My Promise Bible

Just when I thought that I had reviewed every coloring Bible, I received a request to review one more!  Christian Arts Gifts was kind enough to send me two copies of their new coloring Bible:  “My Promise Bible.”  I’ll be giving one away on Facebook soon!  Watch for it.

This Bible is in the King James Version and is the successor Bible to “My Creative Bible” with all new line art.  The Bible has a theme of God’s promises through both the art and the selection of verses that are illustrated.  It has two cover options:  Blue Butterflies and Pink Roses:

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The translation is the King James Version (KJV).  Much has been written and I can hardly do justice to the impact the KJV of the Bible has had on our culture and the English language.

I woke up this morning reflecting on what has helped the King James Bible stand the test of time.  (I was an economics major, so the exact question I was thinking: “What has given the KJV its durable advantage?”  As a matter of practical reality:  The KJV Bible has spent a seriously long time on the best seller list!  Why this 400-year-old version?)

  • The translation uses a word-for-word approach that must capture something of the rhythm and beauty of the original Greek and Hebrew.
  • It has been read aloud in congregations and been absorbed; it has a comforting familiarity.  Hundreds of words and phrases from the King James Bible have become part of our every day language.  If you are interested in just how many, I would encourage you to read the book:  Begat:  The King James Bible & the English Language by the linguist David Crystal.  The hymns we sing often include verses from the KJV.  Even with its “thees” and “thous”, which have fallen out of contemporary usage, the KJV still reads like one expects the Bible to read.
  • One English word that first appeared in the KJV is “network.”  I think the KJV of the Bible may be the first example of what’s known in the business world as “a network effect”.  The fact that so many people have used it over time increased the “value” of reading it.  There was a time when many people had just one book in their home and it was a King James Bible.  And the King James Bible has been read widely by influential thinkers, writers, and poets.  There are countless stories about the Bible changing the lives of individuals; it could be said without too much hyperbole that the King James Bible transformed the language and culture of the English-speaking world.
  • Another reason behind the success of the KJV must be Tyndale.  I just began reading a wonderful biography of Tyndale by David Teems.  In his own life experience, he shared much in common with the early Christians who wrote the New Testament.  He lived in exile and was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1536 because he translated the Bible into English (Latin was the language of the church).  His work of translating the Hebrew and Greek into English helped created the demand for an English Bible and demonstrated the beauty and power of the Word of God in English.  His life was cut short, so he did not translate the whole Bible, but many of the most memorable verses from the King James Bible, published in 1611, were first found in his work.  How the Bible spoke so clearly to him in his trials and his colorful gift for language still shape how we read the Bible in English.

Just as an example regarding the power of word choice:  Tyndale first crafted the heroic question:  “O Death, where is thy sting?”  Before Tyndale, Wycliffe translated the Latin Bible into English.  Here is his translation of 1 Corinthians 15:55:  Death, where is thy victory? Death, where is thy prick?  “Prick” just does not work as well!

I loved reading this whole passage from Tyndale…

Deeth where is thy stynge? Hell where is thy victory?  The stynge of deeth is synne: and the strength of synne is the lawe.  But thankes be vnto God which hath geven vs victory thorow oure Lorde Iesus Christ.  Therfore my deare brethren be ye stedfast and unmovable alwayes ryche in the workes of the Lorde for as moch as ye knowe how yt youre labour is not in vayne in the Lorde.

Spelling had not yet been standardized, but the words are totally and completely familiar, and it’s a comfort to me to think of Tyndale penning these words as so much of his work was thrown into the fire and he himself faced death.  In the Lord, his work was not in vain.  Nearly 500 years later, his work endured; praise God!

Thinking of Tyndale inspired my first page in this Bible…

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This “My Promise Bible” is a joy to work in.  I’ll share just a few more pictures.  I can hardly wait to color the inside cover.  At this point, I have seen many illustrations of the first passage of the Gospel of John.  I think this is my favorite!

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There are many whole pages to color.  Here is one:

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Here is the same page after adding some color.  I used Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and some gelly roll pens for detail…

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Many pages have line art in just the margins…

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The Bible provides an introduction to each chapter:

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At the back of the Bible is a section all about God’s promises with coloring pages for each theme…IMG_8363 1

The Bible also has some pages with room to write prayers and notes at the back:

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The very back page has a pocket with stickers and really pretty Bible tabs, pink for the rose Bible and blue for the butterfly Bible.

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The My Promise Bible is a relaxing and beautiful way to spend time in the King James Version of the Bible.

Growing up, I remember my mother telling my father that there were newer translations of the Bible, which took into account more recent scholarship and were easier to read, but my dad always read his King James Version.  I called him up today to ask what he liked so much about it.  He said that the Bible was his favorite because it was given to him by his grandmother, and it had her handwriting in it.  He went on to tell me about her kindness, her life of faith, and her complete dependence on God.  When I called, he was preparing for a Bible study on aging, and of all things, he was reading the passage:  “O death, where is thy sting?”  He said that was the last chapter on his book about aging.  We enjoyed a good laugh about the word “prick.”  God wink!

The KJV connects the generations.  I hope to give this Bible to my son so that he knows what it meant to my great grandmother, grandmother, father, and me!  My hope is to highlight in this Bible all the ways it has impacted our family and our culture and our language.  My prayer is that he will know the promises of God are for him, too!

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