“While all else may change, God’s promises remain firm.” – Jimmy Carter
How many of us wish faith and the living of our faith was a simple matter?
There are those days where we just do not know how to live. Yet, many people have come before us and are still living among us who showing us how a life founded on faith can be.
This is the idea behind the Simple Faith Bible with reflections from Jimmy Carter.
Learning From Those We Disagree With
Now, before you close this review… Please continue reading.
I know many of my readers see the name Jimmy Carter associated with a Bible, and they want to stop reading. However, pause for a moment.
Answer this: Is being a Republican a prerequisite for being a Christian? Can a Christian be a democrat? Before bringing up all the reason… are any of those the foundations for being saved? No. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not based on our political standing.
So, can we learn from people we disagree with? Yes. Jimmy Carter claims to have faith in Jesus, and he lives out that faith. In this Bible, President Carter reflects on how Scripture has spoken to him. Jesus said to us that if someone is not against us, then they are for us. So, I sat down and read through this Bible.
Good but Lacking
Overall, I loved the idea of this Bible. I found it interesting to take someone in the faith community and get their perspective on faith. The comments, the devotional thoughts, and prayers are thought provoking and push one closer to a relationship with God and an outworking of the faith with his those around him.
However, the comments, prayers, and devotional thoughts were quite sparse. I wish there were more included At the beginning of the Bible is an excellent index to find them all, but I wanted to see some more. For a Bible that costs $39.99 (hardcover), I would expect to find more.
Yet, the content of the material is good in helping us learn compassion and a fight for peace in such a trying time. Yet, I was looking for more of these things.
Layout and Translation
The layout of this Bible is good for the eyes and easy to use. The print is at a good size where you do not need to hold it so close to see. Layout is key for the use of a Bible, and this Bible is easy to page through to find each note.
The translation is NRSV (New Revised Standard Version). It can be clunky to read at times, but there is an artistic quality to the language used. However, I would not use this for a brand new believer. I would use the NIV or NLT.
A Contradictory Conundrum
I did appreciate all the comments, and a lot were thought provoking in taking the faith from the ideal to the practical. I enjoyed having my faith challenged in how I view people and their situations.
However, I did find a conundrum. The comments, prayers, and devotionals revealed a heart passionate for God and for His Word. Yet, Jimmy Carter once said, “When we go to the Bible we should keep in mind that the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge. So there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible. But the basic principles are applicable to my life and I don’t find any conflict among them.“
From this quote, it seems Jimmy Carter holds the belief there is error in the Bible and we need to weed out what is truth and what is error. This I would disagree with. The Bible is clear that all of it comes from God, and all of Scripture is for our profit and growth.
Therefore, it was difficult to take some of the comments, prayers, and devotionals serious. I can still learn from them, and appreciate this man’s faith. However, I need to keep in mind this conundrum and check what he is saying with Scripture. Scripture should always come first before trusting any man’s or woman’s opinion or words about Scripture.
An Overall Opinion
After spending many hours with this Bible, I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. While I can learn from Jimmy Carter, I need to be careful in everything that I take from him. It is not his politics that stand in the way, but his view of Scripture.
Another aspect was the sparseness of the notes, comments, prayers, and devotional thoughts. I wish there were more. There were many times where it would be around 50 pages before the next one would appear.
The Simple Faith Bible with reflections from Jimmy Carter can be a good devotional or inspiring Bible tool to help us in our compassion with those around us. But, I would not use is as a daily study Bible. It is great to challenge our faith and to see it become more incarnational, but I would not use it to dig deep into the Word.
The Simple Faith Bible has some good points and some low points, but I do pray God uses it in the lives it comes into contact with as we live out our faith in simple and practical ways – including learning from those we disagree with.
*I received a free copy of this study Bible from BibleGateway to review as I am a member of their Blogger Grid.