What makes the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible so encouraging?

What makes the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible so encouraging?

The NIV Radiant Virtues Bible is a beautiful Bible that focuses on the virtues which the Apostle Paul focuses on in 1 Corinthians 13. It is designed with faith, hope, and love brought to focus all throughout God’s Word. This Bible comes in the NIV translation and, as I often recommend for NIV Bibles, it would make an excellent companion to a literal translation study Bible.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

I received a complimentary copy of the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid in exchange for an honest review of this Bible. You can find even more information about this Bible here. #BibleGatewayPartner

This Bible is published by Zondervan, a company that specializes in publishing and providing Christian resources. Zondervan is the publisher of the NIV translation, which is the translation used for the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible.

As with any Bible, the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible isn’t for everyone, but there are many qualities to appreciate. To help you make a more informed decision about whether to get this as your first or next Bible, or as a gift for a loved one, we will walk through some key points together that I like to consider when shopping for a Bible as well as some information I believe to be helpful when making your decision.

What purpose does the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible serve?

The purpose of the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible is to help Bible readers find, focus on, and grow in understanding of the virtues of faith, hope, and love throughout scripture. All over this beautifully designed Bible are passages highlighted in coded colors for each theme, a reading plan focusing on these virtues, and articles that cover each topic along the way. These are all designed with the purpose to study the virtues of faith, hope, and love and to draw readers closer to God.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truthIt always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

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The NIV Radiant Virtues Bible reading plan begins and ends with love because love is the first and the last virtue listed in 1 Corinthians 13, and because it is the greatest of these virtues (1 Cor. 13:13). The emphasis on these themes is what this Bible is all about. Faith, hope, and love are the key traits Christians should live in and live out. Growing in our understanding of each can help both new and seasoned Christians develop a stronger understanding of faith, hope, and love throughout scripture and therefore apply them to your own life and relationship with God.

I find it important to point out that the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible is an addition to the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible collection. I have the Inspire Journaling Bible, which is the NLT equivalent of the Beautiful Word Bible, and I personally love coloring and journaling Bibles. They are an incredible way to worship, pray, and study while using creativity in scripture.

Along with the focus on faith, hope, and love the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible gives creative Bible readers lots of opportunities to express their creativity while reading and studying the Bible. You will find ample space and inspiration for journaling and art throughout the key features.

What are the key features of the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible?

There are many wonderful features in the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible to help Bible readers focus on the themes of faith, hope, and love throughout scripture in creative ways. Some of the features include:

  • Highlighted verses color coded for faith, hope, and love
  • Blank calendar page to fill in Bible reading plan
  • Lined prayer pages
  • Note-taking margins
  • Bible verse art throughout the Bible
  • Bible verse coloring pages
  • Table of Weights and Measures
  • Perforated Bible verse art pages

It also comes with several Bible reading plans, which I personally think is amazing. You not only have the specific virtues reading plan at the front but several in the back to keep you coming back through the Bible and focusing on several important themes in scripture. The following reading plans are included, and again keep in mind the fancy blank calendar in the front to help you plan out your study schedule.

  • Virtues Themed Bible Reading Plan
  • 30 Days with Jesus Reading Plan
  • 30 Days of Great Faith Reading Plan
  • 60 Day Overview of the Bible Reading Plan
  • On Year Through the Bible

There are quite a few features, but I find this Bible so balanced in its design that it does not feel crowded or over-filled. It is a wonderful balance of creative space, note-taking margins, articles, and inspirational artwork. This Bible would be a great option for a lot of people, no matter your creative abilities or desires.

How do you use the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible?

With its full list of key features, the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible is designed to encourage consistent reading of the Bible. You can fill out the blank calendar to map out your reading plan using the included plans or come up with your own, record your prayers in the prayer pages, and read through the passage planned and their accompanying articles to help you study deeper. It certainly can be used as a Bible that holds a starter prayer journal, Bible study journal, and reading plans.

I personally love the features and layout. I appreciate that this Bible is laid out to encourage a reading schedule as well as prayer, and has many juicy features to help Christians artistically dive deeper into the themes of faith, hope, and love every day.

Who do I recommend the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible for?

I highly recommend the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible. As I said above, I typically recommend the NIV translation be used as a companion to a literal translation, but the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible could certainly make an excellent first Bible for someone just getting started. I also see it as a wonderful Bible for someone who wants to begin prayer journaling or begin a Bible reading routine.

If you are someone with a growing inventory of Bibles, this would definitely be a nice addition to your study Bibles or a standard Bible in other translations. I really enjoy using my NIV Bibles side-by-side with an NKJV, ESV, or even a CSB to use together. The NIV Radiant Virtues Bible is one I will enjoy pairing in this way, and I will be glad to add it to my morning routine as well to coordinate with my NLT Inspire Bible for Bible journaling.

I believe the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible is best for those who want to learn more about the virtues of faith, hope, and love and are committed to following a Bible reading plan. If you prefer more as-you-go reading methods of reading scripture then you will likely find many of the features to be unhelpful, but even then I would encourage you to give the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible a chance.

The art-journaling features of this Bible make it fantastic for those who like to add some creative flair to their time in the Word, as well as for those who are wanting to get started in Bible art journaling. If you prefer to completely do your own art in your journaling Bible, this can be a nice Bible but it does have a lot of its own art which may take away from the space you want to use to create your own.

The NIV Radiant Virtues Bible might just offer the encouragement you need to spend intentional time in the Bible and in prayer every day. This, combined with the purpose of this particular Bible and the extras included, makes the NIV Radiant Virtues Bible great for those well established in Bible reading and prayer routines, as well as those looking to start new habits to strengthen their faith and relationship with the Lord.

Why does Jesus say to hate your family?

Why does Jesus say to hate your family?

No matter how rocky my family relationships were, they were always the most important thing in my life. I sacrificed much for them and did whatever I could to get their approval for years. If I had read Luke 14:26 while I was growing up I would have completely missed the point. At the stage in my life that I am now, all purely by the grace of God, I have a godly husband and child, have forgiven, am healing broken relationships with my family, and have a growing relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. I can now better understand what Jesus is saying when He tells says to hate your family.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26 CSB

When I first became a follower of Jesus I had no one in my life that understood, and most people discouraged me from going down this path at all. I was often mocked for my faith, my shortcomings were hung over me, and I was treated as though I could never be different, that my faith was a joke, and that it was for no one’s good. I lost my friends, I grew distant from my family, and I took time to focus on my relationship with God, my understanding of His Word, and being filled with the strength I needed to stand firm.

He gives strength to the faint

and strengthens the powerless.

Isaiah 40:29 CSB

Luke 14 came to me again after spending some time with my dad recently, after not seeing him for around two years. In all that time I’d thought I was going to be separated from them forever. I thought I would never have a good relationship with my family. No matter how broken and hurtful my relationships were with my family, I have always deeply desired to be in a relationship with as much of my family as possible. I am big on family and this separation ate at me. I had made peace with being separated from them, though, because I knew God had called me to withdraw and I trusted His plan, even if it hurt and didn’t make sense to me at the time.

Why does Jesus say to hate your family?
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God removes distractions to bring our focus to Him

After spending time with my dad again I realized that I had needed to get to the point where I was willing to sacrifice those relationships in order to put God first. I needed to get to a point where obedience to my Heavenly Father was worth any price I was asked to pay, even separation from my earthly father, mother, brothers, and sisters. I needed to take people off the throne that only Christ belongs in my life.

Sometimes God will call us away from relationships in order to rightly align our hearts to Him. In Luke 14:26 Jesus is telling us that we should love Him so much that it would seem in comparison that we hate our own family. He is not saying to actually hate your family but to put obedience to and love for Him first no matter the cost. He is telling us that there is a cost to following Him and that we must be willing to put His will and instruction first in our lives at all times, no matter what that cost is, even unto our own lives.

To follow Christ we must to be willing to give our full life to Him

I experienced this on a bit of an extreme level over the last several years. After a while, I was willing to give up these relationships with my family in order to honor and obey God. In this willingness to obediently sacrifice these relationships, God changed my heart and my priorities. I no longer live to serve other’s expectations or desires for me or fulfill the labels people have given me all my life. I am firmly planted as a Child of God, and His will is the only one I strive to follow. This has brought me peace, joy, and great humility. God has been healing me and teaching me His truth, love, and kindness.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has[a] come!

2 Corinthians 5:17 CSB

Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts.

Ephesians 4:17 CSB

To follow Christ you must let Him transform you

The last conversation I had with my family was that of forgiveness, love, and renewal. God has changed my heart, aligning my life and heart with Him, so that now I can be effective in all the work He has created for me to do for His glory, which includes being an example to my family. I prayed for them the whole time of separation, and I am seeing that God has been working in them as well. We are all works in progress, and He is always working in all of us whether we recognize it or not.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 CSB

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people,

Colossians 3:23 CSB

Are you faithfully following Jesus?

Is there something getting in the way of you putting God first in your life?

Are you obeying God over pleasing people in your life?

Are the labels given by those around you clinging to you, or the new name God has given you in Christ?

Are you loving Christ so much that it would be as if you hate your own family in comparison?

“If you love me, you will keep[a] my commands.

John 14:15 CSB

If you love Him, you will obey Him. If you obey Him in faith and love, you will find such great blessing, humility, mercy, and grace. You will experience what love really means and truly feels like.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:1 CSB

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5 CSB

Are you willing to love God this much?

What is Biblical Love?

What is Biblical Love?

What is Biblical Love?

After explaining a variety of spiritual gifts Christians are given by the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul explains that no matter what gift you have been given if you use it without love it means nothing. No works, wonders, or faith means anything if it is not companioned with Biblical love as God calls on us to love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14:15 ESV

How are we supposed to love?

We are called to love God and love people first and foremost, and we are also called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and love as God loves. We must know God’s definition of love in order to love others like He loves.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Biblical love
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What is Biblical love according to God?

Love is patient

Strong’s G3114makrothymeō – patient:

  • to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart
  • to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles
  • to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others
  • to be mild and slow in avenging
  • to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish

Love is kind

Strong’s G5541chrēsteuomai – kind:

  • to show one’s self mild, to be kind, use kindness

Love is honest

It rejoices in truth

Strong’s G225alētheia – truth:

  • sincerity of mind and integrity of character, or a mode of life in harmony with divine truth

Love bears all things

Strong’s G4722stegō – bears (all things):

  • to cover over with silence; to keep secret; to hide, conceal
  • hides and excuses the errors and faults of others

Love believes all things:

Strong’s G4100pisteuō – believes (all things):

  • to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

Love hopes all things:

Strong’s G1679elpizō – hopes (all things):

  • to hope, to wait for salvation with joy and full of confidence

Love endures all things:

Strong’s G5278hypomenō – endures (all things):

  • to endure, bear bravely and calmly

What is Biblical love not according to God?

Love does not envy

Strong’s G2206zēloō – envy:

  • to burn with zeal
  • to be heated or to boil with envy, hatred, anger
  • in a good sense, to be zealous in the pursuit of good
  • to desire earnestly, pursue
  • to desire one earnestly, to strive after, busy one’s self about him
  • to exert one’s self for one (that he may not be torn from me)
  • to be the object of the zeal of others, to be zealously sought after
  • to envy

Love does not boast

Strong’s G4068perpereuomai – brag:

  • to boast one’s self
  • a self display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one’s self excessively

Love is not arrogant

Strong’s G5448physioō – arrogant:

  • to inflate, blow up, to cause to swell up
  • to puff up, make proud
  • to be puffed up, to bear one’s self loftily, be proud

Love is not rude:

Strong’s G807aschēmoneō – rude:

  • to act unbecomingly

Love is not selfish

It is not self-seeking.

Strong’s G1438heautou – self:

  • himself, herself, itself, themselves

Strong’s G2212zēteō – seek:

  • require, demand

Love is not irritable:

Strong’s G3947paroxynō – provoked:

  • to irritate, provoke, rouse to anger

Love is not resentful

It does not take into account a wrong suffered.

Strong’s G3049logizomai – take into account:

  • to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over
  • to take into account, to make an account of
  • metaphor: to pass to one’s account, to impute
  • a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight

Strong’s G2556kakos – wrong suffered:

  • of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting; base, wrong, wicked
  • evil i. e. what is contrary to law, either divine or human, wrong, crime
  • to do, commit evil

Love is not unrighteous (rejoice at wrongdoing):

Strong’s G93adikia – unrighteousness:

  • a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness
  • specifically, the wrong of depriving another of what is his
what love is and is not
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How do we love?

When we love God we obey God, when we obey God we bear His fruit, and when we bear His fruit we love the way He loves us. Paul reminds the Corinthians, as well as all future generations of believers, that to love is to be patient, or long-suffering. It is loving to be kind, honest, and to bear with one another, hope for and share hope with one another, and endure with one another.

It is not loving to be selfish, arrogant, prideful, or rude. We are failing to love when we brag, envy, becoming irritable or resentful toward one another. We also fail to love when we act unrighteously or sinfully, which can show up in a lot of ways.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 ESV

What does Biblical love have to do with Spiritual gifts?

Paul recognizes that while these spiritual gifts are not eternal, love is eternal. We will not always need these gifts but without love we have nothing. We will always need love. During this lifetime we will only see and perceive a fraction of the wisdom and blessings of God.

When we see God face to face we will rest in His presence and full wisdom for eternity. This life is preparation for eternity, and in loving others we are planting seeds of God’s love to help draw more people to eternity with Him.

Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:8 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17 ESV

Faith enables us to trust in God, hope enables us to look forward to the promises of God, but love enables us to imitate God. As we grow in faith and hope we should be growing in and better imitating the love of God in our lives. If we are failing to display and live in the love of God, we are failing to be imitators of God, and therefore all we do, even if in the name of God, is useless.

Opposite of Love

Opposite of Love

My pastor asked us a question last Sunday that really stuck with me. “What is he opposite of love?”

Promptly, we all replied “hate”. If you are like me, that was your reply as well. But what he said hit me pretty hard.

“The opposite of love is selfishness.”

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.

1 Corinthians 13:4

I want to challenge you for a moment to think of this differently than we normally do. We automatically relate this verse to loving others, but let’s take a moment to think about self-love and self-care.

‘And a second [commandment] is like [the first]: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ‘

Matthew 22:39

How can we love our neighbors if we don’t first love ourselves? It is simple – not very well.

We usually think of self-care and selfish actions. We think that if we put ourselves first then we are selfish, so we neglect the self-care in an attempt to avoid that selfishness. The problem is not the actions of self-care, but the intentions. When we take care of ourselves, show ourselves love, allow ourselves to breathe, relax, enjoy things for the sake of our own amusement, but with the intention and purpose of taking care of and loving ourselves so that we can in turn love others better, treat others more kindly, tackle work, family, life less stressed and more productively – that is the right way to love yourself. Love yourself so that you can then love others better. If we don’t love ourselves well, how can we possibly listen to commandment two and “love others are yourself”?

Selfishness is the opposite of love. Selfishness is not just putting yourself above everything else, your wants above others’, but it is also the act of neglecting yourself for the sake of others. Neglecting your own needs tells God you don’t trust His commands and teachings, and that you think you know better than He. It also says you don’t trust God with your stresses, anxieties, and most importantly with your life. But let me tell you; when you let God lead you in every way and appreciate His teachings, listen and follow His instructions for your life, that is love.

‘And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘

Matthew 22:37

Love God by being obedient, and by respecting and following His commands and instruction, which includes all kinds of ways to have self-care. So don’t be afraid to take a step back, take a little “me” time, collect yourself, refresh, breathe, and appreciate yourself in a healthy, God-centered way. Self-love is important. Self-care is not selfish with the right motives.

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