Today’s book is the The NIV Leadership Bible, published by Zondervan Publishers and provided by Booksneeze.
I will admit to having to get over a bit of an automatic defense against the NIV Leadership Bible. While I have a fondness for fact-assisting study Bibles, like the Archaeological Study Bible or even my NASB Study Bible, when I start seeing specific application Bibles, I get nervous. There are too many things that can go wrong—including readers not separating the study notes from the text of Scripture itself. Further, I often think that publishers take snippets from other books or material that’s not enough for a book and then pair it into a “Study Bible” just to turn a buck.
The NIV Leadership Bible comes right along the edge of that final concern. Most of the leadership insights are not original to the work, but are edited from other works on leadership. Further, in some places the insights are shoehorned into Bible passages that are not a good fit. It is as if the goal was to keep the insights spread evenly throughout the text, even if that meant only loosely being connected to Obadiah.
That being said, I did find the NIV Leadership Bible better than I expected. Most of the leadership lessons are well-executed and placing them alongside Biblical text makes it easier for the reader to take in both the lesson and the passage. This is an improvement over putting the information out in a booklet, as the lessons could stand alone well enough for one to skip the text.
I think the process of working through these lessons will benefit anyone wanting to grow in their leadership skills. Further, the lessons do point back toward serving and drawing others to God rather than self-centered leadership.
The one issue I have with my NIV Leadership Bible is that the cover just does not feel well attached to the bulk of the Bible. The cover feels like it will stay intact for a long time, and the pages of the Bible are well connected to each other, but the glue that holds those two components together is already starting to tear in places.
I would express a desire that the leadership content be available with a different Bible translation than the 2011 NIV, but that will likely not happen since this is a Zondervan product. There have been some legitimate questions regarding the NIV, though many are well-answered, and some people prefer a different translation philosophy than the one used.
In all, while I do not think this should be your only Bible, I would rather see a leader, or even a maturing teen, spend 52 weeks working through the leadership lessons packaged around this Bible than any other basic leadership development book. I won’t quite say it’s “highly recommended” but is a decent investment in personal growth.
One further note about the NIV Leadership Bible: I would not expect this Bible to be a good “give it to an unbeliever and they’ll follow the leadership lessons and then get right with God.” While I do believe that such things are possible, the leadership lessons are clearly aimed at those who already recognize the Bible as their moral/ethical foundation.
Note: NIV Leadership Bible was received from Booksneeze in exchange for the review.