Thursday, July 9, 2009

Life with God Bible

The Life with God Bible is set to be released in early August by HarperCollins. This is a continuation of a project that began a number of years ago, spearheaded most notably by well-known Christian spiritual writer Richard J. Foster. It seems that this new Bible is an updated, more compact edition of the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible published a few year back. While this may not be of interest to most Catholic readers, this Bible project does come in editions with the Deuterocanonical Books. (Thankfully they do refer to them as the "Deuterocanonical Book" and not simply "the Apocrypha".) The Bible translation used is the NRSV.

According to the HarperCollins website, The Life with God Bible combines "the depth of a study Bible with the warmth of a devotional Bible, The Life with God Bible makes Scripture come alive as you learn to read the text in a fresh way, not as something to be mastered, but as a story to enter and a lifestyle to pursue." Mmmm......warmth! My guess is that it tends to lead more towards the devotional end of the spectrum. Any one familiar with the whole Renovare movement or have used the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible? I have seen the older edition in the bookstores from time to time, but I have never taken the time to actually read through it.

What interests me is that it comes in a fairly compact size: 7.1 x 5 x 1.9 inches. It also comes in various editions and covers, including "Italian Leather". I wonder if the "Italian Leather" is the "Italian Duo-Tone" leather that I have seen on a number of newly released Bibles. One that comes to mind, that I have seen in a bookstore, is the NIV Thinline from Zondervan.


Theophrastus said...

I note that the page count of the Life with God Bible is exactly the same as the page count of the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible which leads me to lead that the Bible has not necessarily been revised or had the commentary abridged.

(I am not sure what you meant by "compact" in the first paragraph of your post -- if you were simply referring to page size [e.g., your use of "compact" in the third paragraph]-- yes it does seem to be printed onto a smaller page size.)

I thought that the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible (which I only spent a little time with) was less devotional than one might expect.

The Renovaré organization does include Roman Catholic representation; you may find this Wikipedia entry illuminating. Their key theme is balancing six spiritual disciplines: prayer, Scripture reading, worship, meditation, fasting, and silence. While I can't speak to this organization or the members of it (and I wonder what the distinction between some of the disciplines is: "prayer vs. worship", "meditaton vs. silence") on paper, it does not that different from many spiritual practices which combine, to some degree or another, the following elements:

- prayer
- meditation
- study
- outreach
- observance of religious law

This outline pretty more or less describes every major religion.

Timothy said...


Yes, when I said compact I meant smaller page size. I also noticed the term "compact" used on the Amazon site for the product.

Thanks for the link, it does shed a little more light on the organization.

Anonymous said...

I did have a copy of The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible and frankly I didn't care for it much. The physical production was poor, the pages were printed too tightly into the binding and it was difficult to read. Nor did I find the notes all that helpful--although the debate raging about the notes in some circles was interesting. For however brief a period, I had to look up and remember the difference between pantheism and panentheism (if I spelled those right!) I must admit that I had previously purchased The Spiritual Formation Bible edited by Timothy K. Johnson and published by Zondervan in the NRSV and NIV--and it pushed me to despair because it was the closest thing I've ever found to a PERFECT Bible and yet it was so far away. It (ie. the Johnson) was done in a beautiful single column format with beautiful glossy plates. Unfortunately, it was not available with the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal books, it was limited to hardcover or so-so port bonded, but the worst aspect was that it was unnecessarily difficult to read--not that the print was to small (although larger would have helped) but it was printed on a parchment colored paper with a reddish brown ink--simply not enough contrast. A revision of the The Spiritual Formation Bible has recently been released as The Meeting God Bible and I'm sorely tempted to order a copy just to see how it's been changed. Unfortunately, it appears to be available only in a hardcover edition using the standard Protestant edition 66 books. Anyway, the point to the long aside is this: The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible, aside from including the Deuterocanonical books, seemed to be a big step backward from The Spiritual Formation Bible edited by Timothy Johnson.

With regard to Renovare--I picked up Dallas Willard's book The Divine Conspiracy and in my opinion it is a modern classic. I've read his other books, too, but haven't gotten his newest one yet. As a matter of fact, earlier this year I was struck by the parallels between Dallas Willard and Deitrich Von Hilderbrand--primarily the philosophy professor aspect (Willard@USC) and decided to undertake a project of comparing their respective ideas on metanoia, if you will, so I have a copy of Transformation in Christ and Willard's book Renovation of the Heart waiting for my time and attention. Any Christian--Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant--should benefit from reading Dallas Willard, esp. The Divine Conspiracy. I also have read some Richard Foster--I don't think it's anything he does, but his books just don't kindle the fires so much.

Thanks for all the work you do on your site--I really appreciate it. I'm always tempted to call Gus Lloyd and tell him to have you on as a guest on his Sirius XM radio show on The Catholic Channel so more people will know about this great site. Keith

Timothy said...


Thanks for the kind words and your insight. I too have the Spiritual Formation Bible NRSV that you mentioned. Overall it is a pretty neat Bible I must say, although it does have the limitations that you mentioned.

I have seen The Divine Conspiracy from time to time and have always thought about picking it up. Perhaps I will do so now with your recommendation. As Theophrastus pointed out, it appears that the page number is the same for both the Renovare and Life with God Bibles, so perhaps there will not be much of a difference. Hmmm...

Thanks again!