Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible (book review)

If you’ve ever looked at the list of books I’ve read and reviewed at the end of each year, you will quickly discover how much I enjoy reading! I read science, biographies, theological works, philosophy, financial resources, relationship helpers, and on and on. But hands-down, not-even-close to second place, I read the Bible more than anything else. Not only do I read the Bible extensively every day, I then read all of my other books through the lens of Scripture. 

So whenever I come across a resource that helps with Bible reading and study, I’m absolutely thrilled to share it with you. One such resource I’ve been so excited about is the Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible. 

I originally purchased this study Bible because of the “illustrated” part. I glanced through it and found several things that make the biblical accounts more understandable. Things like: 

  • timelines 
  • genealogical records
  • “blueprints” of notable buildings and structures
  • infographics 
  • maps and tables 

Then I was excited to discover the wealth of articles embedded in the notes section next to the biblical texts. 

But the happiest discovery I made was the ability to combine the written text with so much additional online content. Using the Faithlife Study Bible app on my iPhone, I can access all of the content in the print version in addition to more resources that have become available since this study Bible was published. My favorite way to do this is via the “reference scanner” in the app. I use my iPhone camera to take a picture of the part of the Bible I’m studying and then the app pulls up all of the resources associated with nearly everything on that page. Amazing! 

If you already love studying the Bible, this book/app combination will take you to a whole new level. Even if you’re just getting started in a Bible study, you will love how much fullness these resources quickly bring to your fingertips. 

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading (and watching) from this weekend…

This was a bit convicting: 7 Signs You’re Spending Too Much Time Looking At Your Phone (I am trying to improve on this!).

This post from Chilly Chilton was also a bit convicting: My Take On President Obama.

“Jesus builds His Church, not by programs, facilities, budgets, and good ‘branding,’ but by living His life in and through each of the members of His Body, beginning with their shepherds.” —T.M. Moore

[VIDEO] John Maxwell says being growth oriented is better than being goal oriented.

“The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it. Our Lord said ‘Go ye,’ but He also said, ‘Tarry ye,’ and the tarrying had to come before the going.” —A.W. Tozer

“I believe that our Lord wants us to learn more of Him in worship before we become busy for Him. He wants us to have a gift of the Spirit, an inner experience of the heart, as our first service, and out of that will grow the profound and deep and divine activities which are necessary.” —A.W. Tozer

The Nativity In The Digital Age

Being the techy guy that I am, I really enjoyed this modern portrayal of the nativity.


Merry Christmas!

Chillin’ With My iPhone

Yesterday I wrote about some of the work apps I use a lot on my iPhone. But as any iPhone user will tell you, “all work and no play makes the iPhone a very dull thing” (or something like that!). So here are some of my favorite just-for-fun apps.

  • Facebook – I love the instance access to all of my friends’ status updates, pictures, and breaking news.


  • AroundMe – this is a wonderful app for finding anything close by. The GPS in the iPhone identifies my location, then at a touch of a button I can find the closest coffee shop, bank, gas station, restaurant or grocery store.


  • iheartradio – Clear Channel media owns a bazillion radio stations around the country, and this app helps me find them immediately. I can search for a format or even a station in a particular city. I have saved some of my favorite stations that I can return to quickly. One drawback, you cannot stream the music in Safari, so I cannot listen to music and surf the web at the same time.


  • ESPN Radio & WAY-FM – two more radio apps. The first lets me tune into the live ESPN radio stream, or catch up on an interview I may have missed earlier in the day. WAY-FM is one of my favorite stations for contemporary Christian music. Two really cool things about this app: (1) I can steam it in Safari which allows me to listen and work with another app simultaneously, and (2) if I’m listening to a song I really like, I can touch the “Buy song” button an immediately I’m connected to that song on iTunes.

Please share any just-for-fun apps that you really enjoy.

Sorta Out Of The Office

I’m traveling for a couple of days this week, but thanks to my iPhone, I’m not really going to be away from my office. I had been asking to get an iPhone for a long time, and finally my persistence paid off. About two months ago Betsy relented and let me get my first iPhone. I love it!

I’ve tried out several apps and here are some of my favorite apps that keep me productive in and out the office.

  • Echofon – a very nice Twitter app. I have both my personal and business Twitter accounts in this one app. I can search for people, add them to lists, and manage my account just like I would from my desktop computer. I also can mark “favorite” tweets from my iPhone and then look them up when I’m back at my office computer.


  • RSSRunner – I can follow the same websites I’m following on my iPhone that I’m following from my desktop. One drawback is that feeds I have read on my iPhone do not get marked as read on my desktop, but that is only a minor annoyance.


  • LinkedIn – all of the business contacts that I keep in touch with on my desktop are available to me on my iPhone. A real cool feature is downloading all of my contact’s phone/email information directly to my iPhone.


  • WordPress – this is the platform I use for my blog. From my iPhone I can post or edit stories, review, edit or delete comments, and update my pages.

These are my favorite productivity apps. Do you have any you would recommend to this list?

Tomorrow I’ll share some of my favorite relaxation apps.


As readers of this blog know, I love to read. But hands-down, no-comparison, head-and-shoulders above any other book, my favorite book is the Bible.

One of the best apps I have added to my iPhone is YouVersion. I love being able to read the Scripture in different translations, but I especially love the daily reading plans. There are lots to choose from. Currently I am reading through the wisdom and insight of the “Psalms & Proverbs” reading plan.

Good news… even without an iPhone or other smart phone, you can still access YouVersion via your computer.

Better news… if you have a smart phone, your computer access and phone access are synced.

Best news… YouVersion is free! Thanks to the incredible folks at who have made this available to anyone anywhere.

Go ahead, dive right into the Bible. Once you start reading it, I’m sure it will become your favorite book too.

Ultimate iPhone App

This is what I’ve been waiting for!

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