Best known for The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning is a well-known pastor and author. The NIV Ragamuffin Bible includes a collection of Manning’s honest and grace-filled devotions—104 devotions, to be exact.
In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning writes:
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
You can tell that carries into this Bible.
Also, can I just tell you I like the word ragamuffin? It reminds me the Gospel is more all-encompassing than I ever realize and often forget.
The back cover of the Bible asks the question:
“Do you believe that God not only loves you, but that he also likes you?”
What I Liked:
The introduction, written by Manning, includes a quotation from one of his works. It asks you if you knew your whole future depended on a personal relationship with someone, wouldn’t you arrange your schedule and life to spend more time with that person? He makes the connection that the Bible is God’s personal memoirs, which I think is an interesting way to describe the Bible.
The Bible contains 250 reflections throughout the text, which I think are helpful. I like Manning’s reflections because they help you think about the text on a deeper level. The reflections are pretty short, so I felt they could have been longer or they could have included more.
My theology is defined a lot by grace, so I really appreciate how much Manning is influenced by grace, as you can tell from this reflection:
“The spirituality of wonder knows the world is charged with grace, that while sin and war, disease and death are terribly real, God’s loving presence and power in our midst are even more real.”
What I Didn’t Like:
I would have liked to see introductions to each book of the Bible. I feel like it helps provide much-needed context. For being a themed-Bible, I expected more devotions or reflections than it actually contained. It does not contain any exegetical or theological background information behind the text, which is disappointing.
Since Manning is so quotable, it makes sense that this Bible contains well-crafted truth nuggets throughout the pages. However, at times they do feel out of place as though they were included simply because the page needed something. That makes it feel less genuine.
A note on the updated NIV: I really like the updated NIV. If you are looking to get a new Bible, I do recommend the updated NIV. One of the main differences between the 1984 NIV and the updated NIV is the use of more gender-inclusive language (“brothers and sisters” instead of brethren, for example). I support the use of gender-inclusive language.
The quality of this particular copy (it is hardcover) was about what you would expect. The pages are thin, but like most Bibles. I feel as though it would be durable enough for daily use. The font size is easy to read.
Overall, if you are looking for a Bible for devotions and like Brennan Manning’s work, get it. However, if you are looking for more of a study Bible, get a different Bible. It’s definitely more for devotional reading than anything else.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.