The Maxwell Leadership Bible – New International Version. Lessons in Leadership From the Word of God by John Maxwell. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014. 1586 pp. $44.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.
The NIV Bible is one of the more popular translations of the Bible in use today. This translation does use the gender neutral language. (Note: this review is not concerned with that discussion. For a deeper discussion, please read here and here.)
This review is concerned with the notes found in this particular study Bible. These notes are compiled and edited by noted leadership author John C. Maxwell and Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders.
Obviously, this Bible contains the NIV translated text of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. On most every page, there is a note about leadership whether it looks to a particular person in the Bible or a principle found within a story.
Each book of the Bible has an introduction. This introduction does not offer date of writing or theological themes as other study Bibles do. Rather, these introductions offer a glimpse of the leadership lessons found in the book. The reader is offered a list of other people of influence and God’s role in that particular book.
Throughout the book, the reader will find a number of articles set apart from the text. These tend to offer guidelines for mentoring and influencing others in your own life. There are more than 100 biographical profiles that draw out the truths and principles of leadership according to God’s Word.
At the end of the book is found an index detailing the leadership laws, qualities, issues, and profiles found throughout the text for easy reference. Also, there are articles are articles that offer other challenges, rooted in the Bible, for the leader to best lead those under his (or her) influence.
It is important to note that this is not a study Bible. Rather, it is a Bible designed to deal with one topic found in Scripture: leadership. In other words, the editors seek to draw out as many leadership principles as possible from the text of the Bible. To that end, they do an excellent job.
While I am not a huge fan of the NIV personally, I found the leadership notes to be extremely helpful and encouraging. The strength of this work is found in these notes. They are all placed in the text in such a manner that one will wind up with a biblical theology of leadership if read from cover to cover.
Second, the index at the end helps the reader to quickly find a particular person or leadership principle written in this Bible. Further, the introductions to each book are helpful to the one who is studying the Bible will want to see what can be culled there.
Sure, there are some psychological connotations found throughout which leads to a plethora of questions (for example, do we concern ourselves with the Bible or with psychologists?) but, to the discerning reader, these are also found to be beneficial and can apply in a number of contexts.
Perhaps the strength of this resource is that it focuses on the inner qualities of the reader as it pertains to his relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. In other words, Maxwell makes it clear that the best leader is a Christian leader in submission to God through the Holy Spirit because of Christ’s death.
Again, while I do not personally care for the NIV translation, I found this Bible to be helpful in my personal quest to better understand leadership. As a husband, a father, a pastor, and a Christian, I am a leader whether I want to be or not. The Maxwell Leadership Bible is a valuable resource for all who aspire to be better leaders.