they may merely show a theological bias—the other features of this Bible that foster the application of Christian leadership principles in daily life outshine the parts which one might consider controversial.
Studies of different Bible characters are also available in this Bible. For example, surrounding Genesis 14, there is a brief (12-line) commentary on the life of Melchizedek. The editors comment on what is known biblically about Melchizedek, and close with an application for leaders: “Melchizedek met Abram’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Often the best remembered leaders are those who graciously serve the individuals who comprise their team. Melchizedek points us to Jesus not only as a priest and king, but also as a servant lead...
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