"Having recently been immersed with a family in the raw grief of a devastating tragedy, I found myself reading the Beyond Suffering Bible not only through my eyes but theirs. I can’t say enough about the value of this monumental production. To integrate God’s Word with such sparkling, honest and Christ-centered insights is a brilliant move.
My wife Nanci and I deeply love Joni Eareckson Tada. With her warm-hearted exaltation of God’s sovereign love, she has profoundly impacted our own lives and ministry, along with countless others. She’s a living example of the verse she quotes in her introduction: “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees” (Ps 119:71).
This beautiful Bible is not only attractive but highly readable. The additional materials—profiles, devotionals, words from Joni, connection points, study notes, intros and topical guides—are exceptionally well done. Rather than distracting from God’s Word, they are so in tune with it that they actually lift it up, giving the Word its rightful place.
There are ten different Bible reading plans that deal with everything from a proper view of healing, to extending comfort to the suffering, to the role of the church in regarding suffering and disability. Many of the insights are breathtaking and paradigm-shifting. If there’s a way to make this resource better or more complete, I don’t know what it is!
While this Bible would be wonderful if only used by those with chronic pain and disability, even world-class athletes and scholars face devastating personal and emotional crisis, grief, anxiety, fear, profound disappointment and depression. The least physically and mentally disabled people still live in a fallen world of suffering where they need to have eyes to see and reach beyond! Indeed, the Curse has disabled all of us, which is why we so desperately need our Savior!
My expectation, knowing Joni, was that the Beyond Suffering Bible would be great for the disabled, as well as pastors, health professionals and family and friends who are close to those who are suffering. But in fact, my high expectations were exceeded. After actually going through a good part of this monumental work, my conclusion is, this will be great for everyone! It’s hard for me to imagine any person who loves God and loves people not loving this amazing resource. I believe our Savior and King will use it powerfully.
I asked two of our staff members to look over this book and let me know what they thought. I wondered if perhaps my love for it was over-the-top and they might be a little less enthusiastic. Independently, they both told me they were blown away by its features, insights, warmth and power.
I will personally give the Beyond Suffering Bible to many. And in case you haven’t figured it out, I enthusiastically give my highest recommendation to this extraordinary work!”
"The Beyond Suffering Bible is a tremendous resource for those who want to understand the why of suffering. Its development was the timely project of the international disability ministry of Joni and Friends based in Agoura Hills, California. Under the loving and watchful eyes of Joni Eareckson Tada, the Beyond Suffering Bible plumbs the depths of Scripture to find what God has to say to suffering people and those who love and care for them.
The Beyond Suffering Bible uses the very readable New Living Translation of the Scriptures. Readers will find introductions to each book of the Bible that show how human anguish connects with God’s supremacy and love. Succinct notes called “Connection Points,” generously dispersed throughout the Bible, are thought provoking and highly relevant to the passages of Scripture they accompany.
Another feature I quickly found to be important were the spiritually astute devotionals that focus on various aspects of human suffering. For example, the devotional in the book of Matthew that deals with the healing of the paralytic man (9:1-8) says: “Sometimes, in the midst of our desire to see healing, cessation of pain, or prolongation of life, we can forget that there is something far more important than having more days, even painless days, on this earth. There is eternity to consider.” This struck a full chord of truth with me. I have been disabled and incurably ill with multiple sclerosis for over 32 years, but my first 30 years were as an able-bodied and athletic man. As my health and physical function deteriorated, I prayed for healing; at a certain point in my early years with disability, my desire for physical healing consumed me. It took years for me to understand my soul needed healing more than my legs. What really mattered was my eternal destiny. If sickness and disease was what it took to break my monumental pride, then so be it. That’s the truth referred to in this profile. These sorts of insights (so pertinent to hurting people) are found throughout the Beyond Suffering Bible.
Another example was the important note of wisdom about faith in the face of overwhelming grief found in the Connection Point about Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:35-43), which is particularly poignant for people who face what they may believe are hopeless circumstances. Then the Connection Point on Mark 6:30-32 speaks to caregivers. Read the devotional of Mark’s account of Christ’s crown of thorns (15:16-20) and how it relates to the modern epidemic of bullying. I found a tender devotional about one of my favorite psalms (139) called “No Pity Parties” that speaks directly to parents of disabled children with condition such as Downs. And these are only a few of the many insightful features.
To top off this study Bible―and just as I expected―Joni Eareckson Tada’s commentaries are exceptional. Absolutely excellent! They draw from the deep well of her life experiences and hard-won spiritual victories from having lived with a spinal cord injury and quadriplegia for nearly fifty years. Joni’s devotionals spoke directly to my heart as I am sure they will to every reader acquainted with suffering.
Readers are given a unique view of the Scriptures that takes them beyond human suffering, just as the title states. There is something for everyone in the Beyond Suffering Bible. Quite simply, there is much wise and critically-important commentary in this study Bible for everyone who is acquainted with anguish―whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual. In its pages, readers will find the goodness of God in the midst of suffering. I can’t find adequate words in praise of it.
The Beyond Suffering Bible gets full marks from me. As a Christian writer and speaker, I will find it to be an indispensable resource for my library. I highly recommend it to everyone concerned about the why of suffering who desires to seek God in the midst of it.”