I read a meditation from the Ragamuffin Bible and knew I had to explore it further. When it arrived, I found the texture of the cover to be warm and inviting lovely to hold in my hands. I immediately had to check to see if there was a meditation for Psalm 139. I found myself reading and praying Psalm 139 over and over again with the meditation that was written with it. The comfort I found in a dark time in my life was a blessing. Even though I have many other Bibles to read, I find myself picking up the Ragamuffin Bible most often for the meditations. I highly recommend this Bible for any one that needs to feel the comfort of relationship.
I showed the Ragamuffin Bible to our church prayer group and showed it to our Rev Minister. She had heard about it but had not seen an actual copy and like me she was struck by the Devotional inserts; which range from small panels to occasional full pages.
Those inserts show the depth of study and the meaning of a certain Bible passage to him over his many years of studying the Bible,
I would certainly recommend it to anyone studying the Bible as an alternative style to study, which is why I as a Preacher purchased a copy. I always like to keep up to date.
Brennan Manning is known most for his book, "The Ragamuffin Gospel", a book that teaches those who are bedraggled, beat-up and broken-hearted that God not only loves them, but likes them as well. He attempted to convince readers that God delights in His people no matter what they say or do. He was ordained into the Franciscan priesthood and served as a theology instructor and campus minister at the University of Steubenville. He worked as the liturgy instructor and spiritual director at Saint Francis Seminary. He lived and worked among the poor in Europe and the U.S. He has written several books in addition to "The Ragamuffin Gospel". A list of his works and a bio can be found on his website.
Zondervan has recently released The Ragamuffin Bible (NIV) that includes reflections and meditations by Brennan Manning. He takes you on a journey through the Bible, God's personal memoirs, and proclaims the love and grace of God through his reflections and meditations.
I tried to read "The Ragamuffin Gospel" several years ago and gave up after a few chapters. I reread it in preparation for reviewing the Ragamuffin Bible and found a new appreciation for his work. If you are not already convinced that God loves you the way you are and can go so far as to believe that He likes you as well, you may not be ready for Manning's book.
The Ragamuffin Bible is interspersed with Manning's reflections from "The Ragamuffin Gospel". I appreciated that the reflections and meditations were less than 1/2 a page and did not break up the Bible (inserted 1-2 pages between scripture) as some do when they include devotional works. In his Old Testament reflections, he showed how Jesus was presented even in the Old Testament.
If you are a fan of Brennan Manning and/or The Ragamuffin Gospel, you will certainly want to experience the Bible in the light of Manning's insights. If you have never read any of Manning's works, I strongly suggest that you read it first before deciding whether or not to purchase The Ragamuffin Bible. Manning is the kind of writer you will either enjoy or find reading his work tedious. There is no middle ground.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&B Media Group as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In college I read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. His message of God's grace for messed up people was inspiring and encouraging. I didn't need to be perfect. I didn't need to earn God's love. I couldn't earn it, no matter how hard I tried.
Brennan Manning knew what it was to be bedraggled, beat-up, brokenhearted ... a ragamuffin. Despite being a priest, author, and speaker, he also struggled with alcoholism throughout his life. His alcoholism led to the failure of his 18 year marriage (after he left the priesthood). He truly understood what it meant to live in grace, to know you didn't deserve it.
With his death in April, 2013, Zondervan has published a new NIV Bible with quotes and devotional excerpts from Brennan Manning sprinkled throughout its pages. This is the updated NIV translation, as opposed to the original 1984 NIV. The Ragamuffin Bible is a sturdy hardcover, with a dust-jacket and a beautiful photograph of an old church door on the cover. There are 104 one-page devotions in the Bible, 250 short reflections and 150 quotes - all from Brennan Manning.
I have to admit that I hadn't kept up with Brennan Manning's life in more recent years. I didn't realize he'd had repeated lapses into his alcoholism or had a divorce. It was sad to read one devotion, written in the midst of one of his relapses and marriage troubles, where he states that he probably won't hear "Well done, good and faithful servant." I wish that one devotion had ended with a more encouraging word ... but it reminded me that Brennan Manning has never tried to paint a rosy or perfect picture of himself. He has always been brutally honest, and he openly admitted his faults and failures.
"To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners." ~ Brennan Manning
Maybe I haven't struggled with alcoholism, but I have struggled with my temper and my words. Maybe I haven't had a failed marriage, but I have failed to put my husband (and others) first at times. God uses ragamuffins to reach others and show His love to those around us, and He has used Brennan Manning.
I know that the NIV Ragamuffin Bible will be a blessing to all those who feel the weight of their sins and failures weighing down on them, who need to be reminded that God's grace covers all their sins. Repent, be forgiven, go forward in grace. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2
This is not a study Bible. It doesn't have cross-referencing or commentary notes. It doesn't have the words of Jesus in red. It is a devotional Bible, but it does contain the full NIV Bible.
The NIV Ragamuffin Bible is a beautiful book for any Christian who identifies with Brennan Manning's writings, who feel beat-up and bedraggled ... or for those who feel unworthy of Christ and need to know God's love and grace is for them, too.