man reading Bible
(Shutterstock/Marcio Jose Bastos Silva)

In recent years, the sales of DVDs for small groups have overwhelmingly outnumbered the number of Bible study participant guides, says Michael Cook, a marketing manager at the Baker Publishing Group. Most people today—jammed for time with work, family and their entertainment-driven lifestyles—simply want to talk about the DVD; and that’s part of the dilemma, Cook says.

“Jesus said, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.’ The only things that are eternal will be people and the Word,” Cook says. “The Bible is a personal letter from God to His children—His creation. The church in the West has made it into a textbook filled with facts and data. But we have to look at it as a love story. It’s a story of redemption, mercy and grace. This is the plan for eternal life. It’s not just a book. It’s the Word of life itself.”

Creating an Appeal

In an effort to offer Bibles that appeal to a wider audience, publishing houses have in recent years released Bibles in a variety of creative formats. 

In the mid-2000s, Thomas Nelson, one of the world’s largest and oldest Bible publishers, launched several “Biblezines” that present Scripture in a magazine-type format appealing to various audiences. In 2008 it also produced The Voice, which teamed artists and authors with Bible scholars to allow a new generation of readers to experience Scripture “in a fresh voice.” 

Hoping to give time-starved mothers some biblical inspiration, Zondervan recently released the Busy Mom’s Bible, which is packed with one-minute “spiritual fuel for your busy mom-on-the-go lifestyle.”

“Each generation struggles with understanding the Bible, however, with all of the media opportunities through social media, phone apps and texting, it becomes even more challenging to gain their attention for biblical knowledge,” says Gary Davidson, senior vice president and group publisher of the Thomas Nelson Bible Group. “But God’s message will break through and I believe it’s only a matter of time before we see a renewed urgency for the things of God.”

In an effort to make the Bible easier to read, the full Common English Bible (CEB) will be released this fall (only the New Testament is available now). A bold new translation that took nearly 120 Bible scholars four years to complete, the CEB offers a “smooth and natural reading experience” and seeks to open up the Bible to a new generation of readers,” says Michael Stephens, a senior editor at Abingdon Press. Also, Bardin & Marsee Publishing just launched their “GIVE together” initiative to provide waterproof Bibles to the homeless.

The NextGen Bibles

Meanwhile, a rapidly growing number of people are reading and studying the Bible on Internet sites such as or downloading applications such as and others onto their mobile phones and iPads. More than 13 million people have downloaded the free YouVersion Bible app.

Zondervan recently released the NIV Bible eBook, which quickly shot to the top of the USA and Barnes & Noble best-seller lists. Also, The Seed Company, a Bible translation organization founded by Wycliffe Bible Translators, has launched the Blank Bible Challenge—a 28-day devotional that delivers daily Bible story videos to people’s inboxes. 

Through the related OneVerse program, a $26 sponsorship gift provides the resources required for translators to translate one verse of Scripture into their own language. It provides God’s Word to the more than 2,200 people groups who don’t have Scriptures in a language they can understand.

Taken together, Barry says he believes the new Bibles, eBibles and the various campaigns during the Year of the Bible are going to help ignite the next “Bible study revolution.” He says that in the same way America told Britain before the Revolutionary War that “we will not live like this anymore,” the church needs to do the same and strongly declare that the Word of God is the truth.

“We will not ignore the Bible anymore,” Barry says. “We will not be enslaved to what the world deems important. We won’t be enslaved to money, fancy cars and big-screen TVs anymore. Instead, we’ll pour our lives into the poor and hurting. We know that’s what the Bible says. There is a Bible-shaped hole in our lives and we have to fill that with the Bible.” 

Troy Anderson, a writer and newspaper reporter, lives in Los Angeles.

 Help—I’m Not a Scholar!

7 books every Bible student needs

1.  MacArthur Topical Bible 

2.  Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary 

3.  Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook 

4.  New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible 

5.  MacArthur Bible Commentary 

6.  Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible 

7.  Complete Word Study Dictionary


Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was the first Hispanic pastor in history to pray at a presidential inauguration.

    At Trump Inauguration, Charismatic Leaders Pray Boldly in Jesus' Name. Is This Foreshadowing a New Day in America?

    It was an amazing day to let religious freedom ring in America.

  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what was going on!

    Jennifer LeClaire Releases Urgent Prophetic Warning Over Washington, D.C.

    When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • Churches don't address this topic affecting women.

    The Secret Sorrow Women Carry

    This woman breaks the silence about a taboo subject to help restore many women.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit